DIY

Xionel: Cheap Flexible Solar

I am looking for a way to efficiently charge a Mavik Pro drone battery in the field multiple times. I plan to take mine ‘hunting’ with me so I can get some really good aerial footage of sambar deer.  Obviously I will not be using it to help me kill a deer. Clearly I will …

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DIY Air Frame Pack

This will make your frameless pack more comfortable, transfer load to your waist belt and help keep your back dry. You can still buy an ‘air beam’ from Granite Gear for US$50.  You will need to make a 3D wicking mesh pocket on the back of your frameless pack (one like this or this for …

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Kill Wasp Queens Now

Spring in Australia and the wasp queens are out and about. If you don’t kill them now there will be hundreds of these introduced pests everywhere come summer to spoil your barbecue or sting your kids. Last year I managed to tread on a European wasp’s nest and was bitten dozens of times. Let me …

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Electric Drill Earth Auger:

I have been substantially laid up with this back (slipped disc then back op. – basically since July dammit!). Slowly getting better I hope (?) Meanwhile however my daughter Merrin and I have planted about 300 trees mainly using this method which costs at most a couple of dollars ($A) and at least A$1 when …

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Minnow Gripper

What’s not to like about these little beauties? https://countycomm.com/products/minnow-gripper Made in the U.S.A. ‘Hold up to 175 lb (80 kg) & weigh only .35 Ounce (10 grams). These heavy duty tarp clips create a grommet instantly on any material. Powerful cross-hatch surface gripping jaws clinch tighter as tension is applied. Great for fastening plastic sheeting, …

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It’s Not My Fault

It’s Not My Fault: Self-help before you despair. On 02/10/2018 I had this post The Parting of the Ways (Below) in which I hinted that not only may there be a small group of themes which inform our lives but that there may be a small group of delusions which drag them down. As an …

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Ultralight Pocket Lockpick

54 grams: The SouthOrd Jackknife Lockpick. How could you go anywhere without one? Why bother to carry keys at all? They are probably heavier then this anyway. A great substitute for the Keychain Reinvented. Of course it might take a little practice to actually open your front door with it – and it may be …

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How Light Can a Tent Be

Well, let’s talk about a tarp really. You will need about an ounce I guess for the smallest Polycro groundsheet (unless you don’t use one, because you are perhaps desert hiking). To that you have to add the weight of a fly. I calculated that I could make my Pocket Poncho Tent (which weighed 185 …

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Hemmer Foot

If you are considering making your own tarp/shelter (you should) you might find one of these little gadgets a great help. You can buy a set of three (universal snap-on fit) from eg eBay for around $10. I will certainly be buying one. It should save me a lot of pinning. My finger arthritis also …

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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 …

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Make Your Sleeping Pad Warmer

For the ‘budget hiker’ the sleeping pad and bag are no doubt the most expensive items. Such a pad need cost no more than US$13! If your expeditions are likely to only occur in the warmer months you can improve the insulative ability of a cheaper pad enough by simple expedients.  In this post I …

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How to Carry a Saw

A 31 gram 6″ hiking/hunting saw sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Complete with handle and sheath it cost me less then $A9. The Diablo saw blades are A$17.47 per pair in the Tools section of Bunnings. I will try to find an even better blade next time. Holding it in the vice I carefully cut …

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How Many of These Needed to Make a Pack Raft?

 I recently bought one of these for $A20 (July 2018) from K-Mart to play with. I wanted to practice some seam heat-sealing with something available and cheap before I began modifying an expensive hiking pad: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/axl-air-down-pad/ . I had in mind that I would probably be able to make an inflatable pack frame with one …

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Several Winter’s Fires

I have been busy building a new wood shed and stocking it with rather more than my favourite poet Edward Thomas’ ‘recommended’ ‘Fifty Faggots’. I can get the wood to this one no matter how wet the paddocks are, and simply throw it straight off the tray and into the shed. It has plenty of …

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AXL Air Down Pad

I am thinking of modifying one of Big Agnes’ AXL Air Pads (by cutting it down say to 5’4″) and adding in approximately 4 ounces of Hyper Dry Down. This should give me a pad which weighs around 360 grams is 4″ thick yet has an R-rating of around 6.0 – so suitable for say …

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No Cold Shoulder Spreader Hammock:

I like the spreader bar on this new hammock from Rei. This would stop that annoying thing where the hammock fabric compresses the insulation of your sleeping bag at shoulder-to-elbow and creates a cold spot. There are several other ways around this eg a wider mat, a pad extender, etc, but I feel that this …

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Massdrop In Stock

Massdrop now have some of their great specials in stock – so you don’t have to wait for a drop. For example, they have the Enlightened Equipment Quilt I recently posted about for US $219.99 (Jun 2018). Their excellent  Fizan compact hiking poles I wrote about here are just US$59.99 a pair. The Massdrop Klymit …

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You Must Learn to Shoot Your Own Dog

This was one of my father’s favourite sayings, by which he meant you must stand on your own two feet and fetch for yourself. Never delegate responsibility to someone else.  So, for 40 years I have been fixing my own cars. For example I have been rebuilding a sequence of Subarus since circa 1978 – …

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The DIY Gunsmith:

In the US this is a popular (and legal) pursuit though quite properly it is an offence to misuse any firearm. In Australia it is definitely a criminal offence to make your own, even a shanghai (see below). Mind you the fact that here (despite our draconian firearms laws) the great majority of guns ever …

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Car-Camper Conversion: $50

We have recently been on a car camping holiday in Scotland where we wanted to stay away from people as much as possible on such a crowded island, and save on accommodation costs by sleeping in the rental car wherever we could find a pleasant spot. The car we hired turned out to be a …

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