Lindo Voyager Travel Guitar

Much as I love self-propelled backpacking with all my kit in a light pack I am also an avid motorhome (RV) owner. When I do a motorhome trip I will be away for a week or more so I need a good, small guitar to keep my practice up. Anyone who has used a motorhome or campervan knows space is at a premium hence the need for a small guitar.

Enter the Lindo Voyager Traveller Guitar! It’s a British made electro-acoustic travel guitar which is a bit of a rarity to start with. Apart from the small body the first thing that struck is how visually appealing it is. The hardware is gold, the inlays on the frets and the decoration around the sound hole and body just look really good. The colour of the soundboard wood matches the decorative elements perfectly.

The Voyager in long shot. Note the inlays and binding.
The headstock and gold tuners.

Not the best photos I’ve ever taken but hopefully they are good enough for you to see how pretty the thing is and the quality of the luthier’s work. The build quality is very good in every area with no visible flaws. The intonation is very good, the nut, bridge and tuners do their job perfectly well and, out the box, the action was very playable.

Physically, the small body makes the guitar light and comfortable to play for a long time. It feels balanced. Whether it’s played sitting down or with a strap fitted and played standing up it’s fun to play. Although the body is small the neck is full size so there’s no adapting your playing style to the neck.

So, it looks good and plays well but does the Lindo Voyager deliver in terms of tone and sound? Because it’s an electro-acoustic it’s somewhat like having two guitars in one.

As a straightforward acoustic guitar the sound is bright and loud when played with a plectrum. Because of the small body the bass response is nowhere near as prominent as with, say, a dreadnought but that’s to be expected. The brightness and volume do make it ideal for singalongs, busking and ad-hoc acoustic playing as well as noodling on the sofa. It’s a nice acoustic sound.

When the Voyager is plugged into an amplifier it reveals hidden depths. The electronics are made by a company called Acme (I kid not) and have the standard volume and EQ controls along with an in-board tuner, a notch filter, a phase and mix controls. The mix control allows the blending of the piezo pickup with a microphone that’s hidden inside the body of the guitar. That’s right – a £300ish British travel guitar has a sophisticated electronic sound management system.

And it works! It’s possible to boost the bass tones and fiddle with the mid and high frequencies to obtain a very creditable acoustic sound that fits in a band mix very nicely. It also complements a solo singer.

The Acme controls. Clear and simple to use.

As it’s a travel guitar the guitar comes with a good quality gig bag that’s well padded and has an internal Velcro strap to hold the neck in place. Externally there is a pocket large enough to hold spare strings, plectrums, capos and leads. There is a carrying handle and two shoulder straps so it’s easy to transport.

I’ve used my Lindo solo, in rehearsal and live and my conclusion is that it’s a capable little guitar that fits in to almost any situation with little or no drama. It’s not a concert acoustic by any means but it has a pleasant, bright voice acoustically and some very different ones when amplified. It’s light, portable, very playable and it’s fun to use. I find guitars have a personality which is unique to the instrument and I’d describe the Lindo Voyager as being a happy, jolly little guy. Well worth investigating if you’re in the market for a travel guitar, want a back-up guitar or sit at home writing your own songs. Recommended.

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Fender Jazz Bass MIM 2014

Around four years ago I purchased a secondhand Jazz bass in very good condition for the princely sum of £280. It is a very bog-standard Jazz Bass that was made in Mexico with the usual passive controls and two pickups. It was, and still is, strung with flat wounds.

I’m not a fan of the Fender Precision Bass (see previous blog posts) but I have to admit the Jazz is really rather good. The way the Jazz sits when I’m seated or standing just feels ‘right’; well balanced, controls to hand and just really comfortable.

Playability is a very important element to any instrument but what about the tone? The two pickup volume controls, coupled with the single tone control, allows access to a wide range from a bright, mildly snarly, sound to a deep thud via a smorgasbord of other nice bass sounds. Flatwounds seem to suit this bass and I do love the percussive ‘pock’ sound when playing with a plectrum and all three controls set to max as it makes each note stand out. Not surprisingly it also sounds extremely nice when playing jazz music.

I’m not so keen on the lack of a pickup switch. Turning pickup volume controls to change the sound is nowhere near as convenient as flicking a switch. It takes a lot of practice to switch from, say, a band bass sound to a solo sound (and level) then return to the band sound.

Is there much of a difference between an American, Japanese or Mexican Jazz? The answer is yes and no based on my experience. All of them have the same shape and similar hardware so I can’t say I’ve noticed anything about intonation, action or how long they stay in tune for.

What is noticeable is how the woods used, along with the pickups, alters the tone. The Japanese ones I’ve played have a basswood body and they are ‘deeper’ – not a lot but noticeable. Generally, I’ve found the USA Jazz basses I’ve played to be a bit brighter and have a bit more gain/grit. My Mexican Jazz sits somewhere between the two.

But, and it’s big but, all of them have nice voices and the differences in tone can be mostly EQ’d out with a decent bass amp. Certainly in a live situation all three are pretty similar and the same holds true for recording. Which does beg the question of what country of origin should a gigging bass player who wants a Jazz buy?

My conclusion is that there is no way of definitively answering which is best. Someone who wants the cachet of owning an American or Japanese Fender Jazz will pay a premium price for the instrument. Undoubtedly it will hold its price and very likely appreciate in value. On the other hand a bassist that wants a reliable, well-built bass that sounds really good with the usual Jazz tones would be more than pleased with a Mexican Jazz. The Mexican ones are much cheaper and will hold their price but it’s unlikely they will appreciate much as they age.

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Wild Sky DCF (Cuben) Wolf Solo Tarp Review

Wild Sky is a UK cottage-business specialising in Cuben (DCF) gear. The products are sold on EBay and can be found by either searching for “Cuben Fibre” or the seller name ba-4801. There’s a number of different products offered amongst which are a range of tarps. This review looks at the Wolf Solo Tarp.

The Solo Tarp is 8ft 2 ins long by 4ft 3ins wide according to my measurements. These are very close to seller’s measurements which, confusingly, are expressed as decimals i.e. 8.2 x 4.2 feet. For the metric lovers this is 2.5 x 1.35 metres. The maker says the weight is 88g while my scales seem unable to make up their mind between 88 and 89g.

My tarp came with eight tie-outs as standard. If more are required the purchaser can get them added for free at the time of purchase. Alternatively, it’s possible to buy stick-on tie-outs that bind extremely well to the tarp. Stick-on loops or mitten hooks came also be obtained and used for hanging a bugnet or drying line underneath the tarp.

The tarp is offered with a range of fabrics. Mine is Camo (adds 16g to the basic Wolf Tarp) which is very stealthy and is 0.67g/yard DCF. Apparently that’s 15 times stronger than steel and has a hydrostatic head of 15,000. I’ve no way of testing that but I do know from personal experience that it’s a very tough tarp and is also extremely waterproof. The tie-outs are sewed into the fabric with reinforced stitching and the hems are finished neatly. I can’t imagine the tarp failing under UK three-season conditions.

DCF has many advantages for the backpacker. It’s astounding light, doesn’t absorb water and doesn’t stretch under tension. Once the tarp is pitched tightly there’s no more fiddling to be done. When packing up a quick shake of the tarp gets rid of any water on it. No seam sealing is required as tape can be used although the Wolf Solo doesn’t have seams. It’s also simple to repair in the field by simply using DCF tape – use it exactly like sellotape and there’s an instant bond between the tarp and the other material that’s unbreakable.

On the downside, DCF packs a little more bulkily than Silnylon as it’s best folded and rolled than stuffed into a sack. The other is that DCF is painfully, eye-wateringly expensive.

The most important thing to realise is that this is a minimalist tarp rather than a palace. As such it’s ideal for wild camping or even carried as an emergency shelter. The Camo DCF blends in well as twilight comes but it does gleam under bright sunlight. No problem if you’re pitching later. Overall, the tarp is very stealthy.

Given it is a small tarp the site needs to be picked carefully to take advantage of drier ground and natural windbreaks. There really is not a lot of room for error so it’s a good idea to practice your pitching before you go. As ‘belt and braces’ a good bivvy bag is recommended especially if the forecast isn’t good for a few days. I’ve been using an Equinox Bivvy (which is an absolute steal at £60 ish for a waterproof floor and DWR top with hood) or an Alpkit Hunka which is fully water proof and ideal when the forecast is grim.

Speaking of pitching there are basically four options: lean-to, A-Frame, cave/half-mid or the Flying V/Plough shapes. I don’t use the first two as I don’t think they offer good protection if the weather changes for the worse.

The lean-to is nice on a pleasant, dry evening as it gives the best views of the environment but it’s no use whatsoever in swirling winds. while the A-Frame needs to pitched to the floor to fend off rain and wind which means low-headroom.

The Cave/Half-Mid is my favourite pitch as it offers protection from three sides, maximises useable space and it is simple to pitch. Stake out the rear long side, go to the other long side and insert a trekking pole in the middle tie-out and guy out then guy out the front corners. The shelter is then just about complete so the hiker can get under cover and fine tune the pitch while being out of the elements.

The Flying Vee/Diamond/Plough/Plow requires four stakes as a minimum to pitch but it’s slightly more difficult to pitch. Firstly, the long diagonal has to be exactly aligned to the direction of the wind. Secondly, the height of the pole is quite crucial; too high and the result is a cramped living space due to the steeply angled sides and ridge. Too low gives more sideways living space as the sides spread out but length is lost as the ridge is too near the ground. Once you’ve worked out the optimum height it is a fast pitch and, again, any fine tuning can be done while being sheltered.

In the pictures below you can see the size of the tarp and the available space. I only pegged down the corners of the tarp but, in practice, I would peg sides down using the tie-outs. Where the trekking pole is marks the end of the tarp’s coverage and the height of the pole has quite an effect on the amount of coverage. I’ve included a full-length sleeping pad to help gauge the scale.

Cave/Half-Mid Configuration. The full 8’2” length can be utilised, entry and exit are easy and it’s simple to pitch.
Flying V Configuration: very stormworthy provided the rear corner that is pegged down is pointed into the wind, the diagonal ridge maximises the length of the tarp to around 9’ 2”

To conclude: this is a great tarp for wild camping, especially if you don’t want to be seen by others. It’s very light, has a small pack size, tough, doesn’t leak, easily repairable in the field, allows the backpacker to be ultralite and carry a very small pack. Depending on the choice of guys and pegs used it’s perfectly feasible to have a complete shelter set up for about 120g or so. It’s extremely light and, given the small size, offers adequate shelter from wind and rain. There is no protection from bugs or draughts so a light bivvy bag is a useful addition to fend these off along with rain.

Bear in mind that it is a minimal shelter with space to keep gear and yourself out of the weather, cook and sleep under but it isn’t a shelter for sprawling about! I wouldn’t use it on a commercial site due to lack of privacy.

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PLP: Post-Lockdown Poddle!

I’ve not blogged for ages. Like everyone else my leisure activities have been serverly curtailed by Covid19 so the wasn’t much grist to mill and I didn’t feel like commenting on the plague itself.

When the UK government has lifted the strictest conditions on the Covid19 lockdown I decided to take a short walk in the countryside. It was great to get away from confines of my local area for the first time in over two months!

My walk was not that far away from my usual stomping grounds – only a twenty minute drive away – but it allowed be to explore an area I’d never walked in before. And I could sample some of the Leicestershire Round. The Leicestershire Round is a circuit around the county and is about 100 miles in length. It meanders through areas of the National Forest.

Much to my delight I discovered many small nature reserves that are close to each other. They have either been created as part of the effort to grow the National Forest into a cohesive whole or have existed for along time as a well kept “secret”. Because they are separated each one is different in the flora and fauna that grows in them although, obviously there is a fair bit of overlap. This gives them all a different “feel” and very nice they are too. Balm for the soul!

Perhaps the best thing about lockdown is that it has made people explore their local areas more rather than dashing miles away to walk in another area. Where I live there is certainly lots to savour. I thought I know my patch well but clearly I didn’t.

Enjoy the photos!

Wild garlic and a tiny river.
A spectacular Rhododendron
Thatched cottage near to a footpath
A view from the Leicestershire Round near Markfield
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Alpkit Rig 7 Tarp: test pitches and a few observations

I was fortunate enough to be given an Alpkit Rig 7 Tarp by a friend who no longer required it. For non-UK readers of this blog: Alpkit are a British company specialising in good quality hiking, biking and climbing gear who are highly regarded for the quality of their goods.

Here are some details of the tarp taken from the Alpkit website:

Materials

  • Fabric: 30D PU coated siliconised Cordura fabric
  • Attachment points: 24 reinforced hypalon rig points: 8 lifter tabs, 16 exterior tie down points

Dimensions

  • Total Weight (inc. stuff sack): 550 g
  • Open dimensions: 2.4 x 2.8 m
  • Stuffed size: 8 x 18 x 18 cm

The Rig 7 isn’t the lightest tarp by any stretch but it’s not backbreaking and provides a palatial amount of room for the single backpacker. To be fair though the shelter is meant for 2 or 3 people so 275g per person is getting close to ultralight; add in an ultralight bivy and each person would be carrying about 500g each. I don’t think that is excessively heavy to be sheltered from wind and rain.

Mine has been used but I couldn’t see any signs of wear at all. Cordura is pretty tough stuff! The stitching is perfect and there is no sign of stress on any of the tieouts. The tarp has 24 tieout points so it can be pitched in a multitude of configurations. I should add the Rig 7 is a flat tarp so it’s very adaptable.

I’ve played around with some basic setups and I have to say I’m impressed with the coverage offered. These are shown the pictures at the end of the text. BTW: I’ve blacked out my partner as she didn’t want to appear in the published shots. I don’t pretend they are perfect pitches but they serve to show the sort of setups that can be easily done first time out. They did allow me to work out what else would be needed to make a taut, weatherproof pitch.

Some observations:

    1. In the lean-to shapes the back wall is a tad flappy and, in the real world, needs guying using the tieouts in the centre of the tarp.
    2. The lean-to’s all offer a huge amount of space to shelter under but they aren’t best suited for changing wind directions. They could be improved by bringing in the support poles and then dropping the outer segments of the roof.
    3. In the third shot I created a little floor space but it’s only just wide enough to lay on. For comfort I think a length of polycro would extend this floor and make it more usable.
    4. In the tent configuration it would be possible to shelter two hikers and kit from the elements on three sides. I am 5ft 10ins and I have plenty of overhead coverage but I think it might be a bit exposed for two hikers over 6ft tall.
    5 I did try pitching it the A frame configuration but didn’t take a photo! In this shape the tarp provides a massive amount of coverage and can be set very low to the ground or with one end low and the other high for ease of access. I can’t imagine getting wet even in really foul weather if one side was pegged directly to the floor. In benign conditions a high pitch would allow great views and ventilation.
    In every pitch I tried there is ample room to shelter and cook without the dangers of suffocation or setting the tarp alight. Obviously care must be taken with flames.

Standard Lean-To. Loads of space!

Lean-To with a Ridge

Lean-To with Ridge and some flooring

Tent Configuration

Tent Configuration – internal view

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Six Moons Design Serenity Net Tent

The Serenity has been around a long time now. Indeed, I’ve mentioned it in my review of the Gatewood Cape before. Around a year or so ago SMD upgraded the Serenity at the cost of a minor weight penalty. So the question is whether the upgrade was worthwhile?

The original Serenity consisted of a (Pyramid) Mid-shape netting with a weave fine enough to stop the smallest insects and a floor complete with a small “bathtub”. In practice, I found it hard to get a bathtub formed and I ended up with an effectively flat floor. Even when I did get it formed correctly there could be considerable draughts when the Cape was pitched high.

Enter the new version of the Serenity. I’ve owned one since they came out. The netting is the same but now the bathtub is much higher. The extra material is the reason for the weight increase and it is worth it. The new version is much easier to pitch with a bathtub floor for starters. Not only that but the increased height deflects a large proportion of the incoming draughts upwards rather than allowing them to cool the occupant. Even better, the upward flow of air helps to minimise condensation on the times when the dew point guarantees condensation forming on the Cape.

I try to be as ultralight a backpacker as possible and I really don’t want to carry extra grams, or ounces, but the new version of the Serenity really does improve the whole shelter: less draughts, warmer but still with good internal ventilation and improved condensation control.

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A charity hike in 2018 – The Limestone Way and More!

A friend and I decided to do another walk for charity following our successful one in 2017 (see earlier blog posts). The plan was to walk the Limestone Way in the Peak District with added extensions to give a distance of 60 miles in total. We would be carrying shelter, food, water and clothing so we could camp along the route.

Thursday 24th of May

An early train from Loughborough ensured an early arrival at Uttoxeter station. The Limestone Way officially starts at Rocester, some six miles north of Uttoxeter, but the intrepid backpackers elected to walk to the start.

It was a very hot day to be walking carrying a load and frequent water stops were necessary. The footpaths in Staffordshire are very poorly marked so navigation proved to be quite difficult and misleading. Nevertheless, good progress was made over the pasture

and hills of Staffordshire and Derbyshire was eventually reached.

The rest of the day was uneventful until the evening destination was in sight. A descent down a dale lead to an encounter with a herd of aggressive cows who were keen to protect their inquisitive calves while a few bulls stood guard over the herd. Rapid progress was made at this point even though I had an entertaining time attempting to scale a fence that was collapsing upon me.

After a successful escape was made the village of Parwich was reached where tents were pitched at Ffoufinside Farm.

Friday the 25th

The day dawned with heavy rain that was incessant all day until the destination of Youlgreave was reached in the evening. The walking was characterised by a lot of walking over wet, slippy limestone and mud. There was a silver lining in the cloud as the Miners Standard at Winster took pity on two bedraggled hikers and provided them with a very late lunch.

The evening pitch was at Youlgreave on a small site behind the George public house. The site had interesting facilities!

Saturday 26th

A lovely day for walking; dry, overcast with sunny periods but very strong winds. A day to be savoured with glorious views and firm paths. The Peak District is always pretty but the landscape becomes more dramatic the further North one heads.

There were no navigational issues to contend with although there was an encounter with a lawnmower goat. It was tethered to the roadside eating the grass on the verge and it was clear to see the goat had been moved every day to keep the verge in good order.

The destination for the night was Peak Forest; a small hamlet to the south of Castleton. The lady who ran the site asked us why we were doing the hike and we explained it was for charity. On hearing this she immediately offered us tea and biscuits while insisting that the site fees were waived provided we donated then to the charity. What a super gesture that was much appreciated.

The site was very windy and our shelters did flap somewhat alarmingly during the night but tiredness won out and sleep arrived quickly.

Sunday 27th

Another glorious day to hike over moorland marred only by a navigational error. Cavedale is always hard work to descend but the approach views are worth it.

After a careful descent down this boulder-ridden path, complete with running water in places, the town of Castleton offered two thirsty backpackers the chance to rehydrate and refuel. An opportunity that was firmly grasped.

Afterwards it was a simple matter to go to Hope where a train returned us to Loughborough.

We would like to thank all our sponsors for the kind donations and support for our 2017 and 2018 backpacks which we value greatly. Without your help and encouragement we could not have done them.

The backpacks have raised, including Gift Aid, approximately £746 in 2017 and £594 in 2018. This gives a total of circa £1340.

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Golite Breeze backpack and the “Ray Way”

I’m quite a fan of Golite backpacking gear and own a fair few shelters and backpacks of thiers. Originally, Golite based their products on designs of kit devised by Ray Jardine but their paths diverged, Golite Gear became more mainstream (and heavier) and eventually went bust.

Ray Jardine is, as far as I know, hale, hearty and pursuing his outdoor pursuits while still offering kits via the Internet for buyers to make their own versions of his designs. These include a quilt and the Ray Way Tarp. I own a Golite Cave 1 which is the commercial version of his tarp and it’s an excellent piece of kit in every respect. You can read my views on it in a different post on this site.

The Ray Way is essentially about hiking efficiently with low weights and well-thought out and reliable MYOG gear. Ray applied his aerospace engineering background and training to produce just such kit; all of which is backed by thousands upon thousands of miles of hiking experience in all sorts of terrain and climates. In short, if you want to know about backpacking techniques and equipment then Ray Jardine is a very good source to start with.

I’ve been intrigued by the Breeze for a while now but, as the last ones were made around 2005, finding one has about the same probability as finding rocking horse droppings. I was resigned to buying a kit from Ray and making one myself. Glory of glories, up popped one on EBay that had never been used so is new to all intents and purposes. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and got the pack. So, what is a Golite Breeze and why would I want one?

The Breeze is about the most simple backpack design there can be. It consists of a large main bag that is fastened shut by a drawcord and strap from the rear of the pack over the top to the front. There are two mesh pockets on the sides that are large enough to take water bottles, snacks, tents or whatever plus a very large external mesh pocket. There are two ice axe loops and two pieces of fabric above the water bottle pockets that help support the seams and could be used to trap tent poles if stored in the side pockets. Two shoulder straps are used to carry the pack although Ray Jardine recommends just using one at a time and alternating the shoulder doing the carrying. There is no sternum strap, no hip belt, lashing or compression system or anything else. Structure of the pack is made by using your sleeping pad and other gear.

The vital statistics of the Golite Breeze are:

  1. Weight 400g or 14 ounces
  2. Main pockets 47.52 litres or 2900 ci
  3. Mesh pockets 13.93 litres or 840 ci
  4. Total capacity 61.45 litres or 3740 ci
  5. Carrying weight 9 kg ideal, 11.4 kg max or 20lbs ideal, 25lbs max

Clearly, this is a pack for backpackers who follow ultralight principles and are good at packing loads in a backpack. Those were the reasons I wanted the Breeze along with its low weight. In addition, it has sufficient volume to carry spare insulation in colder weather. Living in the UK I find a lot of UL packs too small to do this and, sadly, the UK climate often requires a microfleece or similar to be carried. It’s not the weight but the volume that’s the problem.

My Breeze only arrived today so I haven’t had chance to even begin to test it properly although I did throw random gear in up to the recommended carry weight and walked around with it. My first impressions were a) packing is crucial for comfort, b) I didn’t miss the hipbelt at all, and c) I wasn’t aware of any discomfort on my shoulders. However, it’s early days yet and I need to get some trail miles in before I’ll know for sure but I think the Ray Way is might be the way to go! To end this blog here are some pics of the Breeze.

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OMM 3.5 litre waist pack

OMM are a long-established British company make lightweight gear for runners and backpackers. Their products are distinguished by design, functionality, low weight and robustness. This little pack is no exception weighing 150g and is very well made.

There is one large pocket plus two side pockets – the side pockets are closed by elasticated webbing and are suitable for holding gel bars, etc. They also have a key clip in each one. I was a bit dubious about the safety of items held in these but, in practice, nothing has fallen out and the easy accessibility is a great thing to have when on the move.

The main pocket is closed by a dual zip as is common on this type of pack. It also has a key clip sewn in. Other than that it is just a large, empty pocket for carrying stuff in. Simple and effective! My guess is the capacity of the main pocket is a fraction over three litres with the side pockets making the total up to 3.5 litres.

On the top is an elasticated shock cord run through webbing tabs in a figure of eight. The cord can be tightened by a little plastic lock. The cord has two functions: a) to hold something like a windshirt firmly on top of the pack, or b) to help compress and stabilise the pack if it’s not full. There are two plastic grips on the bottom of the pack that the cord can be ran through for this job. In practice, this is a useful addition to the pack but if you don’t want it then it’s easy to remove and refix the shockcord as required.

With a bit of ingenuity it’s possible to use the bottom clips and the shockcord tabs to fasten the waist pack onto a rucksack if you don’t want to wear it but this depends on what rucksack you’re using.

The materials that make up the pack are all very light and extremely strong. I should add I have other pieces of OMM kit made from the same material that have given me years of dependable service so I know this pack will perform well for many years to come. Stitching is first class. The waist belt is adjustable and, once tightened, doesn’t come loose. There are padded areas on the belt to aid a comfortable fit. The logo and detailing are reflective so you can been seen on the road.

Wearing the pack shows the cleverness of the design. It moulds to the body and the padded areas absorb shocks from the contents of the pack when in motion. Crucially, the pack does not impede the motion of the body. Again, simple and effective.

If you’re a runner or a backpacker who needs a bit more volume to carry water, clothing, food or whatever then this pack is a very good option. It is a top quality waist pack that does exactly what it is supposed to do and will reliably continue to do so for many years. It is constructed to a high standard with robust, but very light, materials and the design is extremely well thought out. It works!

Here are some images of the pack that I’ve taken from the OMM website https://theomm.com/product/waist-pouch/

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Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn revisited.

Some time back I wrote about my initial thoughts on this shelter and how impressed I was with it. Since then, I’ve been able to get out and about a few times and use it in anger; the most recent being a four-day backpack in the Peak District that I organised for the Backpackers UK Club.

I was impressed before trying the tarp in the field but now I’m super impressed! All the fact and figures are in my previous blog post but the reality is that is is very light to carry, really simple to get a good, taught pitch and very adaptable. From previous experience I know that it deals with rain extremely well but the latest trip was blessed with hot, sunny days and cold nights. One night there were strong gusts so I pitched the SpinnTwinn low on three sides.

There was some condensation on the inside, especially near the foot end, but that’s to be expected as the dew point was passed and, to quote Scotty, “Ye cannae beat the laws of physics”. The condensation wasn’t a problem though as nothing got wet under the tarp. A quick wipe down with a J-cloth plus a couple of good shakes and the SpinnTwinn was basically dry again.

The rest of the time I pitched the SpinnTwinn in the normal A-Frame configuration and it was fine. Again, some condensation but never a problem.

In summary, I love this tarp for its sheltering ability, loads of usable space, versatility and lightness. I know Gossamer Gear only make the new versions in Silnylon (mine is Spinnaker) but they are essentially the same and I doubt there’d be much difference in performance as Silnylon is a fine material. It’s my favourite tarp by a long chalk. I would not use the SpinnTwinn in the depths of a U.K. winter due to cold draughts -for that the Scarp 1 is my goto shelter.

Highly recommended for those of us who love tarp camping.

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