It’s always some kind of adventure when I head out – I realise, despite my own suggestions to others, I always tend to head out with a pile of new, untested gear to try out. I guess I have certain levels of ‘risk’ I allow for and never really push too far.
We recently had a ‘weekend off’ – the little girl was graciously looked after for us for a couple of days by my parents ((god send – mothers day, fathers day, where is grandparents day?)), so the missus and I headed into town on Friday for a night at a hotel and a visit to the Sugar Club. Peter Gordan was acting as head waiter and as previously, the food was phenomenal. My pick was the Ricotta, but the Venison Rendang was also awesome – think Tom Kha Gai, but with tender venison. I know, the description will probably horrify any ‘foodies’ reading this – but the meal was awesome, the view phenomenal and the Manhattans (Bookers) masterfully made.
Saturday Breakfast was a meet up with a mate for what essentially consisted of a Bloke / Precision Shooter Business meeting, then a lazy day at home. Sunday, another meeting in Hamilton on the way down to the ranges.
As is normally the case, I had a pile of new gear and systems to test and evaluate. Full reviews/thoughts will follow. But in short…
Continuing on the theme of reducing weight and hunting with camp on my back, I had the new Hunters Element Boundary Pack – a 35L pack, veil camo and ‘brushed tricot’ styled silent fabric. This pack worked well. Bit smaller, so easier to maneuver with in the bush. I also had their Hydapel Gloves, a much quieter (and full fingered) replacement for their overly noisy soft touch gloves.
Happy to report, unlike the failure of the Garmin Tactix to get a lock under cover, the Fenix 3 functioned flawlessly. The only issues I had being more my philosophy of use not meshing with the intended design – but more on that soon. Basically though, I have found the replacement for the eTrex30! I would pick GLONASS has made all the difference.
Cold? Yeah. Enough.
I have also been experimenting with a bivy and sleeping bag. The weather forecast was for showers (though they didn’t eventuate) – so I put up the MSR E-Wing, layed out the Vaude Bivibag with the Thermarest NeoAir XLite and Alpine Blanket in it had a feed, hopped in, and slowly got colder and colder.
I have been experimenting with a Bivibag, really just because I like the idea of just dropping it wherever you decide to sleep and being set. Also, while a tarp in minimal in nature, I would really like to just sleep out under the stars, but still have some small amount of weather resistance going on for the down sleeping kit. The problem is the size of the bivi. It’s just not big enough, primarily in length. I prefer to have the NeoAir on the inside of the bivi – it’s lightweight, but a little fragile and once inside the bivi, my feet end up pushed up against one end, and my head nearly on the other. I realised, in the middle of the night, that the bivi was actually compressing the loft of the down bag, reducing it’s effectiveness. While you could normally expect the bivi to add a degree or two of warm, it was actually reducing the efficiency of the down significantly – so much so that I ended up on top of it, warmer.
I didn’t freeze, as the temps only got down to 4 deg. But it was cold enough that I woke a couple of times and threw on an extra layer.
So, I either ditch the bivi and just go back to sleeping under a tarp, or look for a bigger bivi bag, without it getting into one person tent size.
All in all though, it was a good trip. Lots of sign, but didn’t see any actual deer. They were there, are relatively close, but just sneakier than me this time!
Longer reviews on all the gear is under-way. I just have more articles to write than time at the moment!