Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hilleberg Akto in the Snow

This season I set out to search for a solo 4 season shelter to add to my winter camping gear.

Why Hilleberg?  Swedish and Local

I really enjoy a fair share of Swedish outdoor gear.  When tools, knives, cooksets and clothing come to mind Swedish backpacking gear has the long standing reputation for being some of the best designed and most well made.

I've considered Hilleberg tents in the past.  Watching several of their tents being shown by Bruce on his YouTube channel Nature Calls Backpacking reminded me of Hilleberg again. Thanks Bruce!

I visited Hilleberg's website and saw that Hilleberg has a USA location, with a 425 area code. That's local!?  Their US offices are located in Redmond, Washington.

Why Akto?

There are many reviews for the Akto in print (and, all over the world on YouTube videos).  I've read almost every review on the Hilleberg Akto - nearly all were positive.

I was finally sold on the Akto by YouTube channel Ascent41 and its content creator Si.  The  Welsh hills and mountains where he backpacks are absolutely gorgeous. And seeing his Akto from inside and outside - cooking in the vestibule, laying under the yellow inner tent with plenty of room for gear and adventurer - got me hooked on the Akto.  Si - thank you!

You can watch my first pitch of the Hilleberg Akto on Wawhiker Backpacking.

I defer a review of the Hilleberg Akto.  As with most of my backpacking gear - I leave reviews to others.  But I will say, I'm very pleased with the Hilleberg Akto and look forward to many years backpacking with it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Hammock Camping 5 Years With My Dog Cooper and a Campfire Overnight

A special Wawhiker Backpacking hammock camping overnight with my dog Cooper, marking a 5 year milestone at the original hammock campsite.

Processed a good load of firewood with the Bob Dustrude 24 inch Quick Buck Saw and Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe for a rare Wawhiker Backpacking campfire.

This was a second hammock camping overnight with the Warbonnet Wooki full-length underquilt for my Warbonnet Blackbird hammock

Video / Photo Gear
Sony 4K FDR-AX33 Handycam
Sony Alpha A6300 Camera
Sony 18-105mm F4 G OSS Lens
Sony HDR AS20 Action Cam (CooperCam)

See it all on our YouTube channel Wawhiker Backpacking.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sounds Good - Rode Microphones

Always looking to produce higher quality YouTube videos on Wawhiker's Backpacking Channel, we are working to better the overall sound of the videos. A way to improve audio quality is through the use of external microphones.

Rode Microphones offer a line of alternatives to the onboard mics found on cameras and camcorders. We picked-up two of their's - the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro and the Rode VideoMic with Rycote Lyre shock mounting.

To reduce wind noise, both microphones were outfitted with the available (I don't like these names) the Rode Dead Cat and Dead Kitten artificial fur windshields.

So far, we like what we are hearing, and you will too, very soon on Wawhiker Backpacking.

Here are the specs and links for each microphone.

Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro


Specs include:
Broadcast recording quality on-camera microphone
Matched pair 1/2” condenser capsules in XY stereo configuration
Ultra lightweight, compact form factor
On mic power and EQ controls
Two step High Pass Filter (flat, 75Hz)
Three position level control (-10dB, 0, +20dB)
9V battery powered - over 100 hours use (alkaline)
Integrated shock mounting
Integrated foam windscreen
3.5mm stereo mini-jack output
Billeted metal camera shoe mount with 3/8” thread for easy boompole mounting

Rode VideoMic with Rycote Lyre shock mounting

Specs include:
Studio recording quality
Condenser microphone
Super-cardioid polar pattern
9V battery power
Integrated Rycote Lyre shock mounting
Two step High Pass Filter (Flat/80Hz)
Three step PAD (0, -10, -20dB)
Rugged reinforced ABS construction
Windshield included
3.5mm mini-jack output
Integrated cold-shoe mount (3/8” thread)

Friday, March 11, 2016

An Update and Moving Forward

I wanted to post an update.  It has been a while.  Photos from two recent camera purchases will make their way here as a featured showcase.  The latest videos (in 4K resolution) from my YouTube Channel will give you a sense of what Cooper and I have been up to.  Thanks for stopping by.

Rucksacking and Foil Stew

We took full advantage of a sun-break to get "out there" to have a camp fired stew along a rain-swollen river. Brought along the L.L.Bean Continental Rucksack, wearing Fjallraven outerwear - Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trouser, Fjallraven Forest Fleece Jacket, Fjallraven Byron Hat and enjoying all the moments with my Backpacking Cocker Spaniel Cooper.

SnowTrekker Minimalist Expedition Hot Tent Full On First Overnight

A snowshoe and toboggan pull to a snowy riverside setting allowed us to pitch the SnowTrekker Minimalist Expedition Hot Tent for a Full On First Overnight.

L.L. Bean Continental Rucksack with Bob Dustrude's Quick Buck Saw
and Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe
Wawhiker Rucksacking

Got out to the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest for some bushwhacking and campfire making with all my gear loaded in a rucksack. This is the first in a series of "Rucksacking", with more to follow on Wawhiker Backpacking. This video also includes a bonus - make your own DIY Bottle Holder (Fish Spreader) made from an inexpensive and very common / easy to find welding flint striker.

SnowTrekker Minimalist Expedition Hot Tent Winter Snow Camping - First Test Overnight

Cooper and I did a first pitch, first burn, hot tent winter snow camping overnight with the Snowtrekker Minimalist Expedition Hot Tent and Seek Outside Larger Titanium Wood Stove.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All Titanium Backpacking Grill and Stove Cook Kit

It's another backpacking gear post - featuring a cook kit that could cover all my trail cooking needs.

It's not the lightest cook kit on the trail, but it's all titanium, and I know it will do steak and potatoes with all the sides.  I'll show you the steak and potatoes in a bit.

 The components of this cook kit are as follows;

- Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cookset
- Snow Peak 450 Titanium Mug
- Four Dog Stoves Titanium Wind Screen for the Snow Peak Trek 700
- Lawson Outdoor Equipment Titanium Tent Stakes

Here is the whole kit and kaboodle weighing in at 15 and 3/4 ounces (448 grams).

Using the Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove, Four Dog Stoves Titanium Wind Screen and Lawson Outdoor Equipment Titanium Tent Stakes, I boiled two cups of water in 5 minutes 44 seconds, with one ounce of Heet denatured alcohol. (Total burn time was 6 minutes and 40 seconds - indoors - garage).

Sometime this backpacking season, I'll use the Four Dog Stoves Wind Screen and Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove as a grill.

As stated earlier, the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove will grill steak...

...you can see for yourself on this Wawhiker Backpacking YouTube video.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Made Two Pot Stands for the Trangia Backpacking Alcohol Stove

Sitting inside watching the rain, backpacking plans foiled, all geared-up and no place to go, I can still make the best of a rainy situation.

Some of my best gear improvement ideas have come to me on restless rainy days.    

The Trangia alcohol stove is hard to beat as a favorite backpacking stove. The Trangia is one of my favorites too, with one minor drawback, no pot stand. There are many nice pot stands made for the Trangia. I've never seen a pot stand I really liked, and made do without one, until now. Restless times call for rainy desperate do-it-yourself gear improvements.  Here are my two DIY pot stands for the Trangia.

Using a left-over section from a tent pole project, (see the Wawhiker YouTube video "REI Tent Poles for the Warbonnet SuperFly Tarp"), I made three 5 1/2 inch aluminum ground stakes. The stakes are stuck into the ground equally around the Trangia stove.  

Three cross members 3 1/2 inches long were cut from a stainless steel rod.  Each end of the rods were bent at 90 degrees.  These cross members form a triangle when placed into top of the ground stakes. The triangle should be 1 1/4 inches high from the jets of the Trangia alcohol stove. 
The flower pot imitated dry ground on this rainy day.

A wind screen is needed for this setup.  I found ground stake stability was an issue.

The second pot stand for the Trangia alcohol stove is the one I really like. But all of the credit for the construction of it has to go to Four Dog Stoves. It's based on their titanium wind screen for a Snow Peak 700 cook pot. I've had the wind screen for almost a year, (see the Wawhiker YouTube video "Zpacks Blast Slim Cuben Hybrid Backpack Gear Carry for a Hammock Overnight" for the wind screen first use), and thought of modding it for a pot stand for quite a while.

Using the Four Dog Stoves titanium wood screen as a pot stand meant I would have to drill holes through the titanium wall.  I was always hesitant because I had heard titanium was very difficult to cut.  After some research online, I discovered using a high speed drill and a good quality bit would make drilling holes through this titanium wind screen an easy task - and it was.

Once this rain lets up we will show you both pot stands on Wawhiker's YouTube Channel during our next backpacking adventure. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

ZPacks Blast Slim Backpack Gets A Light Weight Internal Frame

You read it right - my ZPacks Blast Slim Backpack is sporting an internal frame.

The removable frame gives great support, yet it's flexible from side-to-side.  Initial support tests have been positive. 

The aluminum and mesh frame adds 5 1/4 ounces to the already ultralight Zpacks Blast Slim's total weight.
The curves on the frame follow the spine and lumbar contours along the back.


The frame makes an already great backpack even better.  The added benefits of an internal frame can be felt as stability between the shoulders, down the lower back and from the hips.

You can't order this internal frame from ZPacks. 


It's a standard feature on another backpack made by Patagonia.

The Patagonia Ascensionist 45L Pack

When Patagonia recently released the Ascensionist 45L Pack I was all over it.  Weighing in at just under 2.5 pounds, the minimalist look and build appealed to me immediately. It reminded me of my Zpacks Blast Slim - in Beast Mode.  (The color options were a plus too).  I was on the look out for a light weight, rugged, bushwhacking version of the Blast Slim.

The Patagonia Ascensionist 45L Pack is the perfect fit.  I really like this backpack and all the features that come with it.  Stay tuned to my Wawhiker YouTube Channel for a review.

Did I mention - the Patagonia Ascensionist 45L Pack comes with a removable internal frame.


Both the ZPacks Blast Slim Backpack and the Patagonia Ascensionist 45L Pack benefit from light weight internal frame.