Foothills of the Rockies
Just be aware that the Scrambler ULT 30 (and, for that matter, the similar but beefier Summitrocket 30) doesn't have side mesh pockets. The previous version (the Scrambler TRL 30) does.
To use a bladder with the Scrambler ULT 30 I'd stick the bladder in an insulated sleeve -- not so much for insulation, but for rigidity, then snake the hose up and out from under the top pocket. Not elegant, but it will work.
I had three straight days of cold rain on the Colorado Trail and was comfortable and dry inside the Silshelter. Because there is an effective "door" that closes (unlike a plain rectangular tarp), even blowing rain doesn't normally get in. There can be some condensation at times -- just pitch it a bit higher off the ground to allow more breeze.
Actually, there was one time I had water in the tent. But after some investigation I found that I had been sitting on my Platy bottle and had squirted out the water myself.
BTW, while this is technically big enough for two, with the sloping walls it's a tight fit when there's condensation. For one, this is a luxurious amount of room -- and still damned light.
It's neither right nor left -- just a zipper across the width of the bivy, up where your face is. You climb in from the top. It has a bug panel but can also be zipped entirely closed if conditions require.
Maybe not. The mildew is bad enough, but once the urethane coating gets "sticky" it may be more than it's worth to deal with. You certainly can't just apply a new urethane coat over the decaying old urethane coat. It won't stick.
But I've been pondering whether one might be able to remove the old urethane entirely through repeated, robust machine washings. Older coatings tended to delaminate when wet anyway (though not so much anymore). But with something the age of a Chouinard Pyramind, you might be able to use this delamination to your advantage. If you could get enough of the old coating off, you might be able to re-coat it yourself with a cane of sealant. I think McNett might sell such stuff.
Anyone had any experience with removing old coatings?
I slept under a treated mosquito net in Africa for 2+ years and nothing ever got in, not even marauding army ants. I never even bothered to tuck in the edges of the net and just let them hang down. However, my net was pesticide-treated, which makes all the difference (especially if you roll up against the netting where the bloodsuckers can normally get through to you).
I've seen 12x12 in Silnylon pretty commonly, but never 16x16. Maybe the cost is prohibitive (I'd think it would be $300-$400 or more). Maybe structurally it is hard to do, too -- suspending the tarp's weight over a longer ridgeline?
There's a version of the Kelty Noah tarp that's 16x16, but it's not Silnylon. Truck tarps and canvas tarps are also made at that size.
Sure this item is pricey. But it may be -- literally -- the last and only T you need to buy. If so, it doesn't seem so expensive after all.
Use it as your one and only T when out camping. The particularly incredible feature of wool is, of course: It doesn't stink. Ever. (Well, if it gets wet you smell like sheep. But me, personally, having grown up around animals, I like the smell.)
So, just wear it and wear it. Rinse it in a stream to get the salt crystals out of it, if you need to, put it on, and it'll wear dry in an hour. It might pill a little. If that bothers you, get one of those defuzzer thingies.
Icebreaker is the best of the best in wool garments (with Ibix and Smartwool a not-that-close second). I see Backpacker made it their Editor's Choice this year. I only give this item four stars (instead of the five it probably deserves) because of its hard-to-predict sizing. Some Icebreaker lines look to be made for speed-skaters -- skin tight and aerodynamic. Other lines seem more "normal" in cut. When in doubt, go up a size ... mostly, but not always. As I said, hard to predict.
The Bullet is 16 liters, the Hollowpoint is 20, and this is 25 liters. I sense a progression here -- resulting in a set of packs that can do exactly the job you need at any one time. Granted the first two have fewer technical features than the RPM, but the smaller the load the less technical a pack needs to be. But thanks to BD for giving us the choice to be as minimalist as we want to be.
Impeccable construction. Heavy materials. But the bag is small enough that it weighs very little. You can clip this one to a rope and drag it up a wall, or throw it under the seat in front of you in some budget airline. Aside from some dirt, there won't be another sign of use on this bag. It's been a classic for something like 15 years now and it still is. This newest design is one of the best. If I were trying to improve it, I'd bring back the two-layer back panel of 10 or so years ago and increase the size of the zipper on the front outside pocket (it's a little small for my big hands). But those are just quibbles. You need a roughly 1000 ci pack? This is the one. (Though the Arcteryx Cierzo 18 has its moments as well.)
I agree this is the sturdiest ultralight bag in its size range, bar none. None of that ultra-light, easily-ripped sil-stuff here, yet it's only 9 oz even so. This is my favorite bag, now that the much bigger GoLite Breeze (and slightly larger Day) are out of production (GoLite -- bring 'em back!). To slightly contradict another reviewer, this one does have a hydration port, right near the haul loop. The 2009 model is the same as the previous model, except the waterproof zipper is gone and replaced with a regular zipper and storm flap. Six of one... It's all good.
Basically, the body of the Ion changes about 2" in height between the different sizes. They shorten or lengthen the "tube" of the pack, rather than changing the circumference. I'm 6-foot even and am in the high end of the Medium range. The Small isn't even close, but the Large is just a bit big on me and hits me in the butt. If you're someone who will cut off the waist strap to safe half an ounce anyway, then any size will basically fit you. Choose based on the volume you want.
Look at Marmot's Dri-Clime series for that.
The thing is, being without some way to cinch down the waist, the large is going to let a little more wind whistle up your front (it's roomier all around). But the large is also a little longer in front -- which many people prefer, since this is kind of a short jacket to start with. Pick one, see if you like it, and exchange it if you don't.
Along with the Bullet, perhaps the most perfect small day pack every conceived, Black Diamond's other "perfect" pack is the slightly (5L) larger Hollowpoint (2007-2008 design).
Though it goes without saying for a Black Diamond product, the workmanship here is impeccable. I particularly like the well-thought-out dimensions: Though this is a top-loader, you can still reach the bottom of the pack without emptying it first. The body of the bag is wide enough to give you elbowroom when reaching inside, but narrow enough still to give your elbows room to swing -- on the trail, on the ski slope, or racing from one end of an airport to the other.
And on that subject, one place this bag really shines is as a travel pack. The small compartment on the outside fits travel documents and accessories nicely (though by big hands would appreciate a longer zipper). The inner compartment is big enough for a good supply of quick-dry shirts, pants, and shorts -- enough for a month in South Africa (World Cup 2010, anyone?) or Southeast Asia or Hawaii -- basically anywhere you don't need multiple layers of bulky cold-weather clothes. And it fits airline carry-on size regulations easily so you don't have to trust it to the airline baggage manglers.
In sum, it's a comfortable pack. A stylish pack. A tough pack that you could clip onto a rope and drag up a rock face. A well-sized and thoughtfully dimensioned pack. And, yes, the little whistle on the sternum strap is cute, too.
As noted by others, it's not the most comfortable pack for long distances. And the handles are small and painful for carrying any great distance. But it's easy to pack, simple, tough. A very good rope bag. Perhaps an even better travel backpack.
Imagine incredible Arcteryx quality control applied to something much like the stuff-sack-and-nylon-straps ultralight rigs I've been home-making in my basement for many years. For this one, Arcteryx uses absolutely top-of-the-line materials (especially, a class of siliconized nylon heavier than the usual stuff so you can abuse it a little, and waterproof zippers), puts a first-class daypack harness on it, omits the entirely unnecessary but commonplace top flap in favor of a drawstring (instant access), and puts a very usefully sized front pocket on it. Instant classic. You can leave home without it if you like, but it's so incredibly light and compressible you might as well leave it in the trunk of a spur-of-the-moment outing. The price ain't chump change, but this model has so many top-level touches on it, and uses such expensive materials, it's a pleasure just to look at and a decent value. It's a *little* boxy for my taste (I'm used to something a little longer and closer to the back), and I'm still looking for a more subtle color choice, but I won't argue further with the designers. See one in person and appreciate Arcteryx for trying something against the current grain of backpack design -- for making *one* model lighter, simpler, cleverer.
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