Patrick O'Brien

Tag: road-gear

My backpack

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The author ~ Image © New Zealand Herald

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We hitchhikers grow to love our backpacks, which is just as well given that we spend our lives in their company — many a long hour standing beside the road, or crammed into cars, and, come the night, we lie down beside them to sleep.

One’s choice of backpack is a personal matter. I use Macpac designs after switching to them in 1993 because, at that time, they were the only company manufacturing canvas bags with twin compartments.

Here’s how I pack my bag:

The bottom compartment is for clothing and change of footwear — the former rolled, not folded, for more efficient use of space and less creasing of the garments.

The top compartment is for stowing my heavy gear, listed here (from the top down) in the order of which I use it come the end of day: two ground sheets; my tent; sleeping bag (loosely stuffed, not bagged); cooking gear; a reserve fuel tank.

There Image: Front packare front and lid compartments on my pack and these hold my sewing kit, first aid kit, toiletries, and other sundries. A water bottle and sleeping pad are strapped to the sides.

I also carry a front pack, or day bag, which serves as my office, and this attaches to the main harness, as shown (click to enlarge).

Once a week I thoroughly examine each pack, looking for any wear or tear . . .
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RELATED:
A full list of my road kit is available here:

http://succat.blogspot.com/2006/09/road-gear.html
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Stuff in my pockets . . .

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Image 2012 © Patrick O’Brien

“Le Zouave”

During the siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean war, a French soldier named “Zouave” had his clay pipe broken by a bullet and sorted the problem by rolling tobacco in pieces of paper torn from a gunpowder bag. For over 100 years the image of Le Zouave has been on Zig-Zag papers — a tribute to this creative soldier.
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Winter

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“Icebreaker” Logo ~ Image: 2012 © Patrick O’Brien

It’s the first day of winter. This morning I unrolled
my thermal skins — merino wool from Icebreaker.

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RELATED:
A full list of my road kit is available here:

http://succat.blogspot.com/2006/09/road-gear.html
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My cooker

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Copyright 2012 © Patrick O’Brien
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—  MSR XGK-EX  —

In an earlier post on Life’s little Pleasures I spoke about tea being my preferred drink — plain, black-leaf tea, served boiling hot with lots of sugar. Pictured here is my cooker, boiling up the billy for a brew.

The XGK-EX multi-fuel stove is a serious bit of kit, designed for use in the most extreme conditions and a popular choice of those on expeditions — or travellers such as myself who are equally serious about making cups-of-tea under all conditions.

I purchased this cooker in late 2007 to replace my older (equivalent) model, the XGK-II which had served me well since around 1993, and, while I love the simplicity of design and trouble free use (it does exactly what it says on the box) I wouldn’t recommend this particular model for general backpacking or outdoor use. Here is a downloadable stove comparison chart showing which MSR models are better suited for any intended purpose.

XGK-EX technical details, performance specs, schematic diagrams, plus an owners manual in PDF format with instructions on its maintenance and use, are available from the manufacturers Web Site, here:

MSR XGK-EX

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RELATED POST:

“My tent”

Some thoughts on tents . . . their purchase and use
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On prayer (4)

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Copyright 2012 © Patrick O’Brien

My prayer beads

A rosary in Irish horn and meditation beads
of ancient wood — gifts from the Gelfling.
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My ‘little helper’

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Copyright 2012 © Patrick O’Brien

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A new addition to my travel kit . . .
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Nikon D4

Nikon released its latest professional DSLR this week and I’ve posted
some reviews and other relevant links over on my Wall at Google-Plus:

Nikon D4
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My work station

Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

.A self-explanatory shot, with Nikon’s Camera Control Pro running in view
and this software enables me to remotely control my cameras from here,
or, vice-versa, send back captured data directly from the camera . . .
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RELATED

Some examples of my work in use on this Blog:

https://patrickobrien.wordpress.com/category/photography/
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Pieces of time

Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

Some road kit — a gift from my Love.
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‘hitch’

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Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

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This is hitch. He’s my hitchhiking buddy. I found him in
a muddy puddle beside the road, many years ago . . .
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Fm3A

Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

I introduced digital into my work flow around 2001 and now use a bulky, professional D-SLR on assignments — yet, for personal work, I still prefer shooting with film.

This is my baby, Nikon’s FM3A seen here coupled with their 45mm f2.8 pancake lens;
I jokingly tell people the existence of this combination proves that God is a Nikon user.
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RELATED

Some examples of my work in use on this Blog:

https://patrickobrien.wordpress.com/category/photography/
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My Tent

 I love tents and here are some of my thoughts on their purchase and use . . .

● There is something very comforting when, at the end of the day, no matter where I am, even when cold, hungry or wet, I pitch my tent, climb inside — and, I’m “home”.

● Choose a tent designed for your intended purpose, such as, for example: “tunnel” tents for high wind use or geodesic for heavy snow loads. Many top end tents are a clever combination of both these design elements.

 ● Purchase the best tent you can afford; a good tent will be the most expensive part of your road kit.

● Good tents have a simple design — avoid tents with complex designs or those offering solutions for problems that don’t exist

● Choose your tent size as follows: if travelling alone, 2 x man tent / if travelling with a partner, 4 x man tent.

● Good tents are distributed with the manufacturer’s repair kit comprising patches for each of the materials used in their construction plus short metal sleeves for broken poles.

 ● An hermetically sealed tent will protect you from insects, snakes and other assorted creepy-crawlies that nibble ‘n bite in the night. To deter bigger critters, urinate into a container before sleep and spray a circular-perimeter-line about 10 meters out from tent.

● Twin-vestibules provide improved ventilation and alternate access/regress during storms. On good tents, the vestibules will be roomy and may be left open when it rains without leaking water into the cabin.

● A deep, tub-floor will prevent run-off from heavy rain or superficial flooding from entering the cabin.

● Designs with an attached/detachable fly-cover offer more versatility and ease of use.

● Choose a fly-cover that is waterproofed to a minimum of 3500 mm of hydrostatic head tested to British Standard 3424.

● My choice of colour for the fly-cover is dark green or similar.

● Aluminium poles are my preference: greater breaking strain; won’t shatter; can be temporarily repaired in event of mishap (for extreme conditions, carry two sets of poles and double sleeve them).

● To prevent condensation problems through the floor, carry 2 x footprints that have been sized or cut to the dimensions of your cabin. Place one underneath the tent, the other as your first layer inside the cabin.

● Carry a seam sealant and apply liberally on the inside seams of your fly-cover if leaks develop.

● Don’t use commercial products on tent zippers — a soft toothbrush (or similar) is best for cleaning/clearing teeth of dust and grit.

● Good tents are storm proof — but not fireproof, so keep clear of flame and sparks.

● Don’t sleep under trees — falling branches shred tents.

● Cut and carry a length of PVC pipe (or similar) and leave it permanently down the inside of your pack. This serves as a convenient sleeve to insert your pole bag unhindered when stowing.

 ● Leave a small hand towel (or similar) permanently inside the cabin for wiping out dust and debris prior dropping the tent.

● Carry a small high-absorbent towel specifically to wipe off excess moisture and condensation from the tent prior packing. While it will not always be possible to dry-pack your tent, water is a heavy substance and removing any excess will lessen your weight.

● Remember — it’s not always necessary to actually pitch your tent if the immediate terrain does not provide sufficient screening or cover for your purpose. In some situations it might be preferable to simply use the tent like a bivvy bag.

● Remember, too, that farmers and private land owners all over the world are usually welcoming of the Traveller. Don’t be afraid of asking permission to camp — simply knock on a farm house door before sunset and introduce yourself . . .

● Share the weight if travelling as a couple or with a partner — one carrying the poles and pegs, the other carrying the cabin and fly-cover.

● A combination of daily use and UV light destroys tents — even with care, my tents only last around 18 months!

● My favourite sound in the world is rain on the roof of my tent at night.

● This is my current tent:

Copyright 2010 © Macpac

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● A full list of my road kit is available — here

● Free download in PDF format — a useful primmer for tenting in extreme conditions: “Alpine Tech Tip – Shelter For The Storm”
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