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[at-l] Actual hiking message

Okay, okay already. I'll talk about hiking without throwing in side 
comments from the peanut gallery.

Things I've learned recently:

1) The Eureka Gossamer tent/bivy (which is this anyhow?) is working out 
great. Actually better than I thought it would. Bigger than I thought it 
would be. Weighs in at about 42 oz with replacement stakes (the stakes 
that come with the Gossamer are worthless). Much better rain coverage 
than my Eureka Zephyr tent in a heavy rain and there is a small "to 
ground" vestibule for pack and boots. The Zephyr allows you to sit up, 
the Gossamer doesn't. But the Gossamer is wide enough and long enough 
for my frame (6'-1").

2) The Hefty brand Zipper Lock freezer bags are working very well -- hot 
water for cooking in situ doesn't seem to destroy the bag. I was 
experiencing about a 20% failure rate with hot water in the ZipLoc brand 
freezer bags (nothing worse than an impersonation of Julia Child 
swearing like a sailor at the campsite -- quite the social faux pas in 
hiking circles). The Zipper Lock device on the Hefty brand works okay if 
you don't squeeze the bag much after sealing it -- minor squeezing seems 
to easily defeat the Zipper Lock seal, but you can reseal it with the 
Zipper device if that happens (be better if it didn't happen at all but 
doesn't matter what brand it is that I have tried, some of them are 
going to lose their seal for unknown reasons). You know, part of this 
paragraph strikes me as erotic for some reason. Must be me. I don't get 
out much.

3) The Z-Rest Buttpad (officially called a Cascade Designs Z-Rest Seat) 
is working great. I saw a couple of thruhikers last spring using these 
things. Originally I thought it'd be a waste but actually it's turned 
out to be a good idea after I've had a chance to find a use for it. You 
can use it when filtering water (instead of sitting your butt down on 
mossy rocks), or sitting down on a log at a campsite. Weighs in at 2.5 
oz. Looks like a tiny Z-Rest sleeping pad only it's about 16" square 
when folded out (about 2x2x16 when folded up).

4) Skin So Soft sucks against Indiana bugs. I had to Deet myself to 
clear them when my AK-47 jammed (noisy bugger when the woods is so 
quiet). SOS only seems to have a mild effect on mosquitos -- no other 
bugs. Cutters has a mosquito repellant/sunscreen that seems to work fine 
and doesn't stink so bad as Deet. So I've been trying that brand lately 
but still carrying the 100% Deet bottle as backup. I had to set aside 
the AK-47 and extra bananas -- ultralite, you know. I'm starting to 
become an ounce weenie. Plus, I had it strapped to the outside of my 
pack when it wouldn't fit inside -- couldn't make any friends at the 
shelter. Always alone, just me an my friend Mr. AK. No one else to talk 
to. To understand. Just the voices, always the voices. Why don't they 
speak up so I can understand what they say? Always whispering about me.

5) The Mountainsmith Mountainlight 5200 backpack I bought several months 
ago is working out very well -- much better than my first impression 
with that pack (The pack weighs 50 oz with carbon fiber stays, 57 oz 
with standard aluminum stays, both on my own weight scale). Still mars 
and dirtys easily but you can't beat the weight savings. The pack holds 
up and seems to be tough, just looks like it was through the war most of 
the time. I'm running about 30lbs total pack weight with summer pack 
contents, 2 days food and 1 liter of water. As I said previously, more 
than 35lbs total pack weight for this pack is too much. Also, 5200 ci is 
a bit much for my summer contents, but just right for my winter 
contents. There's a 4000 ci Mountainlight that would probably be more 
appropriate for a disciplined thruhike.


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