Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making More Gear than I Use

It's about time I posted before this blog atrophied...

First, my bike... Since the last post I've rebuilt the clutch (new friction plates) and replaced the front brake rotor and pads. It's been running great, and today I went for a morning ride with some friends through the canyons near Malibu down to Neptune's Net. There were 30-40 motorcycles there, but it can get much busier. It's a nice place to get a bite to eat and watch people and bikes. On the way back, we cruised by The Rock Store, but did not stop. Maybe next time...

I've been thinking a lot about backpacking lately, and I've taken an interest in hammock camping. I got a hammock with birthday money this year, and I've set it up in our back yard. If you've been to the family web page recently, you've seen a few pictures of the new hammock. The hammock is very comfortable, and that's my main motivation for putting together a hammock kit for backpacking use. The thought of lying down in a hammock to sleep after a hard day of hiking (rather than lying on the ground) sounds wonderful.

I've read Ed Speer's book, "Hammock Camping," and I've been perusing the world wide interwebnet for more information. My favorite site on hammock camping is Just Jeff's web page. He's got some good homemade gear descriptions, and the site is a good starting point for finding more info. With a hammock, I'll still be tarp camping, only now I'm going to be sleeping in a hammock instead of a bivy sack. I'm basically hanging my bivy between two tress instead of putting it on the ground. When suitable trees aren't present, Ican use the hammock like a bivy and camp the way I have been.

I've made a hammock, and it's been successfully tested (it holds my weight). I have a few minor adjustments to make to the hammock (weights on the bug net, sleeve for holding a pad for under-body insulation, etc.), and I need to seam-seal my new tarp (I made it, too). Then I'm off to the mountains for an overnight gear test. Unfortunately, I'm busy with work (travel) and home projects for a couple of weekends, so I probably won't be getting out with the new kit until October.

I'll leave with a few pictures of the kids and me in the new backpacking kit. The hammock is very comfortable and my new tarp is very spacious. I'm looking forward to using this.