Saturday, 16 October 2010

john west salmon flakes

A new find whilst doing a circuit around Waitrose this afternoon. Looking for low sodium chicken stock cubes, I must add.

Not sure what I might cook up with this apart from, say, salmon fish cakes made with instant potato. Or added to a white sauce flavoured with dill and served with pasta.

tuna and potato supper

This is a simple meal that’s easy to prepare and is very tasty.

One sachet of tuna sandwich filler
One sachet of instant potato

Boil the required amount of water, make the potato, add the tuna to the potato, stir, and eat! Did I mention this was simple to prepare?

Those with a fry pan and the inclination could make tuna fish cakes with the mix.

The ones I use are John West and they come in a variety of dressings, my favourite is the sun dried tomato one.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Exped AirPillow – first look

It might seem strange that for someone who is constantly striving to reduce pack weight that I should make space for a pillow in my rucksack.

It’s simple really; I sleep on my side and need something to support my neck. Most text books state that you can make a pillow out of your spare clothes but I don’t carry much in the way of spare items. If I was packing a primaloft top or down waistcoat then chances are I’d be wearing it to boost the rating of my sleeping bag.

For a couple of years I used a Ajungilak pillow but this had developed a leak on a seam that, no matter how I tried to repair it, it would always deflate.

The full monty

The Exped AirPillow is it’s natural successor. It tips the scales at 79g, over 50g lighter than the one it replaces, and the tiny stuff sack supplied weighs a measly 5g. It has two valves on the underside, one to inflate (a one way valve) and the other to deflate the pillow. The Ajungilak had one valve with no self sealing mechanism making it a struggle to get the plug in without letting too much air out. Another plus for the AirPillow then.

Sweet dreams?

The pillow is supplied with a repair kit which is a nice touch, especially given my previous experience. The pack size is good too, being about the same size as a mobile phone.

On paper then it ticks the right boxes, all I need to do now is to get out with it and see whether it lives up to it’s promises.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

inov8 roclite 305

Superb customer service from Martin at due to a cock up on my part, these little beauties came straight out of the box, on to my feet and off down the Dales Way. After I’d slipped the Superfeet into them, of course.

Apart from the price (they were on offer), the subtle shades of blue and gray, and a weight saving over the Terrocs, these boasted a midsole better suited to walking. And after three months of use I can testify to that.

The sole is a typical aggressive chunky/studded one like that on the Roclite 315’s that kept me on my feet last year in the Picos de Europa. The upper is an open weave mesh which kept my feet cool over the summer but is prone to being draughty. And my feet got a bit grubbier than they would have done had I been wearing a shoe with less mesh or had denser weave. And unlike other trainers I’ve not had any heel lift with these, so the heel cup material hasn’t worn through. Another first. I only hope that I can get my hands on another pair of these when it’s time to replace them.

edelrid epilio stove – first look

Epilio with a selection of pots and pans

After a couple of winter trips where drastic action was required to get a flame out of my usually trusty F1 Lite gas stove, I thought that I’d better invest in a gas stove that had a preheat tube for the coming winter.

Back in January Primus started advertising their Spider in TGO, at the time the lightest remote canister stove with preheat tube on the market, so an obvious choice. However supply didn’t match my demand and by the time it was available it was already April and I had no need.

Unlucky for Primus, Edelrid had launched their similarly spec’d but lighter Epilio, so this became the next obvious choice. Apart from the small weight saving, the deal clencher was that the control knob is parallel to the tube, unlike the Spider, making it easy to invert the canister if required.

The deal clencher

The stove folds flattish and weighs 175g on my postal scales. The packed size is 13cm square and about 4.5cm deep, so won’t fit in smaller pots like a Snow Peak 600. Although you can use a pot of this size on it quite happily. The burner head is 3cm diameter and the jets are directed straight up. This is good if you’re using a pot but not so good if using a wide pan as the flame is concentrated in one spot. The flame can be trimmed to the merest murmur which, with the use of a spoon, should mean that the narrow flame spread isn’t an issue. The pan supports give the stove a diameter of 15cm and as stated will work with a pot the size of a Snow Peak 600 or any that have a bigger than 4cm diameter.

Burner with preheat tube

Although I bought it for winter camping, it may find itself in the box if I head out for a spot of car camping in the summer with the family. Due to the smaller pack size and infinitely better flame control than the Trangia that I would normally pack.