Yet another sixteen ‘free’ ultralight hiking ideas. Enjoy.
A Cure for Slippery Mats: I have just spent a couple of weeks sleeping on my new Big Agnes AXL Air 300 gram mat in Scotland. It is indubitably the most comfortable mat I have ever slept on, but it does suffer from being a tad slippery. I will be taking some of my own advice below.
A Taut String Will Act as a Tripod or a Gun Rest A 4 Gram String Tripod: A taut string will act as a tripod! You can tie an approx 6’ (1.8m) length of string to a small bolt the size which fits in the tripod socket of your camera then screw it in to the camera. If you stand on the string with one foot and pull the string taut so that your eye is level with the viewfinder/screen you will be able to hold the camera almost perfectly still
Fire Umbrella: How to prevent the rain from putting out your fire? I have been toying with this idea for some time. This week I decided to try out an ‘ultralight’ method. I constructed this 1 metre x 1 metre square of tyvek for that purpose, sewing gross grain ribbon tie outs on each of four corners. This ‘fire canopy’ weighed less than 2 ounces (60 grams) including the 1mm (pink!) dyneema suspension ‘rope’. This is not much weight to carry for the benefit of a warm fire out the front of your tyvek tent or shelter.
World’s Lightest Tarp Clip: You can buy these approx 1” polystyrene balls from Spotlight for @ $2.40 for 20. They weigh about .2 gram each. You can carry a few of these in your repair/fishing kit (along with some string, eg 1-2mm Dyneema) for use at need, eg when you need some additional tie-downs for your tent/tarp or when you have torn one out.
Ultralight Clothes Pegs for Hiking How to dry your clothes when hiking? My first resort has always been my own body’s heat. For many years I would wash my clothes at the end of the day, hang them overnight to get them dry as best as I could – sometimes in front of a warm fire this works excellently – all my home-made tents for example can have a fire out the front to warm them – and include an inbuilt clothes line
The Ultralight Trail Baker: You can make a baking stand (‘The Flashbaker’) – for cook pot baking – out of aluminium flashing which weighs 8 grams. You just need to cut a circle a little smaller than your pot and leave three approx 1 ½” ‘legs’ on the outside of the disc which you fold down to support whatever you are cooking. (OK, this one has four legs!) This works well with a thick dough. I have often made ‘damper’ in my cook pot with such an arrangement. My original flashing ‘baker’ (below) weighs 13.5 grams.
Attaching Tie Downs to Your Pack: First you need to get some ½” gross grain ribbon from your local sewing supplies store – such as Spotlight here in Oz. Then you will need some of the Linelocks like you see I have sewn the gross grain to: You can buy these little guys right here in Oz
Linelok Pack Tie Downs: 7 grams: For those who don’t sew – or who don’t need to sew: You can use these wonderful little Clam Cleat Lineloks and some eg 2mm Spectra/Dyneema to lash your excess gear to your pack. I always use these lineloks on my tents and tarps:
Supercat Hiking Stove: This is a very useful hiking stove you can make with a paper punch from Officeworks and some empty cat food cans. Its inception was a genius idea from Jim Woods. Be sure you only use the punch on aluminium cans. I have found that there are two sizes of aluminium can and that one fits snugly inside the other
More Fun With Sticky Tape: Ultralight Mylar Vest: 23 grams that may save your life.
Whoopie Sling Guy Line Tensioners I am surprised you can’t buy whoopie sling guy lines. I am even more surprised that high-end tents don’t come with them as standard. They have to be the lightest and most elegant option. You will have to make your own. I would say that the 1.75mm ‘Zing It’ would be an ideal size for the novice to work with. They are an elegant solution,
Adjustable Hammock Ridgeline A Great Idea: It adds 6 grams to my hammock set-up but improves comfort much more than that by allowing a flatter ‘hang’ – and it allows for somewhere to hang your gear. It works on the same principle as the Whoopie Sling. Genius. I bought mine from this guy for A$16.95
The Spanish Windlass My father, Lawrence used to use this trick sometimes to pull stumps out of the ground. He would wrap a rope around a crowbar (as shown) then wind the rope up with a stout branch. This windlass applied enormous force and was enough to pull quite large stumps out of a line of fence, for example. Of course you might need to shorten the rope a few times as it gets hard to turn after you have several loops around the bar.
Side Insulation: Gossamer Gear’s Sitlight Pads are just great for this if you cut them in half lengthwise. They can be still used in your pack’s pad sleeve but when it comes time to make your bed, either on the ground or in your hammock, these little fellows will keep your elbows and shoulders toasty warm.
Tick Eliminator These little pests are becoming more common in Australia. Of course in the States they carry the dreaded Lyme Disease. Carrying a safe means of removing them and/or treating tick bites on self/companion animals is becoming more urgent than ever. Paralysis ticks have even spread to Southern Victoria. a couple of them (undetected for too long) were what ultimately took out our darling old pet Tiny back in February at the fine old age of 18. A number of products are on the market, and there is much wise advice out there too…
Impregnable Gun Safe: The gendarmes decreed that we had to upgrade our firearm storage though they had (as far as we could tell) safely and happily lived in the same cabinet for over thirty years! We had to buy a safe. Fortunately gun safes have become much less expensive over the years. We carefully chose one from eBay for $300
You will find a heap of other DIY ideas here: