6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 11:41:18 MST Print View

BPLers Gathering of Gear Geeks: Henry Coe State Park January 24-26th, 2014

Corral Trail Head to Manzanita Point Group Campsites 2.7 Miles Approx.

Manzanita Point Camptsite Elevation 2,270 Ft.

Daytime Temps: 74F

Evening Temps: 35F

80-100 People Attending

Website: Henry Coe State Park


Henry Coe Park SIgn

Sign at the overflow parking lot at Henry Coe State Park
You will want to drive to the visitor's center to pickup your parking permit to display on the dashboard of your vehicle. Also, if you are traveling in a group, good opportunity to drop off people and backpacks at the visitor so you don't have to carry it the 0.5 miles from the parking lot to the trail head.

Ken Gives Us a Sign

Ken Gives Us a Sign 2

Ken Gives Us a Sign
Ken made these signs up and had them places along the trail leading all the way up to the Group Campsite

Half Mile Trail from the Parking Lot to the Vistor's Center

Half Mile Trail from the Parking Lot to the Visitor's Center

Half Mile Trail from the Parking Lot to the Vistor's Center 2

Pretty easy trail with plenty of tree cover

Henry Coe Visitor's Center

Henry Coe Visitor's Center
Water Fountain, restrooms with running water, limited amount of drinks and snacks for sale inside, friendly staff.

Trail Head Across from Visitor Center

Trail Head Across from Visitor Center
2.7 Miles to Manzanita Point Group Camp Site

A Dry Year

A Dry Year
Conditions were very warm and mild temperatures. Next to no rainfall up to this point and essentially no snow in the Sierras. Due to the dry conditions, we were not allowed to have any open fires at night.

Trail Junction a Mile In

Trail Junction a Mile In

Marching the Family Down the Fire Road

Marching the Family Down the Fire Road
One benefit of the mild weather was that my family agreed to come out to the event for the first time.

Another Trail Junction

Another Trail Junction

New Addition This Year- Water Tank

New Addition This Year- Water Tank
Henry Coe is a pretty dry location and in very hot in the summer.
Water tanks were installed around the park to reduce the need to rescue people due to heat and dehydration issues. Note: The Group site is a dry site and requires you to haul in your own water.

Mistletoe Tree

Mistletoe Infested Tree

Almost There

Almost There

Last Sign to the Group Site.

Last Sign to the Group Site
Due to the size of this gathering, Ken needed to reserve three sites, but the majority of people occupied two of the sites, which were next to each other. The third site was across the fire road...very peaceful.

Welcome to the GGG

Welcome to the GGG
Ken's tent with name tags, extra TP, and a dry erase board that pointed out the three group sites. Ken had a rough map of the sites drawn out and designated which ones would be the rowdy area and the others for more quite and family friendly. That said, no one was really too loud and mostly behaved themselves....even that guy Doug I. :)

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Special Surprise Gift from Dan of Zelph stoves!

Dan, from Zelph Stoves, donated over $300 of his stoves to be given away FREE at this year's GGG.

Inside the tent there was a box that contained 21 "Venom Super Stoves", 4 "Fancee Feest" stoves, 6 "Modified StarLyte burners" with cap, 6 "original StarLyte burners" with cap, 12 "carbon felt simmer discs" that could be used with the StarLyte burners, the 12-10 stove and Flatcatgear's titanium alcohol stove.

Ken handed out a number of these to a number of lucky people while the rest were in the tent as a gift those arriving.

Note: Unfortunately, due to my arriving late, I was unable to get pictures of people with their prized gift, as they were all given out and taken by the time I arrived. Dan was nice enough to provide me photos of his stove to include into this photo essay.

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Dan's Starlyte No Spill Alcohol Stove 0.58 oz.
1.5 oz fuel capacity
Integrated Pot Stand Not Shown, but part of the overall weight

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Starlyte Burner with Simmering Ring & Lid

The the unique feature of Dan's stove is that "the StarLyte has an absorbing material that is unique. It is ceramic and the fibers are aligned in a vertical position which allows total capillary action to bring the fuel upward towards the surface of the burner. Carbon Felt has the fibers going every which way and acts like a piece of cotton or common "felt". In my testing of the carbon felt it was found to have remaining fuel at the bottom of the felt which was not able to be brought forth to the top of the stove because it lacked the ability to have the "capillary" ability to do so. It has never been incorporated in to any of my stoves or burners." -Dan

The Starlyte works great with its low profile in Caldera Cones or Flat Cat Cooking Systems.

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Dan's Fancee Feest Alcohol Stove 0.85 oz
Very compact stove with a 2.5 Inch Diameter and only 2.25 inches tall
2.5 oz fuel capacity
Boils 2 cups of water with just half an ounce of fuel

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Super Venom Stove 1.6 oz
1.0 oz fuel capacity
One piece stove with built in pot stand with no spill feature like the Starlyte

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View of just some of the stoves that Dan offers at Zelph's Stoveworks

Note: The Black Carbon Felt Simmer Pad shown here are a new product that will be for sale shortly on Dan's website for use with his Starlyte Alcohol Stove. He sent them to the GGG this year as a gift to attendees and to solicit feedback from the BPL community about how people liked them.

Click here to provide feedback to Dan

Starlyte In Action with Titan Kettle

Starlyte In Action with Titan Kettle

Duane 1

Duane Showing Off His Starlyte Stoves with Carbon Felt Simmering Ring that he picked up for free at the GGG!

Duane's Starlyte In Action

Duane's Starlyte in Action

Dan makes some pretty amazingly capable and super affordable stoves...check them out!

Ken's GGG Van

Ken's GGG Van

A Generous Donation of Fire Pits

BPL GGG Trail Magic
A Generous Donation of Fire Pits from an anonymous BPL Member
With only a few days before the GGG the Park Rangers informed us that open wood fires would not be permitted due to the drought conditions that were coming due to a lack of rain this year. Ken immediately posted this on the forum so that people would know to bring a little extra clothing, in case it was cold. Shortly afterward, Ken announced that two propane fire pits were on their way to him from a generous BPL Member.

The Gift of Warmth and Compansionship

The Gift of Warmth and Companionship
Marc E. has provided free firewood to each of the GGGs at Henry Coe and provided propane tanks this year. As is typical of him, he has refused any offers of compensation or even donations to cover his cost.

Marc's Gift of Water

Marc's Gift of Water

Marc's Gift of Water
One of the things that has made the GGG possible is the 50 gallons of water that Marc has trucked into each year. Without his generosity, the GGG would not be as warm and pleasant as they have been. We have been fortunately to have someone like him to help make these events as successful as they have been over the years.

Note: Mark is standing on the tailgate to the left

Most of the Water Used Up

As you can see, a lot of the water was used up by the end of the GGG.
People were asked to bring in a few liters of water each to stretch Marc's supply of water.

Ken's Water Jugs

Ken's Water Jugs
Ken has many of these spread out on a number of tables through out the group sites and one by the pit toilet on a stand so that people could wash their hands and dishes

EJ's Documenting Ron Moak's Presentation of New Backpacks

Ron Moak from Six Moon Designs introducing New Packs

Ron's New Pack 1

Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Pack

New Packs 2

Six Moon Designs Flight 40 Pack

New Packs 3

Photos and commentary copied from EJ's posting on BPL
Note: I arrived late to the GGG at about 2 pm, so I missed out on the presentation

Brandon Moak from Six Moon Designs was kind enough to email me with the following details of their upcoming backpacks and to correct some observations made by others at the GGG:

Fusion Details:

"The spine attaches to the inside of the hip belt with a Velcro patch"
(Observation by someone at the GGG)

Brandon's comments:

This is correct but doesn't accurately describe what is happening. The
spine is inside a pocket that leaves the body of the pack then is sewn
into the bottom seam. This creates a channel that the hip belt is
inserted through. There is velcro on both sides of the channel so, when
inserted, the hip belt is securely fastened with the velcro.

"The hip belt has a plastic insert all around that gives it more structure"
(Observation by someone at the GGG)

Brandon's comments:

There is plastic inside the hip belt but it is not an insert, meaning it
cannot be removed.

"The colors will be green and yellow (I think)"
(Observation by someone at the GGG)

Brandon's comments:

The colors will be green(50) and orange(65).

Flight:

"There is a delrin hoop that begins and ends at the center of the hip belt
and goes up the side of the pack and across the top"
(Observation by someone at the GGG)

Brandon's comments:

The delrin hoop is only available in the 40

"There is an aluminum stay that can be shaped to your back"
(Observation by someone at the GGG)

Brandon's comments:

No aluminum stay in is used for either flight pack


EJ's observations:

Ron from Six Moon Designs did a great job showing off the new packs and explaining their features. He revealed two new series of adjustable packs:

1) The Fusion Series, fully-framed packs in size 50L and 60L, which have a single aluminum stay down the center of a stiff, supportive foam/plastic backpad. Shove it pocket on back. I was able to get a great fit with the 60L size. Though I didn't try on the 50L, they use the same frame/harness/adjustment system. T. Could comfortably handle loads of 35 lbs or more. The Fusion packs were prototypes so Ron asked us not to publish photos of them yet.

2) A lighter pack with a hoop stay in size 30L and 40L, for hiking or trail running with lighter loads. This pack is still incredibly supportive with a unique double chest buckle and wide shoulder straps. Highly durable stretchy mesh side pockets. I was able to get a great fit and I think this pack could comfortably handle 25 lbs or possibly more.

Both packs are designed to pull the pack away from your back at the edges near your spine, leaving less of the surface of your back to get hot against the back pad. It works.

I'll be posting photos of the lighter packs, which Ron said was OK.

Brian and Ron did a fantastic job with these packs. Hard to believe they're just the first gen packs of their series.

-EJ Mountain Walker

Additional observations from Peter G, who came up from Southern California:

Here's some details about the new packs that I remember from the SMD GGG presentation. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

General
* The priorities in designing the packs in order were 1)Comfort, 2)Durability, 3)Function, 4)Weight (I believe the middle two are correct, but certainly the first and last are correct)
* They believe the market is retreating from ultralight back to more comfort
* They have increased their dealer network and consideration was taken in the design to stand out on the retail shelf

Fusion
* The spine is made of foam and is about 4" wide to minimize contact with the back and reduce back sweating
* The spine has a single aluminum stay that can be shaped to fit your back
* The stay runs down the center of the foam spine
* The spine attaches to the inside of the hip belt with a Velcro patch
* The shoulder straps are shaped like a yolk and attach to the spine with a Velcro patch
* The torso size of the pack can be adjusted S-M-L by moving the shoulder straps up and down the Velcro patch
* The shoulder straps have built in pockets
* The hip belt has a plastic insert all around that gives it more structure
* There is a slot in the plastic in the ends to allow it to conform better to the hips
* The hip belt pockets are not removable and are on all packs
* The hip belts are unisex, no male and female versions
* The hip belt has two independently adjustable straps from each side that connect to a single buckle to allow the belt to adjust to people's different shapes
* The hip belt attaches to the pack at a single patch in the center of the bottom of the pack. I believe it attaches with Velcro
* The material is nylon.
* The top uses a roll top configuration
* The mesh on the side pockets looked very similar to the ULA Ohm mesh
* There are two ports for hydration tubes
* The colors will be green and yellow (I think)

Flight
* The lighter weight pack line is called Flight, a combination of fast and light
* Ron said Brian Frankle has been focused on trail running for the past few years
* He gave Brian the latitude to do what he wanted with the Flight series
* The shoulder straps are like a vest with two attachment buckles across the chest and come with built in pockets
* Ron said that this design transfers the weight to the core and off the shoulders and also stabilizes the pack from swaying while running
* The hip belt is mesh with pockets as standard and attaches with Velcro in the center
* There is a delrin hoop that begins and ends at the center of the hip belt and goes up the side of the pack and across the top
* There is an aluminum stay that can be shaped to your back
* The compression straps begin at the spine and wrap around the pack to draw the pack away from the back
* It does not have a back mesh pocket
* There are two ports for hydration tubes
* The colors available are as shown in this thread

-Peter G.
(Heck of a memory for all those details that Peter could remember, best to his knowledge)

EJ Showing a 13 oz. Blizzard Survival Bag

EJ Showing a 13 oz. Blizzard Survival Bag

Cross Section of the Blizzard Bag's Double Wall Baffle

Cross Section of the Blizzard Bag's Double Wall Baffle

Details of the Blizzard Bag

Details of the Blizzard Bag
EJ says that it is product from England, but able to be purchased in the States

Ryan Volunteers to Try It Out

Ryan

Ryan Volunteers to Demonstrate

7 Ft Tall Bag

7 Ft Tall Bag
I got into the bag and had plenty of room to raise my arms all the way up without having my finger tips leaving the bag and I am 5 ft 6 inches tall. I was even able to jump up and down while in the bag like a potatoes sack race easily enough. Cinching the bag close, I felt plenty warm and did not experience humidity, but given that I was upright, no surprise as any moisture would have risen out of the bag. Not as noisy as I would have expected, probably due to the baffled design.

Another Model

Another Model

More Children

More Children This Year
For the past couple of years, we have been seeing more and more families and children coming out to the GGG.

Ron from Six Moon Designs Traveling in Style

Ron from Six Moon Designs Traveling in Style
Kinda make you wonder why you are stupid enough to sleep on the ground when you could be enjoying the creature comforts.

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 1

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove
Article: Evolution of a Winter Stove

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 2

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 3

Roger generously offered 9 of these stoves at a reduced price for BPL members for the GGG and shipped them especially for this GGG.

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 4

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 5

Able to function with an inverted canister for better cold weather performance

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove  6

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 7

Photo show a heat shunt that take heat from the burner to warm the fuel line

Roger Caffin Winter Remote Canister Stove 8

Showing the valve handle for canister

Six Moon Designs 5

Six Moon Design 1

Six Moon Designs Skycape X 15 oz Solo Cuben Shelter

Six Moon Designs 2

Six Moon Designs 3

The newly redesigned Cuben Fiber Haven Tarp with the Haven NetTent inside.
2 person, 10 ounces for the Tarp and 14 ounces for the NetTent

Six Moon Designs 7

Six Moon Designs 8

Deschutes made in Cuben Fiber with the Serenity NetTent hung inside
7 ounce 1 person Tarp

Zpack Shelter 1

Zpacks Shelter 2

Zpacks Hexamid???

Strange, Expensive, and Wonderful 1

Doug I's Ruta Locura cuben Lone Peak shelter 1 lb 13 oz.

Stove

Ruta Locura titanium WiFi stove 1 lb 10 oz

Strange, Expensive, and Wonderful 2

Showing the Stove Pipe 2

Showing the Stove Pipe

MYOG Polycro Tarp 1

MYOG Polycro Tarp 2

MYOG (Make Your Own Gear) Polycro Tarp

Pole Tie Out at the Ridgeline

Pole Tie Out at the Ridge line

Corner Tie Out Corner Reinforcement

Corner Tie Out Reinforcement

GOLD Gear Polycro Shelter

GOLD Gear Polycro Shelter

GOLD Gear Polycro Shelter 2

View of the end of the tarp zipped up and pegged down for fully enclosed protection

Corner Tie Out Reinforcement 3

Corner Tie Out Reinforcement Version 2.0
Last years model had a blue colored "tape" reinforcement. This years is white & a different material

One Stake Closure

One Stake Closure

David Gardner Owner of GOLD Gear

David Gardner Owner of GOLD Gear

Gatewood Cape

Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape 11 oz Shelter and Rain Poncho

Tarptent Notch

Tarptent Notch 26 oz. Shelter
Has Optional 1 oz solid interior white side panels to protect against wind and dust

Golite Shelter

Golite Shangri-La 2 Tarp 1 lb 9 oz

Black Diamond Mega Light

Black Diamond Mega Light 2

Black Diamond Mega Light Tent 2 lbs 5 oz
Or a smaller, older variation of the shelter

Hammock City 1

"This is my Warbonnet Blackbird Hammock 1 lb 15 oz., with a zPacks cuben hammock tarp with doors, folded over onto itself since the day was so nice. It’s a Hammock Gear 20 degree Incubator underquilt 22 oz. hanging underneath. An EE Enigma 30 degree quilt is hanging on the tarp, next to a WM Flash jacket. And a nice pair of WM Expedition booties hanging at the end of the hammock!" Doug I.


Hammock City 2

Unknown Hammocks

Aaron's MYOG Polycro Shelter 1

Aaron's MYOG Polycro Shelter

Aaron's MYOG Polycro Shelter 2

What is unique about Aaron's shelter is that it uses two inverted poles for support and only has two stakes, one at each end, to create the tension to keep the shelter pitched tight.

Note: The shelter was damaged badly after a dog jumped on it. I don't know if it was his dog at his home before come out or by a dog that was at the campsite

Gossamer Gear Tarp

Gossamer Gear Tarp

Trail Designs

Russ & Lee from Trail Designs
Beloved makers of the Caldera Cone Cooking System

Trail Designs

Lee Kicking Back

Trail Designs 3

Once again, Lee had the best setup, short of Ron's Van. Hot water always boiling, white x-mas lights at night, grilling sausages, and tunes to share with anyone who wanted to sit down and share a story or two. Great to see Lee again.

Yama Mountain Gear

Yama Mountain Gear 2

Yama Mountain Gear 3

Yama Mountain Gear Cirriform Shelter 18 oz

Zpack Backpack 1

Zpacks Backpack 2

ZPacks Arc Blast Pack 16-17 oz Cuben Pack

Jon Fong Owner of Flat Cat Gear

Jon Fong Owner of Flat Cat Gear
Jon was a big hit this year on his first time out to the GGG
He was baking and sharing brownies, muffins, and even a cheese burger!

EJ's Picture of Jon's Baking

EJ's Picture of Jon's Baking 2

EJ's Picture of Jon's Baking
Here are two pictures that EJ took of Jon's delicious creations

Hikin Jim's Photo of Jon;s Muffin

Hikin Jim's Photo of Jon;s Muffin
Another example of the crazy things you can do with Jon's Stoves with either his alcohol or esbit stoves

Jeremy's Photo of Jon's Cheeseburger

Jeremy's Photo of Jon's Cheeseburger made with Flat Cat Baking System

Flat Cat Standard Alcohol Stove

Bobcat Stove in Titanium

"The Bobcat Titanium stove will boil 2 cups of 70F water using 15 ml in about 7 minutes: the stove weighs 21 grams. We also offer the Bobcat Standard stove made from 304 SS and weighs 32 grams. Both stoves have a fuel capacity of over 2 ounces. Both stoves will burn many types of denatures alcohol including, HEET (yellow), Everclear 151 and yes, Purell. These stoves are nearly indestructible as I can drive my car over them with no damage." -Jon

Flat Cat ISO-Clean Stove

ISO-Clean 2.5

"The ISO-Clean 2.5 was specifically designed to burn isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). It will burn from 70% up to 91% rubbing alcohol and not leave any soot. To use 99% rubbing alcohol or HEET (red) you may need to add a little water to calm the flames down a bit." -Jon

Flat Cat The Epicurean Stove

Epicurean Titanium Stove

"The Epicurean Titanium stoves are designed to burn solid fuels. We offer both the regular (14 grams) as well as the UL15 (6 grams) models. The Epicurean stoves are unique in that they have a regular burn mode as well as a simmer or bake mode. In the low mode, a 14 gram tablet of Esbit can burn between 50 and 60 minutes. Additionally, in bake mode, the burning Esbit barely smells and does not leave noticeable soot on your pot." -Jon

What is amazing is that in this configuration, it can restrict the air supply to the esbit tablet to allow it to burn/simmer for up to 50 minutes on one 0.5 oz cube. Turning the stove over with the "teeth" downward would increase the air supply to allow for a hot, faster, traditional burn. This little ring is the key to baking, though Jon's alcohol stove can also be used to bake.

Jon's Prototype Esbit Stove

Focused Fire 14 Stove

This is the stove that Jon has that got me really excited with the promise of getting up to four cups of boiled water per 0.5 oz esbit cube vs. the standard three cups.
The stove must be 1.8 inches from the ground to the bottom of the pot. Air flow and restriction of air is key to getting the maximum efficiency out of the esbit cube. It is ONLY for boiling water as it burns very hot.

Jon's comments: "This stove is design for UL Esbit users that want to maximize their fuel efficiency. This is an experimental stove that is really only being offered to subscribers of BackpackingLight. This is a DIY kit where you finish and assemble the raw parts to create the stove. This stove can heat up 4 cups of 70F water to about 195 F to 205F. The stove is listed on our website under the DIY section and sell (US only for now) for $12.50 including shipping. I made a limited batch."

*Click Hyperlink below photo to take you to store page for this special offer for BPL Members

Jon's Stoves

Flat Cat Gear Esbit Stoves

Bob Cat and Snow Lepard Stoves

Jon's Prototype Beer Can Cooking System with Snow Leopard is in the background,

"This is another experimental cooking system. This system was designed for people who love their beer can cooking systems. The windscreen is made of 0.003” stainless steel and can be rolled up to fit inside your pot or rolled up around the outside to help protect your beer can. Shown with the windscreen is a spun and anodized aluminum pot made by Batchstoves. I was experimenting to see if I could make a small cooking system. These prototypes will soon be sold exclusively to BackpackingLight members so stay tuned." -Jon

The Bob Cat Cooking System is their premier system coming in at 3.7 oz and everything fits into the cook pot. The Snow Leopard Cooking system is their ultra compact system coming at 2.15 oz. Both systems come in different sizes to accommodate various size mugs and pots.

Jon's Special Pot

Inside the Pot

Spun and anodized aluminum pot made by Batchstoves

Pedaling In

Pedaling In, Bike Packing

Borrah Gear Tarp

Borah Gear Tarp?

Tarptent Double Rainbow

Tarptent Double Rainbow 2 lbs 9 oz two person shelter

Emergency Blanket as Ground Sheet

Emergency Blanket as Ground Sheet

Unknown Wood Burning Stove 1

Unknown Wood Burning Stove 2

Unknown Wood Burning Stove 3

Suluk46 LCT Stove 2.25 oz

Big Agnes Tent

Big Agnes Tent

MLD DuoMid 1

MLD DuoMid 2

Mountain Laurel Designs 2 Person DuoMid 20 oz in silnylon

Six Moon Designs Grey 1

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo 2 Person Tent 2 lbs 9 oz

MLD Cuben Trailstar 1

MLD Cuben Trailstar 2

Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar 2-3 person 11 oz Cuben Shelter
Flexible pitching options depending on weather, extremely stable in high winds.

Tarptent Moment DW

Tarptent Moment DW 2

Rex's Original Version of the Tarptent Moment 1 person Shelter 30 oz
Rex says, "Very fast to pitch, just big enough for me at 6'2"."
Zpacks Hexamid

Zpacks Hexamid Soloplex with inner netting and bathtub floor in Cuben 14.6 oz

Black Diamond Tent

Duane's Black Diamond Hilight Tent & Zimmerbuilt Pack

Zpack Hexamid 3

Brian J's Zpacks Hexamid Solo with bathtub floor in Cuben 9.8 oz
Brian Comments: "Also in the pic is a Zpacks zero, simple outdoor solutions escape pod cooler, ee rev x quilt 40, and GG sit-lite pad."

MLD Trailstar 1

MLD Trailstar 2

MLD Trailstar 3

Another Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar

Zpacks Hexamid Duplex Tent

Zpacks Hexamid Duplex 2 Person Tent in Cuben 19.3 oz

Bearrikade

Bearikade Carbon Fiber Food Canister

Either the 650 CU IN Weekender for 6 days of food weighing 31 oz
Or the 900 CU IN Expedition for 9 days of food weighting 36 oz approximately
Pretty much the lightest approved food canister you can buy, but not cheap
I just ordered one of these as a custom built at 750 cu in, which I hope will be easier to fit 7 days of food in more easily than my 700 cu in Bear Vault for the same 12" of height and 33.14 oz, which is 8 oz/0.5 lbs lighter. Now to have one of my kidneys removed to pay for it.

Six Moon Design Cuben

Six Moon Designs Cuben Haven, older generation???

Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid in Cuben 1

Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid in Cuben 2

Mountain Laurel Designs DuoMid in Cuben 12.5 oz
Looks like a Mountain Laurel Designs Pack, maybe an Exodus inside the shelter

Reinforced Tie Out

Reinforced Tie Out

Gray Tent

Gray Tent

Gray Tent

David W Returns with a Hammock

David W Returns with a Hammock
Probably an old story, but we met David on a GGG Trip out to Yosemite at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir where David was solo backpacking. He came across our campsite and hung around for the evening and made some new friends. Our lightweight/UL sickness has worn off onto him.

UL Dog

Zara....your pack is always lighter if you made your dog carry your gear
Really sweet dog and only about 13-14 months old, what is her name?

Owner of the Dog

Denise...owner of Zara
Green tarp is from a hardware store, if I recall.
Who says that backpacking light needs to be expensive???

The Return of Jane

Jane returned to the GGG with her new Zpacks Hexamid Solo Tarp with bug netting 11.6 oz

See Jane hike, see Jane go to a GGG, see Jane UL Backpacking, see Jane on the trail
What's your excuse for not getting out?

Jane is my personal role model for backpacking. She may have done some backpacking when she was younger, but only have recently in the past two years resumed backpacking. I can only hope that when I am as wise and experienced as her that I am still out on the trail having adventures. It has been a joy to see her each year at the GGG. Her enthusiasm is boundless and she is just plain cheerful to be around.

Getting Ready for Dinner

Rick on the left is getting ready for dinner with the others
Are wine bottles considered UL???
With only 2.7 miles to hike in who is really counting the ounces you are carrying?

Kristen with Brock

Little Man

Kristin with Brock, the newest and cutest BPLer

Out of my way...I have a hiking pole

Out of my way...I have a hiking pole and places to go!!!

Cameron

Cameron rocking the full beard this year
I had the pleasure of hiking the JMT in 2011 with Cameron. A man of many talents and unique intelligence. Beer brewer, scientist, programmer, and the only person that I know that went "heavy" going UL. His first backpacking trip was with paper bag full of groceries from the corner market and a wool blanket for a multi-day trip. Ask Cameron to tell you the story of his first trip and you will know why I love this man.

John and EJ

Left to Right: John from Hikelighter.com, EJ and his wife, plus friends that EJ "dragged" out for the day. Daniel, at the end, is a recent graduate from Germany and came out check out the backpacking gear. I had the pleasure of talking to him while I was photographing shelters. I did my best to explain the shelters and gear that we saw. He seemed pretty keen to know the names of specific items and for advice on what gear to buy.

Tony in Green

Hey, I got into one of the pictures, finally!
Puffy Green Jacket on Tony...copying David W. after seeing him toasty warm last year in his puffy down jacket

Ken and John

Ken Thompson and Jon Abela organizers
Critical Support by Marc supplying water, propane
Special thank you to an anonymous out of State Traveler who generously donated the two propane fire pits so we could have the gift of fellowship around the fire at night.

Ken has been the driving force to keep the Gathering of Gear Geeks going all these years with generous help from others like John and Marc. John was generous to donate his time and technical expertise to setup a webpage for getting people registered for this year's GGG. GGGWest.com

Debbie in Spirit

Debbie in Spirit: The Tradition and Gift of Chocolate Goodness
Debbie's brownies have become a bit of a recent tradition at the GGG for the past few years. The first time she brought them in with her for a day hike out to the GGG. Then she brought them last year and was able to spend the night. This year should could not make it, but she made sure that we would have them this year. She found volunteers, Doug and Sharon, to bring them into us. I believe that this may have been one of two boxes full of brownies, which were gobbled up quickly.

Debbie from last year's GGG

Debbie from last year's GGG
We missed you...though, I do feel safer that Sharon and you were not together. Something about threatening people with a cattle prod....

Night Comes and Dinner Time

Night Comes and Dinner Time
Peter G. to the left in Royal Blue Jacket talking to Mike
The temperatures were very mild this year. Frankly, we are headed into a drought with little to no rain this winter. With the sun having set, people gathered around the picnic tables to get their meals cooked before being plunged into darkness. Lots of new faces this year with the built in ice breaker of all of having a love of the outdoors to talk about.

Hikin Jim with his Stoves

Jim at it again

Hikin Jim from Adeventures in Stoving
Every year Jim has come out with a large assortment of stoves from his vast collection. He is a wealth of information, which he shares freely with everyone. He can often be seen with a whole table covered in stoves, answering questions, and providing demonstrations of stoves people have never seen before. Next time you see him, stop on by and check out stoves of all types and I am sure Jim will teach you something new.

Lee's Flashing Lights

Lee's Light Show....Trail Design's GGG Headquarters
Gotta love battery powered LED lights to trick out your campsite.
Plus, a great way to illuminate your campsite to give demonstrations of the beloved Caldera Cones.

Dinner Time Conversation with New Friends

Dinner Time Conversation with New Friends

Kids at Play

Kids at play...monkey in the middle with the blurry yellow ball
More and more kids attending the GGG. In fact, I took my family and my 10 yr old daughter out for the 1st time. Phoebe called my daughter, Mei Ling, the "ninja" because she was so quiet and was simply happy to tag along with the other kids as they ran around at night.

USB LED Scrolling Light

USB LED Scrolling Light
This light was cleverly connected to a USB backup power supply used for recharging phones and tablets.

Sharon getting her MSR Pocket Pocket Rocket Setup

Sharon getting her MSR Pocket Pocket Rocket Setup
Black Diamond Orbit LED Lantern
Picked up this 4.7 oz 60 Lumen lantern and flashlight that runs off of 4 AAA batteries from REI. Pretty compact and put out good light. Just need to have it elevated to cast light on a large area.

Phoebe Hiding From Me

Phoebe Hiding From Me While in Her Chair
This seems to be our little game over the past two years. I try to snap a photo of her and she does her best to thwart me. She did a good job as I was not able to get a photo of her this year.....though, if you follow all the comments after this post, there IS a photo of her with her father, Rick. Always good to see her...each year she gets taller.

Manfred's Girls with Brock

Manfred's Girls with Brock 2

Manfred's Girls with Brock
And to think that these girls have already hiked the JMT!!!
Hiking the John Muir Trail with our 9 and 10 year old daughters by Manfred

A Warm Glow

A Warm Glow

Hanging in Style 2

Hanging in Style

Hanging in Style 3

Hanging in Style in Ron's Van

David and Jacob

David and Jacob Fireside Chat

Propane Fire Pits in Action

Propane Fire Pits in Action
There were two of these setup at two different site.
One that was quieter and occupied by families and children while the other was full of chatter and a few shared drinks.

Plenty of Lights

Tree of Light

Tree of Lights
Besides the light being cast from the fire pits, there were a number of lanterns on tables, and a few LED Xmas lights wrapped around a few trees to gives some mood lighting. I think that it would neat next year to encourage people to bring out xmas lights to try to give it a more magical look.....or it just might turn into something that looks like Vegas....hummm.

A Child That Goes Bump in the Night

A Child That Goes Bump in the Night

Jim is at it Again

Jim is at it Again 2

Jim is at it Again 3

Jim is at it again and we love it!
When things get dark, what better way to keep things toasty warm and bright by having some stove roaring in the night?

Kicking it with the Caldera Cone & Trail Designs

Kicking it with the Caldera Cone & Trail Designs

Happiness is charcoal in your stove for plenty of hot water

Happiness is charcoal in your stove for plenty of hot water
And then adding some bits of wood for the aroma of a smokey fire
Notice that there IS a ground shield in use to protect the ground from scaring

Now This is How You Do Backwoods Grilling

Now This is How You Do Backwoods Grilling
Lee was grilling some sausages
Note: This grill does not appeal on the Trail Designs Website and may be a prototype

Always a Good Time with Lee

Always a Good Time with Lee
Lee is always great in that he is happy to answer anyone's questions and to give detailed explanations and demos to anyone curious about his Caldera Cones.


Ken and Manfred

Ken and Manfred Hanging Out at Lee's Tricked Out Campsite

Bike and a Lantern

Bike and a Lantern

A Warm Glow to Behold

A Warm Glow to Behold

Cheese Cake and a Drink....a Few Drinks

Cheese Cake and a Drink....a Few Drinks
Peter V and Doug Ide. Doug flew out from Maryland for the GGG. Debbie, who made the brownies, was nice enough to put him up for the night at her place and then sent him on his way to carry brownies with Sharon, who drove Doug to the GGG. Doug is a character for sure and has a generous heart.

Night Lights

Night Lights and Headlights
Always bring your head light...hands free is a great thing

A Surprising Amount of Light and Decent Warmth

A Surprising Amount of Light and Decent Warmth

Richard Making New Friends

Richard Making New Friends 2

Richard Making New Friends with Shawn and Erica (I think it is Shawn & Erica)
Again, a lot of new faces this year and I like to think that everyone was made to feel welcome.

Sharon, Brain, and Singh?

Sharon, Brian, and ???

Pat and Sharon

Pat, my wife, and Sharon
Interestingly I took this shot with a flash, which I generally dislike using, as I prefer the more natural look without the flash. Really dislike flash, but the alternative are slightly blurry pictures

Sharon

Sharon and Improvised Colored Lanterns
Using headlights and an LED Lantern stuffed behind a water bottle, a plastic cup, and some stuff sacks we were able to get this shot

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Child's Play with Glow Sticks and Headlights

Child's Play with Glow Sticks and Headlights
The kids hooted and hollered through the night, chasing each other around the campsite.

Standing in the Light

Standing in the Light 2

Standing in the Light

Hammock with LED Lighting

Hammock with LED Lighting

Jon Giving Demonstrations

Jon Giving Demonstrations 2

Jon Giving Demonstrations of His Various Stoves
Esbit Epicurean & ISO Clean Stoves on the Table

Jon's Standard Alcohol Stove with Options Simmer Ring

Jon's Standard Alcohol Stove with Optional Simmer Ring

Focus Fire 14 In Action

Focus Fire 14 In Action 2

Focus Fire 14 In Action
To work properly for maximum efficiency, the Focus Fire needs to be 1.8 inches from the ground to the bottom of the pot. Restricting the amount of oxygen by placing the bottom of the pot near the top of the stove creates efficiency and a hot burn.

ISO Clean Alcohol Stove with Integrated Pot Stand

ISO Clean Alcohol Stove with Integrated Pot Stand

ISO Clean Alcohol Stove working properly with Pot on the Stove

ISO Clean Alcohol Stove working properly with Pot on the Stove

Epicurean Esbit Stove in High Mode

Epicurean Esbit Stove in High Mode with the "teeth" facing downward, which allows more oxygen into the "burning chamber"

Epicurean Esbit Stove in Simmer Mode

Epicurean Esbit Stove in Simmer Mode by simply turning the stove over, which restricts oxygen

Jon Demonstrating Hand Sanitizer as a Safe Fuel 2

Jon Demonstrating Hand Sanitizer as a Safe Fuel

Jon Demonstrating Hand Sanitizer as a Safe Fuel as it does not spill, ignites easily, and can be a good choice for an alcohol novice

Hand Sanitzer in Flat Cat Alcohol Stove

Hand Sanitizer in Flat Cat Alcohol Stove

Carbon Felt Hat as Insulation for Pot

Carbon Felt Hat as Insulation for Pot

Chairs as a Luxury Item

Chairs as a Luxury Item Around the Fire

Ken

Ken

Doug

Doug

Sharing Stories of Adventures

Sharing Stories of Adventures

Drink by Fire Light

Drink by Fire Light

Lee Warming Up to the Fire

Lee Warming Up to the Fire

Bright Backcountry Lights

Bright Back Country Lights

The night trickles on with good weather that is not too cold and where a light down or fleece jacket will chase away an chill you might feel. Children chase each other around table and shadowy trees illuminated by the two fires that flicker in the night. A warm yellow glow shines upon the faces of all that gather around them to share stories and talk about adventures on the trail. They are beacons for gathering around the light not so much for warmth but for a sense of community. Soon the laughter of child fades into the darkness as they go to bed with parents shortly there after following suit. A burst of laughter breaks the stillness of the late evening as those left around the fires share a few drinks to warm the soul. The night is reduced to low voices that chatter on into the night til the fires are turned out and there is peaceful slumber.

Mei-Ling sleeping in

Mei-Ling sleeping in and slow to wake

Tarptent  Rainshadow 2

Henry Shire Tarptent Rainshadow 2 thee person shelter 2 lb 10 oz

My families go to fair weather family camping shelter that will fit three adults

Jetboil Sol Ti

Jetboil Sol Titanium Canister Stove 8.5 oz
Considering that my MSR Titan Kettle is 4.2 oz and my MSR Pocket Rocket is 3.0 oz, for the extra 1.6 oz of added weight and increased efficiency of the heat exchanger, perhaps this is the perfect canister stove cooking system?

Old School Sterno Fuel

Old School Sterno Fuel!
Looks like the pot stand of a Bushbuddy wood burning stove on top of a sterno fuel canister

First Rays of Sun Washing Across the Campsite

First Rays of Sun Washing Across the Campsite
Looks like two Jetboil Stoves detached from their mugs

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun
The sun rises over the edge of the campsite. We are atop a hill that overlooks the surround area. People stir from their slumber. Hats and jackets are pulled on and people venture out. A few low voices greet each other as people carry their stoves and pots to the tables to seek warmth in a quick morning meal.

Nothing Chaes Away the Chill of the Morning Like a Father's Embrace

Nothing Chase Away the Chill of the Morning Like a Father's Embrace

David in the Background with his every present puffy jacket

David in the Background with his every present puffy jacket

Ron Knows How to Camp is Style and Comfort

Ron Knows How to Camp is Style and Comfort

Why have oatmeal when you can have Bacon!

Why have oatmeal when you can have Bacon!

Shawn & Erica

Shawn and Erica's First GGG
In the foreground is my MSR Titan Kettle full of oatmeal with and MSR Pocket Rocket

Pat and Mei-Ling Having Oatmeal

Pat and Mei-Ling Having Oatmeal
They hate me for not having bacon for them...don't let them see Ron's Bacon!

Sharon's Marie Calender Pot Pie Wind Screen

Sharon's Marie Calender Pot Pie Wind Screen

The Trouble Makers

The Trouble Makers Arise

Morning Conversation

Joshua "Bobcat" Stacy
Someone told me that the man with the Red and White hat has hike the PCT as well as a number of the long and famous trails setting some records.

Jon's Dough for Monkey Bread

Jon's Dough for Monkey Bread
Okay, I admit that I was eager to see how this dry baking worked and Jon promised that he would demonstrate how to make it in the morning. So as people began to stir early in the morning, I made a point of hauling myself out of bed.

The Pans

The Pans

Stuffing Bits of Dough Into the Pan

Stuffing Bits of Dough Into the Pan

Alcohol Stove with Optional Simmering Ring

Alcohol Stove with Optional Simmering Ring

Epicurean Esbit Stove in Simmer Mode

Epicurean Esbit Stove in Simmer Mode

Set it on the Stove

Set it on the Stove
In this case, Jon had two pans cooking away to show that both the alcohol and esbit stoves could bake the same bread

Cover

Cover
Approximately 50 minutes of bake time using one 0.5 oz esbit fuel cube and approximately 35 to 50 minutes with the alcohol stove, depending on the ambient wind

Remove from Stove

Remove From Stove

Remove From Pan

Remove from Pan.
Notice the nice browning of the bread on the bottom and edges.

Plate

Plate Bread

Server and Share the Warm Goodness

Server and Share the Warm Goodness

Some Sort of Large Forward Facing Waist Belt

Some Sort of Large Forward Facing Waist Belt

Cuben Pack

Unknown Cuben Pack- HMG???

GGG Lost and Found Tree for Children

GGG Lost and Found Tree for Children
Actually, she was great and was nice enough to climb up here to take a seat. I had seen her sitting here the day before, but was not able to get a short of her. So this is just a staged shot.

Brock, Everyone's Favorite GGG Mascot

Brock, Everyone's Favorite GGG Mascot

Spoiled Rotten and Loving It

Spoiled Rotten and Loving It

Jesse

Brain's Son, Jesse.
Jesse was great. Though being much older than many of the other kids, he was teased, chased, and generally lovingly harassed by the girls and boys. Adorned by all...as he ran around in the darkness to be chased. Loads of energy and making for a lot of good memories for the kids, rather than being bored to death by old people jabbering on about gear.

Kids Pack

Unknown Kids Pack
At this point, people were heading out slowly as we needed to be clear of the campsites by 11 am. Marc and a few other people were walking around with trash bags to sweep the sites to make sure that we left it in as good, if not better, shape than we had found it. Honestly, people were great and there was little to clean up after. Ken had a number of large garbage bags at the end of tables or at the base of a nearby tree, which people used to dispose of their garbage.

Marc Heading Out

Marc Heading Out....most of the 50 gallons he hauled in gone.
The Rangers allowed us two support vehicles per group campsite.

The Hike Out

The Hike Out 2

The Hike Out 3

The Hike Out
Made a lot easier as Marc was nice enough to drive our packs out.
Unfortunately for me, due to my forgetfulness, I left my hiking poles leaning against his truck in the parking lot. Thankfully, Marc found them and took them with him. I have a lot of miles and memories with those poles. Meeting Marc in the near future to pick them up. I am very grateful that he scooped them up for me.

Stopping By the Vistor's Center on the Way to the Overflow Parking Lot

Stopping By the Visitor's Center on the Way to the Overflow Parking Lot

Sunday Morning Gear Swap in the Parking Lot

Sunday Morning Gear Swap in the Parking Lot 2

Sunday Morning Gear Swap in the Parking Lot

Jacob & Jon

Jacob from Hike it. Like it. on the left and John A from Hikelighter.com
Jacob has been a great mentor, educating me about photography and cameras. Now I know what an F Stop is! Seriously, with his education and guidance, it lead me to purchase the Sony RX100 pocket camera. A very capable camera with a lot of manual controls. I admit that I am sticking to using the idiot mode. The large 1 inch sensor has allowed me to capture better low light pictures and to take fewer pictures as most are what Jacob calls "keepers". No more taking three shots of each scene to make sure that I did not have blurry images. Thrilled with the camera and the HD video it can take. Other than resizing these photos for uploading onto BPL, these are the raw shots vs. heavily editing each picture, which I needed to do with my prior camera.

Selling Gear New and Old

Selling Gear New and Old 2

Selling Gear New and Old 4

Selling Gear New and Old

Selling Gear New and Old 3

Sharon and Doug Carpooling Together

Selling Gear New and Old 5

Richard Hanging Out

Special Trail Designs Beer Can Style Pot Stoves

Special Trail Designs Beer Can Style Pot Stoves: Caldera Keg Systems

Ken's GGG Van

Ken's GGG Van...constant of the universe and sign of a good times coming

Thank you Ken for all that you do for the months leading up to the GGG.
Thank you for shepherding the spirit of the event and helping make it grow each year to become an event for novices, hardcore UL gear geeks, manufactures, and families.
A big thank you for Marc, Jon, and our generous donor of the the fire pits. Without your help and generous donation of time and efforts, things would not go so smoothly and would not be nearly as enjoyable.

Til next year everyone!


Ken's 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


A Brief History of the GGG

The G.G.G. stands for Gathering of Gear Geeks, which has been an annual winter gathering of lightweight/ultralight backpackers in the California Bay Area.

This is the 6th year that it is being held.

It is open to anyone....traditional and lightweight backpackers, anyone interested in learning about UL backpacking.

The 1st one was organized by Ken Helwig, a BPL member, and was held at Point Reyes, CA. and had about 15-17 people attend.

Successive G.G.G. were co-organized by Ken Helwig and Ken Thompson until we outgrew the group sites there.

At that point, the G.G.G. was moved to Henry Coe State Park in CA/Bay Area, which would allow groups of up to 100 people.

Eventually, Ken Thompson became the sole organizer of the G.G.G with generous help from fellow BPLers who donated water and firewood, which the Rangers at Henry Coe State Park would allow to be trucked into the group sites.

Recently, UL Cottage Gear Manufactures have been coming out to the G.G.G. to enjoy the gathering and to show their products. In fact, last year we have had Ron Moak from Six Moon designs with Brian Frankle, founder of ULA Backpacks, announce a new partnership and showed pro-type product and to get feedback from the UL Community via the GGG attendees.

People have traveled from all across California to attend and we have had a handful of people fly in from other States to attend.

What is nice about the G.G.G., in my opinion, is that it is a great way to check out the large variety of UL/Lightweight gear that you typically can only see in photos online. More importantly, it is about people making friends, sharing their love of the outdoors, swapping stories, sharing knowledge, finding people to take backpacking trips with....etc.

It is casual and inclusive- everyone is welcome, no matter if they are new to backpacking or long time travelers.

Within the past two years, there have been other G.G.G.s that have popped up around the U.S./country.


Other photo essays by Tony:

5th Annual 2013 Gathering of Gear Geeks: Henry Coe State Park, CA.

BPLers 2012 GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.

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

Emigrant Wilderness

High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Deadman Canyon

Tahoe Rim Trail

Ventana Wilderness

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 Adventure

Edited by Valshar on 02/24/2014 23:22:53 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 11:46:23 MST Print View




















John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 12:00:34 MST Print View

Is that a cuben Lunar Solo (I think 4th picture from the top)?

What a cool variety of shelters.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 13:12:17 MST Print View

The fourth photo from the top is a new 2014 product for SMD that should be available shortly. It is a hexagonal shaped tarp that is 6.9 ounces, and inside of it is, I think, the SMD Serenity NetTent. It features a number of differences over existing hexagonal shaped tarps presently being manufactured by different companies, including a bit larger square footage and a zippered front entrance. I am unaware of whether or not it has been given a product name yet nor the exact ETA for purchase.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: "6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California" on 01/27/2014 13:32:22 MST Print View

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d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 16:55:37 MST Print View

Looks like it was another fun and interesting get-together; I missed being able to come this year. Kudos to Ken for pulling off yet another successful GGG.

Debbie

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 17:32:28 MST Print View

Is that last picture some kind of acid trip from the brownies Doug was selling?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 18:35:00 MST Print View

Big thanks to all that came out. Especially those who came great distances to see what goes on. I had a great time with everyone. Lots of kind words and thanks make it worthwhile.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 18:41:37 MST Print View

"I am unaware of whether or not it has been given a product name yet"

I believe Ron is calling it the Deschutes.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 22:34:01 MST Print View

I didn't actually take very many photos this GGG and the ones I did are just from my phone:

Aerial Trinity Alps
From the plane; Trinity Alps. I'm pretty sure the valley above the central ridge is the one leading up to Morris Meadow, site of a mini-GGG a few years back.

Henry Coe parking lot sunset
Lower parking lot at Henry Coe, the sun starting to go down.

Max Coe parking lot
Max parked next to me as I was getting ready and we walked in together. Max is planning to hike the PCT this year. Funny thing, we caught up to some hikers who were wearing HMG and ULA packs. Of course, they must be heading to the GGG, but they had never heard of it. I think they were heading to Poverty Flats.

Coe walk in sunset

Coe walk in sunset 2
Sunset in Henry Coe as we walked in to the Manzanita group campsite.

China Hole
China Hole, Henry Coe State Park. This was midway on a Saturday afternoon hike.

Jacob at Henry Coe
Jacob. Not saluting, just blocking the sun.

Oak tree Coe park
Oak tree. This was SUnday morning, as I hiked out.

Coyote Coe Park
Of course I couldn't get the phone ready to take a picture, but there's a large green bush in the center of the photo and a small brown dot at its base. A coyote had just loped across the meadow from right to left and stopped there to watch me.

Edited by saparisor on 01/27/2014 22:43:46 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 23:00:24 MST Print View

The truly amazing thing is how Ken is able to attract such high quality participants. Like these:


All kidding aside, it's a very well run affair. Signage starts from the moment you enter.


To the time you first set foot on the trail.


The trails are well maintained.


There are lovely oak glades.


And mixed oak and grasslands.


It's really a peaceful spot -- and only about 1/2 hour off of US 101.


Klassy Ken even compensated for this year's wood fire ban (propane fire pits!)


There were lots of cool shelters to geek out over.




And fresh baked goods from Jon at Flat Cat Gear


Nice back country for some side trips.


And hiking partners aplenty.

L to R: Ian, Ben (seated), Jerry, Lindsey, and Sharon.

Even gear talks!

Roan Moak from Six Moon Designs

AND! Even Roger Caffin high tech UL 4 season stoves! Yes!

A Caffin stove running on a Camping Gaz (non-threaded Lindal valve) canister in liquid feed (inverted canister). I was able to run the stove off of both a threaded MSR and a non-threaded Camping Gaz canister, but I couldn't get it to work with Coleman Powermax.

I sure left a happy camper...


Many thanks to all who attended, contributed, or otherwise assisted, and of course, special thanks to Ken.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving
Hikin Jim's Blog

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/27/2014 23:10:40 MST Print View

Hi Jim

> but I couldn't get it to work with Coleman Powermax.
Um???
Any idea what the problem was? I certainly use Powermax canisters.
Could you also email me at roger@backpackinglight.com about this please. I have had one other person with a similar problem.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Powermax Problems on 01/28/2014 11:02:00 MST Print View

Hi, Roger,

I can't be completely sure. I only had a very limited amount of time with the stove. EJ needed to get his crew back to the trailhead before dark.

However, from what I could tell, the pin in the connector on the stove didn't appear to be depressing the Lindal valve sufficiently to release gas. I got an initial puff of gas, and that was it. It seems like the groove in the "collar" around the valve in the canister may be too high. When the "feet" on the stove's connector engage the grove, the pin on the connector does not sufficiently depress the Lindal valve.

If I had had more time, I would have liked to have tried it with other Powermax canisters. I had a variety with me. Unfortunately, time did not permit. I would have also liked to have tried it with a CV360 canister.

I'll drop you an email.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving
Hikin' Jim's Blog

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Powermax Problems on 01/28/2014 12:28:32 MST Print View

Oh, and I should add that not only was I pressed for time, I did not have the benefit of having the instructions. Any "problems" encountered may have just been user error/my numb skull. The stove certainly worked brilliantly with Camping Gaz (smooth) and MSR (standard threaded) canisters.



HJ
Adventures In Stoving
Hikin' Jim's Blog

Edited by hikin_jim on 01/28/2014 12:34:51 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: 6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/28/2014 13:45:07 MST Print View

So what is that sweet shelter? The one that looks like a zpacks duplex.....not the hexamid looking one.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
6th Annual Gathering of Gear Geeks 2014: Henry Coe State Park, California on 01/28/2014 13:55:34 MST Print View

Jen,

The first shelter in Jim's photos is the updated SMD cuben Haven; the tarp and the inner are separate. The 2d shelter is the updated SMD Skyscape Trekker. I think Ron said the Havens would be available in April or May (that might be wrong, though).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Powermax Problems on 01/28/2014 14:50:29 MST Print View

Hi Jim

Grumble, grumble, grumble (at Coleman).

Coleman Powermax canisters (basically hair spray cans) were capped on different machines, and I am convinced at least one of those machines was set up wrongly. The wrong ones depressed the centre of the Lindal valve and the spigot by about 1 mm or more. Yes, I have both sorts, and no, the depressed ones do not mate properly. My big concern is that if the spigot is depressed too far, the O-ring may not seal.

Very important Q: what is the label on the Coleman canister? Is it Powermax or just Max?

Second question, or request: can you take a photo of the Lindal valve from the side, dead square. Sit the canister upright and photograph from the side at the level of the valve. The centre of the camera lens should be a few millimetres above the rim of the valve.

Cheers

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Powermax Problems -- Does it matter? on 01/28/2014 14:55:07 MST Print View

Are they even available anymore?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Powermax Problems -- Does it matter? on 01/28/2014 16:25:37 MST Print View

Nick,

They are no longer made, but some, such as myself, have a stash of 50 or so laid in.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving
Hikin' Jim's Blog

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Powermax Problems on 01/28/2014 16:35:15 MST Print View

Roger,

I've seen some inconsistencies on the Powermax canisters. I make a habit of attaching the stove at home before I go out, double checking to make sure the gas flows and the connection is secure.

As far as I know, Powermax fuel was only sold under the name "Powermax" in the US. Canisters labeled only "Max" that I've seen have all been in photos from outside the US. I could be wrong about that. I'll check my canisters when I get home tonight.

I had a half dozen Powermax canisters with me at the GGG. I'm not sure which one I grabbed out of my box. I'll try to figure it out. The canister I used was 300g size and was only partially full.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving
Hikin' Jim's Blog