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HikeLighter on Facebook

Just a reminder that you can find me on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HikeLighter   I tend to be fairly active on my facebook page, often posting two or three times a week. Sometimes I talk about gear that I am working on developing, if I see a cottage company make updates to their gear I try to post about that, sometimes it is simply sharing an awesome articles or videos I have come across, sometimes it is updates on my hiking adventures, and sometimes just about what is going on in my life. I encourage everybody to follow my facebook page if you want to keep up with what is going on. Once you have clicked the “Like” button, please be sure to move your mouse over the updated “Liked” button and a menu will drop-down, and be sure to click on the “Get Notifications” option! Thanks everybody!

Written by John B. Abela

February 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

Posted in News & Updates

Tagged with

Cubic Tech Corp Buyout. A Cottage Q&A

with 8 comments

Love it, hate it, trying to ignore it exists, or completely committed to it – cuben fiber has continued to prove itself for the last decade, against all odds, even at times when almost everybody in the industry wanted it to just go away – and many still do. Through it all, cuben fiber has been the mysterious product of a rather small company based out of Mesa, Arizona USA, called Cubic Tech Corporation. There is no doubting it anymore, Cuben fiber, or cuben fibre if you are from across the pond, has become a mainstay of the outdoor hiking industry over the last decade. It has proven itself to excel in many ways. It has also had a few blunders along the way. Over the years some cottage companies started importing other fabrics in an attempt to get cuben fiber to ‘go away’, yet cuben fiber prevailed. It has become a fabric that a few outdoor hiking cottage companies have fully committed themselves too – and grow they have! Other outdoor hiking cottage companies have used it sparing, while other companies totally sworn it off – and at least two or three of those companies have started to sell cuben fiber products over the last two years – is this a sign of its popularity and potential lost of business, or has the fabric reached a point where it has proven itself to even the diehard-anti-cuben-fiber-crowd. What is unquestionable is that cuben fiber has survived both the good and and bad times.

On 13 May 2015, a news release was announced from Heerlen, Netherlands that Cubic Tech Corporation had been bought out.

The buyers: well known fabric manufacturer Dyneema, a subsidiary of DSM Dyneema, a subsidiary of DSM, officially known as Koninklijke Dsm Nv.

Expect this article to be a huge leap away from any previous article I have published. In it we are going to get an insiders look of what the consequences and/or advantages of Cubic Tech Corp (herein CTC) being sold means to a number of the outdoor hiking cottage companies that most of my readers buy their hiking gear from. If you do not care about cuben fiber, there is no reason to keep reading. If you do not care about what the outdoor hiking cottage company owners think about cuben fiber, there is no reason to keep reading. If you have utterly no desire at all what happens within the industry side of hiking, yep, there is no reason to keep reading. I fully know this article will only appeal to the die-hard gear geeks out there. This topic interests me, and this is my website, so I am writing about it.

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Written by John B. Abela

June 20, 2015 at 4:37 am

Posted in Interviews

ZPacks Zip Pouches, Two Year Usage Review

with 7 comments

ZPacks Zip Pouch

ZPacks Zip Pouch

I think it was in early 2013 that ZPacks introduced a set of neat little zippered pouches designed to hold things, such as glasses, passports, wallet content, and so forth. I ordered a few and over the last two years have used most of them at one time or another – and have used one of them every day as my primary wallet.

I did not expect for it to become my daily wallet, but over time it just proved to be the perfect size and meet the requirements I obviously wanted, but did not know I wanted, in an enclosed wallet – my first enclosed wallet in my life.

Earlier this year I upgraded to an iPhone 6 Plus and it does not fit into the ZPacks Pouch I have been using – my iPhone 5 did fit – and now, thankfully, ZPacks has released a new zippered pouch called the ‘ZPacks, Phablet Zip Pouch‘ which is suppose to fit an iPhone6+, so I just bought one of those. I just hope that it is big enough as I have a Mophie iPhone 6 Plus Juice Pack attached to my iPhone6+

Ok… seriously, how much can be said about a zippered pouch? Some I suppose could say a lot, but I am not one of them, so, moving on, here are some photos of the pouch I have used for around 800 days, to show how amazingly well it has held up, both out on the trail and at home / around town.

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Written by John B. Abela

June 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Gear Reviews

Tagged with ,

Klymit Static V Luxe – Finally, a worthy WIDE sleeping pad!

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Klymit Static V Luxe, stock photo.

Klymit Static V Luxe, stock photo.
(I cannot find the photos I already took, and it is dark outside right now. I will shoot some more photos and get them added to the article as soon as I can get the chance to do so)

Greetings all,

Over the last few years I have written a number of reviews on Klymit gear, including the Klymit Static V sleeping pad, the Klymit Double Diamond Vest, and the Klymit Motion 35 backpack, as well as reviews of other Klymit gear that has been published at other websites. Suffice to say, I have been a fan of Klymit for many a years. Great gear, great people.

In October of 2014 during an email conversation with my friends over at Klymit, I asked if they could make me a shortened version of the Klymit Static V Luxe.

Now, I know what you are thinking… “What in the world would Abela be using one of those heavy things for?!?!“… I know… I know… but hear me out here.

If you have followed my articles here at HikeLighter.Com and my rather active facebook page, you know that I have been looking for an extra wide sleeping pad for a rather long time. But nothing has come along. I even came up with, and submitted to Klymit, my purposed (and rather comical)Klymit Wing” idea. So, it has been no secret that I have been after a wide sleeping pad, and that is what drove me to the Static V Luxe.

At 30-inches (76.2 cm) wide, the Klymit Static V Luxe is a pretty big boy in the world of sleeping pads.

But at 76-inches (193 cm) long, it was just too long for my needs, so, I asked if they could shorten it up for me, they said yes, so I ordered one from their website and about a week later a 52-inch (132 cm) when inflated Static V Luxe showed up!

I pulled it out of the box, took it outside, inflated it, and tossed it on the ground, got on it, and started rolling over from side to side… and guess what… I didn’t fall off my sleeping pad!!! Weehooo!!

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Written by John B. Abela

May 3, 2015 at 5:23 am

Posted in Gear Reviews

Tagged with ,

Wind Jackets, Take 2

with 14 comments

Greetings all,

So a few weeks ago, on February 18, 2015, I published an article entitled ‘Wind Jackets: Montbell Tachyon, Patagonia Houdini, ZPacks Wind Shell‘ and it appears it caused a bit of ruckus around the world.

It seems to have done so for for a few reasons:

  1. because the results where not what people wanted to hear about their favorite wind jacket
  2. because some of the results did not make sense
  3. because some of the data used was, at best, guesses due to incomplete testing
  4. because I am a horrible writer and cannot properly explain things

Now which of these issues people seemed to have issues with, or heck, all of them, the facts are the facts:

  1. Yes, some of the fabrics were not tested (specific this mysterious ‘Ventum’ fabric that zpacks is using – and I have no idea if zpacks make up that name or if the manufacturer did)
  2. Yes, some of what I explained did not make sense (and I suspect some of it will continue to not make sense – except for those who understand the crazy ways and terms that fabrics are tested – I will admit, some of it still makes me go “huh?!”)

But, as my long time readers know, I strive to make things right.

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Written by John B. Abela

March 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Gear Reviews

Greenbelly Meal Bars

with 3 comments

Greenbelly Meal Bars

Greenbelly Meal Bars

Greetings,

Today I want to take a moment to talk about the Greenbelly Meal Bars.

In a market that is already flooded, one really needs to ask the question, “do we really need another bar to pick from?”  — and the answer to that is, uhh, yes!!!

It seems as if the meal/bar business is just booming these days. We have companies making bars for crazy niche markets. Buffalo bars, paleo bars, vegan and gluten free bars, protein bars, and the list could go on all day.

I first heard about the Greenbelly Bars from, I think either Chad or BBB. I remember checking them out at the time but I already had a massive supply of the bars I typically eat, and the $50 price tag just to give them a try was a bit more than I wanted to spend. If they had an option to buy a trial option that was just one pack of each, I probably would have, but buying four packages of each flavor, as a ‘trial’ was just beyond what I was willing to try. If they sucked, I’d have a whole bunch of packages left over, eh. Hopefully this is something that Greenbelly can offer in the future. Gratefully they sent me a sample package that was just one package of each flavor, so I have gotten the chance to give them a try. And, if I did not like them, I would not be writing about them!

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Written by John B. Abela

March 4, 2015 at 12:44 am

Posted in Gear Reviews, Hiking Food

Tagged with

ZPacks Duplex Tent

with 24 comments

ZPacks Duplex - Redbeard (AT - Island Pond Mountain NY)

ZPacks Duplex on the AT (Island Pond Mountain, NY) Photograph courtesy Will (Redbeard) Wood

Greetings All,

Time to talk about the ZPacks Duplex Tent.

In September of 2013 ZPacks introduced the “Duplex“, a 2-person version of their 1-person “SolPlex” shelter. It has since gone on to be used by multiple thru-hikers and has gained some serious love by hikers around the world. I finally saved up the cash to buy a Duplex and have been exclusively using it ever since.

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Written by John B. Abela

February 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

Posted in Gear Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

ZPacks Carbon Fiber Staff

with 9 comments

ZPacks Carbon Fiber Staff & wearing the ZPacks Challenger Rain Jacket

ZPacks Carbon Fiber Staff & wearing the ZPacks Challenger Rain Jacket

Greetings all,

Today I would like to share my thoughts on the ZPacks Carbon Fiber Staff.

I, like I suspect a fair number of people, have been through a number of hiking poles over the years. I think my first pair of hiking poles was the GGLT4’s. They caused me too much frustration, so I switched to the Komperdell Vario 4 poles. They were too flimsy so I switched to the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork poles. They are really heavy but they are the best trekking poles I have ever encountered. Along the way I tried switching away from using poles, and back to using them, and back to not using them.

I know some hikers that have to use them. I know other hikers that cannot use them. I know hikers that swear they refuse to hit the trail without them, and hikers that have hiked tens of thousands of miles and never used them. In the world of hiking they really are a HYOH piece of gear.

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Written by John B. Abela

February 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm