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[at-l] some quick gear thoughts

I'm back from my week long trip to Isle Royale National Park. I was there for 7 nights (6 full days
and 2 half days). Several of the days and nights featured a good deal of rain which resulted of
rather muddy trails. I don't have detailed weather information (kinda wish I had one of those little
weather stations.... they look so cute...) and the weather reports from places like Copper Harbor,
MI or Thunder Bay, Onterio, Canada don't really help. They don't een gibe with what I remember of
the days spent at Copper Harbor). But, I think nighttime temps were in the 30s with one day that
almost certainly dropped below freezing (considering it was 35*F or so at about 07:00). Daytime
temps floated in the upper 50s some wet days; upper 60s a couple other days, and I am sure that one
day broke 80 when we were on the ridge but was considerably cooler when we moved down to the shore
of lake Superior where things can really cool off fast.

Ibex Guide Pants. These worked great. Fit well. Moved well. Kept me warm even when it was cold and
wet. I thought they would be too warm for hiking when the temepratures rose psat the 60 degree mark
but while not ideal they were acceptable even to the 60s. Still, there were times I wished I was
wering lighter pants like the RIE Convertibles I had with me. However, I was never so hot that I was
really uncomfortable.

ibex Icefall Jacket. I wore this a few times while hiking over a Paramot Mt. Shirt when the
temperatures were cooler and it was raining pretty hard. I sayed quite warm and the jacket was a
godsend in camp or at a rest stop near the lake.  I was very pleased with the jacket.

Moonbow rain chaps. These continue to perform quite well. They kept the pants dry as they were menat
to when it was raining and dry from brush when the rain relented. They are now rather muddy with
Isle Royale mud that the trails had plenty of given all the rain we had.

Stephenson Poncho. Worked great again. There were a couple times I would accidentally put it on
inproperly and had an arm out the bottom instead of the arm hole. I did not always notice right away
and that could have been a Bad Thing since the arm hole was right over my pack where rain could have
fallen in. The poncho seems to have come through its many pulls and snags on the brush on the sides
of the narrow Isle Royale trails.

Paramo Mountain Shirt. WOrked great again. i wore it in camp and when hiking. I wore it both way,
fuzzy side in and out. I wore it to sleep each night and I am not sure it was always necessary but
it felt nice and certainly did help.

Original Bug Shirt. This was worn on the sunny warm days. It wore pretty well though I think maybe I
could have gotten the size smaller. It was a bit loose and long on me. The shirt did a great job
repelling the biting bugs when they were really out one evening (we only had two bad bug days; the
rest were either too cool, windy, or the bug just weren't out yet). This is a keeper.

Nunatak Back Country Blanket. Nice and warm quilt. I do wish I had had another pair of socks to put
on my feet to help keep them a bit warmer. Maybe my down booties would have been good instead, but
I'm not sure I'd want to walk around a snow-less camp with them on although I did see one lady
wearing Sierra Designs down booties doing just that.

Safe Water Anywhere GravityFilter. Maybe I am cursed. The SWA filter just did not want to flow all
that fast. Joe had used a SWA inline a year or so ago and had it clog up really quickly on him. I
don't know. It could be the waters around and in the island. We noticed that his Sweatwater Guardian
was very dirty after even just a couple gallons of filtering. There was certainly a lot of pollen in
the water. Still, I wish it had worked better. The bladder itself though works great. It is a fine
water carrier and holds the water securely. If anyone has suggestions on what might have gone wrong
I'll be interested to hear them. We did prime the filter and get the air out (as much as we could).
Another strike though against the GravityFilter is the push-pull spigot. You can't leave the system
alone to slowly filter away like you can with the more classic SWA inline filter with tubing and

That's it for now....

  ** Ken **

**  Kenneth Knight    Web Design, IT Consultant, Software Engineer  **
**       krk@speakeasy.org        http://www.speakeasy.org/~krk     **