Saturday, 29 September 2007

Gear Review: North Water Guides Vest

I was very excited recently when North Water Paddlesports Equipment sent me the guides vest recently to try out. Several of my friends have been using them for a couple of seasons now so I have looking forward to actually using it for some time.  To get PFD's certified by the government, the manufacture must design it to meet specific bouncy standards. When a manufacture decides to add pockets or accessories, they also need to increase the bouncy in the jacket to compensate for the potential increased weight (water in pockets, accessories, etc.). Generally speaking, the more pockets and storage on a PFD, the bulkier and cumbersome it is.
Friday, 28 September 2007

Alcohol vs Naphyha Stoves

Trangia Stove and Pot Set Here in North America, alcohol stoves (eg. the Trangia stove) for some reason haven't caught on quite as much that the pressurized or Naphtha (MSR) stoves did. Not sure why, as they are quiet and super reliable. When I worked in a camping store, I would show people the Trangia stove and compare it to the MSR stoves and they would always ask, how long does it take to boil water? Generally speaking the MSR stoves have a higher BTU output so they will get your tea in your hands slightly quicker. I have never understood why boil time is the benchmark for stoves. To me, the reliability of a product is way more important. In the 4 years I worked in the returns and repairs department, I only saw one Trangia stove ever come back. I can't tell you the hundreds of Whisperlight and Dragonfly stoves that people tried to return because they couldn't get them working or parts broke while out on the trip. Mind you, the majority (almost all) of the retuned stoves were because the user never read the instructions before using or never pulled out the instructions with the troubleshooting tips when something went wrong. The biggest complaints I got were that they were finicky or loud. That is where Trangia stoves are different. They are simple with no moving parts. They run on alcohol so the fuel is cheap. Best advantage? They run completely silent. Yes, the BTU output isn't as high but how often do you need your water ready to go in 3 min? You are sitting around talking anyways... That doesn't mean that MSR stoves are bad, they are fantastic stoves for what they were designed for, high BTU output. I love my dragonfly because it simmers nice but man is it loud. It is designed on the same principles as a jet engine so what does it sound like? Yep, a jet engine. On a slightly different note, you can easily build your own alcohol stove using two beer cans. This is an old trick…
Big Agnes® Inc., maker of innovative sleeping bags, pads and tents, is proud to announce that its Emerald Mountain SL2 tent was awarded a gold medal in the China Outdoor Equipment Contest at the recent Asia Outdoor Trade Fair, in Nanjing, China.
Thursday, 27 September 2007

Dog PFD's

NRS Dog PFD Do you have a dog? Do you like to take your dog out in the boat? Have you considered getting a pfd for your dog? When I ask people that question, I always get a weird look. I'm now prepared for it. Dog owners always have an idea that their dog is a great swimmer, that's true most dogs love the water and are very good swimmers but just like ourselves, they can get tired very easily and just like humans they can keep swimming chasing after something interesting and not realize how tired they are until it is to late. I have personally witnessed a golden lab come within a hair's breath of drowning. The pooch was retrieving a stick from the water that the owner threw out when it saw some ducks, which were way more interesting (of course). The dog decided to swim after them but couldn't quite catch the ducks. Around and around they went with the owner frantically calling after the dog to come back to shore. When a passing kayaker got between the dog and the ducks, the dog realised how tired he was and started to panic. Thankfully he wasn't far form shore (200 feet or so) but by the time he swam back to shore the only thing are the surface was the very top of his head and little nose breathing like mad. The dog completely collapsed on shore. If you have a dog that likes the water, get a pfd. We used to have a dog and she loved it purely because she was lazy. It enabled her to just float on the surface of the water without having to do anything. It was very funny to watch how excited she was when she discovered she could do it. Where do I find one? They are a little tricky to find as most shops don't see them. A couple of the larger pet food supply stores will carry them or can order one in for you. Like human PFD's, most aren't very well designed. Look for wide…
Wednesday, 26 September 2007

New White Light LEDs Developed

It looks like scientists in India have been able to make considerable steps towards developing a pure white LED. Up until now, our headlamps have only been able to pump out blue and yellowish colours. The new LEDs are based on a new phosphor from semiconductor nanocrystals of cadmium sulfide mixed with manganese. It produces a stable shade of white light that remains constant over time and appears superior in overall performance in comparison to previous generations of white LEDs. The practical uses to achieving a white light would be for household and office lighting systems. And yes, your headlamp so you can blind your friends while standing around talking at night... LED Primer: More info:

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