Saturday, October 29, 2011

Repairing a Therm-a-rest with the Universal repair kit

Have a Therm-a-rest with a hole in it, bought a kit then read the instructions... not so clear I thought, so I Googled it. After reading a couple of articles I think I got the gest of how to do it. So for your reference I thought I'd write up my way of doing it, based on what I have read.

Finding the Hole.
Easy one this, you will just need a bath with enough water in to partially submerge the mat.

Inflate the mat to its fullest, submerge a section, give it a good squeeze and then look for bubbles.

Once you find bubbles you've found your hole make note of it and continue inspecting the remainder of the mat in case there is more than one hole!

When you are satisfied you have all the hole marked or noted (I don't like the idea of marking with a pen like some articles suggest) let your mat dry properly ready for the next stage. Have a cup of tea while your waiting.

Cleaning the Damaged Area
Use the alcohol moisty wipe to clean the area thoroughly to remove and oil, or dirt that may impede the glue/patch from sticking effectively.

After you have cleaned a generous amount of mat allow the area to dry.

Apply Glue dot.
I've cut one of the glue dots and heated it my hands, seem to make it more malleable?
Peel off one side of the glue dot backing (the one with the writing) and then applied the glue dot over the small hole and pressed firmly down.

Leave to sit for a short while then peel off the backing to leave the glue as below.

Apply patch
Carefully cut one of the material patches supplied so that it is 50% larger than the glue area. I used the thin one as the mat is a light weight version. And ... er.... Cutting Fu not so strong with this one....

So done, leave it for few hours before using.

So there you go, my interpretation of how to repair a Thermarest.

Hope this helped some people.


Reference sites

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Birthday tradition. Mermaids Pool, Peak District

Bit of a tradition around this time of year, have new toys to play with and idea's to try going as light as possible. Lightest sleeping bag, favourite stove left at home in favour of a lighter alcohol based one.

Write up of Mermaid Pool Kinder solo session. No photos am afraid but you'll find out why later.

Morning drive started out ok, the roads were pleasant, excitement growing as I hit Snake pass. Lots if cars broke the road up with a few bikers having their fun. I was envious slightly, but I've already done snake pass so that takes a little off. Having completely failed to remember the Scotch eggs and the little treat I bought for myself I made a note to stock up on lunch and treats when I hit Hayfield.

The turning off was just as I remember it, I was worried I'd miss it and have to turn round somewhere. But I found it fine, just as I remember it. Just needed to look out for a cafe now. Which turns out was right around the corner.

A quid lighter with treat well wrpped up in its paper bag I head on down the road to find parking.

Hayfield is a little village which houses a caravan and camping club site. Additional parking and toilet available via National Trust car park and ...well toilets. Its quite popular as it’s a gateway to Kinder waterfall when it’s a little more flowing. Winter time sees climbers with axes and crampons ascending it. The national trust car park now sports a burger van for anyone wanting to stock up on missed breakfasts dues to early morning starts.

Mental note: renew membership.

Grabbing my pack out of the car is great as it's lighter than my normal backpack weight so I'm quietly smug about it.

The beginning of this walk always gets me doubting if I'm heading the correct way or not. Head straight towards the reservoir and then go right at the main gate. Simple enough, wonder if I’ll remember it next time? There are a fair few walkers young and old about, most friendly enough returning hello's, others seemingly not sure what to do. These are the people new to walking, we outdoor types tend to be a friendly lot most of time. After a few sessions they'll soon realise we are just being friendly.

As I head up through the first major waypoint through a gate. Mountain bikers come hurtling towards me from the distance. Their clattering chains and rear derailers alert me to their presence. I slowly walk uphill towards them giving way when our paths cross.

Pretty nice bikes really Orange and a Scott I think. Both full suspension. nice

A few more pile through as I’m missing with my camera phone. Bloody thing not working, think I need a new SD card for it. So no photos for me. Knackers!

This field is inhabbited with cow's and sheep, they just tend to carry on eating until you stop, which at that point they just stare at you. Eventually I reach the gate where the path heads right and walk along the path and stone wall to the start of the hills. Can see the waterfall from the walk up. Looks far but easily reachable.

I did wanted to go up the main hill to check the top path out but end up heading left along the obvious cut path towards the water fall, its easier and I'm lazy. The weather is sunny and with not much wind so I am drinking plenty of water. Hope there is water further on or it'll be no puddings for me! (Pudding is a dehydrated jobby, chocolate moose, yummy) Am trying to go light weight and I took a gamble that water would be available on this walk, after all it does pass a water fall! Dehydrated food is lighter but needs water so you need to carry extra.

As I carry on slowly climbing on teh grassy well worn path I reach the main walk way where the path turns to sand adn grit stone rocks. An older looking man with grey hair calls to me from a higher path. "You don't want to go that way to Red Brook, it gets trickster on the way up and out." Turns out he is a park ranger, comes with a radio and everything. I heed his advice, thank him and head along the suggested path. I have done the lower section a good few times, but with my current foot issue and the fact its been an entire year since I did it, its safer to listen to someone with superior knowledge of the land layout. Maybe some other time. The climber inside screams in my head some reference to cats and that I'm being soft....?

Sun is still hammering down, its a beautiful day. Not much wind so it gets a little clammy. A proper shirt would have been useful, least I could unbutton is and rolls the sleeves up. Don’t know why I didn’t wear one really, I do favour them due to their versatility.

The paths gets more hard packed. As I draw closer to the water fall a glance left shows me that Mermaids pool is still there, with water as well no less. Am pretty chuffed about that. Pudding definitely back on! Hozarr!

Reaching the waterfall or what's left of it in this scorching few weeks, is alittle disappointing, not much water, but a pool there surrounded by kids from a group. Was hoping to get a section to myself to cool my aching foot down, ice cold water would do it good. Eventually I find a spot to myself, boot off, socks off ... bliss! Foot happily cooling down.

More people turn up as its the focal point og the walks around here, not enough to be too many, but enough to be lightly busy. Most don't stay long, just long enough for a drink n snack then off again. Its kind of nice hanging about while people come and go. AT this time its no where near dark so I have time to spare. Fig’s out (They are sweet), make a mental note not bring so much food next time, and this and me leaving food items behind. Oh well.

Water check, got 1 litre clean so I fill my other bottle from what little there is of running water. There is a small spatter of water of which I can fill a bottle for cooking.

Sun feels nice may have a nap.

Later once I’m done basking in the sun I note a man wandering whether or not to fill his bottle up. I speak to him, offer some advice about checking up stream and give him a water purification tablet to put in his bottle. He seems pleased, and then heads off with a cheery goodbye. I wish him a good journey.

After 30 minutes or so later I decide to head do to my where I'll be staying for the night. Have a bit of a headache too, brought on by sugar treats and a bad neck no less. Remembered my first-aid kit does not have any pain killers in any more since it was soaked last time I used it. Fail. Lesson to learn I think. Must refill it later once I get back.

Mermaid's Pool was little along the path and then down about 100 meter in height, it’s not overly steep if you go about it sensibly. Which in the past I have not done so, this time however with bad foot, I’m more boring sensible.

Was needing a toilet stop also so I hurried down to mermaids pool. Dumped my pack and headed off to find some privacy. I do remember a time when I'd try and hold it until I could reach proper facilities, no point really it’s just something you have to deal with male or female.

Feeling better it was time to set up home for the night. Managed a respectable Flying ‘V’ with the tarp but wished I had that second pole or a stick at least to lift the roof slightly. Would have been good to get a picture of my setup but buggered camera says otherwise. Muh.

Bivvy bag out next then filled with my sleeping bag and mat. My head now throbbing from my neck. Was considering going to bed as my head was getting more and more sore. But decided to cook dinner on my new stove and get soem food down me. Dry food out, water boiling I started to eat, Beef n potato hot pot. Typical dehydrated meal, loads of flavour (salt) always between the temperature of either molten lava or just plain not warm enough. My head made me lose my appetite at this point and decide to go to bed instead after carefully wrapping back up about 90% of the meal I’d left.

I blame the sugary Fig’s I ate for a snack for my lunch for triggering my bad head and dump them 2 meters away from my Bivvy as punishment… that’ll teach em….

As I fell asleep with the final sun setting in view, my head starts to throb. Will be fine in the morning.

Funny dreams await me during the night, too weird to put into words but provide me with entertainment later in the morning as I think back to them.

I wake at dawn, the sun not up but its light starting to shine on the underside of the clouds with a lovely purple red colour. A photo would be good at this time but I doubt it would catch the moment anywhere as near as perfect as it is.

Breakfast was last nights un-eaten dinner heated up in the pot with water. Turns out it keeps pretty well, as it tastes exactly the same, texture as well, not too sure what it says about the food but I happily inhale it. Brew on as well, some nice tea.

The day is dry and warm so I don’t need any extra layers, not that I brought any, would prob need to do a little light exercise if I was cold. Not this morning though!

Its peaceful here, even with the birds calling out to each other, not a soul about, I have the entire place to myself. This is why I do this. For once in a long while I feel at peace, my mind is clear and I’m happy.

Time slows down, and I take in the moment sat on my sleeping bag enjoying the views and listening to nothing what so ever.

I finish my drink and decide to pack up, stove away, bivvy packed away, tarp away too. Quick litter check, nothing .... good. Pretty light pack if I do say so myself. Back up what I came down to pick up the main path, was not in a rush so I take it in sections. No sweating for me!

Eventually I hit path and head along the top towards the reservoir and drawing closer to my car. Its just gone 9am at this point, I encounter 2 people along the way, one gentleman is doing the Wainwrights and has bagged an impressive 117 out of 214 so far. He has a sheep dog with him that’s wearing a rather nifty looking coat. Has a handle on it too.

Walking eventually down the hill side towards the main path I head along the familiar wall at the side of the reservoir towards the pump house. Just as the path forks up (I want the bottom one) I stop and chat to a older man about walking, climbing and what young ones my age do. Most people have the impression I’m in my twenties little do they know I’m a decade older than they think. After wishing the man a good walk I head back along to the car.

It’s a pretty uneventful walk back after I leave the path and pick up the main road, I pass lots of people heading into where I have just came from. Am I walking the wrong way? Maybe, back to business of life.

Prologue: Lessons learnt? Bring another pole, less food and wear a shirt. Perhaps a wind sheild for the stove? Most importantly, do this more often.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

returning from busy-ness!

Been well over a year since I have posted, I have returned! And what have I been up to you ask? Well once I returned from my trip I settled back into my old job, n started my own side business fixing domestic computer systems. (home users)

When I was travelling I fixed quite a number of PC's whilst in many different countries which got us free internet access and other goodies so I figure may as well get paid for it too! Having gonna back into my old job and a little while later getting restless for new things i also changed jobs too to somewhere more interesting. So new job to keep me busy.

Oh I've also taken up Canoeing too, yup thats right open canoeing, so peaceful, so nice, so relaxing. even have my own canoe now, 2nd hand but she's great.

Did a little trip in and also took my Hammock along, ended up falling asleep, it was a very lazy afternoon, really relaxing!
That's me above, working hard and yer, I've sprouted hair on me face, think it makes me look older but its more a convienence thing. Keeps my face warm too. Kinda picked up my face furniture in Japan, one so I'd be warming in Nepal and 2 I wasn't sure if I wanted to shave everyday and find hot water to do it too. So the face stays.

Whats next, well this year I'm going to try mushrooms! I do normally hate them as their texture n smell usually put me off but wild ones I'm willing to do. Also next year will be heading to Canada to do some canoeing up one of the rivers, not sure which one yet, but am looking forward to the planning! Will of course need to hire gear and pick up food. But am looking forward to it. Any hint n tips are much welcome.

So in summary am Back!

See you again soon!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Long Gaps in time and other adventures

Been along time again, so busy, not had too much time to get out unfortunately, kinda miss my nights out under the stars, open live fire going, friends about or on my own on solo time. Learning more about whats around me, what secrets I will uncover that has been hiding in plain site all this time. New plants, new uses, new food to try, skill of the past to learn.

Been very busy, work, life commitments, so much to tell you, but unfortunately time is against me again, for shortly I'm travel east to the other side of the world. I'm going to be Back packing for 4 months round South East Asia, starting Hong Kong, Japan, Tibet/Nepal then Thailand and possibly South Korea.

Not done too much bushcraft, but it has helped me out from time to time, with either handy nettle cord to tie things or the inner bark of a Willow tree for a headaches I had when I was out n about. Bushcraft never ceases to amaze me, the skills I learnt are useful tools to help me in my lifetime. Make things that little bit better, provided by nature as well.

Since starting bushcraft I have become a lot more environmentally aware, I recycle as much as I can, waste as little of water and electricity as possible. I look at plants and trees differently now, what were once weeds I now know as useful plants that provide, food, cord and medicines.
It makes me stand in awe and saddens me at the same time, every thing we need is provided by nature if we only take time out to look at what around us. Yet as species we destroy and consume it all relying more and more on industrial solutions artificial and unnatural.

If any of you care to see how I'm doing you can see my journey on a travel website called .

Oh and I've just bought a Canoe too an open one. I know a few of you also canoe as well (Mungo being one that springs to mind.). Once I get back I'm looking forward to learning how to do it, hopefully, opening the door to new adventures into nature where I normally could not go.

Right end for now. I return in January. My bags are packed. And my faithful Hat is coming with me.
Take care. Keep learning.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wood carved Spoon!

The bushcraft knife is pretty much the most important tool used in bushcraft today, it is one of the lightest and portable of all the cutting tools used in bushcraft today. But without the skill in using it it can be more dangerous than help. Carving a spoon can help you develop that skill....

Its seems the standard right of passage for all bushcrafters at some point it to carve themselves a spoon to use. This does number of things, it helps you get used to using the knife and developing skill in cutting and shaving, it can teach you about what cuts can and can't be done with certain types of wood. And its incredibly relaxing and satisfying creating something useful you can use on every outing.

My current experience started with a few nice pieces of Birch I cut from some "managed" silver birches in my local woods. They were just lying on the floor waiting to rot so I couldn't let nice wood like that go to waste could I? ;-)

After reading an article on bushcraftuk about carving spoons I decided to have ago. The tool's I used were my trusty frost knife, an Axe and a folding saw. The Axe and saw were both used to get me to a point in which I had a basic spoon outline, which in itself was developing skill in Axe use.

This was basically, splitting a log in half and the drawing a rough outline with a pencil on the now flat surface. The saw was used to cut "stop" cuts at the right points to stop the axe from splitting or taking off too much. BTW the wood was still wet at this point.

Knife work then began on the now spoon outline created. I had an idea of what I wanted, I just needed to remove all the bits I didn't want from the wood! heh

As you can see it is rough but taking shape nicely.

I carried on over the next few days doing bits when time permitted, each time getting that little bit closer. The bowl of the spoon was the most interesting part as I had a nice elegant shape in my mind, it was also gonna be the most challenging as one cut too deep could either split the wood or change the shape of the bowl.

The next stage was to use the crook knife to hollow the spoon bit out itself, this too a little doing to discover how to use it smoothly without making an ugly mess. I found it easier to use small controlled strokes. Once I was satisfied with the shape I went on to sanding from big grit to fine grit paper until I had a nice smooth finish.

And here we have the finished spoon, it will need oiling to make it more durable and water proof. Am very pleased on how it turned out.

I should point out that it is best to have sharp tools to work with, sharp tools are safer and make the job a whole lot easier.

A fun project and which I am pleased with as now I have my own a bushcraft spoon that can join me on my adventures. And I know it is mine. :-)


Monday, June 11, 2007

Bushcraft cooked fish!

I have been meaning to do fish for a long while cooked bushcraft style. Finally I decided to try it one weekend and this is the result.

Fish can been cooked a number of ways, de-boned, skewed, steamed, baked, or in leaves on hot coals. I thought I'd try wrapped in leaves on hot coals approach. The leaves I choose were Dock leaves as they were recommended on the bushcraftuk forum as safe to use not to mention very abundant this time of year! I picked up about 8 large sized leaves which was enough to wrap the fish up well.

I don't think it matters how you wrap them, I had about 3 layers of leaves on the fish as I was paranoid I'd burn straight through it to the fish. When I was out gathering leaves I also made a point in grabbing 1 large Nettle stem to use as cordage to tie the package together. Actually the first time I've actually used that particular skill for anything serious. I placed the fish on the hot coals I had prepared earlier and covered some of the top with hot ash and coals also. (To get an even cook)
After about 20-30 minutes I pulled the package out of the heat and opened it up. It smelt great.
After opening the leaves up gingerly I half expected the fish to be either a) Burnt to ashes or b) undercooked. Surprisingly it was neither and I had very succulent looking trout to eat. The flesh just fell away from the bone, it was perfect and tasted absolutely fantastic!

Bloody nice fish, best I have to say I've had in a long long time, full of flavour and tender to eat. Another item added to my bushcraft knowledge. You have to try it!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Super busy!

Been really busy of late, had no time to go and play in the woods for anything, work keeping me sufficiently tired and doing plenty of climbing too. Hoping to get out this weekend though and get a night under the stars.

Got new kits too, 2 new sleeping bags, both Bargain prices, a Nanok endurance 0 degree bag and a Mountain Equipment Firewalker 3 bag. This bag was used recently in a bunk house in wales, it was really warm, too hot at times, was sweating most nights in my liner. Only managed to get a good night on the last night where I used it as a basic duvet.

Been thinking of getting a new stove too, a remote canister stove that's stable and has a low profile. Will sell one of my whisperlites to fund it, so it shouldn't cost me in theory anything really.

One thing I did see whilst in Wales is a set of plaques in memory of a couple that passed away at separate times, was pretty touched by it to say the least. I took a picture of it and had a moment paying my respects. The top plaque says "In Memory of George Wroe 1915-1999. Walking Llanberis pass whenever he chooses. And his wifes as you see.

Right busy busy for me. Will check back soon, with Sleep bag reviews and kit setups.