Questions & Answers: #005

Questions & Answers

It has been far too long since I have published another article within my Questions & Answers series of articles, and I have a backlog of questions to answer, so time to get back to answer them!

This is going to be a long article… probably too long… but I wanted to get the vast majority of the questions I have been asked into one big post instead of a bunch of little posts/articles.

Also, it might get a bit… uhhh… irascible along the way, and downright waspish towards the end. I make no excuse, nor apologies, for this – I am saying what I feel and think about the given topics. I have that right. You do too, just do it on your own website, as I will not approve any censorious comments. And, as always, do not expect me to defend myself nor anything I have said – such things I do not do. I say what I have to say, and that is all I have to say about it. Attempting to defend one self just leads to further captious activities.

Let The Fun Being:

This question came in via my contact page:

Hey, John. I recently read your comments on the Tarptent Motrail. They were brief, but you were very positive about the design and suggested it rivaled the Duplex design (for the money at least) I am considering switching from a worn out Double rainbow and I am a non trekking pole user, do you have any opinion if that’s a poor idea and what makes the Motrail so desirable Thanks very much, Duke

My Response:

Hey Duke,

Oh boy, sometimes I say things and forgot what I said about them and all the specifics, so hopefully I can bounce some thoughts your way.

Should start by saying I have not used the TarpTent MoTrail, never even seen one in person. So any thoughts I have posted anywhere where/are just based on data from their website.

I think it would be very hard to saw that the MoTrail beats the Duplex in any way shape or form, except for (a) price, and (b) a few extra inches of width. Beyond those two things, I just do not think it would be a fair comparison. But that is ok, because we are talking about two vastly different designs, fabric, and season use of tents.

As for the Double Rainbow vs the MoTrail… now there is an interesting comparison. Personally, I would go the Double Rainbow, for two very big reasons… (1) double doors, and (2) side entries!

I hate head-entry shelters – I will probably never ever own another one – just a ‘me thing’ for reasons I do not really understand.

The Motrail still beats even the Double Rainbow in regards to width, making it nicer if you have two large/wide size sleeping pads.

Being a non trekking pole user (i stopped using trekking poles a few years ago, and now use a carbon fiber staff for all my hiking / shelters) a lot of these tarptents are going to obviously mean you lugging around the weight of dedicated poles. So you kind of have to factor in that when comparing the weight to the Double Rainbow, which of course does not use trekking poles (or such) as you well know as a current Double Rainbow user.

You know, something to consider… and not sure why I just remembered this… but TarpTent posted on their facebook page a week or two ago that you can send them a well-used tarptent shelter and they will bring new life to it. I honestly do not know the specifics of it or anything, and I just have no idea why I remember seeing it… but I
just dug up the link they posted for ya, maybe that could be an option to save some money (????)

Anyway, I think that is about all I could share on this topic… without just going into blabbering mode… and I am not sure if any of this is going to be any helpful to ya, but hope it at least gives you one or two things to ponder on.

Victor ‘dblhmmck’, the designer of the SGB hammock, sent me this nice message:

Hi John, I just want to send off a quick thank-you for the thoughtful reviews that you have posted. I just ordered the Vargo Ti-Arc, and the shoulder straps pads from Z-packs last night. I have also read many of your posts that contain gear reviews, and have found them very helpful. I feel that your evaluations are solidly based on good observation and honest reporting. I have benefitted from your writings and videos for years, and finally thought I should mention that you have helped me. Thanks again!

My Response:

Hey Victor,

Thank you so very much for the kind message.

I hope the Vargo pack works out for you. It is one of the best load weight distribution backpacks I have used.

Damien ‘toesalad’ Tougas, who I am sure many of you know of, sent me the following:

Hello John, We have never met personally, though there has been some contact through various online social means, so I am going to assume that you probably know who I am :-) This spring I launched {a} project called Outsideways: The goal is to make an online social/journalling/micro-blogging community dedicated to the outdoors world. The goal is to serve the users of the platform with tools that are genuinely useful to them. …{redacted some personal stuff}…

My Response:

Hey toesalad,

Thanks for the message.

I give you good-hopes in making the website work.

I tried a few years ago to start a “journal / gear list / discussions / reviews” website and gave it two years before I finally had enough and pulled the plug on it.

The journal market is just too dominated by postholer (and why should most of the long distance hikers – the group of hikers I care most about – stop using a website that they have five or ten-thousand miles worth of journals in) and the gear list market was taken over by lighterpack, and the discussions/forums community have all but abandoned BPL and gone over to facebook, and there is no centralized stop for reviews, which is why everybody just keeps using blogs for that.

It just became clear to me that I could keep dumping money and man-hours into it, or just throw in the towel. At the time I was so busy out working on designing trails that I had neither the money and certainly not the time, so the choice was simple for me. So, I give you credit for at least giving it a go. Expect a battle ahead of you. Going to take tearing down a whole lot of long and well established walls (existing services) to try to break into this market.

I am up for jumping over there and signing up, but I doubt it is something I could give much commitment to using. The primary reason being that I recently started investing my limited man-hours into trying to build up a membership over at – and while it is still slow going, that is to be expected with any new form of social connectivity, as I am sure you will/are experience.

But probably the biggest thing is that I do not publish trail journals. I have zero desire to read trial journals of other hikers, and sub-zero desire to write trail journals. Never have. Absolutely hate the very thought of writing trail journals. As that seems to be the primary (only?) focus of your website at this time, it would just not be a place for me to be active at. But, as mentioned, happy to meander over and setup an account.

‘Hamish’ sent me the following message:

Just read the item on resizing an evolight mat. I have a thermarest NeoAir xlight, short version to which I added a piece of 3 mm medium density foam to go from knees to feet (as used for tent underlay in very cold situations ) the total weight is 300 grams.

My Response:

Hey Hamish, Very neat!

I have seen a few folks do that over the years.

One of the most unique approaches I have seen is Matthew Kirk actually sewing padding into the bottom of a bivy, as the bottom of the bivy. Gave him both a bit of padding, and less fabric.

Here was an interesting and thought provoking question I got from ‘Rogust’ regarding my ‘100 days of soylent‘:

Hi John, Regarding your weight gain while using Soylent: To what do you attribute the significant gain? High carb%? Over-supplementing with other snacks?, something else? I have been using Soylent for a long time as a meal replacement for 1-2 meals/day. I used it exclusively for 2 months and lost 3 lbs which I needed to lose. I began using it as an experiment for long distance hiking like you did, and will use it for 1-2 meals on the trail probably. Thanks for any insights on this – I really enjoy reading your adventures and reviews. Keep up the good work!

My Response:

You know, I have thought a lot about that question, and I just do not have a known answer to it.

I suppose if I would have ‘done it right’ (like so many criticize me for not doing) by going to a nutritionist and by doing blood work, than perhaps there could be a definitive answer.

But I did not really do it for that, I just wanted to see if the stuff would work for me, and it clearly did, and has.

If I had to take a wild guess… my guess would probably be something along the lines of just a simple matter of additional intake than what I normally did before starting up on the soylent 2.0 (liquid). While I consumed soylent before the pre-made liquid stuff came out, it was usually about one packet every two days. I had been on a very intense
diet that involved me consuming very little food intake on a daily basis, even when at the peak of the season and pounding the miles.

Not sure if you have seen my share it, but I went from 289 pounds to 150 pounds over the course of three years, most of it happening in the last year of the quest.

So I suppose it just probably all came down to the typical thru-hiker diet issues… not enough food and too much energy output, was the cause for so much weight lost without pumping iron and such.

So, and again, this is just a wild guess, when I started doing the soylent thing, at the full five bottles a day, it caused a minor weight gain.

I can fluctuate about five pounds without even thinking about it, so if you figure it was 8 pounds over 100 days, and if we factor in a +- of five pounds, there is a good chance that I only really added 3 or so pounds, which, really, falls into the “minor” or “nothing” category, in the bigger scope of things.

So, while you might ask, “To what do you attribute the significant gain”, I would just have to respond, “it was hardly any at all”.

So guessing you are using the powdered stuff out on the trail? Hopefully you did not go down the path that I have of taking the liquid stuff with you… because what a PITA this stuff is trying to carry. If you are a soylent user, you know this stuff makes it a day, maybe two, even inside of a fridge, once it has been opened (the bottled stuff), so trying to take it all in a big water bladder has just proved to be an epic failure, which pretty much put me right back to having to carry a bunch of bottles. /sigh/ There is something to be said about taking the powdered soylent, but I just do not see me going back to it, despite the downsides to all the little 2.0 bottles.

Here was a question I was sadly not able to answer all that well, from Gerry ‘taedawood’:

John, Since you have experience with both the Solplex and Duplex, I wanted your opinions about the Solplex because I am torn between the Solplex and Altaplex. I am 5’10”, 160 lb with a average base weight of 11-12 lb using a Prophet. I am not especially claustrophobic and space to fit a shelter can be an issue. Do you think for a person my size that I would be comfortable enough in the Solplex or should I move up to the Altaplex, which in some ways seems like too much shelter. Any suggestions / opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Here is my first response to him:

I personally found the SolPlex to be pretty good in the width department. 30″ if I remember correctly.

But, that Altaplex is only three ounces heavier and offers 6 additional inches of width (at least in the center of the bathtub)

Both of them should not be an issue for your, height wise, so just comes down to internal width.

If you like doing 360’s inside your tent, those extra 6 inches can be nice.

Both were about the same price IIRC.

Two things the SolPlex has going for it is that (a) the back pole helps push the back wall out, giving you a sense of more shoulder/head room when inside of it, rather than the steep angle of the backwall of the altaplex, and (b) that back pole also means you get the bug netting on the back side of the shelter, so you can get a substantial amount of additional ground level airflow through the tent, because of that bug netting.

To put things into perspective, of what 30″ of width is inside, check out this photo I posted on facebook.

At this point in time I really really do not want to buy another shelter… but if I do buy another one, it will probably be a solplex in camo.

But, that said, I think the altaplex is the only solo shelter zpacks makes that I have never slept in. Seen one, but never slept in one.

So you use the mld prophet eh. I have been using the mld core 22l liter this past year. truly love the shoulder straps… the angles and spacing… perfect for my body/neck. The absolutely last thing I need is another backpack… but every week it seems somebody is singing the Burn praise, and it is making me get closer and closer to buying the slightly larger pack.

Gerry responded with a follow-up email. I have never posted a follow-up email before in my Q&A series, but this one was worth sharing:

Thank you for your thoughtful response.
Two things from your email make me lean towards the Solplex.  One is the point about the greater amount of netting on the rear side resulting in additional ground level airflow.  Although that can be a negative, on balance I consider it a positive since much of my hiking is in the south where a shelter can get uncomfortably warm and also, it may reduce likely condensation.  The second thing is the great photograph of the inside showing the amount of room at the foot end.  Since I use a 1/2 to 3/4 length pad most of the time, I realized from the photo that except when wet, I will likely keep my pack inside the tent where there should be plenty of room at my feet to fit my pack.
I wonder if there would be any benefit to having another rainbow zipper on the rear side so that I could access that area as a mini-vestibule and in hot weather, increase ground level airflow even more.  What do you think?
I am also amazed that the MLD Core is big enough to fit your packed Duplex with your other gear.  To me, when packed, the Duplex looks rather large.
I love the simplicity and durability of my Prophet and like you, I sure don’t need any more packs, especially since I can use the bottom cinch loops and hooks to reduce the useable volume of the Prophet.  Having said that, I have too have thought about adding an MLD Burn to my arsenal.

My Response:

>>> another rainbow zipper on the rear side

That is something that has been discussed by a few folks, myself included, over the years – and it is something that Zpacks has 100% of the time (AFAIK) said they will not do.
If you look closely at this photo of mine you can see that they place a seam right down the middle of the bug netting on the back – instead of using one solid piece of bug netting in triangle shape, they seem to cut two and place that seam right down the middle.
This makes it so they cannot put in a rainbow zipper.
Ok, so, how about placing a zipper right down that seam line, I asked zpacks once… response to that was “nope”.
And yes, I do totally agree that it would make sense to have a zipper back there, just to have access to that back space. Perhaps a mod/diy thing.
>>> amazed that the MLD Core is big enough to fit your packed Duplex with your other gear
Oh, I absolutely cannot get a duplex into the mld core. way to big (pack volume) of a tent. I do not even own a duplex right now. Sold my last one a few months ago. Only thing I have now is a SMD Cuben Haven + NetTent (winter season), a Zpacks PocketTent (bug season), and I think I have a rectangle tarp sitting around here somewhere.

Melanie ‘Diet Plan’ Clarke asked:

Do you give away your extra gear or do your sponsors require you to send it back?

My Response:

Hey Diet Plan,

I receive very little in-production gear from my sponsors for free, probably about 1% of the in-production gear that I own I received for free, so the question you ask is a rather mute issue/point for me. I do know of other athletes out there that receive a massive amount of their gear for free some their sponsors, however the vast majority of the time I just prefer to buy my gear, even when sponsored. To me sponsorship is about having the ability to work closer with companies, and not about getting free gear.

Every so often a company (both sponsors and non-sponsor companies) will approach me to have some gear that is in-development, either alpha/beta or R&D stages, and they ask to have it sent back after I am done testing it, usually so they can determine ‘condition after use’ factors. A lot of the time I do this. Because of the product development status, the vast majority (as in, 99% of the time) I am never able to publish anything about my use/testing/thoughts of the products.

On a weekly basis I get companies asking me if I would be interested in receiving a piece of gear to do testing/promotion. I honestly cannot remember the last time I said “yes” to one of these type of things. If it is a matter of just getting a piece of free gear in exchange for some PR, such things have absolutely zero interest to/in me.

The vast majority of my time doing product testing is for the purposes of insider whitepapers. Things that the general public are never ever going to see, but the kind of data and testing that helps companies make decisions on how to proceed with a given product, fabric, or such.

Morgan ‘No trail name has stuck’ Clements sent me the following question:

Hi John.

I saw your name on an old FB post for the suluk46 Tulimak Table and I wanted to ask your opinion.

Could the slotted side of the table be used over an open flame, in lieu of a wood stove Fire underneath, titanium pot on the table.

Is that the point of this thing?

Their website doesn’t really say much. Thanks!

My Response:

Hey Morgan,

With the table being made of aluminium that is not something that I would probably do.

Not saying it is not possible, honestly, I do not know, but I would tend to think the aluminium could not handle fire temps without bending/melting (??)

In talking with Steve/Suluk46, he tends to agree that it would probably not be a good idea.

Got the following question from “Roger”:

John, I was hoping that you would give me an update about how you like the Six Moon Designs Haven tarp and net tent. I am considering a new shelter for a fall trip this year. I backpack with my brother and we use a Big Agnes Copper Spur 2, but I would like to save some weight but keep the side entry / 2 door style shelter. I am trying to decide between the Haven in Silnylon vs. the Zpacks Duplex. We will be going to the Sierras in mid-October and I am concerned that a single wall shelter will have enough condensation to be bothersome with 2 people and nighttime temps in the 20’s. If I could be reasonably sure that the condensation would not be an issue then I would probably go with the Duplex for the weight savings and extra room inside. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

My Response:

Hello Richard,

The SMD Haven Tarp+Nettent has been a really nice setup for me.

With the exception of a few days where I used an aluminized cf duplex in the mojave desert, all of my time out on the trail since February I have been using this setup.

Most of the time I have just been setting up the nettent so I can get away from the bugs but enjoy a nice breeze at night.

A few times I have set up just the tarp as needed. Have had a number of nights when I had the nettent setup and some heavy moisture would roll in off the ocean and I ended up pulling out the tarp and tossing it over the nettent.

I have also had both tarp+net setup in the rain for probably ten or so nights. Has sadly been a dry few months for us here in the Redwoods.

I realize most people enjoy bashing and trash talking double wall shelters in this day and age, and I suppose I can understand why, but having now owned one, and one that is this light weight (1.68 pounds) I am finding such joy in being able to have just the net or just the tarp setup. It really is nice.

I am not really the kind of person to tell people “go with x or y” products… it is just not me. There is no doubt that this SMD setup is really nice. Likewise, the Duplex is also a really dang nice shelter. Having owned three of them. It really does just come down to those few extra ounces in exchange for a single/vs/double wall setup.

Cost for them are both about the same if you go with the cf haven tarp (I would totally recommend that if you have the funds).

Pack volume size is about the same for both, with the SMD being two pieces it does mean the ability to stuff the different parts in different areas, or in wet conditions keep the dry netnet inside your pack and the wet haven tarp in an outside pocket. (which also makes it nice to just pull out the tarp when hiking in the rain, to get out of
the rain for a snack/lunch break).

The duplex wins in the ease of setup, obviously, but not by a lot. Probably the biggest downside to the smd setup is having to crawl on potentially wet ground, in order to secure the nettent to the underside of the tarp, after the trap is setup. Whereas with the duplex, your hands/knees never have to touch the ground setting it up
(unless you are old fart like me that still has to get down in order to put stakes into the ground).

Ventilation with them both fully setup in storm-mode is about the same, I kinda think the SMD wins in max airflow, but I kinda think the duplex wins in keeping the inner totally protected in crazy ass rain storms, because of the inset storm door. But, that is just not something I have had the chance to really put to the test, as we have not had enough rain since I get the SMD setup to really test it as much as I have the duplex over the last few years. But the bathtub of the Duplex is still the best I have ever encountered with the exception of the HMG ECHO II, which I owned for about a year, right after they hit the market.

Here are some photos of the very first time I setup my haven+net, in my backyard, posted over on facebook (photos public, so no membership/signin required)

And here are some photos of it setup in the beautiful Redwoods.

Tim Evans, from up in Vancouver BC sent me the following FYI message:

Just came across your article on DSM buyout of CTC. Great work! I am a Cuben enthusiast. I have made tents, kayaks and other items with it. I am also concerned about price/availability issues. I have ordered from CTC directly and ZPacks.

I make a kayak skin with a new weldable Cuben I got from CTC. I was interviewed by DSM for their Dyneema Project last fall for my kayak projects.

I started by ordering my material direct from CTC maybe around 2013. Their original price list had the common tent fabrics and the hybrid material I use for my kayaks at about $30/yd, which was the bulk price for more then 99 meters for all the other materials they sold. Under 99 meters was normally $60/yd or more for the rest of their materials. So I could buy small quantities of the types of material I needed for around $30/yd. With the DSM buyout they “harmonized” their prices so all fabrics started at around $50-$60/yd for quantities less than 99 meters. To get $30/yd you now had to buy huge quantities. This changed everything for me. Now it would cost about $400 for the material for one small tent.

Now ZPacks is the only place to get the stuff at a semi-reasonable price. I am worried they have kept their material prices the same as before the buyout because they have old stock they are running through. If their future orders are at the higher prices, which are essentially double, they may have to nearly double their prices.

It is amazing stuff, but so far I’ve come across only one or two people in outdoor stores who have even heard of it. I assume DSM will want to change that. But with their prices so high, it will be an uphill climb for DCF to achieve greater market presence.

In the meantime I’m waiting for my order of Cuben Hybrid from Joe so I can make the skin for my newest folding kayak. Then on to testing it this summer.

My Response:

Hey Tim,

Love the designs!

I think at this point in time the future of DCF is not at huge risk, either supply or costs.

Rather I think the issue that needs to be paid attention too is what DSM does to its development that will cause it to slip away from being a viable fabric for the purposes we are currently using it for within the outdoor industry. That is the big concern.

Yes, pricing is going to continue to be an issue, but not the biggest concern at this point.

James wanted to know my thoughts on the MLD Spirit Quilt:

Do you have further thoughts about eliminating the velcro on a Spirit quilt. I’m planning to purchase one (using your sponsor link) but am concerned about the use of silk sleepware. Thanks for all your work.

My Response:

Hello James.

I think this is going to continue to be a sticky issue for those of us that use silk (be it pj’s or liners). MLD will swap out the velcro for snaps, like they have on the FKT quilt, but you run the risk of increased cold air flow / venting, obviously. I think on anything but the 28°, snaps are probably the better way to go. Been enjoying them on the FKT quilt I have. On the 28°, if you are taking it into such low conditions, having the velcro is kind of nice to reduce venting/drafting precious warm air. An easy solution for me has been to just put on my wool thermals over the top of the silk thermals, or when it has not be super cold, forgo the silk pants and just use the wool (be it yak or sheep) leggings.

I realize I am mostly just rehashing the obvious in all of this. It really is a minor (very minor) issue, far from one that should be seen as a reason to not buy the MLD Spirit quilt. Just to recap, if you really think this is going to be an issue that might annoy you, and are going with the 38° or 48°, just order it with snaps, and if you are going with the 28°, well, stick with the velcro to keep the heat in and find ways to counter the silk-on-velcro issue, IF you find it even becomes an issue.

Seth McAlister, hey, I remember him from BPL, asked the following via my website contact page:

Hey John, I recently watched your video where you were carrying your Core in wasabi green.

I realize that my question is semi apples to oranges, but hopefully you feel comfortable enough to comment. I’m looking for a pack about that size and I want it in cuben as this will be my XUL/SUL pack. Right now, it’s between the zpacks zero and the mld core (in cuben). I would configure the zero the same as the core with a removable hip belt and the bungee and use water bottle pockets on my straps. The price for the pack bungee and hip belts from Joe is the same as the Core and zpacks bottle holders (i like the additional little pocket for snacks, sunblock, etc. and they’re lighter than the mld bottle holders and twice as expensive). The weight differences is about .8 ounces, but what’s your take comfort wise and any other wise, meaning, what are your thoughts between the two I also realize that the zpacks pack is the 1.93 and mld uses the 3.3.

I know it’s too early to say, but do you think the Core is riding better than your Zero? Ron hasn’t been too keen on altering the Core much as he seems to be trying to push everybody to the Burn or Prophet. I get it, just sucks a little bit. Also, do you think the zpacks multi-pack would have any issues attaching to the Core (how about if I had the water bottle pockets attached)?

If you were to hazard an opinion, just an arbitrary opinion, which do you like better so far? Or would you have any other suggestions for approximately the same volume/weight/price etc.?

My Really Long Response:

Hey Seth,

I think you are right, at some point these stripped down backpacks are basically, as Henry Shires from TarpTent likes to put it, “bags with straps”.

You pretty much nailed most of the differences between the two. MLD uses heavier weight CF. , I think the other difference would be the roll top closure on the MLD, whereas that is an add-on (and a few more bucks) for the zpacks zero.

I suppose in the end what it really all comes down to is which shoulder straps you like better. The straighter straps that zpacks uses or the slightly curved j-straps that mld uses. that is just one of those things that comes down to personal preferences.

I have a couple thousand miles of use with zpacks zero and zpacks zero x-small packs, so there is no denying they get the job done. My mld pack is pretty new to me and so far am enjoying it, it rides slightly better than I expected it would.

Here is a picture I uploaded to facebook of how I ordered by MLD Core 22L pack, and further explanation on the reasoning for the custom order.

But really, in the end, Henry is right. Flip a coin maybe. Or see which one you can get sooner if that matters. Both will get the job done.
>>> do you think the Core is riding better than your Zero?

For me, Yes. Because the shoulder straps work better for my neck/top-shoulders, but as I previously mentioned, to each their own when it comes to shoulder straps.

>>> do you think the zpacks multi-pack would have any issues attaching to the Core?

Hmm. You might need to buy a couple pieces of hardware to make that happen, but once you did, yeah, I think it could be used as a chest pouch. could also maybe rig up some hardware to have it act as a hip belt system, but I think it would just be easier to use it in fanny mode (two separate things) than screwing around with trying to make that happen (just me, if you are a DIY guy, maybe not).

>>> which do you like better so far?

Yeah, I would just have to say toss a coin.

Given that I did not order my Core in hybrid cuben fiber, nor ever owned any zpacks zero that was in hybrid cuben fiber, I am not really all that sure how that would change things. As you probably well know, that hybrid cf can be pretty stiff. I suppose maybe if you like a stiff pack, or like a soft pack, that could maybe help you decide. (?????)
>>> any other suggestions for approximately the same volume/weight/price etc.?

Hmm, maybe if you can get your volume down a tiny bit more, the UD BP Vest (the new 3rd gen) is now 16L instead of 11L, so maybe go with it and a zpacks multipack (another 3.5 liters).

I know a number of guys that are loving that Osprey Rev 24 but have no experience with it myself.

David L, from BPL, wrote this very kind message to me:

Hey John, I tried – I really did but {redacted} was relentless. Will miss you from BPL but I think I may be cancelling my membership as well. New website; same BS. Have a good one.

I actually got a few such messages, which was really kind of folks!

Here was my response to David:

Hello David,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to personally and directly contact me.

It means a great deal and is very kind of you to do so.

I did see you and a couple others trying to bring an end to that situation.

In the end the one person (roger) with the power to stop it, choose instead to allow it to both continue on, as well as further instigate the matter.

At some point I/we/he/rj/bpl needs to stop and ask what kind of bad light (PR) these type of situations cause for the companies being talked about.

Over 95% of my posts at BPL end up with people turning them into flame wars, go totally off-topic, or spiral into situations such as what happened most recently – and that is without me ever posting a single follow-up comment, just the initial post itself causes people to go into attack spasms of one form or another. And it is not just me, but it seems most reviews posted at BPL cause that to happen.

I have to ask myself, as somebody who does not care all that much if people bash me, what kind of damage it might be creating for the companies. SMD, ZPacks, MLD, BRG, etc.

If a hiker goes to one of my posts, and there are three pages of people yelling at each other, or whatever the situations might be, what are these potentially new hikers going to think about the product mentioned in the original post.

And that is what really matters. I do what I do to help hikers and help the cottage industry. If my efforts of attempting to help via BPL are not actually helping both hikers and the cottage companies, than best I just stop.

(and that is all I am going to say about why i left / stopped posting at BPL)

Fire Restrictions, Dog Restrictions, Stove Restrictions, Bear Canister Requirements…

And my response to those topics:

It is getting to the point, where I do not even want to go hiking anymore in a lot of locations because of the bureaucracy. Things are just out of control – beyond, in many areas.

The crap that Scott Jurek had to deal with in Baxter Park. OMG!

These burn fire restrictions put into place. Now I am hearing that even esbit fuel, the safest fuel source hikers can use, are now banned in Washington. Seriously. WTF!! Banning esbit. Idiots. Every single one of these idiots putting such a ban in place should be required to watch this: (18:35 mark)

As for bear canisters… that is a good way to get my blood boiling too! These bureaucratic scumbags in a few specific state parks out here on the West Coast that feel they have the right to impose bear canister requirements when the State Park System itself does not require it within the given state (actually being forced by the local park rangers when there is no public notice on the State level that it is required). Twice this year I went into an area where the local rangers were enforcing a “local bear canister requirement.” I told them the state park website does not state it is required, not even for the specific region. I was told to either “rent one or go home”. Well screw them. I left and kept my money that would have gone into their payment envelopes, drove down the road a few miles until I got outside their precious little border boundaries. Local rangers should not have the right to force hikers to have a bear canister when their own department’s website does not state it is required. (and hey, this is not about ‘do what is right for the sake of the bears’, this is about local park departments screwing over their customers – yes, that is you and I – by imposing local rules outside the boundaries)

While some/most of what the Bundy/group did up in Oregon was bad, I think part of the message they were trying to make, that it is time for the government to back off on public land, on dictatorship, is a message that got far too little attention.

Oh, and back to the bear canister… one simply needs to look at how archaic and ignorant the SPS and NPS is, by looking at how epically they are screwing over Ursack – now there is bureaucracy at the most shamefulness that it can get!

Ok, probably best if I just leave my thoughts on such matters to that… do not even want to get me started on dogs and mountain bikes…

Here are a few other very quick questions/answers:

Do you take any medications or supplements?

I take daily pills to help with medical conditions, none of which are classified as performance-enhancing drugs (PED):


When needed I will also take Vitamin I (aka: Ibuprofen, Motrin IB)

I absolutely, 100%, stand with others as saying PED’s have no place within the world of hiking, trail running, FKT’ing, or any type of sport I am involved in.

What is your favorite beer?

I do not consume alcohol.

Team Green?

No. I might live in Humboldt, but I do not, and never have, consumed tetrahydrocannabinol of any kind or form.

2 thoughts on “Questions & Answers: #005

  1. John, After all was said and done, I purchased an Altaplex instead of a Solplex. It has not been tested in any severe conditions yet but my initial impressions from a couple of outings are very positive. I would have fit in a Solplex but because of my height, “Lady on a Rock” (who owns a Solplex) strongly encouraged me to go to the larger Altaplex. The modest increase in footprint size and possible reduction in cross ventilation were both offset by the benefit of a larger floor space and significantly greater headroom.
    Gerry B.

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