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Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? on 06/23/2009 04:21:01 MDT Print View

“Will there ever be a material beyond cuben? (wish there was something like funnel web spider silk, that you could draw into something as thin as a tent pole, but it would fan out and stick any way you needed it to)”

A new generation of super light super tough textile might not be to far away, according to an article in New Scientist 2nd May 2009 magazine, on research being done by at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle, Germany.

Spider silk is already one of the toughest fibres known, and now it can be made even more resilient with an ejection of metal. By infiltrating the protein structure of the silk, the metal makes each strand 10 times as hard to snap. The team fired beams of ionized metal compounds at lengths of spider silk using a technology called atomic layer deposition (ALD). As well as coating each fibre in a fine metal oxide, some metal ions penetrate the fibre. They tried zinc, aluminium and titanium compounds all of which improved the mechanical properties of silk. With all three metals, the fibres can hold three to four times as much weight. The fibres also become stretchier, so that their toughness-the energy needed to break a strand- rises even more. The work needed to break the fibre rises tenfold with titanium, ninefold with aluminium and fivefold with zinc. The results are published in the journal of Science (DOI:10.1126/science.1168162)

The same technique might beef up other materials. Spider silk is not a practical engineering material, but material scientists are trying to produce artificial fibres that mimic its properties. If they succeed, the result could be super-tough textiles.

Tony

Edited by tbeasley on 06/23/2009 04:23:24 MDT.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
bear canister on 06/24/2009 08:57:24 MDT Print View

Although plenty of new models have appeared on the market in recent years, this is an area ripe for advancements in design. These things virtually eradicate most all of the weight reduction advantage we have worked so hard for and for which we have paid so dearly.

Chris, would please provide some detail to your Wilderness Solutions experience? Thanks.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? on 06/24/2009 09:15:07 MDT Print View

Here in most of Japan there is really not so much to worry about bears getting into your food (though they do have Asiatic Black Bears (similar to North American Black Bears) on the main island and Brown Bears (relatives of Grizzlies) up north in Hokkaido, but you do have to worry about macaques (snow monkeys) in some areas... and very little will stop them. They're just too smart.

I've often wondered about looking at animal defenses for creating a good anti-bear food container. The electric bear bag idea is very good, but what about something that follows the way a lot of insects protect themselves, or perhaps creatures like the porcupine, which live in bear country, or sea sea urchins? Spines (either long ones that simply protrude, or finer ones that dislodge into the bear's nose), chemical gas that emit a painful spray or awful smell, scalding water, sirens that emit a very loud, piercing sound that is calibrated to just a bear's intolerance, or a mat of stinging strands like that of a jelly fish that is wrapped around the package... just suggestions.

Edited by butuki on 06/24/2009 09:16:23 MDT.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Nothing New Under the Sun?" new bear repellant and dogs on 06/24/2009 10:17:00 MDT Print View

We have been developing this for about a year but have kept it under wraps after it got leaked to PEDA. We always carry spray butter with us. Before we go to sleep we liberaly spray it on our dogs so if a big scary bear comes into our camp it will chase the dogs and give us time to climb a tree and cry. As usual we are on the forefront of setting new trends. Ali

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Nothing New Under the Sun? (environment not baggage...) on 06/24/2009 12:05:00 MDT Print View

""How about monitoring and reporting on water quality?"

I'm not sure how to read your question but if you mean as part of a device, yes absolutely. Perhaps a simple test dropper kit that can provide a simple color reaction in the presence of pathogens."
-Martin

Yes, but I didn't just mean the devices.

Really I'd emphasize ridding of the need for gear, rather than lightening the gear. Could backcountry water quality be watched as closely as trail conditions? (Perhaps this is done already in some areas.)

Blazes have already allowed hikers to not carry maps, trail shelters v. tents, etc.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? (environment not baggage...) on 06/24/2009 14:25:46 MDT Print View

"Really I'd emphasize ridding of the need for gear, rather than lightening the gear."

Well said. Where I hike I don't need water purification or bear/monkey protection. Cleaning up the water supplies and killing the bears in your area may lighten your load considerably! We also have a good smattering of huts all over the country, which allow me to leave tent and mat at home, and in some huts even cooking facilities are supplied. It's the best of UL if you can stand sharing a room with a bunch of drinking/partying/snoring people you don't know...

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Something new for you... on 07/06/2009 20:29:17 MDT Print View

Someone else had posted about spider silk so I thought you guys might find this interesting

http://www.gadling.com/2007/12/12/big-in-japan-spider-silk-socks-warm-the-toes-and-sooth-the-soul/

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? on 07/08/2009 14:24:21 MDT Print View

I am personally happy that I can finally buy something without having to worry about the 4oz lighter version to come out 2 days later.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Bigger than weight on 07/08/2009 16:55:42 MDT Print View

If you think of UL backpacking purely in terms of weight savings, then most of the big improvements have already been made. You can't shave another 5lbs off your pack if you're already switched from a 6 lbs pack to a 1 lbs one. If you think in terms of just weight savings then the future of UL is dimishing returns and gradual refinement that leads to better products but not very many radical new ones.

However, I think the idea behind UL backpacking applies to more than just weight. The real goal behind all of this is to make outdoor recreation more enjoyable. Shaving off pounds has certainly done this and there are other ways you can also achieve this.

In addition to a low pack weight, other things that can make hiking more enjoyable are better nutrition, better tasting foods, higher performing footwear, using solor energy for electronics and maybe cooking, better fabrics that are more comfortable etc.

Another avenue UL hiking could go down is the shift to relying on the wild for food. We already rely on the hiking area for water and it's possible we'd see a shift to decrease our food reliance on packed in foods, and move it towards harvested ones. Fishing is an obvious one, but there is so much more. Edible plants is a huge topic and one that most backpackers don't even start to explore. Making your own tea in the wilderness (labrador tea), finding mushrooms to eat (dangerous), eating plants etc has huge potential for weight savings. With UL and SUL kits, the majority of your weight can be food.

The challenge with this though is keeping it sustainable.

Edited by dandydan on 07/08/2009 16:57:04 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Bigger than weight on 07/08/2009 17:17:06 MDT Print View

"Another avenue UL hiking could go down is the shift to relying on the wild for food. We already rely on the hiking area for water and it's possible we'd see a shift to decrease our food reliance on packed in foods, and move it towards harvested ones. Fishing is an obvious one, but there is so much more. Edible plants is a huge topic and one that most backpackers don't even start to explore. Making your own tea in the wilderness (labrador tea), finding mushrooms to eat (dangerous), eating plants etc has huge potential for weight savings. With UL and SUL kits, the majority of your weight can be food."

It's pretty difficult to get enough calories to sustain you for very long in most wilderness areas, unless you start killing animals. Especially if you want to do anything much beyond hunting/gathering. Pretty much the challenge confronting our early ancestors, a constant search for enough food to stay alive.

"The challenge with this though is keeping it sustainable."

Precisely why this should not be encouraged, at least in wilderness areas and NP's.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Bigger than weight on 07/08/2009 19:09:27 MDT Print View

Wearing a flame retardant suit there Dan?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Gathering on 07/09/2009 01:02:19 MDT Print View

Keep in mind I'm not suggesting an immediate switch to 100% reliance on the wilderness for food which I realize is extremely difficult and unsustainable. Simple stuff like gathering blueberries for pancakes, making labradour tea (or cedar tea) etc are all simply things you can do add a bit of luxury and/or save weight. These are things that can be done as a fun activity around camp in the evenings....even planning fresh fish as one meal is fairly easy if you don't mind bringing your gear. Worse case scenario you just miss one meal. I think this is the kind of thing you just gotta start small and slowly increase as your skill does. There are so many edible plants if you have the knowlege to know when, where and how to find them.

This kinda stuff wouldn't work in popular areas, but for the backpacker who is really getting out there into the middle of nowhere it could be sustainable and by starting small you can keep the effort level to a comfortable one.

Edited by dandydan on 07/09/2009 01:04:46 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Gathering on 07/09/2009 13:45:33 MDT Print View

We often gather *small* amounts of fresh greens (watercress, sea lettuce etc...), fish and berries to add colour and flavour to our meals. Beyond that I think it's not practical from either a time or environmental point of view to rely on wild foods.

Actually, I take back the environmental argument to a certain extent in NZ. There are many official pest animals that it would be environmetally friendly to rely on. These include some tasty animals such as deer, pigs, possums and rabbits, but carrying a high powered rifle and big knife is not my idea of UL, plus hunting, snaring and butchery take a lot of time. Of course, so does fishing, but I enjoy fishing for it's own sake as much as for the food it might provide.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Cattails on 07/09/2009 14:00:57 MDT Print View

I think cat tails are an interesting potential food source. I'm fuzzy on this, but I think you can eat the green part of the young plants and you can make sort of flour from the roots of the older ones. I believe some people make biscuits and pancakes based on this.

Like Lynn said, it's gotta be something you enjoy though because all of this stuff is time consuming.

Edited by dandydan on 07/09/2009 14:02:20 MDT.

YAMABUSHI !
(THUNDERHORSE) - F
Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? on 01/14/2010 00:30:51 MST Print View

Didnt read every post but...

Biomimicry:

http://brainz.org/15-coolest-cases-biomimicry/

Havent read it but: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/sustainable-sex/book-review-biomimicry-innovation-inspired-by-nature-by-janine-m.-benyus

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
beer on 01/14/2010 07:59:09 MST Print View

I want instant beer that uses incredibly cold spring water from the mountains, no muss, no fuss, no added equipment, just mix and smile.... :)

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: beer on 01/14/2010 08:10:02 MST Print View

This might be vaporware, but I am hopeful.

Pat's BackCountry Beer

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Nothing New Under the Sun? on 01/18/2010 22:02:41 MST Print View

One issue is the availability of materials. Let's look at tents, for instance. the lighter shelter options now on the market, such as the Zpacks Hexamid or a Cuben tarp from Oware, are at the limits of the available materials. Excess "features" have been eliminated and the sizes reduced about as far as is practical. So until lighter fabrics come along, not much room for weight reduction. And the problem is that the fabrics are not developed for backpacking gear. We are just an ancillary market. I can't think of any fabric developed specifically for tents. All the tent fabrics that I am aware of are either variants of fabrics developed for clothing (Goretex, eVent, EPIC, as examples) or sails and hot air balloons and parachutes (silnylon, spinnaker cloth, Cuben). So new materials for the backpacking gear market are dependent on developments for other markets.
Once we push our gear weights down to the limits of the currently available fabrics, we have to wait for someone to develop a new, lighter fabric for some other use which we can then adopt. The UL backpacking gear market alone is apparently not large enough to make developing fabrics specifically for it a rewarding investment.
Some kinds of gear have not hit this point yet - for instance, anyone with a little imagination can see how an inverted canister stove could be made a good bit lighter than anything currently on the market - and we've seen a few ideas in that direction as modifications of existing stoves on the MYOG forum.
Unfortunately, the "Big 3" - sleeping system, pack, tent - (which make up a large part of anyone's base weight) are all getting pretty close to the limits of currently available materials. So big jumps just aren't possible - for now.