Wednesday 10th May

Easton Kilo 2P Tent 

I’m no good with “things”. Whenever I need a thing it’s always vanished. Always. Today it’s my memory card adaptor. My Tent arrived Tuesday, only got chance to have a proper look today. Erected it at work and took some pics, got home and now I cant find the adaptor. I’ve ordered one off EBay, only £1.40 so bear with me and I will post pics soon.
Anyway , first impressions of the tent.
Very lightweight, when I took it out the box it nearly floated out of my hands. 
I couldn't peg it out in the ground as I don't think the pegs will go into concrete so had to use metal weights to tension the peg straps, so as you can see when I post pics, the tent isn't sat quite right on the ground.

Size wise, well it's listed as a 2 man, but I wouldn't like to share it with any man I know.
As a 1 man, size is fine, there's enough room for the air-bed I have at mo which is full size, although as it weighs 1 1/2 kg it wont be the one I'll be backpacking with.
The floor material is very thin but I'm comparing it with the usual, heavy duty plastic weave you normally get in a tent which weighs 4-5 kg, so that's not a complaint. I will be investing in the additional footprint available which at £35 and 300g seems a good idea,
Design wise I can't see why they haven't provided a ribbon to lock the two poles together where they crossover. I think I will do that for them. The "backbone" pole which ends at the highest point over door causes me some concern. There is some extra material inside the flysheet where it meets the pole but it does seem a bit to thin to take the strain of the point of the pole rubbing against it in the wind. Some form of cap with a large cup head which spreads the pressure would be a better idea I think. I may "fashion" one at work and see if that helps.

I like the way the fly hooks onto an adjustable strap incorporated with the peg strap of the tent. This obviously negates the need for extra pegs.
There seems to be a good separation between the fly and the inner. There is some sag on the inner tent which was picked up on in another review but as a 1 man I don't think this will be an issue.
I will be testing this tent in the coming weeks as detailed on my WHW page so stay tuned please for more updates on it.

Sleeping bag.
From research, for an at least 2 season, preferably a 3 season bag, at the right weight 1-1.5kg, you're looking at anywhere from £100-300. Now last year for a holiday to Scotland, camping on the beach near Mallaig, I borrowed a friends sisters tent. It's one of those 4 man ones you can get for £99 from Halfords. Great tent for two hairy arsed men, a bedroom each and a central area big enough for two chairs . With the large door opened and up on two poles you can sit there in the pouring rain, and in August on the West coast of Scotland if it doesn't rain it pours, staying nice and dry. Especially when you've got a log fire roaring just outside the porch.( When Adaptor arrives I will post a vid which shows you how you can turn that porch and the rain to your advantage when there's some pans to wash.
Well on the last day of camping, we packed everything up minus tent, chairs and stove, loaded the car up, then back to tent for a last brew before going. While the kettle was boiling, i went to pay a call of nature telling my mate to watch the porch door on the stove. At this point it was peeing it down and pretty windy. I got back and Arrgghh.... the door had blown against the stove and burnt a hole in the fabric.Damn and blast. I'd promised my mate I'd look after it. Only one option. Buy her a new one. Well, the holes near the bottom of door, nowhere near the bedrooms so I knew I'd be keeping it and using it again so wasn't that upset. Plus the Tent comes as a package with two double air-beds and four sleeping bags and I'd be keeping these. 
As you can imagine, for £99 your not getting quality merchandise. The poles of the tent  which has only been used twice are already splitting. I've taped them with gaffer tape which should do the job. Of more interest is the sleeping bags I got with the replacement. Again, for the price we're not talking Hungarian goose down sleeping bags. Bargain basement, cheap as chips 1 season bags is what they are. They've been in a pallet box at work since I bought them along with all my camping stuff I've accumulated over the years. I knew they were light and out of curiosity I grabbed one today and threw it on the scales. 1Kg! So ok, it's not a good 'un, but for end of August/ beginning of September it should do the trick. A base-layer should make a difference if needed. 
The upshot of all this is I have a tent including pegs, a sleeping bag and a soon to be acquired footprint for a total weight of 2.4Kg. That gives me 600g to play with to get a sleeping mat/ inflatable air-bed and still achieve my target weight for all this of 3Kg.

More gear musings and reviews shortly.......

16th May 2012
What stove to take?

After loads of research on this I've decided to go with a meths stove.
I have a gas stove but the stove itself weighs 200g, 650g for a gas bottle, well we're nearly at a kg before I add any pans or cups.
I do have a trianga but am not keen on the bare aluminium pans, I've used them on camping holidays before and if you fry or get anything sticking to pans then the rest of the holiday is spent trying to clean them, plus for backpacking the whole package is too big and heavy. 
I considered a Esbit meths stove a cup set then looking on youtube for reviews I came across what they call a soda can stove or sometimes a penny stove. Well I'm never short of coke cans so last night I knocked one up at home. The results can be viewed in the vid below ( if you can view it).

So as you can see, very effective. I did make the penny stove which only has a hole drilled in middle of centre top rather than a large cutout as mine has but it did not work properly so am sticking with this one.
It only weighs around 5g if that, so even with the little mesh pot stand, which with a strategically placed piece of foil as a wind break and fuel for a week (apprx 500ml) , total weight is only going to be about 550g. So not a huge saving but 300g is 300g, and as I've read on countless blogs every gram adds up and before you know it your carrying too much.

Rucksack ruminations next..............

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