BPLers Gathering of Gear Geeks: Henry Coe State Park January 25-27th, 2013
Corral Trail Head to Manzanita Point Group Campsites 2.7 Miles Approx.
Manzanita Point Camptsite Elevation 2,270 Ft.
Daytime Temps: 60F to 50F
Evening Temps: 45 to 31F
50-60 Came Out into the Cold
Website: Henry Coe State Park
Henry Coe Overflow Parking Lot
The only place you want to hide 75 gear freaks and keep them away from the paying public. $8 per day to park. Parking lot is located below the Park Headquarters, which requires you to drive up to get your permit and then drive back down to the overflow parking lot.
Show me a sign to put me on the path to Gear Geekdom
Ken was great in thinking ahead and planning out this event.
There is a short and relatively flat half a mile trail that takes you directly to the park's visitor trail. Thus avoiding taking the steep road back and avoiding the chance of becoming street pizza with the traffic.
Short and Easy Walk
The trail from the overflow parking lot conveniently takes you from the back of the building, right by the office's front door, and ends at the trail head.
Upon arriving to the visitor's center we quickly spotted Ken's White VW Van at one of the car camping sites. There we met David Gardner of GOLD Gear who had been waiting for about an hour in the hopes of catching Ken to have a couple boxes of his products driven into the campsite with the two support vehicles that the park allowed to be driven into the campsites. We later found out from the Rangers that Ken had already gone to the group sites earlier in another vehicle.
Heading over to the fire road
Lucky Rainbow and Weather
Despite weather forecast of a 20-30% chance of rain, we only had two moments of light sprinkles that lasted no more than 20 minutes, which did not even require rain gear to be pulled out.
Bike Your Own Hike In
We had a number of people bike into camp this year. Was fun to see the variety of bikes used by people to get out on the trail.
After an easy hike across open expanses of rolling hills and gnarled oak trees, we knew we were getting close to the group campsites.
Another Sign From Ken
These signs were great because these sites were closer to the trail head than the ones we had used last year and had much better restrooms. However, next time it would be a good idea to hang a few glow sticks from the sign. Throughout the evening up til about 1:30 am we had people arriving. Rumor is that a few people accidentally ended up camping Friday night at the site we had used last year.
Ken's Onsite GGG Visitor's Center
Over the past two years, Ken really has figured out how to organized these events and to execute them smoothly, making them a joy to attend, and appealing to a wider and wider group of people.
A Place for Everyone to Enjoy
Thoughtful planning helps. However, given that people knew that this was going to be a family friendly event, there was very little need for the separation of groups. There were no problems at all with drinking or smoking. Frankly, I hardly saw much of either and what was there was discreet and respectful of others.
Lee of Trail Designs, Coolest Campsite to Hang Out At
Battery Operated LED lights giving off more light than a raging campfire, Handing Out Boiling Hot Water out to anyone wanting some from his Tri-Ti Inferno wood burning stove that he was running all night long, music from his iPhone and portable speakers, and friend and intelligent conversations to offer anyone passing by. What is not to love???
Lee Demonstrating Alcohol Stove & Simmering Ring
Maybe the simmering ring was a new product that will be released or simply a prototype, I was not sure and I failed to get a photo of it while it was out briefly. A simple metal ring that is placed over their Aluminum 12-10 alcohol stove that covered the air intake holes on the side of the stove to create the ability to simmer food. Ingeniously simple and effective, like their Caldera Cone.
Trail Designs Caldera Cone
Lee Holding Court Through the Night
Through out the night there was a steady stream of visitors to Lee's campsite. Some were merely curious to see the Caldera Cone for the first time, others asked questions about how their stoves worked, and most simply enjoyed the company and casual conversations he had to offer.
Keegan Gets Some BushCraft Instruction from Justin
Keegan, who is 10 yrs old, was having the time of his young life, all due to the efforts of Justin, who is to the right. He took the time to use an axe that was laying next to the pile of firewood that Marc E. had trucked for the GGG and chopped a bunch of logs into kindling wood so that Keegan could learn how to start up a fire. Keegan was a creative ball of energy and excitement to which Justin patiently and enthusiastically catered to.
Keegan's Camp G.G.
Keegan marveling at his personal campfire that had been made for him suddenly declared that this would be henceforth be called Camp G.G., in honor of his deceased great grandfather. Keegan asked Justin to cut him a flat slab of wood with the axe so that he could make a sign to let others know the name of his newly christened campsite, which he gladly did. (No small task to swing an axe in the dark with only a headlight to guide your blade). The woman in the blue jacket, Sharon, helped Keegan by burning a small stick, which became his charcoal pen to write the name of his campsite onto the flat slab of wood that Justin had cut. Well, in this case, Keegan dictated what he wanted his sign to say and Sharon wrote it out for him.
Sharon and Justin enjoying the warm glow of Camp G.G.
Keegan's mug of water boils up a nice cup of hot chocolate at the edge of the fire, which he generously offered to share with those by the fire.
The night continued on with perhaps 20-30 of us there that evening enjoying the warm glow of the fire and the pale light of a full moon overhead. Soft gust of winds blew white wispy clouds across the night sky and pushed us closer together around the fire as we made new friends and swapped stories of adventures past with old friends. Steadily over the hours there was a trickle of people arriving to camp having walked in the light of the full moon, which outlined the trail and the trees all around us.
Long after the fire and conversations faded away, people drifted into camp til about 1:30 to 2:00 AM.
Ken is Early to Rise on Saturday Morning to Make Coffee
Ken Filling Up Water Jugs for Everyone to Use
After Ken, Marc E. is probably the second most important to the success of GGG being held at Henry Coe State Park. The campsites here are dry and require everyone to haul in their own water. However, this year and for years past, Marc has volunteered to bring in his truck with a 50 gallon water bladder and all the fire wood we can burn for the whole weekend. Despite Ken's best efforts to compensate Marc for his time and efforts, Marc has graciously refused anything in return for his contributions to the GGG.
Blue Water Jugs for Everyone
Jacob D of Hike It. Like it and Linda V. having breakfast
Ken has purchased a number of these blue water jugs, which he has placed all around the campsites so that people have easy access to water for drinking, cooking, and washing. He has also provided the water jugs to refill the blue water tanks, when they go dry.
Rise and Shine, Kevin pokes his head out to greet the morning
Love Morning Sun with Breakfast
UL Bandits Jack and George- Here to Rob You of Your Cuben Fiber Goods
George is wearing a JacksRBetter Sierra Sniveler, which he has modified to allow for a tighter and neater fit around his body. See the white stitching on the front of the quilt, which he has added.
Jane Hiking in the Fog
After a leisurely Breakfast and start to the morning, Ken and I headed out to the parking lot to shuttle people and any gear or supplies that people wanted to be driven into camp in Ken's van. We detoured over to the campsites that we used last year to see if anyone had spent the night there and needed to be directed to the current site. Luckily no one was there and we turned around to hike out to the parking lot. Along the way, David Gardener from GOLD Gear caught up with us for the hike out. As we hiked into the fog, down a hill we saw the familiar sight of Jane making her way towards us. Jane is always a pleasure to be around with her enthusiastic smile and warm demeanor. We have had the pleasure her to see her Lightweight evolution over the past few years. To think that she had never been backpacking before making it out to the GGG and look where she is now! Truly an inspiration for us all to strive to be out on the trail as we gracefully get older and wiser.
Ken and David Walking Out To The Parking Lot
As we made it to the end of the fire road, a large black Mercedes van had just been let through the locked gate and was slowly driving towards us. At the wheel was Ron Moak from Six Moon Designs making his way to the group campsite. Ken said hello to Ron and thanked him for taking the time to come out to visit with everyone. A few more words were exchanged and we headed out the parking lot and Ron headed down the fire road to the campsites. Ken had collected a few car keys from people in camp in the morning and we drove down to the overflow parking lot to load up on gear and supplies. David Gardner had a few boxes of products that he wanted bought in, Hikin Jim had one or two boxes of stoves, and we managed to pick up Josh and his friend on the ride back.
Ron Moak from Six Moon Designs and Brian Frankle, founder of ULA Backpacks, in Blue Jacket
Making a Major Announcement to the World of Gear Geeks
Brian Frankle comes out of retirement to join Ron at Six Moon Designs to Develop a New and Innovative line of Backpacks for the Lightweight Market
In a very casual and informal manner Ron recounted the story about how he approached Brian, the retired and formal owner of ULA, five months ago to "come out of deep retirement to take a fresh new look and a different angle to light weight packs to produce something people had not seen before." Over the past five months they had worked together to come up with some new ideas for backpacks, but were quite a long way from production and bringing out a new product.
Ron then announced that they would like to take groups of about five people into the van to participate in a 30-40 presentation that outlined their ideas and concepts of what they wanted to achieve, to explain where they are now, and to show their prototype packs to get feedback from them. A non disclosure form that participants were required to sign was a prerequisite for being allow into the van.
Brian then interjected that they were especially interested in getting feedback from women who were "notoriously" difficult to be properly fit in a backpack.
Brian then recounted a conversation that he had with a friend who felt that the light weight pack market had stagnated. Brian stated that he had not been keeping up with what was going on in the light weight market and that he had been burnt out due to the demands of manufacturing and "the business". Brian's friend said it would be great if he came back out of retirement. To which Brian replied, "The only way he would come back is if Ron Moak from Six Moons Design would talk to him."
Brian explained his reason for this, "Six Moon Designs is also willing to take risk, to try new stuff, and not be scared of consequences." This was exciting to him from a design perspective. Knowing that "Ron is willing to try something new and knowing that his contribution will have immediate impact."
Brian then commented with no disrespect to other manufactures that he felt that we in the lightweight community were being under served and that he was not seeing innovation in the market (for backpacks).
I asked him if he was talking about the use of exotic or newer light weight materials, to which is replied no. It was not about the materials, but simply about the design of the packs. He commented that packs are still basically a bag with shoulder straps.
They ended the conversation by saying that they look forward to our input and that what they do is driven by all of us and that their ears are open and to please talk to them.
Six Moon Designs
Box of Goodies in the Back of the Van
Grant Sible the president of Gossamer Gear showing New Products to be Released Shortly
Sharon Backpack Model & Wearer of the Hoodie
Sharon is modeling a women's prototype.
Grant in the background sporting a hat.
As I was standing around watching people try on the packs, I was refraining from taking photos of all the packs to be respectful of the fact that many of them were prototypes. When I commented about not wanting to take pictures to respect their privacy, Grant warmly welcomed me to take all the photos that I wanted and proudly proclaimed that many of the packs where coming to market soon.
Doug Shows Off a New Pack with Inflatable Frame
This pack caught my attention because it is only the second pack that I have come across that uses an inflatable pad to provide support for heavier loads. Hoping BPL does an in depth review of this innovative application of technology to packs.
Kat of Mountain Goat Hats and Goods With Debbie the Brownie Goddess
Debbie and Chocolate Goodness
Debbie was going to haul in this huge box of chocolate brownies 2.5 or so miles into camp after we had arrived a little late for the Saturday morning support vehicle shuttle. After having left a written note on Ken's van, she hit the trail with box in hand. Fortunately, Ron from Six Moon Designs came by in his van and generously offered to drive in her box of goodies. The unwashed masses of light weight backpackers made quick work of her sweet labors and left us all smiling for the little joys in life.
Women and Unicorns on the Trail, Rare Sights Indeed
Okay, I commented to Sharon that seeing women on the trail was about as likely for me to see a unicorn. Sharon simply coughed to clear her throat, which I think was a subtle suggestion that I was headed for a beating within an inch of my little life.
Left to Right: Sharon, Linda, Kat, and Debbie.
Debbie Tries on a Pack with looks like a Gossamer Gear Minimalist Ultralight Daypack at 8.85 oz
Kat Gives the Sternum Strap a Try
Grant was definitely seeking out women's feedback with the packs that were being tried out. He was making a point of snapping photos to see how the packs fit well or not so well on the women and men who tried the packs on. Hopefully a sign of the lightweight cottage manufactures addressing the specific concerns of women with obtaining a proper and comfortable fit with a pack.
Another View of the Front of the New Pack
Sisterhood of the Trail Runner- Montrail AT Plus Trail Shoes
Funny thing was noticed while they were standing around, waiting to try out the various packs from Six Moon Designs...they were all wearing the same trail runner!
Enjoying the Gift of Brownies from Debbie and Cookies from Ellen, who is in the blue jacket
George, Eric, and Michael, who is Keegan's father
Jane giving her thoughts to Brian or Picking His brain for Information
Mark, Debbie, and Amy
Hikin Jim Holding the Court of Flaming Stoves
Hikin Jim's Adventures in Stoving
Sharing His Thoughts and Passing the Wisdom Along
This is the second year that Jim has trekked out with boxes of his stoves to setup and to share with everyone. We are lucky to have his extensive knowledge and passion for stoves to share with all of us. He never fails to amaze at the size of his collection and the unique stoves in his possession.
Something Unique and Special
Military Grade Stove- Prototype
A Look Inside
We Have Ignition
Jim explained that this was a "failed" prototype that he had received about a year ago. The idea was to have a stove that did not require pressurization of the fuel, which could be dangerous under certain situations. A stove that could use readily available military fuel found in all of their vehicles, which is similar to kerosine. The problem with the stove is that it was easily blown out by the wind. Perhaps an inadequate wind screen? In fact, the stove blew out twice while he was demonstrating its operation. It was easy to relight, but the fact that it blew out so easily in a light breeze was a clear sign of a design flaw.
Feather Fire Stove- adjustable simmering alcohol stove
White Ursack- Bear Resistant Bag, Light weight alternative to bear canister
Taking it all in
George's DIY hammock and Under-quilt. The tarp is HammockGear Cuben Tarp. And the bike is Bike Friday, NWT model. Eric L, comments on George's setup, "That's George Maung's setup with his MYOG hammock based on a Warbonnet Traveler and Bike Friday folding bicycle, Hammock Gear 4-Season Cuben Fiber Tarp, Dynaglide Whoopie Slings and Zing-It Ridgeline all with Dutch suspension hardware."
Bike above is a folding bike for compact storage and commuting to work
This year we saw a lot more bike packers and hammocks.
Great thing is that these group sites have plenty of trees around for hammocks
Ken T. says, "That gray tarp is one I made and had at the first GGG. I gave it to Matt Black as he proved he was not ready for a 5x7 when he got soaked on the Lost Coast. I see you've been busy adding on."
#10 Creative Tarp Pitch (What tarp is this and who is in the pic?)
Yellow DuoMid by Mountain Laurel Designs 17 oz.
Left to Right: Josh, Cameron, Ken, and Frank Heide
Cameron's Bomber DuoMid Survived 13 hours or rain at a base camp just below the summit of Mt. Whitney on a trip that we took together with Linda V. I was envious of his shelter because Cameron was able to sit up in his shelter to move around and stretch out and even cook. I was "stuck" under my tarp laying on my back and side, wishing I could sit up and stretch my sore muscles. I am thinking of getting a DuoMid or SoloMid for trips where I expect hours of bad weather.
Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay by Linda
A Peek Underneath
Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape Rain Poncho and Shelter 11 oz.
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis 13 oz.
This shelter looks very much like the Gatewood Cape, minus the hood and head opening with bug netting added.
Debbie's Modified Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid with Some Sort of Bath Tub Flooring
The Added Insert is between the two poles and extends up to the beak like a pie slice wedge of fabric and creates the ability to make this pitch
Deb comments on her shelter: "Yes - the insert was made by Zimmer and used to belong to Doug Ide who commissioned it (see Doug's "the duomid that wanted to be a trailstar" post), I believe PIF'd by Doug to Ike Jutkowitz, then Ike PIF'd it to me. For some reason the buckles didn't snap onto my sil duomid like they did on Doug's cuben one, but I managed to jury-rig it for the GGG (Ron Bell @ MLD is now sending me another set of buckles I can sew on to the insert that should match).
Another View of Debbie's Sheler
Gossamer Gear Tarp
#12 Fat Tires....who's bike is this and what bike is this????
John Abela's 15 oz. Cuben SMD Skyscape X with heat sheet ground sheet
John Abela comments, "The first one is an alpha version of a front panel loader I am developing in cooperation with ZPacks. The second is a default ZPacks Arc Blast."
#16 Hammock Setup
One big difference this year from prior years was the large number of hammocks that people brought out
#17 GoLite Shaped Tarp
#18 Kelty Tent
#19 BPL Cuben Nano Tarp????
Cuben Haven 10 oz
#21 Another Trap and Hammock
#22 Showing Hammock Attachment to Tree
Admittedly, I know nothing about hammock camping, but I wanted to show how the hammocks are tied to the tree. If anyone can provide me more information to talk about this photo...please PM me!
Lee Stocked Up for Boiling Water All Day & Night
Trio of Caldera Cones
Lee Shows Off A Prototype of an Amazing Wood Cutting Saw that may be less than 2 oz.
A Japanese pull blade that is very thin/narrow that only cuts when you draw back on the blade. The knife cut through wood with ease and speed. Lee simply cut about half way through many of the sticks and broke them in half with ease. Lee commented that they have been so busy with making and selling Caldera Cones, there just has not been anytime to develop this unique saw into a refined product. Lee mentioned that a while back, they had purchased a large number of blades with the hope of making something like the ultralight saw that he was using. We can only hope that they get an opportunity to develop this product for those of us who love a wood burning stove.
Making Quick Work of the Wood
Loading Up the Inferno
Unique Fire Starter Sticks
Maybe a plastic type product? Very lightweight and seemed completely waterproof. Lee lite it up pretty quickly with a lighter and the material crackled a bit as it burned. They may have been giving these out to people who came by to visit.
Let It Burn, Burn, Burn
Pots On, Let the Boiling Begin
Kicking Back and Letting the Fire Do All the Work
Trail Designs Website
Jack Representing Borah Gear: Ultralight Backpack, Bivies, and Tarps
Stealth Backpack : Weight: 13.9oz in 140D Dyneema, 15.5oz in Dyneema X
Volumes: 2,500 cu (41L) main pack, 200 cu (3L) extension collar/roll top, 250 cu (4L) front mesh pocket, 125 (2L) cu side pockets (each). This brings the total volume of the pack to 3,200cu (52L)
Stealth Backpack Website Link
View of the hip belt and fit
Jack of All Trades...making tarps for Borah Gear, Company Representative, and Stylist Backpack Model
Borah Gear Tarp and Bivy Setup
Cuben LED Lantern
Lantern for Use Under a Tarp or In Your Bivy
Borah Gear Standard Bivy 5.6 to 6.7 oz depending on choice of top fabric
Another View of the Bivy
Cuben Floored Bivy with Momentum 50 Top 4.2 oz
Close up view of the head net portion of the bivy
Tarp with Built in Ability to Close Both Ends in a Storm
Another View of the Front Flap
View of the Back End of the Tarp Closed Up
Reinforcement to the Silnylon
Showing how the secure the back end closed with a stake
Showing the Interior
I believe that this is a prototype product that may go into production in the near future
Borah Gear Silnylon Tarp
Checking Out the Cut
Bias Taped Edges
Manfred & Pheobe....unrelated
Manfred really was fantastic this year in organizing a great Geo Caching Event for all the kids this year. He provided GPS units for the kids to use and had gone out previously to create up to a five mile loop for the kids to explore. Manfred graciously provided little goodies and gifts for the kids to find along their exploration.
This is Pheobe's third time out. According to her father, Rick, "She made him take her out to the GGG three years ago." It has been wonderful to see both of them coming out each year and to see Pheobe growing up. This year she is sporting streaks of red in her hair. (I was lucky to get this photo of her...she did her best the rest of the trip to prevent me from snapping any photos of her, which was sort of a game between us).
Justin's 2nd Time Out
And he is my unofficial minion....who is just crazy enough to listen to my rants and throw back equally absurd ideas back at me. Usually regarding the hunting and capturing of evil squirrels....or how to add to the population of the yellow headed squirrels. (You will have to ask Justin about the yellow headed squirrels next time you see him at the GGG).
Manfred's Girls....note the name tag on the girl to the right: Poo Poo, Pee Pee
How many girls can you stuff in a tent?
Quite a Few Girls
Just before the Geo Caching Trip
Rounding Up the Kids
Manfred Volunteers to Carry Water and Snacks for the Kids
A Time and Place for Family
#20 ??? Six Moons Design Lunar Duo in Cuben
#21 Black Diamond Beta Light Tent 1 lb 3.0 oz ???
More Free Standing Shelters
Plenty of Good Trees Around for Hammocking
#22 Borah Tarp??? (Based on the black edges on the tarp???)
A Peek Underneath the Tarp
#23 Flying Diamond Tarp Pitch?
#24 Double Hoop Shelter...think this is Sharon's Shelter
Rick & Phoebe's Double Rainbow with light weight chairs
I was pretty envious that they had these cool little chairs to sit on.
Apparently, Henry Shire came to the event for a short while, but I managed to miss him. Wish I had caught a chance to meet him and snap a picture to share with you all. Love his tarptents. My first step on my lightweight journey away from traditional gear was his Contrail. I have his Rainshadow 2 for my three person family shelter for when I go out with the family.
Tarptent Ultralight Shelters by Henry Shire
Tony's Crazy Tiny Tarp
Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Solo Tarp at 3.5 oz, modified with metal grommets for ease of pitching as holes for hiking pole tips for a total weight of 4.0 oz. This tarp borderlines "stupid light", but given that my MLD Soul Side Zip has an eVent waterproof top, I decided to go for the smallest, lightest tarp that Ron makes. I don't believe that Ron sells this tarp anymore.
Mountain Laurel Designs Website
The Chain Mail Food Storage Bag is by Outsak....may the squirrel break all their teeth trying to get in....evil little creatures.
Outsak Product Website
Jeremy's Squall 2
This serves as Jeremy's family tent....having survived many a rain storm and the occasional Sierra hailstorm
Henry Shire Squall 2 Tarptent
Henry Shire Contrail Tarptent
I believe that this is David W.'s Contrail...based on seeing the orange backpack.
Funny thing, the first time I met David was on a hiking trip at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite with a bunch of fellow BPLers. He was a traditional backpacking on a solo trip and spent time with us at our campsite well into the night, sharing casual conversations over a night time fire. Seems we have infected him with our UL sickness. Always great to see him at these events.
David with the puffy down jacket and chair
I finally decided to follow David's lead and got myself a puffy down jacket, which I took for the first time to the GGG. What a wonderful difference it makes when you are toasty warm. Maybe next year I will be smart like David and bring myself a chair!
Zpacks Hexamid 10.7 oz
Six Moons Design Lunar Duo
#27 Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar ????
Gardner Outdoor Lightweight Designs Polycro 5.4 oz Solo Tarp
Review View of the Tarp
Close Up of the Entrance
Tarp Tie Out with Washer Reinforcement
Top of Ridgeline Tie Out and Reinforcement
Full View of the Shelter
Each year we usually see something different or new at the GGG. This year, David Gardner's Polycro Tarp was the stand out for me, as I have never seen a polycro shelter before.
David Gardner showing his 946 ml/32 oz cook pot with Ram Jet Alcohol Stove on Top
Gardner Outdoor Lightweight Designs Cook Kits
Gardner Outdoor Lightweight Designs Ramjet Eco & UL Alcohol Stoves
Gardner Outdoor Lightweight Designs Carbon Fiber Hiking Poles
Note: available: 10' Tenkara Japanese fly fishing pole adapted to fit on the tip of trekking poles, making a 14' fishing pole.
Jack at the Gear Swap
Close up of what Jack was trying to unload
Aaron Looking to Upload Some Gear Too
Ron and Brian Hanging Out
Linda and Jane
Sharon & Mark
#29 Family Time
This Family Hiked in Just for the Day
Every Kids Loves of Bottle of Bubbles
Phoebe gives a bottle of bubbles to the little one to entice her to come back to her parents after exploring the campsite for herself
Reporting Back to Mom
Time to Meet New People
U.L.K. Sleeping Bag for Kids
This is a prototype that Aaron Sorensen brought out to get some feed back and to look for a young volunteer to tryout for the night. Looks like a very promising sleeping bag for parents looking for a lightweight UL sleeping bag made to order that will cover the little ones before they can move to 5 ft bag.
Aaron comments on his upcoming bags:
The sleeping bags will be for some up to 4' 8" or 56".
This length is based off the average 11 year old before they hit that growth spurt. 2 years later they are 8 inches taller, so this is a good bag to go from birth to the point you will go to an adult bag.
Two temps rated at 25* and 40*.
The 25* will be 20-21 ounces with 14 ounces of 800 fill and 5" of loft.
The 40* will be hoodless and have a small draft tube on each side of the zipper (as a cover) so you can also unzip it for use as a quilt.
Both bags will have a full YKK locking zipper.
Bags will be available in 2 colors and the liner will be dark grey.
The material is my own stuff that is 20d and 1 ounce per yard. It has an excellent feel and is a very strong fabric with good breathability and water resistance. I did about 20 hours of searching for this fabric and found a winner the first time (very rare from what I've heard).
I will also have a 900 fill option and sell the 800, 900 down and fabric once I get everything rolling.
Mountain Goat Hats and Goods
Over the years, Kat has been knitting these wonderfully warm, soft, and light hats and has developed a following. Here is just few of the people who are sporting her creations. (Kat is wearing the burgundy hat, front row, 2nd from the right)
EJ, Justin, and Jeremy
Close to Dinner Time: Jay in Blue on the Right
Bundling Up as the Sunsets
Linda Cooking Up with MYOG Cone & Esbit
Mark & Grant
Kat Enjoying a Meal Before the Wood Stove Burn Off
Josh Preparing Wood for Caldera Cone Inferno
The wood for this contest was provided by Ken as was the water that was used for the burn off to see who get a boil the fastest. I believe that the volume of water was one liter.
Hiking Jim with the BioLite Stove
BioLite Wood Burning with electric fan powered by the heat of the fire and the ability to charge your portable gadgets
Closer View of the BioLite
Ken measuring out water for the contestants
Jack Loads Up His Home Made Stove
Rick's Home Made Stove with Cone Windscreen
The Crowd Gathers
Marc with his 8.0 oz Backcountry Boiler
The first lightweight chimney kettle Holds 23 ounce of water. 4.25 Inch Diameter.
Huge Windscreen for Rick's Stove
Marc Preps His Wood By Slicing Kindling
Close Up of Jack's Stove
Close Up of Rick's Stove
Beer and Fire, Two Great Combos- to put you in the Emergency Room
Josh Gets His Fire Going
Rick Getting the Flame to His Kindling
Marc Gets the Boiler Going
Jack's Got a Fire Going
Marc's Secret Weapon: Microbusrt Electric Blower (For inflating air mattresses)
Rick's Way to Feed the Fiery Beast
Josh Tends to his Caldera Cone
Puff the Magic Electric Dragon
Marc's fan was turbo charging the Backcountry Boiler, sending a jet powered blow torch of flames out the top of the stove
Jack has a nice fire going
Nice Glow from the Caldera Cone Inferno
Biolite or Bio-Hazard???
The internal fan on the BioLite worked really well to get the flames going. The hotter the fire, the more power for the fan to push the fire even faster and hotter.
33 oz of Wood Burning Goodness
Ken's Commentary on the Burn Off:
This year I used standardized fuel. Everyone got a shim pack and half a petroleum jelly cotton ball. I doled out the water from the same container for everyone.
We found out that if you use a Backcountry Boiler with a Microburst blowing air into it you can boil 2 cups in 3 minutes. Like a mini forge. Hot!
The steel can and the Biolite were next to boil. The Caldera cones, one a 900ml pot and the other was a 600ml pot both came to a boil in less than 7 minutes. They were seconds apart.
The steel can was the only setup that used a windscreen. The Biolite has a fan.
Plans for next time will be a contest for all 3 "alternative" fuels. Multiple heats...
I'll take suggestions and requests. We love to burn stuff. Still waiting for someone to enter a ground fire to win.
Jack's Tikki Torch Banner Setup
Night Lights of a Different Sort
Hanging Out in the Van
Father and Daughter Fireside Glow
Phoebe's Camera Shy
Now We Are Cooking
Aaron Bundled Up By the Fire
Fire Side Grilling
Trying to Sneak A Picture
This became a bit of silly game between Phoebe and I. She would feebly protest at my attempts to snap a photo of her with a playful grin upon her face. My pocket camera was hardly up to the task, being too slow and capturing mostly blurry shots. She retaliated by grabbing a camera of her own and snapping a few pictures of me.
The night marches on and stories are swapped, laughs are shared, and the logs are piled up high on the fire to keep the gathering around the fire together. The orange flames licking the heavens above and casting waves of warmth to chase away the encroaching chill of the darkness of night. Yet as the night lingers on the full moon bathes the campsite and trees around us in a ghostly pale blue light. People linger by the fire while others wander off to their shelters to turn in for the night. Headlights are hardly needed as the midnight sun rises high in the night sky to illuminate the path home. The fire dies down until there is nothing more than crackling fist sized orange embers and coals wafting out a steady stream of heat from the flame less fire pit. Josh and I are the only ones left lounging by the fire in camp chairs, waiting for sleep to take us and for the fire to die down. Josh and I exchange a few words, simply enjoying the quiet company of each other and the silence that hangs over the slumbering campsite. Josh's eye grow heavy and he nobs off a few times and then rises up to say his good night and shuffles off into the night. Sitting alone, I stare into the orange bed of coals and ponder the stillness of night and the thoughts in my mind of all that has happened in the year since I was last here with all of these people. I grab a shovel and spread out the coals so there is little chance of sparks flying or the fire to burst back into flames. Pausing for a moment, I look up at the full moon. Grey shadows of wispy clouds drift quickly across the night sky and covers the moon, which cast a dark veil over the campsite just for a moment. I imagine what it would be like to be out on the trail once more on a night like this with the Sunshine of the moon to guide my thoughts and feet down the bend of an unknown trail. I miss the trail. Being out on this night makes me look forward to my next journey out there. My work done, I put the shovel aside and turn away from the warmth of the fire pit and walk off into the night to my awaiting down quilt.
Debbie and Kat Making a Morning Meal
With maybe a 20 minute light sprinkling of rain from the night before, the sun was a welcome sight to warm everyone up.
Debbie's Caldera Cone and Alcohol Stove or a MYOG Cone
Brian Enjoying Breakfast by the Fire
The coals from the night before survived long enough into the morning to make it easy for another fire to be easily conjured up.
Ron Cooking in Style
Mark the BPL Teletubby
Packing Up and Saying Goodbye to Friends
Double Rainbow with Neo Air Mattresses
Last Gathering of the Gear Geeks
The morning was a leisurely start with some waking up at the crack of dawn and others lingering in their warm beds for as long as possible.
Jim Heads Out with his family after their second time out
Discovering a New Place for the Children to Stay Next Year
After packing our gear up, we make the rounds to say our good byes to friends old and new and hit the easy fire road trail back out. Along the way, we came across one of a few traps for wild boars. Though it looked like a great place for Justin to stay next year.
Sharing the Adventure....Jeremy and Justin. Linda finally makes it out to her first GGG.
Thank you for all that made the effort to come out for the long weekend or just for the day. Special thank you for all of the manufactures who chose to cut short their time at OR and to come join us at this event. As always, a big thank you for Ken for spending the year before to plan this event so that it goes smoothly. Special thanks to Marc for the generous gift of fire wood and water so that others do not have to haul in all the water they would need for the weekend at this dry campsite.
Hope you all had a good time and looking forward to seeing new and familiar faced next year!
Tips for Organizing your own Gathering of Gear Geeks:
1. Site Selection
• Number of People Dictates the Location
• Human Waste Disposal Determines suitability of site selection
• Water availability at site
• Are Fires Allowed
• Online Research & Communication
2. Ease of Permit and Location Access
• Keep it simple: no special use permits, no insurance waivers, no hassles
• Parking Lot Size, Availability, and Permits for Vehicles
• Develop a working relationship with Rangers & Park Staff
• Distance Needed to Hike to Campsite Determines How Many Will Attend
• Meeting at the Trail Head or Campsite
3. The Considerate Dictator
• Pick at a Date that is good for YOU- avoid big holidays & vacations
• Creating the Online Invite: One Easy, Informative, and Updated Posting
• Don’t Be Mom….everyone is an adult
4. Paying for it All
• Expect to Cover Upfront Cost Out of Your Own Pocket
• Low Cost is Key for a Good Turn Out: No renting private ranch or campground
• Clear Posting of Per Person Fees to Attend & How the Money is to be Spent
• Paypal: Easy of Use and Accounting for Who Paid and When They Paid
• List of Who Has and Has Not Paid on Online Invite
5. Preparation & Recruiting Help
• Master Check List to Keep on Track & Organized
• Doing a little bit all of the time…spacing out the work load
• Name Tags
• Pit Toilets/Outhouses: Toilet Paper, Wet Wipes, Glow Sticks, and Air Freshener
• Support Vehicle: Firewood, Duraflame log as fire starter, Water, Water Jugs, Shovel, Broom, Trash can, Trash bags
• Have extras of all the supplies you are taking
• On Site: Cleaning out the Fire Pits & Pit Toilets/Outhouses
• Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help
6. Fun Activities & Events
• Wood Stove Burn Off
• Encourage people to show off/share their talents
7. Leaving the Site Better Than You Found It
• Cleaning Up & Packing It Out
• Maintaining Good Working Relationship with Park Rangers and Staff
• Earning the Chance to Return to the Campsite
8. Sharing the Memories
• Posting Photos & Telling the Story Online: Giving a Reason to Do It Again
Other photo essays by Tony:
Gathering of Gear Geeks 2012: Pointe Reyes National Seashore
BPLers 2012 GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.
BPLers 3rd Annual 2011 GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.
BPLers 2011 GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.
Special Video Made by EJ Documenting the 2011 GGG
Backpackers Gone Wild: BPL 3rd Annual SF Bay Area Gathering of Gear Geeks (GGG) Jan 26-27, 2011.
BPLer's 2010 GGG: Point Reyes, CA. 2nd Annual Trip
BPLer's GGG: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.; Mt. Diablo
BPLer's GGG: Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy Resevior to Rancheria Falls
BPLer's 2009 GGG: Point Reyes, CA
High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Deadman Canyon
Tahoe Rim Trail
Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced
Yosemite in Winter: Crocker Point & Dewey Point
Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Yosemite: Tenaya Creek
Photo Essay by Linda Vassallo: Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay
Trip Report & Article by Jeremy Pendrey: Hiking The Diablo Trail: A Conservation Success Story
Photography and Backpacking Article on Hike It. Like It.
Photo Essays: Telling the Story, Sharing the AdventureHuge Windscreen