Oh dear what have I done? (UL camping here I come)

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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
So I have dived into the world of ultralight(ish) camping....just ordered some Trailbuddy trekking poles - that's the ish, I went for aluminium since I don't trust the carbon fibre and don't have the £££ for the best ones, a chinese UL 4 season tent and some err, Duck Max window shrink fit as a protective groundsheet (apparently the same as Polycro and yet thicker, I like the DIY approach - the other stuff was Tyvek House Wrap which is more durable but the noise thing put me off).

I think that's enough for starters but I guess a lighter mat is next...in fact I need a better mat, toss up between a Dutch or German self-inflating army one I'm tall so it has to be fullsize or a cheaper Exped atm. Certainly can't go for the Downmat, that's beyond my finances (the new tent was pushing it actually, the selling point for me is I can carry 1.2kg more art supplies. Food? Water? No, art! ;-) Whereas mats tend to be light anyway, just my current giant Green one isn't, I found it on holiday discarded but it's not a backpacker one, more for those with cars.

As you might have guessed planning another jaunt as I call them, further down the Jurassic coast in late Sept/Oct. Going a bit more off-grid this time, taking the Biolite stove which I bought when they launched it, but never dared use it, and might need to wildcamp if stuff is off season. I'm doing it in baby steps to be more 'bushcrafty' since I know if I do it all at once I'll just freak out and never do it again. But last time did a cook-out with one of those disposable BBQs and it went well, so ready to try something more serious (and yes I have the storm matches, cotton wool, firestarters etc. Tempted to get some flints but not going that off-grid! Yet.)

Early experiences of midges in the Scotland Highlands (that were out of season( and trying to cook did not go down well....put me off any camping for a long time.

This is what I was doing last time (can't work out how to post images here, it seems the site won't embed Instagram via Media and I don't have these anywhere else atm). The idea is to either do a book or just do more travel pieces since after lockdown I'm exhausted with my current area.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CS1vMYyj3YT/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSt4Of6DCk3/
 
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KatBetter

Member
Jul 16, 2021
30
10
40
Bristol
I can‘t see your Instagrams, mainly because I am not on it.
i find having a good mat as a tent/ floor sleeping UL is the biggest problem. I got one of the zig zag stile mats by robens which I cut to fit from shoulder to knee., the rest is useless bulk. Also a thermal, this thing to retain warmth. I stuff it in my backpack against my back like a extra cushion.
I prefer hammocks prematurely because I am never completely happy with floor mats.
I had to learn there are not always places to hang it up so being prepared to make a tent from the tarp is key.

I also find, depending on how rural you are, It might worth not to bother taking a cook set if there are coffee shops and small groceries shops on route. I dared to rely on external food and COFFEE when i hiked the canal towpath and it works out really well.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,113
1,222
Berlin
My dear, if you tell us afterwards what you already ordered, instead of asking us before, the chance that we can't do much more for you than making a sad face is pretty high.

You can spend your money how you want, but such a forum is also made to inform people about available equipment.
 
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KatBetter

Member
Jul 16, 2021
30
10
40
Bristol
My dear, if you tell us afterwards what you already ordered, instead of asking us before, the chance that we can't do much more for you than making a sad face is pretty high.

You can spend your money how you want, but such a forum is also made to inform people about available equipment.
Hallo Erbsi, wie geht‘s? Which one of us are you addressing here?
 

Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
866
696
42
UK
I went down the lighter weight route. Like you i did it gradually. You'd be surprised how much lighter you can go simply by looking at what equipment you already have and deciding on whats actually essential and what is 'nice to have', and then not packing the latter.... i went down to a 7kg dry weight pack from 18kg and didnt need to buy anything new!

Ive recently began to buy freeze dried meals,which will make my pack even lighter, so thats something to consider? The only thing i wont conpromise on is good coffee! I grind my own and take it with me!

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,113
1,222
Berlin
Good morning!

That's a general thought, but it's mainly important for poor artists who are too poor to buy and try factory new rubbish.

Also very wealthy people are disappointed if the new stuff fails and also they could become for example whet and get a cold. But the lost money doesn't hurt them so much.

Regarding air mats:
Therm-A-Rest mats that are sold in Europe are made in Ireland and have a very long warranty time, that's different in different countries. But it is always very, very long.

As airmats generally tend to break relatively soon in continuous use, it's worth to compare the warranties of other offers with the Therm-A-Rest standard, especially if one has to consider a generally low budget.

And I assume that a company that is located in Ireland causes less potential problems if one needs to change something than a makers who sit somewhere in Asia.
 
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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
I can‘t see your Instagrams, mainly because I am not on it.
i find having a good mat as a tent/ floor sleeping UL is the biggest problem. I got one of the zig zag stile mats by robens which I cut to fit from shoulder to knee., the rest is useless bulk. Also a thermal, this thing to retain warmth. I stuff it in my backpack against my back like a extra cushion.
I prefer hammocks prematurely because I am never completely happy with floor mats.
I had to learn there are not always places to hang it up so being prepared to make a tent from the tarp is key.

I also find, depending on how rural you are, It might worth not to bother taking a cook set if there are coffee shops and small groceries shops on route. I dared to rely on external food and COFFEE when i hiked the canal towpath and it works out really well.
I am walking along the coast, which even in Swanage/Weymouth area usually meant a 1-2 mile hike for coffee. I'm expecting as I get further down past Lyme Regis that will be rarer, especially out of season. And tbh in the morning you just want coffee there and then, be it coffee in the light thermos I have or made fresh.

I agree I am not taking massive amounts of food - I have to take gluten free bread because I found that's fairly rare down there, apart from big supermarkets. Cheese this time of year might be OK (had a problem with it separating due to heat in August), ditto dried meats, nuts etc.

But having a heat source/power source (solar will be getting less and less this time of year) as it gets colder will be important. I post about my journeys on the way (if there is is signal), and take photos on my phone, so I need some power. I even have a battery USB charger for AAA/AAs which I might take cos it's pretty light.

As I head away from the main touristy Dorset coast it will get wilder and less comfortable, so I am easing myself in to being more self-reliant. The idea is to be able to walk with all the stuff rather than use buses like last time, and then camp where I can when night falls - a campsite if that's near, or wildcamping.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,808
841
Canada
- the other stuff was Tyvek House Wrap which is more durable but the noise thing put me off).

Also it only gives you about three hours tops before it lets water through. :)

This won't help much but, where I work, a nearby Lululemon design office dropped off several rolls of materials that they had experimented with and wanted our design students to play around with to see what they could come up with. The fabrics, all artificials, were way heavier than anything you could reasonably use in clothing. Some of them were, however, perfect for use as tent footprints .. .which we told them. I chopped it up and gave it away to people who wanted it. Threw the last of it away a few weeks ago, as for some reson it had started to make a rather sickly pong. Unstable in some way, I guess.

Anyway ....
 
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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
My dear, if you tell us afterwards what you already ordered, instead of asking us before, the chance that we can't do much more for you than making a sad face is pretty high.

You can spend your money how you want, but such a forum is also made to inform people about available equipment.
I didn't do that because I read the recommendations here, and they were quite often 'buy the expensive thing!' which might be great for some, but I cannot afford that. I did my research though, but am taking a risk with chinese gear (which indeed was I think a recommendation of yours, that the 'copies' of tents are cheaper). People were telling me to buy Exped Downmats. All very nice but I don't have £150 to spend on a mat, however nice it is.

And a lot of it was based on your gear recs and stuff here - I could find cheaper versions though, e.g.

Lixada 750ml Titanium Coffee Cup Mug French Press (seems basically the same as the Tomshoo) - good reviews on Aliexpress from people actually using it - £9.48 + VAT

JR GEAR R5.0 Ultralight Primaloft mattress - 75D like the Exped, not as insulated as the Downmat LW but I don't need -38C, not planning to go out in the midst of winter/snow, UK doesn't get that cold, although I know ground level quite often goes to freezing temps. I know the R number here could be BS but got a good price - £22ish + VAT. Again has good reviews from people actually using it, posting pics. (Yes I am aware that Chinese sites can post fake reviews ;-)) And that inflatable mats are a risk - but that's true of the 'posh' versions too, they can all let you down, like my old Vango.

JR GEAR Dry Bag pump -we'll see how that works, no weight for that, how heavy etc. £6.34 + VAT

4 Season T door tent from Lanshan https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32811637993.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.259c4c4db5pm8n - this was a link via a ultralight blogger who was using their indoor tents with the Gatewood Cape - cheaper than their version. I prefer a full tent tbh, I know it's a bit more weight, but really not into the Cape fashion statement! Again, seems to have good reviews from hikers, pictures etc. £117.72 + VAT and delivery, paid a few quid extra for that

Trailbuddy Trekking poles - https://www.amazon.co.uk/TrailBuddy-Trekking-Poles-Adjustable-Lightweight/dp/B07N19SSWZ - yes Aluminium, but if I am using these for the tent, I don't want them to fail, ever - to shave off some grams to have a night with a broken tent seems like self-sabotage? £30.99 inc

For the person that said 'carbon fibre is stronger' - Amazon reviews seem to refute that, all the cheaper carbon ones have a decent amount of negative reviews where they shatter or break. And as someone who did engineering stuff upto A level and an engineer father, pretty sure I know why. Carbon fibre is great at downward force (or however the fibres are aligned, a bit like dendrites in steel, that is where the strength lies), but terrible at torsion/sideward forces, you probably could snap them quite easily over your knee. It's just the nature of the material, it's very strong and does flex a little but the fibres that give it strength one way also mean weakness in another. Nothing like a free lunch in material technology!

See also carbon-steel, heat-treated-steel, pig iron and even cast iron - very hard, but drop it, it shatters. It's about where the forces are expected and designed for, and carbon trekking poles expect a downward force, but stumble with them and most likely *snap*!

I'm sure the Black Diamond Z's are less likely to snap, but again, don't have £150+ to spend on poles.

Oh I forgot - Duck Max 1.5mil https://www.amazon.co.uk/Duck-Strength-Insulating-3-Window-284351/dp/B015PY2BY8/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=duck+max+strength+window+kit&qid=1631409293&sr=8-1&th=1 £16 inc, big enough to do several tents

As I said below, just to protect the tent/double seal, the tent inner is already 'sealed' so the groundsheet is more just extra protection from stones etc.
 
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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
Also it only gives you about three hours tops before it lets water through. :)

This won't help much but, where I work, a nearby Lululemon design office dropped off several rolls of materials that they had experimented with and wanted our design students to play around with to see what they could come up with. The fabrics, all artificials, were way heavier than anything you could reasonably use in clothing. Some of them were, however, perfect for use as tent footprints .. .which we told them. I chopped it up and gave it away to people who wanted it. Threw the last of it away a few weeks ago, as for some reson it had started to make a rather sickly pong. Unstable in some way, I guess.

Anyway ....
Yes I'm only using it as a tent protector if that makes sense? The tent I got has an inner bit that is sealed (hopefully), so the groundsheet will be just double protection.

I don't do well with bugs, so hence bivvy or groundsheet plus tarp/fly sheet is a hard NO. Small spiders are OK, I just evict them - but I don't really want black beetles or stag beetles etc rummaging in my food/sleeping bag! I had a few in my tent as is....
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,956
910
Vantaa, Finland
For the person that said 'carbon fibre is stronger' - Amazon reviews seem to refute that, all the cheaper carbon ones have a decent amount of negative reviews where they shatter or break.
Carbon fiber composite is stronger ans stiffer than any Al BUT thin walled tubes are fairly susceptible to transverse impacts, much more so than Al. With basic (cheap) construction they are not very good against torsion either but that seldom is a problem. The main problem often is that the cheaper poles often are actually not all CF but half glass and the extreme I have met is just black coloured glass. On the third hand the cheaper Al tubes are not very high grade material either.
 
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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
Carbon fiber composite is stronger ans stiffer than any Al BUT thin walled tubes are fairly susceptible to transverse impacts, much more so than Al. With basic (cheap) construction they are not very good against torsion either but that seldom is a problem. The main problem often is that the cheaper poles often are actually not all CF but half glass and the extreme I have met is just black coloured glass. On the third hand the cheaper Al tubes are not very high grade material either.
Sorry I mean tranverse not torsion (torsion is twisting isn't it?) - basically I mean bending - cross forces against where the fibres are laid?

True the cheaper carbon wouldn't be as good. The Trailbuddy poles I got have had reviews online of people using them for 60 mile hikes without incident, and they don't have the twist extension mechanisms which is quite often the failure point on that kind of thing. Fingers crossed - I will probably have my trusty golf umbrella as backup, which survived being used as a pole for weeks, and was only £5!
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,956
910
Vantaa, Finland
Sorry I mean tranverse not torsion (torsion is twisting isn't it?) - basically I mean bending - cross forces against where the fibres are laid?
Torsion is twisting, the bending is not a problem if there is nothing sharp against the tube but there often is like the edge of a stone. It really is a bit of a coin toss between Al and CF, it all depends ...
 
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nigelp

Full Member
Good morning!

That's a general thought, but it's mainly important for poor artists who are too poor to buy and try factory new rubbish.

Also very wealthy people are disappointed if the new stuff fails and also they could become for example whet and get a cold. But the lost money doesn't hurt them so much.

Regarding air mats:
Therm-A-Rest mats that are sold in Europe are made in Ireland and have a very long warranty time, that's different in different countries. But it is always very, very long.

As airmats generally tend to break relatively soon in continuous use, it's worth to compare the warranties of other offers with the Therm-A-Rest standard, especially if one has to consider a generally low budget.

And I assume that a company that is located in Ireland causes less potential problems if one needs to change something than a makers who sit somewhere in Asia.
The warranty is very good. I had two Neoair mattresses fail and on the second return asked them to send me a different model mat, which they did. The mats did have to be sent to Ireland but that may have changed now due to the complexities of sending anything to EU. Most lightweight equipment is excellent quality and lasts well for the purpose if used correctly and looked after.
 
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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,808
841
Canada
I use carbon fibre poles for trekking ... well, I have some, I don't use them a ton yet. Pacer Poles. Soon, I am sure :) But, I use carbon fibre poles for downhill skiing and snowshoeing. And, especially among trees, when I might occasionally have to haul myself out of a spot of deep by employing main force, they have stood up totally well to all tests.

Like most of the junk I own, they are expensive ones bought affordably, second-hand - though thinking harder about it, think these were probably were on sale.
 
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