As training for a new season of endurance events will begin this summer and fall, it was time to take stock of what was in my emergency kit for long events and reconfigure things. I carry a more extensive first aid kit for backpacking; for running/endurance events I need something that can stay packed and is easily grabbed on the way out the door. Everything fits in one ziplock freezer bag, which can be transferred from pack to pack, but typically will remain in my Amphipod Airflow Microstretch Waistpack. This is the most comfortable, bounce free small waistpack I’ve used so far. My only complaint is that the waistbelt is elastic and seems to be wearing out. I will likely replace it with a Nathan 5K Runners Pack, which has a webbing belt and appears to be a little more robust. Total pack, with gear inside, is 6.5 ounces and goes pretty unnoticed on the small of my back. The only item I neglected to include in these photos is a Suunto A10 baseplate compass (1 oz.). This kit, in addition to handheld bottles, gels, and a windshirt will go on trail runs up to ~20 miles. At or beyond that I typically need a pack for more food and water.
Adan and I reached the Icehouse Canyon trailhead at roughly 8PM, leaving us to climb the ~7 miles and ~3500′ to Bighorn Ridge entirely in the dark. Lights were only needed in a few short stretches, leaving us happily soaking in the darkness, night sky, and wind. We reached the ridge at around 11PM, whipped by winds- drinking beer, eating, and watching the city lights from 8200′. Discussing life and illness and family and children and all the big things that it helps to have a friend for…finally turning in at around 1AM to a bivy in the dirt, awakened four short hours later by first light creeping from the east. Coffee, snacks, laying in the wind and morning sun as the sky brightened, eventually back at the car by 9AM. As good a reason as one can have to maintain a simple kit and be ready to be out the door in less than 10 minutes.
With all the talk over at BPL concerning SUL kits, I thought I’d take some pics and post mine up. I have no weights for anything because, well, I’m finding it tedious now. I have enough experience with gear to know what’s enough for a given trip, whether I’m going for minimal or luxury. If a piece of gear needs to come with me and I don’t have an alternative then…well, weight doesn’t matter does it?
This kit is for a quick overnight later today, leaving in the evening and doing most of our hiking at night. The majority of the hike is on trail with the exception of the final ~2 miles on a summit ridge. We’ll be hiking in roughly 7 miles and climbing about 3500′ total, sleeping on a ridge at roughly 8000′. Temps will likely be mid to high 40s. No rain or weather to speak of in sight. No maps or navigation tools as this route and the surrounding peaks and canyons are well known.
Variations to this kit for more serious trips/weather:
*More food could be easily added to this pack. I have capacity for ~3 days with his kit. Aqua Mira drops would be added.
*Windshell could be swapped for Driducks raingear for a few ounces more. Gloves, beanie, and a thermal top/bottomes could be added.
*Maps/navigation gear could be added.
*First aid could be supplemented for a longer trip.
*MLD Solomid could be strapped to top.
However, the addition of all this gear makes it look like any standard UL kit. To me, the point of SUL is staying minimal and planning the trip accordingly. This is all I need (or likely even more) for local, fast trips.
A trip report will follow….
With a little hesitation, I pressed the “Confirm Purchase” button on my Paypal/Ebay account, ordering a Chinese made “Tenkara” style telescoping rod for a grand total of $6.48 including shipping. I half expected to never actually see this rod, as many items coming direct from Hong Kong fail to materialize during 12 week shipping periods.
I originally wanted to get into tenkara with the minimalist Daiwa Soyokaze, but they were discontinued and upon seeing this rod for the ridiculously low price, I figured I’d have nothing to lose. I like the aesthetic of the more minimal rods without cork handles, a perfectly streamlined tool for backpacking, literally looking like a stick when collapsed. Nothing to catch or snag in a pack, rods of this style are the most minimal available. Add a few flies, some clippers, tippet material, and some small forceps and I’ll be fishing for under 4 ounces.
Within a day of ordering I received a shipping confirmation. A good sign I might actually get this rod.
Only one week later, the rod arrives, shipped from a distributor not in Hong Kong, but in New Jersey. Not bad.
The tip action is very slow and light. I have little experience with “tenkara” rods, but plenty fishing western fly rods. I would put the action on par with a 2-3WT rod. The rod has no issues casting the above mentioned line. While I’ve yet to hook a fish, I can tell from a trial at the casting pools that this will work fine for high alpine lakes/streams where range is not necessary and typical fish are under 10″. The only experimentation I need to do is try a few more hand made lines and see what weight is optimal.
Three more rods are in the mail; one spare and two for my kids.
A grand total of $6.48 to get into “tenkara”. Time will tell if I find it necessary to upgrade rods, but as an infrequent fisherman, I don’t see the need for anything better.
The true Rod of the People.
And if you have any guilt about a cheap Chinese rod, read about where all the $150 tenkara rods are made….
A surprisingly uncrowded overnight on the Sespe after work on Friday. Living the dream; managed a good surf session in the morning, followed by sleeping in the mountains that evening. Who could complain? I was joined by Suranga, one of my favorite ex-students home from college for the summer. Every piece of his gear was generously donated thru BPL members to the outdoor club I run at my school.
It’s my understanding that the Sespe is one of the last waterways in California that has not been dammed or channeled with concrete. Flows were surprisingly low already; last year at this exact time I had wade across several areas that appear to have been dry for weeks already. From what I can tell, we’ve got a seriously dry looking summer ahead of us this year.