Nov 11 Friday – Hike: Frances to Britanico to Los Cuernos
Nov 10 Thursday – Hike: Paine to Frances
Nov 09 Wednesday – Hike: Grey to Paine
Nov 08 Tuesday – Hike: Grey to 2nd Suspension Bridge to Kayak
Nov 07 Monday – Hike: Paine Grande to Grey
Nov 06 Sunday – Travel: Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine
Patagonia et al, Intro
Tetsu’s jibber jabber:
People all over the world get to travel extensively, going on adventures on a global scale, and lasting months out of each year.
For those of us in the US who work full time, backpacking adventures are usually limited to a couple of weeks at a time, so they often need to be meticulously planned.
The Patagonia trip was first planned among my friends and I for 2019, but life happened and it was delayed. After that, well, you know, Covid.
As 2022 drew near and the Pandemic’s worst fears gradually subsided, we re-planned for November 2022, and as luck would have it, this time, we were able to make it happen.
After months of planning, checking reviews and blogs, re-planning, and flight issues, we finally made our way to Punta Arenas to begin our journey.
And what a trip it was!Continue reading
British Army Cooker No.12 Review (Diesel/Kero only)
– BTU: 7,500 (Kerosene/Diesel)
– Weight: 169 oz (10.5 lbs)
If ever there came a day when I had to get rid of most of my stoves, the British Army Cooker No.12 would be among the very last I would be willing to part with. It’s built like a tank, and in fact, was specifically designed to go into the British Scorpion light tank, and designed to take a massive amount of abuse. It is very heavy, but there are few portable stoves on the market designed to stand up to a rugged environment quite like the British Army Cooker No.12.
MSR XGK EX Review
– BTU: 10,500 (White Gas)
– Weight: 13.2oz min
– Weight: 17.2oz max
As the original and therefore de facto king of fuel bottle based liquid fuel stoves, there isn’t much about the stove that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over, in reviews all over the world, and in every language.
The XGK EX is arguably the linear, direct descendant of the original fuel-bottle based liquid fuel stove, created by MSR founder Larry Penberthy in 1969, after realizing it was inefficient to carry a fuel bottle in addition to a stove + tank “lunchbox” type stove. Continue reading
MSR Whisperlite Universal review
– BTU: 5,300 (LPG vapor)
– BTU: 10,300 (LPG liquid-inverted)
– BTU: 9,500 (White gas)
– BTU: 7,300 (Kerosene)
– Weight: 11.5 oz min, 19.4 oz packed
– Stove comparison review
The short: If you’re looking for a liquid fuel stove, and are willing to compromise on a little weight and size to get better reliability, the MSR Whisperlite Universal is hard to beat. It is the goto choice for many experienced backpackers who need reliability in the field.
Soto ST-301 (Review)
Subtitle: An expensive replacement for a $30 portable Asian butane stove.
– Usable with wind screen:
– Power: 12,700 BTU
– Weight” 24.9 oz (including carry bag, not including fuel)
– Boil: 35oz to rolling boil in 11 minutes
The skinny: While not a large stove by car camping standards, the ST-301 butane stove, coming in at 1.5 lbs, is a substantial piece of gear with solid metal parts. There is an attention to detail that is all about being a full on car camping stove, with ruggedness and long life, in a diminutive package. Continue reading
Primus Omnifuel 2 Review
– BTU: 10,500 (White gas)
– Weight: 12.3 oz min, 15.9 oz packed
– Stove comparison review
The skinny: An evolution of the original Omnifuel, more refined, more precision focused, with a detail oriented addition of features, while still remaining rugged and reliable.
Caution: There was an issue with an earlier version of the OmniFuel 2 stove. See photos in addendum A at the end of this review. (damaged omnifuel photos courtesy of BC).
NOTE: This appears to have been fixed with the current version. See comment from Scott Boyce on Feb 22nd, 2017 in the comments section.
Soto Muka Review (White Gas & Unleaded only)
– BTU: 15.800 (That…is…insane)
– Weight: 11.5 oz (including pump, not incl. bottle)
– Stove comparison chart
Leaving aside all the incredible details and features that the Soto Muka brings to bear, the most important thing to note, at the end of the day is:
If you want a liquid fuel stove that boils water incredibly fast, like full-32oz.-GSI-kettle-of-water-from-60F-to-rolling-boil-in-3.5-minutes-fast, we’re talking insane levels of heat output here, than the Soto Muka is just what you’ve been looking for. (NOTE: altitude below 1000 feet) Continue reading
Edelrid Hexon Review
– BTU: 10,326 w/ White Gas
– Weight: 7.1 oz, (16.1 oz incl. pump, bottle)
– Stove comparison chart
There are such great features in this stove,
I want this to be my favorite. Scratch that, with one modification (see addendum 1 below), this is now my favorite compact liquid fuel stove. It is beautifully designed, solves one of the biggest issues with liquid fuel stoves (compactness), and does so without sacrificing value in most other areas. With one exception, this is a marvel of engineering, and beautifully thought out. Continue reading
ZPacks Arc Haul + Accessories Review
– 60L, 24oz (without accessories)
– Dimensions: 7.5″ x 12.5″ x 30″ (19 cm x 31.8 cm x 76 cm)
I’ve never considered myself to be an ultralight backpacker. With lighter and lighter gear on the market, I still turn to heavier gear and luxury items often, and my pack for most trips is between 25-45lbs, depending on planned activities.
I finally got a chance to see what a 20lbs pack would be on a hike. Could have gone even lighter, but 20lbs is already the lightest pack I’ve ever used by a wide margin, and it’s true that it makes a noticeable difference on a hike. Continue reading
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist Ultralight Cookset Review
I’ve had this Cookset for several years and have used it more than a few times during car camp and backpacking trips.
The whole kit nests within a carry kit / wash basket. The 1.8 liter pot is home two 2 food bowls, 2 insulated “mugs” and 2 folding sporks. The lid is little holes which enables you to drain water if you’re making pasta(hold the lid though, otherwise you end up with dirty pasta.) This was designed for 2 people, hence “Dualist”, but I think it could be used by 4 people provided the other 2 have some kind of spork, fork or chopsticks. Continue reading
Snow Peak Geoshield Review
Snow Peak Geoshield Stove Review
– BTU: 11,200 BTU’s / 2,800 Kcal/h
– Weight: 14 oz (including separate igniter)
– Stove comparison chart
I’ve now completed several tests with the geoshield, and while that doesn’t compare to using it in the field, I feel like I have enough to compare it to, to get a sense of when it would be most useful. Continue reading
Soto STG-10 Stove Review
– BTU: 9860
– Weight: 12 oz
– Stove comparison chart
Every once in a while, a piece of engineering, a gadget, comes along, that is so well done, that I just have to have it. Do I need it? No. Does it really fit in any scenarios I’m thinking of? Not really. Does it compare favorably vs. other gear that I know? Meh. And yet, it’s a gadget with engineering so attractive, so well designed, that the only way to properly appreciate it, is to use it.
The Soto STG-10 is just such a device.
JetBoil Zip Review
– BTU: 4500
– Weight: 12 oz
– Stove comparison chart
It’s not the size of the BTU, it’s the efficiency of heat transfer.
The JetBoil Zip has been around a while, and is the lowest cost JetBoil out there.
I already have the JetBoil Sol Aluminum and have been loving it. But for my wife’s emergency pack, I wanted a JetBoil as well. Looking at the various models, the JetBoil Zip was the least expensive, so at the risk of missing some features, I picked one up on Amazon. Continue reading
RESOURCES USED ON MY JOURNEY TO LEARN BACKPACKING:
Below are some websites I’ve used to learn as much as I could before starting to try things on my own.
THE GREAT STOVE ENCYCLOPEDIA
There’s no substituting actually using things to really understanding them, but when it comes to stoves, zenstoves.net gets you pretty close.
MORE SITES WITH GREAT INFO:
Great stove comparison charts:
All kinds of great reviews:
About Cuben Fiber:
About Gas Canister Stoves:
Complete Optimus stove number list. Very useful
BLOGS/NEWS SITES I LIKE:
FORUMS I LIKE:
YOUTUBE SUBSCRIPTIONS I LIKE:
– Great outdoor skills videos,
and narrator is easy on the eyes and down to earth.
A welcome change from the usual rougher outdoorsy
skill learning videos.
– Remember the TV Show Dual Survivor?
Get ready to learn skills in overdrive:
– Hiram is a stove guru, and his video reviews are
– This is a mix of military stuff and survival stuff.
Some of the gear applies to both.
– Tony Hobbs knows backpacking gear. I trust his reviews.
There are some great manufacturers out there that have awesome distribution channels already, like Kelty, Big Agnes, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Arcteryx, Sea To Summit, Leki, Petal, Black Diamond, MSR (Cascade Designs), GSI, Coleman, Thermarest, and the like.
But there are some great products come from manufacturers that haven’t quite broken into the mass market, or have, but only with a few of their products. For these companies, I like to keep a closer track of anything they do directly through their website.
SPECIALTY MANUFACTURERS I FOLLOW:
– http://shop.bivysack.com (OWARE manufacturer)
STORES I LIKE:
RANDOM FUN/INTERESTING ARTICLES I LIKE:
– Cool merchandise from Dan
If you’re into stoves and aren’t afraid to show it (Yeah, okay, that’d be me), there is some great merchandise here!
Japanese stove sites:
Thermarest RidgeRest X Lite Sol Review
In a word: Awesome
Of the 4 most basic items (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad), a lot of folks might consider the sleeping pad #1. It’s so crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. Very experienced folks might be able to sleep without one, just like the Yanomamo might run in the jungle without shoes, but for most of us, shoes are necessary for walking and running outdoors, and sleeping pads are crucial for a decent night’s rest. Continue reading
Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD), Duomid Review
What’s there to say about the MLD Duomid, except, I’m impessed.
The Duomid has the best of many worlds with few compromises.
With so many tents on the market, like many folks, i started on the low end, and over the years, worked my way up. One of the biggest problems apart from weight has always been, for me at least, that most tents have barely usable vestibules. Continue reading
Big Agnes Wyoming Trail SL 2 Tent Review
In many ways, this is a dream tent, and has many of the features that I listed in a previous post about what a dream tent would be. Sleeps two comfortably and has plenty of space to get in out of the rain, or keep your bicycle safe from the elements. Continue reading
GOAL ZERO 42020 Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit Review
I have a lot of solar battery gear as my backpacking always includes a satellite texter and smart phone.
My favorite solar charger/battery used to be another product, that was submersible, practically bullet proof, and was an all-in-one unit. But it had three problems: It was cumbersome, it only had one port, and that port worked inconsistently. Continue reading
Optimus Polaris Optifuel w/0.4L Fuel Bottle Review
– BTU: LPG: 11K+
– BTU: White gas: 14K+
– BTU: Kerosene, Diesel, Jet Fuel, unleaded, unknown
– Weight: 17 oz including pump (Not including bottle or carry bag)
– Stove comparison chart
Optimus essentially added different features from their other modern stoves to the Nova+ and released it as the Polaris Optifuel. Continue reading
Primus Eta Spider Review
– BTU: 7K (LPG)
– Weight: 21 oz (1.4 lbs)
– Stove comparison chart
The Primus ETA Spider is a wonderfully over-engineered hybrid of multiple Primus technologies all rolled into one. Continue reading
Stanley Mountain Vacuum Food System, Stainless Steel, 20-Ounce Review
This unit is ideal for day hikers or those who head out from a base camp.
The system is designed so you can heat up food, pour it into the thermos, and take the thermos with you during the day, to have hot food ready to eat while out and about.
As a backpacking system, this is a bit too heavy and for saving ounces, not ideal. Continue reading
Black Diamond Icon Polar Headlamp Review
I don’t know much about headlamps. In fact, until purchasing this unit, the most expensive headlamp I owned was a cheap $15 Energizer headlamp purchased on a whim in the Lowe’s checkout line that served me just fine for activities around the campsite.
Not too long ago, though, I went on back packing trip where I night-hiked. The Energizer ran out of batteries before I finished, and visibility was particularly bad due to the tree canopy along the hiking trail blocking starlight and the Energizer just didn’t have the power to see very far. Continue reading
Princeton Tec Apex Extreme Headlamp Review
I’m both impressed and disappointed with different aspects of this light. But overall, this will likely be my goto headlamp whenever I plan on long night hikes. Continue reading
Big Agnes Q Core SL Rectangle Pad 20 x 72 Review
I have the Klymit XL, the Thermarest Prolite, a cheap Wenzel foam pad, and a Thermarest folding pad.
Recently, I purchased the big Agnes Q Core SL, and had a chance to try it out. Continue reading
Primus Multi-fuel kit for ETA Power EF Review
This is a great addition to the ETA Power EF.
I’ve been a huge fan of the ETA Power EF, because of it’s over-engineered fuel efficiency design, but it has one issue for me: the requirement to use gas canisters. While i confess to loving the simplicity and efficiency of gas canisters, a part of me thinks that it’s a good idea to use those less because recycling gas canisters is a pain and results in more trash. Continue reading
L. L. Bean King Pine 4-person tent Review
I’m a big fan of a variety of different camping scenarios, from 20lb ultralight and minimalist backpacking over long distances, to heavy load backpacking with an external frame load carrier allowing for extra gear, to lighter car camping to all out glamping. They’re all fun in their own little ways.
The L.L. Bean King Pine 4-person tent is as close to glamping as I get while still having my own tent. Continue reading
Snow Peak Ozen Solo Table Review
There are many scenarios in which a table, an admittedly luxurious item when backpacking, is highly useful. Continue reading
Dream Tent (Not an ultralight, that’s for sure)
I buy a lot of gear, not because I simply want to collect gear, but because each piece of gear tends to have specific features that are well thought out and make me think it would be perfect for me. Continue reading
Stuff I want
– Biolite Kettle Charger
A lot of folks I know own the Biolite stove. When my friend was using it at a campsite, I thought, cool….but didn’t quite meet my own admittedly convoluted and sometimes illogical set of criteria. Mostly my biggest issue was that the Biolite burned through fuel so fast, and really needed a long time to properly charge anything. Many of the other features were very cool, and I still might get one one day (but mostly for the rocket stove and self sustaining fan power aspect, and not for the USB power).
The Kettle Charger, on the other hand, uses almost any heat source and the example shows use over a liquid fuel stove. I could picture using this much more often. First, because I use a variety of liquid fuels, and second because I could easily picture boiling water in this unit and then pouring it out into a thermos and boiling more water. Which makes sense to me at a camp site.
Yeah…I want one.
– Wood Burning Stove
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a fan of all kinds of gear, and it’s not always about being ultralight. There are several criteria I look at when thinking of new equipment and it really depends on the scenario envisioned.
This would be a particular good stove for longer term camping setups, and would be better at dealing with damp wood. Not bad for car camping, but really best for longer term remote setups
– British Army Cooker No. 12
This is a much larger and heavier, but conceptually similar liquid fuel stove compared to the Optimus Hiker+ built for vehicular storage (I think I read it’s for soldiers driving military tanks).
The larger built in wind-screen and sheer ruggedness makes this particularly attractive. Not for use in backpacking, but an excellent car camping companion for a rugged and reliable stove.
– Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid
Photo from MLD website, that isn’t me (^-^)
This has been on my want list for a long time. It’s an ingenious design and the cuben fiber version would be very light considering the amount of fabric (and overall floor space we’re talking about). What is holding me back is the solo innernet. The innernet is not quite what I want, mostly because the bathtub floor doesn’t really go very high. But purchasing an Ookworks innernet would fix this (http://oookworks.com). Also, a single tarp pole would replace hiking poles (mostly because I don’t really like using hiking poles). Also, this requires all the corners to be guy’d out. That’s a bit of a bummer since I often camp on rocky terrain, where guying out is a bit more challenging. Not impossible, but free-standing would make my life a tad easier. While the tarp pole (which wouldn’t have the primary purpose of use as hiking poles) would prevent this from being an ultralight, It’s a pretty amazing setup.
Helinox Table One Review
My initial thought when seeing a friend bust out the Helinox table was…A fabric table? What good is it? Can’t cook on it, will worry about stability and durability, will wear and tear much more quickly, and not be able to hold much weight. Continue reading
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Review
The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 is one of the lightest ubiquitously available 2 person tents available on the market.
Weight: 2.6 lbs including optional ground sheet, or if I’m using a multi-purpose tarp as my ground sheet, then tent weight is about 2.2 or 2.3 lbs (I don’t use the stuff sack, which helps shave a little weight). Continue reading
Gregory Pack Baltoro 75 Men’s (2014) Review
Gregory Pack Baltoro 75 Men’s
Unlike many other backpackers out there, my experience with the type of internal frame backpacks purchasable at REI or AnyMountain or any other sporting goods stores is rather limited. In fact, I only have one. The Gregory Baltoro 75 Men’s. Continue reading
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Pro Review
Backpacking quilts, while growing in popularity, are still relatively uncommon. So if you’re looking at backpacking quilts, more than likely you have either experienced or predicted possible issues with the more common mummy bags and are looking for an alternative. Continue reading
Berghaus Centurio 45 + MMPS Review
At first glance, the Berghaus Centurio 45 seems rather diminutive, with limited capacity. But it is deceptively large.
The top extension goes up fairly far, allowing the pack to be stuffed with a fair amount of gear. Continue reading
Snow Peak Trek Combo Review
The Snow Peak Trek Combo is really two different products in one.
You can purchase the Snow Peak 900 (900ml pot + pan) or the Snow Peak 1400 (1400ml pot + pan), separately, but the two are sold together as this Trek Combo set. Continue reading
Stuff Still To Review
List of stuff to still review
– Asian generic Butane stove
– Biolite (Ed)
– BushBox Pocket (Steel)
– BushBox XL
– Butane Stove (Asian style)
– Caldera Cone
– Coleman Exponent Multi-Fuel (e.g. Peak 1)
– Evernew Crossbar (for Trangia)
– FireBox G2 5″
– HotAsh stove
– Jetboil Sol
– JetBoil Flash
– JetBoil MiniMo (Alli/Rich)
– Liberty Kerosene Stove
– Optimus 8R
– Snow Peak GigaPower LPG
– Soto Hybrid Muka (Stormbreaker)
– MSR Reactor (Alli)
– MSR DragonFly
– MSR Pocket Rocket
– MSR WhisperLite International Wireframe
– MSR Windburner
– MSR WindPro 2 LPG
– MSR XGK (Older Model)
– Optimus Crux
– Primus Touristic PT-3
– Solo Stove
– Hot Hands
SHELTER & CARRY
– 5.11 Tactical Molle Webbing Pouch
– Zpacks Carbon Fiber Tarp Pole
– tarp poles (Large)
– tarp poles (Medium)
– Klymit Inertia XL
– Sea To Summit ComfortPlus Insulated L
– Sea To Summit UltraLight Insulated L
– Sea To Summit JetStream
– Thermarest ProLite L
FOOD & DRINK GEAR
– Coleman Egg Container
– Sawyer 2-bag water filter
– Stanley Thermos
– HydroFlask 18oz Insulated
– Larger water filter
– Sea to Summit X-Pot
– Sea to Summit X-Bowl
– Sea to Summit X-Mug
– NorthFace ThermoBall
– Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer
– Mountain Hardware Nilas
– Hot Chillys Thermals
– Nike Thermal
– Nike Thermal bottoms
– glove liners
TOOLS & ELEC
– Joby smart phone stand
– inReach Delorme SE
– inReach Older model
– GoalZero Sherpa 50
– Ka-Bar 9″ super thick pry-bar knife
– Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester
– Relefree 1/2″ x 5″
– Alpacka Raft Scout
– Alpacka Raft Yukon Yak
– Klymit LWD
– Okuma Citrix Three Piece Rod
– Onyx Outdoor Onyx A/M 24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD Blue
– Ultimate Direction PB 2.0 Adventure Vest (OTHER CARRY/PACK)
– Ultimate Direction PB 1.0 Adventure Vest (OTHER CARRY/PACK)
– Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Spare Tire Mount Rack
– Kingii PFD
– Mambe Essential Outdoor blanket
– Sea to Summit Air Chair
– REI table
STUFF I STILL WANT:
- optimus 8r
- optimus 99
- Ranger 199
- ranger 10
- optimus 111t
Seattle Sports PVC Free Pocket Bucket Review
When backpacking in the Emigrant Wilderness, you’re not allowed to setup camp near the edge of the lakes, so it’s always a good idea to have a bucket with you, to have access to water at the camp site.
This bucket is about 10 litres realisitically, 11 would be pushing it. that’s about 2.5 gallons, or close enough.
Fishpond Swift Current Thermometer Review
This Fahrenheit/Celsius thermometer is meant for river currents, hence including the ruggedized casing around it.
But that ruggedness is really great for backpacking too. Continue reading
Quietstove Silent Cap SVEA 123R Review
Yes, this works well. In fact, it makes the SVEA almost whisper quiet.
But compared to other roarers, I’m realizing that the SVEA isn’t that loud. For other roarer stoves I have, the roarer is so loud that you can’t really have a conversation when working at the stove. Continue reading
Kovea Dual Stove Adaptor Review
You don’t have one yet? And you use a gas canister type stove with it’s own integrated stand? Then…uhhhh…get one.
Especially if you hit Asian supermarkets for your grocery shopping (which are all over California) Continue reading
Sawyer Personal Water Bottle Filter Review
It takes a bit of getting used to, but this is pretty useful.
This unit is ideally suite to summer when you’re more interested in cooler drinks, and not expecting to do too much filtering water for boiling. Continue reading
Cammenga 3H Tritium Compass Review
You go backpacking and bushwacking and you don’t have one?
Some day, you might be out and about, and away from easy access to power, and you might need to get your bearings. While using a military compass takes practice, there are videos about this for beginners and it’s not overly difficult to learn the basics. So long as you know roughly where you are, can match up some sited items to a topo map, you can use this to get to where you need to go. Continue reading
Ka-Bar Becker BK7 Knife 7″ Review
This is a great knife. While it has unfortunately taken a back seat to another recent camping knife purchase, the versatility and durability of this knife is never in question.
rub a drop of oil on either side every once in a while and you’re golden for years and years. Continue reading