Ultralight Hiking:

See also:


Ulralight Hiking

Ultralight Hiking Advice

The Upper Yarra Walking Track

Hiking 2019

Hiking 2018

Hiking 2017

Hiking 2016

Hiking 2015

Hiking 2014.htm

Hiking 2013 & Earlier

Steve's Blog

World Travel Kit for Son



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Della & I (combined age then 120) heading off from Freney Lagoon on the second day of our walk across Tasmania in 2011. We took seven days. Between us we were carrying @ 20 kilos & enough food (& booze!) for 10 days. These zpacks ‘Blast’ packs are 52 litres including pockets and weigh around 300 grams. Today we would be carrying several kilos LESS.

All about light weight, ultra light hiking, backpacking, bushwalking, hunting, tracks, trails, adventures, gear, reviews…

I have been hiking/hunting now for over sixty years, a little more slowly than I once did, walking in the Victorian Alps & elsewhere often in winter and in all weathers. I have camped out a lot, more than two years of my life in toto. I have seen the failure of just about every type of gear, and experienced most disasters which can befall you in the wilderness, and survived. So, if you dream of doing a bit of camping/hiking, maybe I can offer some useful advice?

This is a ‘work in progress’. I will be adding to it on a regular basis adding new photos, adventures, product/ideas, suggestions, etc. You should also look at HIKING ADVICE also a section of gear advice for my son written in 2011 WORLD TRAVEL KIT FOR SON. You can also see my older posts above, eg Hiking 2017. Hope you find something interesting.

PS: UPPER YARRA TRACK: I have recently created this site The Upper Yarra Walking Track Australia’s oldest (& best), an approx. 10-14 day walk with numerous resupply points, plentiful water and camping spots now extending from Moe railway Station @ 150 kilometres up the Latrobe, Tyers & Thomson River valleys, via Yallourn North, Erica & Walhalla, across the Baw Baw Plateau, along the Upper Thomson River, past the Yarra Falls & Mt Horsefall, along the Little Ada, Ada and Yarra valleys via Warburton to Lilydale Railway Station. Now, complete with Track Instructions


31/12/2019: Cheap Down: These folks have ultra-cheap down sleeping bags, pants, jackets, socks etc on Aliexpress for unbeatable prices. What’s not to like about an 800 fill power ultradry down jacket for US$76.76 (Jan 2019) including delivery, or down pants for US46.41, socks for US$16.24, balaclavas for US$24.85 or  480 grams +5C sleeping bags for US 75.88! Certainly worth a look – they seem to have plenty of positive reviews.

If you needed a bit more warmth you could easily add some more yourself, as we did here: Adding Down to a Sleeping Bag

You can buy the down quite cheaply from eg Aliexpress Just be sure to buy eg 800 ‘fill power’ down. The fill power means eg the amount 1 ounce of down will expand to fill  (in this case 800 cubic inches). So around four ounces (or around $20 worth of such down added to a bag will make it OK to say -10C. $100 is pretty cheap for a sub zero bag which weighs around 600 grams.Think about partnering it with one of these cheap backpacks and some other budget items


See Also:


Budget Pack Mods

Ultralight hiking on a Budget

30/12/2019: Thomson River Canoe Trip: This video had somehow disappeared from my page so I have resurrected it. Somehow I managed to video most of the trip with my late friend Steve Cleaver with a non-waterproof very old video camera. There is no editing. It is all just as I filmed and narrated it. Nonetheless I think you will enjoy it – and it will give you a good idea of what to look forward to on this wonderful river – including fresh trout for dinner! Cheers, Steve. NB. This section: Bruntons Bridge to Cowwarr Weir is a two day trip. I guess I must have canoed this river a few dozen times – how privileged am I?


PS: Summer this year (2019) there is not much water anywhere in Gippsland (and of course fires everywhere) but there is still enough to enjoy a trip down the Thomson. You can have an enjoyable journey from about .2 metres on the Coopers Creek gauge though you might have to get out at a few pebble races. Looks more like .3 on the video.

Also there is water in the Latrobe eg from Thoms Bridge (Yallourn North-Morwell Rd Rd) down to Sale (swing bridge) is approx five days of delightful flat water paddling (take a water filter; this section of the river is muddy).

The last section (shown below) from Kilmany South (two days) is arguably the most scenic: the river is bounded by a strip of magnificent riverine gums  on both sides, though there are some quite large sections of forest too. Bird life is particularly varied and plentiful. There are vast numbers of perfect camping spots along the river.

The section from Noojee down to Willow Grove is probably the best but will need some clearing. Get cracking. Also the Tanjil is worth considering (eg from Costins or Rowley’s Hill Rd down to Blue Rock).


Long and Lazy River

Tanjil River

PS: The cover photo is of Steve coming down one of the Thomson’s better rapids (The Chute – which can be inspected from the T1 track 4WD only) the same year (2006) but on a different trip (when we put in from the end of the T9 track (off Stoney Creek Rd) for a day trip. (NB Road ‘officially’ closed but it could be re-opened by determined canoeists. I did it last time – now your turn).

I have improved the photo as much as I can. Alas that I can never take it again, Steve has been gone now for ten whole years. Seems unbelievable: The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit. Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.’ Omar Khayyám

See Also:

Canoeing the Thomson River

Only the Moon and Me

How Green Was My River

29/01/2019: The Arch – Update: Della: ‘The new archway is beginning to settle in and look much less stark with the lower plantings taking off now and the roses starting to climb the uprights. What a difference a few months make in the garden (especially when spring and summer are also involved!) Thanks Steve Jones for the structural work and for laying those tedious pavers: Every glance out the front door now makes me smile!’

Xmas 2019:

August 2019:

See Also: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/08/31/the-arch/

29/12/2019: Marvelous Mitchell Day 3: What a wonderful ruin - like something from Ozymandias. Construction of this weir at the junction of the Mitchell and Stoney creek commenced in 1881 but the weir was destroyed by floods in 1893 soon after completion and has never been repaired. Two other attempts to dam the river at Billy Goat Bend and Tabberabbera both came to nothing so that the river remains the last great 'free' river in Victoria. In winter it is common for enough water to be flowing down it to fill one of Melbourne's large catchment dams in a single day, so that a weir like this much higher up such as the one at Swinglers on the Thomson would guarantee Melbourne fresh water for a long while to come. Mind you I am not sorry that it runs free. Dams in Tasmania already built could just as easily supply Melbourne via a pipeline across Bass Strait.


I'm afraid I just kept snapping away at it.

And camped right in the shelter of it overlooking a swallow-filled billabong.

Here the jungle seeks to reclaim it like Angkor Wat.

This Banyalla is growing right out of the wall.

And these two seem to have it surrounded.

You can walk right out along the top.

What a huge pool it still is above the weir. it would have provided very good water for the Lindenow Flats.

The Stoney Creek on the left of the photo was clearly used as a diversion while they built the weir.

The stones from the weir lie scattered below it making a very complex rapid.

My camp is quite dwarfed by the weir.

It was lovely to wake in the morning to this enchanting view.

The weir's stones have been worn quite smooth by a century of rushing water.

Next to last view.

A dragon watches me pass.

The very last viwe of the weir as I head downriver on mostly flat water.

Two dragons.

But there are still a few difficult rapids.

But only 1-2 spots to camp below the weir.

One of the last siltstne cliffs is riddled with caves.

These look as if they contain ancient rock art.

But it is an optical illusion. They would have long since washed away.

A beautiful noxious weed?

The first glimpse of 'civilisation'.

But still a couple of tricky rock gardens.

The reed beds quiver.

At last the 'Final Fling' rapid.

A dead stag had fetched up here. Despite his being more than somewhat overpowering I could not pass up the chance of a trophy without even a gun!

You can walk around this rapid on the right hand side - recomended.

Ony a bit over half an hour to go mainly on flat water.

And real willows hove in sight. What a delight they are!

On the car/bike shuttle I chanced upon a family of emus.

It was a truly delightful three day trip. Younger folk could probably do it more quickly particularly in higher water levels - but what's the hurry. Unfortunately the summer has turned hot and dry and there is now not enough water to follow in my footsteps but put it on your bucket list for when the autumn break comes along - or you might chance to Catch the Wave if it rains higher up the catchment over the summer.

River Heights: Glenaladale Weir: Began Trip  .65 ended .66; Waterford: 1.63-1.57; Crooked River: 1.31 - 1,26. These figures probably give you some idea about the comparability of the three gauges. Adventure Pro claimed the river was canoeable from .6 on the Glenaladale Gauge. This is probably about right - for packrafts anyway, but you would expect portages across many rapids. I know I just managed a few and portaged 2.3 at nearly 2" more water than that. That being said this section of the river is characterised my very many long still deep  so you might enjoy the experience even when river heights are low - as they are at the moment.sections where you might have to paddle against a headwind. It would be much more enjoyable with a couple more inches of water eg .8 on the Glenaladale Gauge.


Angusvale Camp Ground to Jorgensens 4 hours

Jorgensens to Amphithesatre Rapid 3 hours

Amphitheatre to Den of Nargen 2 hours

Den of Nargen to Glenaladale Weir 2 hours

Glenaladale Weir to Final Fling 2hours

Final Fling to Glenaladale Bridge 3/4 hour.

Portages approx 1/2 hour.

Campsites: are not wonderfully numerous on this section of the river., though they are to be found. There are hardly any between the Amphitheatre rapid and the Den of Nargen for example, though there does appear to be a bench a chain up from the river on the true right bank which might provide some good spots. There are also not many spots after the Glenaladale Weir, but there are some. Mostly folks have been camping on the lovely sandbars along the way and at the confluences of major creeks. There are shadier spots a little further away from the river which you really need to look out for (look for the benches I mentioned earlier). There is a delightful spot on the true left bank just above the Roaring Mag Creek, for example.

The Glenaladale Weir camping spot is a delight. I camped there and above and opposite Jorgensens. The trip took me 14 hours on the water, so it would have become fairly tedious if done over only two days. You would have to make an early start and a late finish at very least. If you are packrafting you can get out at the Den of Nargen and walk up to the Caravan Park.. Doing so would cut nearly five hours off the trip making it much more suitable for an overnight trip. Of course with more water (and fewer years of age) it might be done much more quickly. You should allow some leeway so that you can perhaps wait an hour or more for a suitable camp to show up.

See Also:






Section 1: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-kingwell-bridge-to-black-snake-creek/

Section 2: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-black-snake-to-hut-creek/

Section 3: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-hut-creek-to-waterford-bridge/


For River Heights: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-wonnangatta-catching-the-wave/








28/12/2019: Marvelous Mitchell Day 2: I spent a wonderfully restful night under the huge walnut tree lulled to sleep by the noise of the river rolling past - and surrounded by deer! The walnuts are a great magnet to them. They clearly check them daily to see whether a leaf or a nut has been discarded for their delectation. I notice that on the map this few acres has a National Park boundary around it on the map so that it may be a remnant of private property for all I know. What a weekend retreat!




Such an enchanting river. I would be paddling for nearly eight hours today. Quite a big day for me.

There are some big carp in the Mitchell, and I'm sure more desirable fish too.

A relict brachychiton (kurrajong). They are a feature of the lower Wonnangatta/Mitchell though nearly a thousand km South of where they are much more common. A beautiful and very desirable tree.

I got out to take a look at a beautiful campsite just above the Roaring Mag creek on the true left bank. A lovely honeyeater joined me.

What a great camp in the midst of this tiny piece of temperate rainforest.

Cobbanah Creek on the true right bank would be a pleasant campsite so long as there were no flash-floods. On my map there is a small lake (or dam) about 200 metres long about 200 metres up the creek. I will check it out when Iwalk the Mitchell River Walking Track which parallels the river on the true right bank.

The rock faces at the entrance to the creek look almost as if they were man-made which they weren't.

What a beautiful limpid pool!

It goes on and on forever.

Unfortunately it means (as such things always do) that there is a major drop ahead. And here it is: the Amphitheatre rapid. It started way up there. I walked it - on the true left bank)

And it is still going on way down there.

And some more. It would be quite a thrill and/or dangerous iof there was a bit more water.

I put in again at the bottom.

Here is a look at the wonderful siltstone cliffs of the amphitheatre. There is a walking track to a lookout on the tops of them.The river becomes quite gorgey for a couple of km - and there are about 5 Grade 3 type rapids.

Like this one, but I just bumped on down it.

Another one.

Could be quite exciting in higher water.

Time for a lunch stop in a shady spot on the true right bank. It was quite easy to pick up a few bits and pieces of smashed canoe (centre)!

Another Grade 3 rapid.

Then just deep slow pools and pebble races till we get to Woolshed Creek and the Den of Nargun.

Some ducks enjoying the river too.

Woolshed Creek and the Den of Nargun. You can camp here or walk up the creek for car access if you want a shorter pack rafting trip. You need to keep a sharp lookout on the true right bank. There is a nasty drop right after it which you can portage on the right bank.

That was it up there.

What a treat to see these two little guys. It was a hot afternoon so there were lots of them out having a drink to cool off.


An interesting monolith.

What a spectacular rock-face.

Finally the ruins of the Glenaladale Weir loom into sight, like something out of Ancient Egypt. A fine spot for an overnight camp - and a but of an explore of an interesting piece of Gippsland's history.

What a wonderful place for swallows to nest: there were dozens of them wheeling and curving around the ends of this buttress.

I will have lots more photos tomorrow after I have spent the night relaxing and cooling down.

River Heights: Glenaladale Weir: Began Trip  .65 ended .66; Waterford: 1.63-1.57; Crooked River: 1.31 - 1,26. These figures probably give you some idea about the comparability of the three gauges. Adventure Pro claimed the river was canoeable from .6 on the Glenaladale Gauge. This is probably about right - for packrafts anyway, but you would expect portages across many rapids. I know I just managed a few and portaged 2.3 at nearly 2" more water than that. That being said this section of the river is characterised my very many long still deep  so you might enjoy the experience even when river heights are low - as they are at the moment.sections where you might have to paddle against a headwind. It would be much more enjoyable with a couple more inches of water eg .8 on the Glenaladale Gauge.


Angusvale Camp Ground to Jorgensens 4 hours

Jorgensens to Amphithesatre Rapid 3 hours

Amphitheatre to Den of Nargen 2 hours

Den of Nargen to Glenaladale Weir 2 hours

Glenaladale Weir to Final Fling 2hours

Final Fling to Glenaladale Bridge 3/4 hour.

Portages approx 1/2 hour.

Campsites: are not wonderfully numerous on this section of the river., though they are to be found. There are hardly any between the Amphitheatre rapid and the Den of Nargen for example, though there does appear to be a bench a chain up from the river on the true right bank which might provide some good spots. There are also not many spots after the Glenaladale Weir, but there are some. Mostly folks have been camping on the lovely sandbars along the way and at the confluences of major creeks. There are shadier spots a little further away from the river which you really need to look out for (look for the benches I mentioned earlier). There is a delightful spot on the true left bank just above the Roaring Mag Creek, for example.

The Glenaladale Weir camping spot is a delight. I camped there and above and opposite Jorgensens. The trip took me 14 hours on the water, so it would have become fairly tedious if done over only two days. You would have to make an early start and a late finish at very least. If you are packrafting you can get out at the Den of Nargen and walk up to the Caravan Park.. Doing so would cut nearly five hours off the trip making it much more suitable for an overnight trip. Of course with more water (and fewer years of age) it might be done much more quickly. You should allow some leeway so that you can perhaps wait an hour or more for a suitable camp to show up.

See Also:






Section 1: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-kingwell-bridge-to-black-snake-creek/

Section 2: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-black-snake-to-hut-creek/

Section 3: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-hut-creek-to-waterford-bridge/


For River Heights: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-wonnangatta-catching-the-wave/








28/12/2019: Watch Betelgeuse – this could be the show of a lifetime: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/12/26/is-betelgeuse-in-orion-about-to-explode-in-a-supernova/

25/12/2019: Naturehike Carbon Fibre Walking Pole 135 grams: $38 each with free shipping (to Australia). US76 per pair. What’s not to like about this? I received a pair for Xmas. Stripped of the strap and its aluminium screw mine weighed 128 grams each on my scale and fold down to just under 50 cm (20”) – 51/110cm according to the Specs. They come in three lengths. Mine are Short – the shortest and lightest. The other two lengths are Medium 54/120 cm $ 140 grams and Long 57/130cm & 145 grams.

The hand grip is very positive but is longer than either of us need, so that I think I could trim a few grams off that weight, probably bringing it to under 120 grams – if I wanted to foresake the screw fitting at the top – which is bigger than a camera thread anyway.

This is just marginally lighter than the new Gossamer Gear LT5 poles at 130 grams stripped (though they are longer – 60/130cm)) . However they cost US$195 per pair, plus shipping. I/we have been quite happily using Massdrop’s Fizan poles for daily use (US$60 per pair) at 158 grams though we took our Gossamer Gear LT4s to Everest as they only weighed 100 grams, (but they are very long – 85 cm/33″ according to my tape measure).

I really like the look and feel of these Naturehike poles. The three sections seem very solid and the locking mechanism is wonderful. They come with a lightweight strap and one basket. It is a ‘standard’ (Leki) thread so you should be able to replace it anywhere if/when you break it. At 20″ they will clearly slip inside any pack your are using.

Available from Aliexpress here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33057690090.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.34174c4ds7SbS8

See Also:

Extempore Hiking Poles

Ultralight Compact Hiking Pole

Fizan Compact Hiking Poles

Rutalocura Hiking Poles

24/12/2019: Marvelous Mitchell River Day 1: I canoed this lovely section of river from Angusvale Camping Ground to the Glenaladale Bridge over the last three days in my Alpacka packraft. The river heights were at the bottom end of this section’s canoeability (see note below) and the smoke from the huge bushfires the environmentalists are having in East Gippsland spoiled the visibility (of the photos) but all in all it was a wonderful trip.

I left my car (and trailer) at the Glenaladale Bridge (plenty of parking on the North bank) and rode my motorbike to Angusvale where I parked it under a shady tree with a note affixed on both saying, ‘Canoeing the River’. This was a precaution against campers calling the police over an abandoned motorcycle as happened to us when we canoed the section Waterford to Angusvale!

Setting out from the Angusvale Camp Ground.

I have included a  lot of photos to give a clear indication of the conditions likely to be found along the river. They are in order. The canoe height shown throughout was approx .65 on the Glenaladale Gauge. People claim the conditions are ‘best’ at 1.3 metres which I misdoubt I would survive any more. I think .8 or thereabouts would be preferable. This is a common river height in the summer months – but not this year!

This section of the  river is characterised by many long, slow deep sections

Such as these.

Pebble races.

A couple of km below Angusvale the inconspicuous 4WD Mitchell Track parts company with the river. From here on the river flows through a splendid wilderness. You can see that it is 9 1/2 hours walking the Mitchell River Walking Track to the Den of Nargun (cave). The track continues another 7-8 km (3-4 hours) to the end of Findlay Alexanders Rd (Glenaladale Bridge). If you are walking it you generally have to slip off the track (down a ridge here and there) to get water (in summer). More details later.

There are a number of complex rock gardens, some of them stretching hundreds of yards. Most you can just bump on down in your packraft at this river height, except or the two biggest: the Amphitheatre and Final Fling Rapids. There are quite a few (as the next photos show just below the sign (on the right bank) above

If you have been noticing the unusual trees along the river (in the photo above for example) they are Water Gums or ‘Kanooka’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristaniopsis_laurina) They are a very attractive tree producing a cool dense shade (along the Mitchell) and holding the banks together well. River management should be replacing willows with them (if the former are to be removed)

NB: Later in the season they have these attractive flowers too:


A shady lunch stop under similar shade.

And time for a ‘selfie’.

And then onwards.

Beginning to see some beautiful silt-stone cliffs which are a feature of this section of the Mitchell.

You will see many reminders that the river can be a trap for the unwary:

This one is a bit trickier.

After four hours I camped right under a spreading walnut tree on the right bank – what could be better?

A spiker creeps down to the river for his evening meal:

Some other creatures seen along the way:

What a deer magnet a walnut tree is. Every tree in this grove had the remains of a deer under it – like this one!

River Heights: Glenaladale Weir: Began Trip  .65 ended .66; Waterford: 1.63-1.57; Crooked River: 1.31 – 1,26. These figures probably give you some idea about the comparability of the three gauges. Adventure Pro claimed the river was canoeable from .6 on the Glenaladale Gauge. This is probably about right – for packrafts anyway, but you would expect portages across many rapids. I know I just managed a few and portaged 2.3 at nearly 2″ more water than that. That being said this section of the river is characterised my very many long still deep  so you might enjoy the experience even when river heights are low – as they are at the moment.sections where you might have to paddle against a headwind. It would be much more enjoyable with a couple more inches of water eg .8 on the Glenaladale Gauge.


Angusvale Camp Ground to Jorgensens 4 hours

Jorgensens to Amphithesatre Rapid 3 hours

Amphitheatre to Den of Nargen 2 hours

Den of Nargen to Glenaladale Weir 2 hours

Glenaladale Weir to Final Fling 2hours

Final Fling to Glenaladale Bridge 3/4 hour.

Portages approx 1/2 hour.

Campsites: are not wonderfully numerous on this section of the river., though they are to be found. There are hardly any between the Amphitheatre rapid and the Den of Nargen for example, though there does appear to be a bench a chain up from the river on the true right bank which might provide some good spots. There are also not many spots after the Glenaladale Weir, but there are some. Mostly folks have been camping on the lovely sandbars along the way and at the confluences of major creeks. There are shadier spots a little further away from the river which you really need to look out for (look for the benches I mentioned earlier). There is a delightful spot on the true left bank just above the Roaring Mag Creek, for example.

The Glenaladale Weir camping spot is a delight. I camped there and above and opposite Jorgensens. The trip took me 14 hours on the water, so it would have become fairly tedious if done over only two days. You would have to make an early start and a late finish at very least. If you are packrafting you can get out at the Den of Nargen and walk up to the Caravan Park.. Doing so would cut nearly five hours off the trip making it much more suitable for an overnight trip. Of course with more water (and fewer years of age) it might be done much more quickly. You should allow some leeway so that you can perhaps wait an hour or more for a suitable camp to show up.

For More About the Wonnangatta/Mitchell River, see:

See Also:






Section 1: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-kingwell-bridge-to-black-snake-creek/

Section 2: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-black-snake-to-hut-creek/

Section 3: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/wonnangatta-hut-creek-to-waterford-bridge/


For River Heights: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-wonnangatta-catching-the-wave/







23/12/2019: Deer Wars: Kim Hollows reprises his role as Executive Producer for the first time since creating Ata Whenua. This is a story of men and machines, of incredible daring and unprecedented ingenuity set in the dangerous and unpredictable New Zealand mountains. Over a 20 year period these helicopter pioneers turned a national ecological disaster into a major export industry – but at a cost. Over 80 men died in the pursuit of deer and many more seriously injured. This film celebrates this unique time when through innovation and sheer guts a few hundred Kiwis did the impossible and created the legend that became the deer wars. Please note that some scenes may offend. Rating: E (Exempt from classification) Duration: 30 mins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUq4K478fYM&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1TF6J6icQMIBJNPOUg_IPTOFk1SbhZDC2OKdpTkMf498Ncw-RVrK7_7BQ See Also: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2018/11/24/shadowland-fiordland-video/

15/12/2019: Hiker Trapped For Days Under Fallen Boulder Survives By Cutting Off Own Ponytail: https://www.theonion.com/hiker-trapped-for-days-under-fallen-boulder-survives-by-1840394997?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&fbclid=IwAR2HOKVr6PtZ0muMshvRv898VlpcZRFMV10p6IJdoRqJcrp67N4hi4NYq_k

15/12/2019: Ultralight Hiker EBC Videos: As you know we were recently in Nepal, hiking the Everest Base Camp Trail (see links below). Here are a just a few snippets of video which did not seem to have a home anywhere else, but which I though .you might enjoy. (I have lots more, but I’ll try not to bore you).

Della particularly loved the donkeys. Here is a donkey train passing by in the main street at Lukla:


Another donkey train crossing a swing bridge near Phakding Nepal:


She also loved the yak trains. She just had to buy a cow bell as a souvenir. I will have to figure out how to make it ring like this at home at Jeeralang Junction. Here is one passing by near Benkar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU-i3P5vI4U&feature=emb_title

A popular game in the backstreets of Lukla: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwD0FgV1nns&feature=emb_title

Arriving in Namche. I was full of excitement from the climb (as you can see): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEK0Rlt7MNo&feature=emb_title

Most of the way you are following the Dudh Khosi River which is always too rough for fish to live in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkNtshhEOp0&feature=emb_title

Lots of wildlife along the way, like these lovely plump birds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PTgx6mIu8c&feature=emb_title

A rickshaw ride at night through the back streets of Kathmandu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viVDp2CDpJM&feature=emb_title

Here is what we were seeing. I have turned the sound off to spare you from Della’s noisy laughter and etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nigQDqyaJG4&feature=emb_title

At the end of the rickshaw ride we ended up at the Yak and Yeti restaurant which is in one of the royal palaces. It is one of the best places to eat in Kathmandu (apparently in the world) though quite pricey. In Thamel we usually ate at the Green Olive.

This wonderful man, Guillaume Maurel from Mauritius (whom we met during a long wait at Lukla Airport) took us there (by rickshaw). Many thanks for a delightful night

 Here we are enjoying ourselves, none the worse for wear from our trek (or rickshaw ride).

PS: If you are thinking of walking the EBC you should go soon. When I was there in 2016 you would see 1-2 helicopters a day fly by. Now there are several in the sky pretty much from dawn to dusk flying by carrying building supplies. They are building heaps of multi-storey ‘hotels’ along the way which they clearly anticipate charging you like wounded buffaloes for (when you can stay in the existing guest houses – which are often nearly empty for a couple of dollars a night. Pretty much all the donkeys and yaks are carrying helicopter fuel so that when that when they have finished building these wonderful features may disappear. Also they are building (using just private donation)  a road to Lukla which will be completed in a few months. This too will change the character of the Trek (but you will be able to get there by bus, perhaps this time next year – if you dare!.

For more about the EBC See:








From my previous trip, see:










14/12/2019: The Fastest Hiker: I have been working on my page’s speed once again. This time I have really succeeded, so I hope you appreciate my efforts. It has taken days and days (again!)- but in the end, like many things it was simple, and the ‘experts’ were no help at all – quite the reverse!

Here are Google’s Page Speed Insights for desktop speed for this morning 10-12-2019:

Loading in .7 of a second is great!

And here is Google’s mobile speed test result:

2.3 seconds is also great for mobiles but as you can see, there is still room for improvement! Nonetheless these speeds mean the page is taking about a quarter of the time that it did this time last year when I thought I had sped it up a lot!

I can make the file size of the images on the home screen smaller – but I can’t figure out how. Also, though gzip (a compression tool) is loaded it does not seem to be outputting (according to W3 Total cache). It should compress the text part by nearly 80% if I can get it working) so I should be able to squeeze these page speed seconds a little shorter still! I am also not sure whether Lazy Load Images is working for mobiles.

Reducing the size of the page (and the images) helped. W3 Total Cache is one of the important answers. (Seems much better than WP Rocket to me). Getting rid of the sidebar (mobile users will appreciate that!) and turning off Google Ads (half the load time!) also. The Jetpack plugin has been holding me back for years – it clearly slows your site down. It was also costing me A$455 per year!

Some of the (all free)plugins I am now using: W3 Total Cache (most important), Short Pixel Optimiser (vital), All In One SEO Pack, Updraft Plus (for backup), WP Statistics and Google Site Kit (both for traffic information), Akismet (for spam) and Classic editor (because I refuse to learn how to use WordPress’s new Gutenberg format). I may add back in a couple more  such as Google Language Translator if they don’t slow the site down. I should also add extra security. PS: Added Wordfence.

I hope you enjoy the new ‘look’ of the site – and come back lots of times. I have removed the side bar which spoiled the appearance of the page when you turn your phone/tablet on its side (Sorry!). I have also tidied up all the ‘suggested page’ links at the bottom – as you can see. After I have finished a few necessary farm jobs I will be completing some (I hope interesting) new posts. For example, I have been working on backpacks – I have the beginnings of over 100 new posts. So, Check back later.

Cheers, Steve & Della.

PS: I am happy to hear from any ‘tech heads’ out there with advice!

14/12/2019: Poor Little Pumbaa the Poochie. Bad Mountain Lion: https://www.aol.com/article/lifestyle/2019/12/10/desperate-woman-punches-mountain-lion-as-it-attacks-later-eats-dog-she-could-hear-her-baby-dying/23878095/.

03/12/2019: Remember this poem. We need these sentiments even more today:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The Village Blacksmith

UNDER a spreading chestnut tree

The village smithy stands;

The smith, a mighty man is he,

With large and sinewy hands;

And the muscles of his brawny arms

Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,

His face is like the tan;

His brow is wet with honest sweat,

He earns whate'er he can,

And looks the whole world in the face,

For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,

You can hear his bellows blow;

You can hear him swing his heavy sledge

With measured beat and slow,

Like a sexton ringing the village bell,

When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school

Look in at the open door;

They love to see the flaming forge,

And hear the bellows roar,

And watch the burning sparks that fly

Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;

He hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice,

Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise!

He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;

And with his hard, rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.


Onward through life he goes;

Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought!’

NB: The 'Smithy' stood underneath the chestnut tree. The C18th American forest was full of these giant trees (such that Indians had to do very little work, such was their abundance). An accidentally imported disease wiped (almost) every last one out in the twinkling of an eye (C1904): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut_blight

11/12/2019: Non-Lethal Protection; Things We Can’t Have in Oz: https://byrna.com/

03/12/2019: Squanto. Good Heavens – what an astonishing story: http://ericmetaxas.com/media/articles/miracle-squantos-path-plymouth/

02/12/2019: EBC Gear List: A number of people wanted to know what we took on the EBC since we carried all our own gear and did not employ the services of a guide. I have answered some of their questions in the post Dos and Don’ts on the EBC but I realise people might like to see an actual gear list, and maybe some explanation as well.

I carried more than some people might and a lot less than most people do. When my pack was weighed at some point (checking in for the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla I guess) my pack weighed 6 point something kg – which sounds about right. Della’s was lighter than this, though she had more of some things (clothes) and less of others (communication equipment, safety, first aid, repairs etc).

Well, here goes (I have added links to some of the things mentioned):

NB: Surplus or unused in (brackets)                                                               Grams


Columbia Silver Ridge Trousers                                                                     288

Icebreaker S/Sleeve wool shirt                                                                        223

Icebreaker wool knickers                                                                                58

Darn Tough Socks                                                                                          73

Hankies (2) (Microfibre Towel cut into six pieces)                                         28

Keen Targhee 2 Hiking Shoes (pair)                                                               890

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Phone (inc battery, cards, protectors)                   124

Watch & Compass                                                                                          63

Sony Camera (inc battery, wrist strap  & card)  CybershotDSC-TX200V    131

Camera Accessories: String Tripod & Stickpic                                               (19)

Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles (2)                                                          210

Kathmandu L/Sleeve Light Wool Top (as needed)                                        220

Gloves (as needed – rarely): MLD mitts 26 & Icebreaker Wool Liner 25     45

Hat/s: Columbia Sun 60, Icebreaker Jockey 77, and Icebreaker Beanie 38   175

Sub Total: 2547         (19)

Pack: G4 Free from Amazon (<US$20)                                                        439      (100)

(with some mods and DIY shoulder pouches)

Waterproof Sea to Summit Liner 50 litre bag                                                 85

Air Flow Sitlight Camp Seat (Pack frame and dry back)                              108

Sleeping Bag Montbell Super Spiral #3 with added down                            800

(in Sea to Summit Waterproof compression bag)

(Much repaired) Thermarest Neoair X-Lite Womens inflatable pad              351

Emergency Shelter (alternative 253 grams not in my budget)                        340 (87)

DIY Pillow                                                                                                     53

Sub Total: 2176         (187)

Weather: Montbell raincoat                                                                           214

Rain Pants (Zpack)                                                                                         100

Gaiters (MLD)                                                                                                59

Montbell Down Coat                                                                                      246

Montbell Down Vest                                                                                      186

Down Socks                                                                                                    60

Jardine Bomber Hat                                                                                        33

Compression Sack (Insulated Clothes)                                                           65

Dry Bag (other) Clothes                                                                                 43

Dry Change: 3 spare hankies (as above)                                                         42

Icebreaker Longjohns (Pyjamas)                                                                    158

Kathmandu L/Sleeve Wool Top (as above)                                                    220

Columbia Trousers (as above)                                                             288

Icebreaker Shirt (as above)                                                                             223

Icebreaker Knickers (as above)                                                                       58

Darn Tough Socks (as above)                                                                         73

Microfibre Towel                                                                                            83

Sub-Total: 2152         (0)

Drink: 600 ml empty soft drink bottle (water)                                              29

Sawyer Mini Water Filter 59 and Squeeze Bottle 22                                     (81)

Emergency Communicaion: (old) Iridium Sat Phone (inc battery)             378

Spare Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (inc Battery)                                                (124)

Delorme Inreach Poor Man’s Sat Phone                                                         197

GoTenna (1 each)                                                                                            53

2 Litre Sea to Summit Waterproof Bag for above                                          17

Sub-Total: 769           (124)

Electronics: (batteries carried in three Aloksaks which weighed)                 21

Another stuff sack                                                                                          (17)

2 x Single 18650 Power Banks                                                                       144      (72)

Spare Electronics Bag (spare hearing aids, cables etc)                                   86        (84)

Surplus Charging Cable                                                                                  (26)

Unnecessary AAA Torch inc battery                                                              (26)

Unnecessary Spare AAA Battery                                                                   (12)

Unnecessary rechargeable Torch                                                                     (24)

2 x Rechargeable Torches (with head mod)                                                   21

Spare Sat Phone battery                                                                                  (65)

Spare camera battery (camera not taken!)                                                       (28)

2 spare phone batteries (one used)                                                                  66        (33)

2 spare camera batteries (flat – altitude, unused)                                            26        (26)

Sub-Total: 562           (329)


Toilet Bag inc 17 gram trowel & all wipes needed for trip                            267

(4 dry 2 wet) plus nano head net and insect repellent)

Chemicals Bag (Approx)                                                                                100

Repairs Bag                                                                                                     60

Spare Glasses and sunnies (inc container)                                                      59

First Aid Bag                                                                                                  297

Chewing Gum Bag (inc hearing aid safety and glasses cleaner)                    35        (17)

(Sore Throat) Lollies (unused! Available on track)                                         (175)

2 Unnecessary Knives (1 used) 36 + 45                                                         (81)

Knife Sharpener, Cig Lighter Micra Leatherman                                           70        (10)

Combination Padlock                                                                                                 (39)

Sub-Total: 1183         (322)

Total: 9499 inc 2547 worn so: 6962 grams inc unnecessary (981); Needed: 5981

As you can see I ‘needed’ a 6 kg pack weight though it included things others might not carry (eg a sat phone plus a Sat Messenger (378 grams right there), a shelter (253 grams), glasses, a camera, etc.

If I had been going on from Dingboche to Base Camp (at this time of the year), I might have carried an extra pair of Longjohns/ Down Trous (Della took hers – she feels the cold more = not enough adopose!) and a woolen T-shirt. It gets colder (and nastier) up there, but you can put all your clothes on when necessary. You get quite a good enough view though from the top of the hill at Dingboche and along the way.

Della’s pack was substantially lighter (around 5 kg). Between us we had under 12 kg to walk the EBC.

As you can see, I accidentally had on board a pile of junk I usually carry (hunting etc) which I had forgotten (in the rush) to leave behind. Still, I am still young and fit enough (at 70) to carry this and more, and to walk 7 hours a day a few kilometres in the sky – and I am overjoyed to say, so is Della – who had a simply swell time. Cheers.

BTW: The (sub US$20) Amazon Packs carried this amount of gear perfectly, and were wonderfully comfortable. I have a few more mods I am going to carry out on them, and have ordered some more from Aliexpress too. Watch out for a future post: ‘Backpack Tricks‘!

See Also:



































For more about the EBC See:







For my previous trip, see:










30/11/2019: Colin Dowler Fought Off a Grizzly with a Small Pocketknife: https://neveryetmelted.com/2019/11/26/49489/

28/11/2019: Thinking of a 12 Gauge for Deer Hunting? The Maximum Practical Range of Slugs & Buckshot: https://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2019/2/15/the-maximum-practical-range-of-slugs-buckshot/

24/11/2019: The G4 is Back: An updated version of this iconic pack is now available in 70D & 100D (as in the Gorilla) DWR coated Robic Nylon in three sizes from  578 grams & US$153 (Nov 2019), the G4-20 Ultralight 42 Backpack Quite a good price and weight. This would be very suitable for a lightweight hiking/hunting pack.

Features include: 'Extendable roll-top with dual closure options, Waterproof zippers, Removable molded cushy sitpad, Fixed hip belt with unique hip belt pocket design'.

The 'new' G4 is up approx 100 grams from the original which was mostly a much less durable 2 oz nylon) and down about 10 litres in size (from 60 to 50) NB There are approx 8 litres inside the extension collar – the spec. of 42 litres doesn’t include this (nor does it on any other of GG's packs).

It has a  roll-top closure which you might modify if you don’t like them (I don't) – they do reduce the storage of the pack (compared with the simple draw string of the original) but their intention (along with the side compression) is to ensure that the contents exactly fill the volume of the pack so that you don’t need a frame. The contents of the pack are the frame. I would prefer to have 2-3 draw strings going down so that you could shrink the pack to achieve this 'frame effect' but without reducing its volume when full. This would also be (fractionally)  lighter

This is a mod I will be adding to the Amazon packs we used on the EBC. They lack an extension collar altogether. I will be able to increase their volume (eg up from 42 to 50 litres) by adding this small rectangle of material. A few minutes work at most. At about 1-1.5 Ft2 it will only add 5-10 grams to the pack (eg 5 in silnylon or closer to 10 eg in 3.5 oz/yd2 Dyneema) but make them more suitable for multi-day trips. 8 litres of dry food is quite a lot.

If you like this type of wide hip belt, then you won’t be unhappy with it – but I would probably cut it off and add a 12 grams gross-grain strap and buckle as I did on the Amazon packs as I think that hip belts that are wide and start at the side really make load transfer more difficult and unnecessarily inhibit the natural movements of the wearer - however neat they may look..

You really only need to make the pack swing into the small of your back (with a waist belt). The pack weight actually sits on your bum, not on the strap. A too wide strap starting from the sides of the pack will never achieve this comfortably as it never does up around your torso properly - if you try to tighten it, it only cuts in. Bad design. But practically everyone does it! If you keep it make sure you don't quite fill the pack across this point of attachment so that the belt can better pull in and conform to your waist. And make sure it is at your waist and not lower.

The mods I would make to the new G4 would take probably 100 grams off the pack. Lids are just a waste of material as far as I am concerned. Then I would perhaps substitute an Air Flow Sit Light Pad from Gossamer Gear (as I did with the Amazon packs) for this 100 grams which will go a long way to ensuring you have a dry back. You really only need about a third of the weight of this pad though, so I might have attached the requisite pieces in the first place ensuring a dry back and reducing weight - so the pack could have weighed about 70 grams less than it now does. but including some dry padding along the back,

The straps and buckles on the lid (there are three where there only needs to be one - as on the original) are also about twice the weight they need to be. If there are going to be three, 1/2" wide is adequate (and if the pack had a draw string closure) the three straps could be used to attach another item to the top (a compression bag, a pack raft  or a bear canister perhaps). I do not see that these three straps achieve anything other than the effort of carrying them, though perhaps like many things in 'pack design' they 'look nice'! (Just like the inappropriate and heavier than necessary hip belt folks are always attaching to packs nowadays.

I like the asymmetric sizing of the side pockets – one can carry your shelter, which is a good idea. I long ago modified all my packs for this purpose. Usually you only need to add a light strap less than 5 grams to achieve this. I run an ultralight carabiner through the draw string of the tent and this strap so you never lose your tent!

The waterproof zip compartment will probably attract a lot of people, but I would have put this compartment's entry inside the pack (because I just don’t trust zippers at all; when they go where are you?) – and if you really want waterproof, go for Sea to Summit Ultrasil liner bags or Aloksaks.

I would prefer a ring of small pockets heading downwards inside the pack from the extension collar join for quick access to small things on the trail if you can’t cope with having a drawstring ‘possibles’ bag at the top of your pack inside the liner bag (where nothing gets wet). Frankly this is a much better idea. You can build too many 'gimmicks' into a pack. Keeping it simple is best.

The shoulder straps on Gossamer Gear’s new (Robic) line of packs all seem to be about ¾” narrower than on the old G4s, Mariposas etc though they are softer and lined with a wicking material. In general though I think narrower is a backwards step even though they are now better shaped than they once were. The greater the 'bearing' surface area, the easier it will be to carry the pack. I would extend this bearing area rather than reduce it.

I would have made the straps wider even though the pack is only intended for relatively light loads (well under 15 kg). If the straps are wider and the pack only carries under 10 kg, then I think you can dispense with the chest and waist/hip straps altogether as they only impede walking anyway - and add weight.

I would have aimed for a pack under the weight of the old G4 (460 grams) rather than over it but made with the improved materials. Robic is about 50% stronger than an equivalent weight standard nylon. Reducing the pack to nearer 50 litres than 60 is not such a bad move either, but maybe a compromise would have been to have reduced the dimensions of the pack (which they have done) but gone for a slightly longer extension collar (say nearer 12 litres - or a 54 litre pack), but with the aim being sub 400 grams. I know this is possible because I own such a 52 litre 390 gram by 4.8 oz/yd2 Dyneema pack - and am about to make it a little lighter still in one direction and a little heavier (and bigger) in another. Always tinkering...

Incidentally they have eliminated the distinctive bulge at the bottom of the old G4 pack. I found this quite an attractive feature. It also possessed a certain utility. It was intended that you could allow your sleeping bag to spread out there and form a cushion or shock absorber for other contents in the pack - though some folks think you should load the heaviest items at the bottom. Strictly the most important loading decision you make with a frameless pack is putting everything soft towards the front of the pack so you don't have hard objects jabbing into your back.

I have a Medium Gorilla which is exactly 18” from bottom of the shoulder strap attachment points to the bottom of the hip belt) which I removed and replaced. 18” is just about right for me (though 17” would be better) but is much too long for Della who is better under 17".

The Specs for this pack say that the length of the Small is 19 ¼” to the extension collar seam (which I am assuming is about 2” above the shoulder strap attachment point - as on my Gorilla) making the pack approx 17 ¼” long. Gosssamer Gear needs to provide more precise detail on sizing to fit different hikers. I would probably want a 'Small' which (if the above is true) would be far be too long for Della (who is only 5' tall). As I say, more precise buying information necessary. I know there are lots of bigger people than us! The pack comes in three sizes but it would be good if one of these was for 'little' people and children.

I do not like the stretchy material in the back pocket (though it is a lot more robust than that used by most hiking pack manufacturers). I would prefer a solid material here. I know the intention is to dry socks in the pocket (which does not work well under compression anyway). You are much better to add a clothesline to the pack and peg your washing to that.

The stretchy material tears (especially) in blackberry patches and you then have to worry about losing the pocket’s contents (or attempting a trail repair). I own several packs with torn stretchy material pockets awaiting ‘repair'. The difficulty is that the material is almost always caught up in the seam so that a very elaborate unpicking and resewing is necessary. Might as well just about make a new pack.

I note that the Silverback uses some 70 and some 200 Denier Robic material (eg presumably in the bit closest to your back). It would clearly be a bit tougher pack than this one – or the Gorilla -if you are intending to carry heavier weights etc, but as I said at the start, this would make a very good lightweight hunting or hiking pack - and is reasonably priced. You have to compare it to the alternatives. Just about everyone else seems to have lost the plot as far as lightweight packs are concerned. They are mostly heading above a kilogram once more. If this continues everyone will be back to carrying 20+ kg again too.

See Also:





PS: You can still make your own (original) G4:


23/11/2019: Ultralight Charging Cable: Tired of lugging around that long (heavy) charging cable – which maybe weighs all of an ounce? Ouch! You can do better than that. For example:

Anker 2-Pack Powerline Micro USB (4 Inches) – Durable Charging Cable, with Aramid Fiber and 5000+ Bend Lifespan (Approx) 11.3 grams A$11.48 (x2) Nov 2019

USB (Male) to Micro USB adaptor (approx) 7 grams A$ 2.49 (Nov 2019) May not be suitably flexible for your purpose.

Urbo Keyring Charger with USB-A to Micro-USB Connector .16 oz = 4.56 grams A$14.99 (Nov 2019)


You just have to have 1-2 of these for Xmas.

 22/11/2019: A Real Invisibility Cloak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZMyWEWHCTM&feature=emb_title & http://joannenova.com.au/2019/11/an-unpowered-invisibility-cloak/

20/11/2019: Dos and Don’ts on the EBC (and Elsewhere): I intend this post to apply to lots of other hiking destinations, but at least it should improve your experience and expectations on this iconic walk. ‘You live and learn – or you don’t live long’ – as the man said (ie Lazarus Long, ‘Time Enough For Love’).

I have lived long, and intend to live even longer. In contrast, both times I undertook the EBC I witnessed dead bodies being unloaded from helicopters! I also saw many folks much younger than myself getting themselves into serious difficulties which might well have led to just the same outcomes if I had hung around being a fly on their walls. I have seen young folks dead many times before. Don’t let that be you!

Setting out from Lukla:

Should you carry your own gear &/or should you employ a guide? If you are into ‘virtue signalling’ – as about half the population seems to be nowadays, (Myself – as Red said – ‘I couldn’t give a damn!’) you will have lots of reasons why you should employ someone else. Delegate responsibility for your life to someone else if you don’t value it overmuch. Myself I value my own hide too highly to trust someone else with its responsibility.

Crows will be into your pack if you leave it unattended:

If you want that important piece of gear (without which you are just a frozen corpse) when you need it, best make sure it is in the pack on your own back, not perhaps many miles away on someone else’s, no matter how much more comfortable that may seem to be. Most people on the trail had off-loaded everything (looked like the kitchen sink too) onto someone else. Certainly all the (few) older people such as ourselves had. I have direct experience on both trips of numbers of folk who regretted it!

About that Pack: We both took the Amazon packs I wrote about back here with some further mods I will detail later. The packs each weighed around 350 grams (for 40 litres – quite enough!) Della’s cost A$10.90 from Amazon. She bought four so she would never run out! She likes purple! Fully loaded they weighed 6-7 kg at most.

Della loves that purple pack:

Aside: I have discovered that hip belts are in the wrong place (ie not at the waist – your narrowest part) and should not weigh more than 12 grams (including clip/buckle) and should be sewn on to the pack only at the middle (approx) six inches of your back – so they do up all around your waist. The belt will then cinch up comfortably all around your waist, your narrowest part, making it impossible for your pack to move down from the small of your back, and so its weight will be supported by your bum instead of your shoulders even though the waist belt (and shoulder straps) are quite loose as they should be – by comparison with whatever you are doing now. More about this later…

The Sit Light Air Pad attached as shown in the above post will give you a dry back too. I will minimise this pack design further – by trimming the pad. A tough (eg Dyneema and approx 50 litre) multi-day hiking pack ought not weigh more than 400 grams. If yours does, you are just wrong, wrong, wrong!

I have further decided that you ought not need a hip/waist belt or a chest belt at all if the pack is well-designed (which  I suspect none are!) and not too heavy – shouldn’t be. These extra straps and other gee-gaws just restrict your body’s natural walking movement and rhythm and tire you out unnecessarily without adding one jot of comfort! As I said, more about this later….

The way ahead:

Shelter? I would always carry an emergency shelter/tent anywhere you might get caught outside in the rain/wind/snow, ie practically everywhere. Most places I go I usually carry one of my ultralight DIY tents or a hammock and fly (or sometimes both – my new tarp doubles). Even on day trips I will have a space blanket bag or poncho. Just something to save your life if you get caught out – yet I am proficient at constructing emergency shelters from found materials and lighting fires in the wet – are you?

Of course I would recommend that like most that you visit the EBC at the most (weather) opportune time (late Oct-Early Nov for example). Temperatures, wind and precipitation are then at their best. Even so (just like anywhere) disastrous ‘weather’ can strike – and don’t forget the awful earthquake of just a few years back (which flattened whole towns – Think Thame) where you may have been intending to stay!

People have put considerable thought into the design of these ultralight shelters (which are not dependent on soft ground (not much of it around on the EBC) to drive tent pegs into). This one (from Terra Nova, for example) weighs only 253 grams (for two). I took my old one which is 100 grams heavier (because we are not made of money), but you get the point.

In an emergency both of us could cram into this shelter, inflate our mats (good to ‘Comfort’ at -10-20C), climb into our -10-20C sleeping bags (plus all our down clothes) and ‘enjoy’ a safe night out in the most extreme conditions if necessary. You just don’t know when/whether such an emergency will occur. Be warned: the ground is often frozen, or nearly so!

I already mentioned earthquakes. Everywhere on the trail there is evidence of (immense) earlier landslides. (There are warning signs everywhere that) glacial lakes can burst and cause inundations which would sweep whole villages away. You might simply lose the trail, be beaten by darkness arriving earlier than you expected, be sick, twist your ankle and be unable to complete your day’s journey, and so on…Prepare for the worst and be grateful when it does not occur. Even after a lifetime of experience in the bush we can sometimes be caught out. But we are always prepared, and almost always enjoy ourselves whatever happens!

First view of Everest as you ascend the Namche Hill:

Sleeping? Should you take an insulated mat and sleeping bag? Again, if you want to live – and this survival equipment should be on your person at all times. Wherever you are, go nowhere without your pack (and its essentials). Many (inexperienced) folk meet with disaster because they put their pack down on a trail just to step off it a few metres eg to answer a ‘call of nature’, an interesting euphemism.

Separated from their pack and alone in the wilderness…not long before things can start to really unwind! Not everyone has the ability eg to lose one of their hearing aids yet be able to backtrack themselves through several hours of the trackless bush until they find it. Our mats weigh just under 400 grams each, and our (warmest) sleeping bags around 800 grams.

You need a mat anyway even when staying in tea/guest houses and ‘hotels. Particularly as you travel higher up the (provided) mattresses will ‘strike’ colder and colder. Probably this is because of condensation which has not had a chance to evaporate away (actually at this altitude water/ice  does not evaporate; it ‘sublimes’ – there’s a new use of that word for you). If your body (heat) is trying to warm up (perhaps several kilos) of sub zero ice/water in your (quite likely uncomfortable) mattress, it will not matter if you have a minus 100C sleeping bag; you will be cold! An ultralight inflatable mat such as the Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite Women’s, or X-Therm or the superb Exped Synmat with its nearly 4″ thickness of comfort will ensure you have a warm, comfortable night’s sleep. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated too much!

Rain Gear? Yes, it might rain/snow etc, though it is unlikely at this time of year, but you never know. We carried both coats, pants, gaiters and waterproof shoes, though I (but not Della) usually do not bother with more than just a coat. Adipose is good insulation! If you get wet at this altitude (and night-time temperature/s) you are likely to be miserable (at best). Frostbite is not much fun either. We did not need them, but an extra layer is good insurance. We are looking at something like 300 grams (each) for the three waterproof clothing items (plus a bit for Keen Targhees instead of Voyageurs). Safety first.

Food and Water. You really don’t need to carry either. There is somewhere you can buy either every few hundred yards on average, though there are some longer sections where you might get a bit thirsty if you started out without a full water bottle – climbing the hill up to Tengboche for example on a warm day. ‘Safe’ bottled water is available from (approx) US$1-2 per litre. We also carried a Sawyer Mini filter and squeeze bottle in case we needed to drink from other sources, etc. This is just sensible insurance.

You will inevitably meet with (very ill) folks who think they can (safely) drink the water or that water purification tabs ( iodine etc) work. There is one born every minute. Disinfection takes time (more than an hour) and only removes a handful of the pathogens which your Sawyer with <1 micron filter) automatically removes. It can/should regularly  be backflushed like this (2 grams) . Filter (60 grams) plus squeeze bottle (approx 20 grams). Worth it for safety. In an emergency supplies of potable water will dry up fast!

NB: Do not clean your teeth or wash you mouth out with the water. Also carry antiseptic wipes (or similar) and use them religiously. There are lots of invisible nasties you do not want to succumb to. Do not pat animals!

When you contract diarrhea from bad water/food you will need Imodium and probably Stemetil for vomiting. If it persists (Typhoid perhaps?) you will need Cipro (antibiotic). It has saved my life! (from Pneumonia) I gave some of my supplies to a young British backpacker at the bottom of the hill at Tengboche. He was leaking badly at both ends. His guide was completely unprepared (common) and insisted he continue (to gain altitude) when his symptoms (I was trying to alleviate) might well prove to be the beginning of altitude sickness  as well – in which case he needed to descend (fast!) or maybe die! Be warned! I hope he survived.

You should also have a prescription for Amoxycillin for pneumonia. There is a pharmacy in Namche and also one at the French Bakery/Snow Lions in Dingboche where you can obtain these things. There is a small hospital in Pariche (near Dingboche). Your first aid kit should also contain blister pads – you will likely need them!

I suggest you do not eat meat after you leave Lukla. Even in Lukla not everyone has  a (working) refrigerator. Animals cannot be slaughtered within the National Park so all meat is carried in on someone’s back (perhaps in the hot sun for days)! Eggs or beans are good alternative protein. Food poisoning is not much holiday fun really. Be warned!

You can buy Snickers/Mars/ Bounty bars pretty much everywhere (US$1-2). Most/all of the food on the trail is just absolutely awful. I would never pay for such food anywhere else. Expect to lose weight! There is very little variety, but even with the few ingredients they mysteriously seem to be able to grow/carry in Della or I could make many delicious meals. Instead expect every meal to lean towards inedibility. It is possible too that you may not like oily.

If you carry your own food in (or decide to eat elsewhere than where you are staying) your accommodation costs will be bumped up – and the quality of the food will not be very different. The Dal Bhat, Momos ‘Tuna Burgers’ and fried eggs on chips appear to be about the height of fine dining Nepali style. I could just about choke down two slices of ‘toast’ with ‘butter’ and honey for breakfast. If you are a ‘coffee snob’ forget it! They do sell sore throat lollies practically everywhere. You will likely need them. If you have a preference maybe bring your own. Butter Menthols are great (and Werthers caramels – you will lust after these before you return to Australia. You can buy them in Kathmandu airport!)

Do look forward to having ‘Black Forest Cake’ at Hermen’s Bakery (Northern outskirts of Phakding). It will not be anything like Black Forest Cake, but it will probably be the best thing you eat on the trip. You would not look at it elsewhere. (Tip: When you are back in Kathmandu, do try the Yak and Yeti restaurant – in an old palace. Expensive, but you may need to reward yourself Our thanks to Guillaume Maurel of Maurituius for a memorable night).

Lots of people (most?) get diarrhea or pneumonia (or both) above Dingboche. And of course Altitude Sickness. Lots of very expensive helicopter evacuations. There is also much less accommodation. You may (even/likely) end up sleeping on the (forzen) floor – where you really wish you had that minus 20C mat! One reason why Della and I decided before we left Australia that the Nagarshang Hill, Dingboche would be our destination. This is as high as Everest Base Camp but can be climbed on a pleasant sunny morning with tea and cake in the French Bakery Dingboche afterwards. (They also have rooms for rent with their own toilets!) Even in Dingboche all the water freezes overnight. Above that hardly anything thaws ot, so if you venture there be on the lookout (eg) or toiletry fiascos you had never imagined possible.

French Bakery Dingboche:

It has pretty much as good a view (of Everest, etc) as you are going to get elsewhere without venturing into the permanent sub-zero regions where there is not a single living thing to break the dismalness and monotony of the view. It will shorten your trip by 3-4 days too and enormously reduce the chances of your getting sick and/or dying.

View from the Hill, Dingboche: NB: Behind that grey hill on he left is just such  a one of those glacial lakes perched up there held in pace only by scree and ready to let go and drown towns downstream like Phariche (below) immediately. Della os enjoying herself anyway. Steroids and being alive again, when last time I was there she was just so flat with he poor old heart (seemingly) all played out. She is good as new (almost) now – as you can see!

Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation: Pay attention Everywhere we met (even fit young) people who had gone up the same day as us (or before) coming back down with Altitude Sickness, and looking very unhappy and worried. If you are going to enjoy the walk you must do everything you can too avoid this nemesis. You need to increase oxygen transfer in a much lower oxygen environment. Get a prescription from your doctor before you leave home for either Diamox or Dexamethasone (Steroid Della needed instead because of her heart condition – it seemed to work somewhat better).

Take the time to enjoy the donkeys:

And the yaks:

These guys were making heavy going of it:

I took half a tab of Diamox twice per day from when I was leaving Kathmandu to when I arrived back there. This was as a preventative. It is normally carried as a treatment for Altitude Sickness, but if you wait till you have symptoms it is too late for this trip: you will have to go down, fast!

You also need to take the time to acclimatise. If you don’t you will very likely get sick (and you can even die suddenly eg from an embolism! Be warned)! You will have come up from 1`400 metres at Kathmandu to 2900 metres at Lukla. That is quite enough stress for the body in one day. Stay the night in Lukla. Spend the day on some little acclimatisation walks around the town. For example, walk around the airport, or go down to the hydro plant in the valley below and back, climb up the hill above the town (past the army base and the school) into the wonderful rhododendron forests etc. Over 3,000 metres when you have ascendeded 500 metres you need a day to acclimatise. You can spend this day climbing higher so long as you sleep lower. You need an acclimatisatiion day at Namche and again at Dingboche.

Take a break in Namche:

If you skip these days you are risking your life. All the people we saw who were sick from the altitude had skipped one of these pieces of advice – or both. It has probably cost you at least A$1500 just to get yourself to Lukla (return) plus insurance. It is foolish to just waste that investment.

You get a odd view of Everest during your acclimatisation day at Namche:

Vaccines? Yes you should. Everything available eg Triple Antigen, Hepatitus, Typhoid, Cholera… and Rabies? Yes. It is 100% fatal. look at the photo of Della (above) to see just how easy it would be to contract it by such an innocuous thing as feeding the monkeys! Get the best advice from your country’s foreign affairs department about what might be required in Nepal and have yourself protected against them all. There are quite enough other dangers as well. (Untreated) eg cholera can rob you of your entire body weight in fluid in a single day! That must be something to see, but I will eschew it! Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? And it is preventable.

Don’t feed the monkeys:

More About Guides/Outfitters: I already stressed why we would determine to carry our own (at least essential) gear. In fact we carried all our own gear – but this only came to 5-6 kg each for a ten day trip! This is more than we would normally carry, because it was colder. We would normally begin a 10 day (unsupported) hike where we camped out the entire way with pack weights including food of well less than 10 kg each.

I would normally wash my clothes and dry them on a line across the back of my pack (and then in front of the night fire) on such a trip but this is not possible on the EBC because it is too dusty. In half an hour your clothes will be coated in mud! You can have your dirty clothes washed and dried (eg) in Namche and Dingboche during your rest days. This way you only need one change of clothes to be quite clean enough.

I have often enough gone for ten days at a time in the past without washing my (wool) clothing without becoming offensively smelly. Of course I usually go where there is no-one else about. There are lots and lots of people on the EBC. You have to wait for them all the time eg to cross bridges or at narrow points in the trail, or just because the large groups are just bloody rude and want to take up the whole width of the trail. There is no credo of ‘age before beauty’ amongst them I assure you! The donkeys and yaks are more polite, believe me. Still they should not be challenged for passage on bridges, and you should always pass them on the uphill side in case they accidentally bump you off.

The ‘give way’ rule in action:

No doubt there are competent guides and outfitters, but you really don’t need to spend the money. Nor do you have to pre-book the accommodation. You can just pretty much walk into any guest hose unannounced and there will be a vacancy – at least as far as Dingboche anyway. It is incredible just how much building has been going on there in the last three years since I was there before. Then you were lucky to see two helicopters a day but now there are usually 2-3 helicopters in the sky above you from dawn to dusk. Mostly they are ferrying building supplies up the valley. They are too impatient (etc) to wait for porters to carry the supplies up, so why should you feel guilty if you chose to carry your own (survival) gear? You will have to eat the food etc that the porters have carried up from Phaplu anyway.

The outfitters can add A$5-6,000 to a couple of weeks’ trek. You do not need them. Nor do you need guides. You can download maps and save instructions on ‘Pocket’ etc. Besides most everyone is going the same place and you can always ask a local: ‘Namchi?’ That way.

Last time I rescued’ a woman (from Pangboche to Lukla) who had been deserted by her outfitters, guides and porters. She had become sick above Dingboche (where I first started noticing her and saying ‘Hello’) and she had just been left on the side of the track to fend for herself. Presumably the many wild(-ish) dogs would have cleaned her up quickly enough if she had succumbed. I hate to think. In Kathmandu there is a temple you can visit (This is a tourist attraction – we avoided) where they are openly burning 50-100 human beings all the time. Not to be missed! This is the Third World.

Guides are more like US$25 a day. No doubt there are good ones – but how to tell? I have seen them desert their customers. For example leaving a man who was clearly beginning to suffer from Altitude Sickness struggling up the hill into Tengboche in the dark. Then asking me as I arrived in Tengboche, ‘Have you seen him?’ ‘Not since you left,’ No doubt he will be along in a little while’…Or letting someone decide to walk to EBC and back in three days (next to impossible – and suicidal to boot) yet not being prepared with the necessary medicines, telephone numbers, a satellite phone or epirb. Or even adequate local knowledge. Wow!

If you go with a group you will see less wildlife. Musk deer (below) are in plague proportions in the forest along the way. Soon their predators (snow leopards and wolves) will be too. Then there will be another interesting risk associated with the EBC!

And miss lots of fascinating wild birds:

And Acccommodation: Most ‘guides’ obviously have some sort of ‘cumshaw’ deal with a hotel up front if they take you there (regardless of the cost to you)! It is just not possible for them to switch you to a closer hotel etc if you are not traveling quite so fast as they had planned. They will chivvy you along. Myself I like to just make my own way at my own pace, stopping when I am tired or when I want to. I am an old bushman and could easily have found my way to the EBC and back again by myself even if there were no road or buildings along the way – and I would prefer that sort of trip in any case. Mind you there are probably very few places you can go where the scenery is quite so stunning though!

We had no trouble walking into the first piece of accommodation we came to and securing a room for the night (usually at between US$0-2 at most) providing we ate in – we always did. Some of these guest houses were a bit ordinary but most now have solar showers (which was not the case three years ago) so you can get decently clean anytime you want to. One night coming back from Pangboche towards Tengboche we stayed (for free) at the first place we came to, the Evergreen Lodge Milinggo (Debuche). The company was pretty much all sherpas. This was the most enjoyable night of the whole trip (despite the pretty daunting toilet facilities!)

Entering Pangboche:

And of course if you chose to go with a guide or an outfitter you are going to have their company (and that of the rest of the awful company) all day every day for such a long time. If you are some sort of lonely misfit this might suit you, but it does not suit me. I have said many times in these pages, ‘No company is better than bad company’. Anyway, I have/had Della for company, (these last nearly fifty years) and there is no better than that!

Can you tell whether we are enjoying ourselves?


Buffs: Take something to breathe through (particularly of a night). Your throat and chest will appreciate it – and it may prevent a sore throat or chest infection. Pure Merino wool ‘Buffs’ are great. Take two. One to wash. Tip: Though you can’t hang your clothes on a line on the back of your pack, you can squeeze the wet item out as much as possible and every time you stop (lots for us) you can take it out from where you have shoved it (between your pack liner bag and your pack) and sit it in the sun while you have your break – maybe a Snickers bar? The oranges seem safe enough, but who knows what the apples have been washed in?

There is lots to see – Is Ama Dablam  the most beautiful (if not the worst named of) of mountains?

This time of year there is lots of bright sunshine (too much probably – take lots of sunscreen). They will dry quite quickly in this was – or if they are not finished you can hang them over the back of a chair in front of the fire in the guest house where you stay to finish off. This works well with towels, handkerchiefs and undies, for example – even when it is only a dung fire (common).

Take a break every now and then and smell the flowers:

There are other devices you can use to heat up the air your are breathing it (and hydrate it). The Cold Avenger, for example. You will need to get used to them first though, I think. Most important you must never under any circumstances breathe out into your sleeping bag in order to warm it up. You will just fill it up with moisture which your body heat has then to evaporate away. You may freeze to death before you succeed!

Warm Clothes: No doubt you can underdo or overdo it in this department. I have mentioned the wonderful Montbell down garments many times before. They are our ultralight standby for warmth on the trail. I took a down vest and jacket. (Never needed the vest – but it could have been colder). Della also took her down pants. Used sometimes of a night or when she felt cold. (Not enough adipose). We both had (light) woolen shirts and Icebreaker or Kathmandu long underwear (top and bottoms). I took one bottom and two tops. Bottoms only worn (some) nights so could wash on rest days. Tops worn (sometimes) during day) and as pyjamas at night. Two pairs of Icebreaker woolen undies (one in the wash). Two pairs of medium wool socks (Darn Tough) and one pair of down socks (cold nights). I had my dyneema moccasins for a dry change. Shoes get a bot sweaty by the end of the day. Most toilet trips (nights) needed shoes on again. Water hazard! I used a Montbell sleeping bag to which we had added 9 ounces of down.

Bits and Pieces: There is mobile phone coverage pretty much all along the EBC now. You can buy a Nepalii telecom card with data for approx US$20 before you leave Kathmandu Or probably at Lukla and Namche where they sell most everything. Most guest houses etc have Wifi available for maybe US$1-2 a night. Free at Hermens Bakery Phakding where you can call your beloved on What’s App – or chat to her across the rable if you are as lucky as me!

Permits: You can buy the necessary permits on the way (providing you fly in to Lukla. One permit as you exit Lukla (Approx US$20) and one when you get to Monjo (Approx US$30). it will be checked lots of times. The Nepalis are keen as mustard on bureaucracy. It is all they seem to have mastered. Otherwise they are mostly like children playing at ‘real life’. Nothing is ever organised the way you expect it would be. But the army do have some pretty fancy guns and I suspect know how to use them – and they are everywhere. Don’t know when the open season on tourists is – not when we were there anyway!

To Avoid Batteries Going Flat at High Altitude, do this.https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/11/17/preventing-batteries-from-going-flat-at-high-altitudes/ Yet another use for Aloksaks!

Toilet Facts: You need to get yourself prepared for the toilets – or the lack of them. Be prepared to squat. They will (likely) freeze above Dingboche. Carry handy (12) packs of tissues instead of toilet paper (and antiseptic wipes for your APC – a very important precaution). You can buy them at every town. You can clean yourself up well after a toilet stop with only 1-2 tissues. Wipe and fold, wipe and fold. You can get 5-6 wipes from a single tissue. Saves a lot of paper, weight – and does not get wet and disintegrate in the rain, etc. Carry an ultralight trowel.

What’s For Sale? You could begin the trek in a pair of thongs and a T shirt and buy everything you need along the way. Lots of shopping in Lukla and Namche, and lots of other shops with nick-nacks and groceries along the way. You can buy cans of tuna and canned ‘Spam’ in every town – if you are craving protein.

Lots and lots to see:    

So we continue our journey through life:     

See Also:
















20/11/2019: EBC 4 & 5: And So Onwards and Upwards: ‘Tengboche, Pangboche and finally Dingboche – the end of our ascent. 4,410 metres at Dingboche, but we climbed higher to look down the valley to Everest Base Camp, 2 more days ahead. These 2 days of cold and hardship were not on our agenda. A medley of pics following, some with explanatory notes.’ (Della Again)

‘Sherpa baby chewing on a 100 rupee note

Dung patties drying in the sun for cooking fires

Yaks becoming more prevalent

A welcome stretch of newly made road

Entering Pangboche

Between Pangboche and Dingboche

Just one more corner before Dingboche:

Our accommodation at Dingboche: The Snow Lions Lodge

View from our window in the morning

Such organised and tidy lives!

Gotta love a yak

Dining room, Dingboche

Mission accomplished!

A view up the valley towards Base Camp.

Some solid climbs!

Leaving Dinfboche’.

19/11/2019: EBC 3: And Onward to Xanadu: ‘I confess to having bored countless Eng Lit students of mine with my passion for Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”. Little did I suspect that I would one day discover Coleridge’s Xanadu in the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazar. I saw so many parallels to the poem, but perhaps the most relevant is the fact that Coleridge was writing about an opium dream he had just awakened from, whilst I felt as if I had stepped into a waking dream’. (Della again)

‘Nestled on the sides of a hill, Namche is reached after a fairly tough climb. At over 3,400 feet, sensible trekkers spend an extra acclimatisation day there, climbing higher the next day and then returning to Namche to sleep, thus hoping to prevent altitude sickness. So we had plenty of time to enjoy this amazing town as well as wander over the nearby hillsides and villages.

Entering Namche Bazar after a day of solid climbing

One of those “stately pleasure dome”(s) that Coleridge rattles on about! It also looks like “Alph, the sacred river” has been put into service here!

View from our bedroom

More pleasure dome stuff

I love a busy bazaar

My “local” hairdresser in Namche. A shampoo and dry sure beats the discomfort of wet hair in a cold climate. Melanie Cardillo, they will never replace you, though!

‘Caverns measureless to man…Oh that deep romantic chasm”

18/11/2019: Everest – Days 1 & 2: Lukla to Namche Bazar with overnight stop at Benkar’. (Della)

‘Main street of Lukla

The road out of town

Other trekkers: The person in front is carrying a largish day pack whilst the hired porter behind is carrying the rest of his/her gear. This was normal procedure for almost all trekkers. We, in contrast, proudly carried our own packs with everything we would need for the 9 days apart from food.

Not such a large pack: all bedding, warm clothing, wet weather gear, change of clothes, toiletries, medication, communication, safety.

The first of many road trains: Donkeys, cows, yaks…these were constant and colourful traffic. These donkeys are carrying empty fuel drums back to Lukla to be refilled with aviation fuel and carried back to Base Camp again.

Such a sweetheart! You could always hear the bells as the animals approached, so that you had time to stand out of the way. I had to bring a yak bell home with me so that I can be transported to Nepal every time the wind blows in the garden.

A proud Sherpa woman selling her produce outside her home.

Despite the shortage of good, cultivable land, almost all houses devoted space to flowers.

Our first night in Benkar with the hospitable Neema Sherpa. We were her only guests.

Suspension bridges everywhere.

Approaching our lunch stop at Jorsalle’.

17/11/2019: Preventing Batteries From Going Flat at High Altitudes: This is my ‘Poor Man’s Satellite Phone‘ after two weeks at between 3.000-6,000 metres elevation during our recent EBC trek. As you can see still 94% charged. ‘Normally’ such battery devices would be pretty much flat after just one day (even without use) – as I found out on my first time on the EBC back in 2016.

That time I also had a 5 watt solar charger which was supposed to be charging Nicads or Nickel-Metal-Hydrides pretty much all day. The days were perfect sunshine all the time but the batteries just went slowly flatter as they lost charge to the air more quickly than the solar could replace it – something I had never experienced before.

Pretty much everyone who hikes this trail (or that elevation) finds the same phenomenon many blaming it (incorrectly) on the cold – but it was not cold. I wore just a simple light short sleeved wool jersey polo shirt pretty much all day every day and placed all my batteries in my sleeping bag of a night though it never got so cold of a night as I am used to winter camping in the Victorian mountains where my batteries never go unnaturally flat.

I reasoned that it must be the altitude, but Googling it found that no-one had a solution. Extraordinary! First I thought up lots of elaborate ways to place the phone in a space which would emulate sea level air pressure (no doubt dreaming of receiving millions for such a clever invention,,,) when I realised that Aloksak had already beaten me to it/them!

They make waterproof and airproof zip-lock bags – much superior quality to the supermarket variety (which will not suffice for this purpose – they leak). If you place your phone/battery in the Aloksak bag (they come in a variety of sizes/shapes) and inflate them slightly as you seal them, then place them (gently) in your pocket or pack so that they are under ever such slight pressure all the time the battery/phone just stops going flat. Simple as that – but you can send money if you so desire:

If this doesn’t work, try this:


Beware too much pressure or you will burst the bag at the seams. They can be repaired eg with cuben tape. I had two spare camera batteries (I have used many times) in another bag  whose seam split. They went completely flat overnight. Fortunately I was able to charge the camera up from the two red power bank batteries in the photo below.

A Note on Charging on the EBC: Since I was there three years ago they have installed many micro hydro systems along the trail so that most of the small villages now have A/C power but it is often not enough to charge any larger battery than the single cell ones I took (in the photo below – 18650 batteries of approx 3.5 amp hours). Be warned.

Aloksak also make waterproof ‘gun bags’ which are very handy for canoeing/hunting trips: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2016/11/17/aloksak/

Here in Australia I bought mine from Injinji but Amazon also have them.

A selection of bags below. The two at the bottom are the small and large phone size.

17/11/2019: EBC Starting out: Kathmandu to Lukla. Flying to Lukla is the adrenaline-filled beginning to the Everest Base Camp Trek. Reputedly the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla Airport has a landing strip just 500 metres long, with a sheer cliff on one end and a brick wall on the other. We took videos of both our landing and takeoff to share. The flight only takes 30 minutes, but believe me, Nepali disorganization manages to make the waiting last almost all day. And seats at the airport? Why would you need those? When they finally decide that it is time to fly, you have less than 5 minutes between frenzied waves towards the plane and being launched into space! Who needs to bungy jump for thrills?’ (Della Continued)

Aside: The cover photo was taken at Phaplu Nepal. Tara dropped us off there to wait for 4-5 hours instead of flying straight to Lukla. Our return flight was delayed by the same amount. Even so it was much better than the 4-5 hour each way bus trip to Ramechhap (from Kathmandu) which most visitors are having to endure ‘at the moment’. In Nepal nothing happens according to schedule!

Lukla Landing:



Lukla Take Off:


16/11/2019: 9 Days Trekking the EBC: Della: ‘And so we are back! 9 days trekking along the Everest Base Camp trail, Lukla to Dingboche. Our final climb above Dingboche was as high aa Everest Base Camp, but I never wanted to experience the cold and privation of the last 2 days of the trail, so we were happy to call Dingboche our goal. And it was beyond amazing: I never expected it to be the journey of a lifetime, but it was… The soaring beauty? The time, whilst walking, to contemplate my life…? I only know that I felt more energy and happiness than one small, imperfect heart can hold, and each day that heart swelled further with gratitude for all the people whose loving support put me there: my husband and lifelong guide, my family support-crew back home who kept our home base running amidst their already busy lives, my friends who cheer me from these Facebook pages daily, and my outstanding cardiologist who saved me just moments from death exactly a year ago and then solved (though not quite “cured”) my heart problem. So many people – giving so much: No wonder my heart soared. The cynic that usually inhabits my soul might suggest that all this emotion was a side-effect of the steroids that I was prescribed to help prevent altitude sickness.. Who knows?! Nepal was certainly a fitting place for such a spiritual experience, whatever the trigger, and my gratitude will be a golden nugget that I treasure for the rest of my life.

I will bore you all further with some more pics over the next few days, but feel free to flick on past if holiday snaps are not your thing!’


  Everest View Namche:

Pangboche to Dingboche:

Nagarzhang Peak Dingboche:

15/11/2019: Global Tree Cover Has Expanded More Than 7 Percent Since 1982: https://reason.com/2018/09/04/global-tree-cover-has-expanded-more-than/?fbclid=IwAR2CZ1K4FpCZ0uS5ZpsC5w9zm0Zo_vxvP0aq1yuD2mDV21W-VP9HnJbQyR4

30/10/2019: Namaste from Kathmandu! We were unaware that Nepal would be in the middle of a religious holiday festival when we got here, but it sure adds a little extra colour and mayhem! Local sightseeing today, then flying out to Lukla at first light tomorrow to begin our 9 day trek along the Everest Base Camp trekking route.

28/10/2019: Face Painting one day, tree planting with Dad the next. Another 20+ trees down today! Now they just need to hurry up and grow!

26/10/2019: Never Get Lost – With Google Offline Maps: So long as you have a smart phone (with GPS and Compass – be sure it does before you buy it!) you don’t need a Garmin or any other GPS device, and you don’t need to pay for any maps. You can organise your phone so that you need never get lost.

However you do need to download the particular area you want to explore onto your phone as an offline map before you venture out into the wilderness. You should try this with your home area first so that you are sure you know how it works, then with a different area you are also familiar with. You need to be sure of yourself and your phone.

You need the Google Maps App from the Play Store installed on your phone and when you are downloading the map you need to be connected to the internet. . When you open the Maps App you will see three parallel lines on the top left hand corner. Click on them. A menu will open. Scroll down to ‘Offline Maps’ and select that. At the top of the page you will see ‘Select Your Own Map’. Tap on that. A map of the world will open. (probably it will already be centred on the area you re in now). You can navigate to any area of the world you want to download. Google will tell you how much space  on your phone the download will take up. Obviously you need to have the available storage. Click ‘Download’ to transfer the map selected to your phone. It will stay on your phone for a year. You have to refresh or ‘Update’ it before it expires.

Now you can go offline. So you can turn off your Wifi or data and be in flight mode and still view the downloaded map. You just open the App, go to Offline Maps (as you did before) and select the appropriate map you want the phone to display. It will open. With ‘location’ selected, by pulling down the menu at the top of the phone, the phone’s GPS will locate your position on the offline map (by tapping on the round ‘location question mark’ icon below right. , so you should never be lost again. You can view the Map as ‘default, satellite, Terrain’ etc by selecting from the menu icon on the op right hand corner of the map. You can tell your phone to default its ‘Location’ service to the phone’s GPS (rather than towers etc if you are in a remote locale. This will save some battery usage.

I use this App all the time to navigate my way around the bush both in Victoria and in distant countries. It works brilliantly when you have the map open (in offline mode).

It will even speak and tell you how to get ‘Home’ or to any described point just like Google online maps which you probably use in your car.

Enjoy your journey.

PS: Be sure to close the App and turn off ‘Location’ and put your phone in ‘Flight Mode’ when you are not navigating as it will eat through your battery.

Please tell your friends.

TIP: You need to be sure that you have opened all the bits (they are technically called ’tiles) of the map you want before you download it then after you have downloaded it you need to check (offline) that it is all there in the detail you want and need before you head off into the wilds. It takes a bit of practice.

24/10/2019: Cooking for Two: My wife, Della and I used to carry two complete cook sets but we have shrunk that down a bit. Mostly we carried two pots because it simplified heating water for a shower, but as Della almost always takes a sponge bath and as all the food we cook will fit in the one pot we decided to carry just the one. Della saves a significant (for her) weight of around half a pound (1/4 of a kilo) – and has more room in her pack.

Another reason we carried two cook sets were in case we became separated in some accident or disaster each would still be able to cook his/her own food. For the same reason we used to have two shelters, a fly and a poncho for example and two satellite communicators ( a phone and a messenger).

We think it is essential to have two utensils (spoons/sporks, two cups and two receptacles for eating out of. The first two were easy enough to just double up on but we have done some experimenting with the dish/plate. Quite a bit of shopping went in to getting one which came in at an acceptable weight.

These are the best three we have come up with. The aluminium one on the left is a plate which came in a cookset I bought back in the early 1960’s and which I rescued from one of my hunting camps recently (See: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/07/30/the-seventieth-birthday-platypus/) It weighs 27 grams. I doubt you will find one. The second best was the one in the centre which weighs 25 grams purchased from a local supermarket. The one on the right is a beauty. It only weighs 15 grams and comes free with a box of eg Woolworths Brand Tuna and Rice – try ‘Green Curry’ which is delish! I had been using them for hiking dog bowls for a while but they are now Della or Steve bowls as well!

So the (Della) addition to my cook set now weighs 8 grams for the spoon/spork, 25 grams for the Wildo cup and 15 grams for the bowl. My pack weight is up 48 grams but hers is down around a quarter of a kilo.

I should mention that I have also started to carry an ultralight titanium pot lid (13 grams) to use as a stable base for my burner. It is much better (and safer) than a spilled meal, and handy for doing some food preparation on too if you need to. It is from Trail Designs, the Evernew Multi Dish 0.5oz/13 grams Diameter: 4 1/8″ / 10.5cm, alos useful as a pot lid for small pots which don’t have one such as Vargo’s wonderful mug I have talked about before. (US$11.66 October 2019)

 See Also:








20/10/2019: Light from Heat: Although they are not (at present) ultralight, I really like the concepts behind these wonderful lamps. Lumir-k: Cooking oil fueled LED lamp:  & Lumir-C Candle Powered Led lamp:

Lumir C:

Lumir K:

This is a similar concept, power from heat: https://drop.com/buy/biolite-campstove-bundle#overview & this: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2015/07/20/power-from-heat/

PS: You should be able to make this system work with a Peltier on a chimney as in: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/05/29/tim-tinker/

20/10/2019: Ultralight Folding Coffee Cup: This cup has been officially classified as a work of art in its home country, Sweden – which it certainly is.  It is a folding coffee cup which folds down to just 1″ (2.5cm) high but it weighs just 25 gram (which is well-nigh impossible to beat for hiking). It holds 237 mls just shy of a ‘regular’ cupful (250 mls) If this is a bit small for you it does have a ‘big brother’ (or sister) which holds nearly two cups full (591 mls = 46 grams). It costs less than A$5. Comes in a variety of colours. I liked this one = desert. Wildo also make many other useful hiking utensils. You should take a look at their range.

It would make a great companion piece to those showcased in my last two posts: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/10/19/best-coffee-on-the-trail/https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/10/19/most-beautiful-ultralight-windscreen/

And of course you need something to boil the water in such as https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2016/01/26/cookset-woes/ or https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/09/18/ultralight-cookpot/

20/10/2019: Best Coffee on the Trail: While you are over at Tier Gear…This one has to be a bit lighter than the old coffee pot that John Wayne boiled over so many Western campfires. In Polypropylene Munieq’s Tetra Drip coffee filter weighs a mere 12 grams and it folds flat making it a very solid competitor to Vargo’s 36 gram titanium offering that I wrote about here: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2018/09/29/the-ultralight-barista/ Of course this one also comes in titanium and stainless steel. It will make a very large cup (1 1/2 cups) of coffee or two small ones such as Wildo’s famous 24 gram folding cups. It uses a standard cone shaped filter paper.

Available in Polypropylene at Tier Gear for A$16.50 (October 2019)

Over at Munieq it also comes in Stainless Steel or Titanium (and in two sizes: 1 1/2 and 3/1/2 cups) Titanium is heavier (16 grams) a mere nothiong if you have a fetish for this remarkable metal!

20/10/2019: Most Beautiful Ultralight Windscreen: This brilliant 14 gram windscreen by Munieq of Japan (and available at Tier Gear Tasmania for A$39.95 (Oct 2019) has to take the prize. You can use one eg with an alcohol simmer stove such as Tinny’s that I wrote about here or you can join two together eg to use solid fuel.

‘Flame visible ultra light outdoor stove windscreen and pot stand from Munieq in Japan.

Micro meshed 0.2mm thin stainless steel sheet.

Assembles in a cylindrical shape

Alcohol stove or solid fuel compatible

Only 14g

Can be stacked in a mug or cup.

Multiple connect system – connect two for bigger pots or stoves

Single Diameter: 62mm x H:67mm for alcohol stove with diameter smaller than 55mm

Double Diameter:124 x H:67mm for alcohol stove or solid fuel’

It looks like it would also work well (and beautifully) with an ultralight esbit stove at 11.5 grams.

See Also:






11/10/2019: A Radio Controlled Paper Aeroplane: (from US$49 – Oct 2019) https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/393053146/powerup-40-smartphone-controlled-paper-airplane/?utm_content=TRS_82&utm_term=e2337218-6860-47a1-8369-e3ed1b20ecc0&utm_campaign=TRS&utm_source=TRS_82&utm_medium=FB

03/10/2019: Canoeing the Macalister Again: Yesterday was the first decent day of Spring: 28C and with enough water (1.73 at Licola – ideal) for a decent trip down from Basin Flat to Cheyne’s Bridge. This is one of the few sections of river that you can canoe alone (as you can readily hitch a lift back to your canoe after dropping it off at Basin Flat. Aother is Hernes’s Spur to Eaglevale ont the Wonnagatta – but you will want a pack raft for that (See: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/11/20/pack-rafting-the-remote-wonnangatta/)The wind was 21 km/hr from the North-West again ideal if you want a bit of an assist!

I made the trip in 3 3/4 hours allowing a quarter hour for lunch and three small portages (a small log jam and the two grade 3 rapids where I am loathe to come to grief alone at my age – though I have shot them a hundred times in the past. The first one just below Burgoyne’s Track still has a log stuck in it but is now canoeable. The second one has a (hidden) rock in the chute which has had me out a few times. Once I spilled my old Mauser 30:06 into the river there and it stuck between two rocks right in the middle of the rapid. It was some trick to recover it! You can try and imagine diving in this. (I was younger then!)

I was very pleased with my sub 4 hour time. I was not racing though. I used to complete the trip in under four hours when I was in my late 30’s so it is good to see that my upper body strength is still OK at 70. Now to get that knee fixed!

The riuver starts out sun-drenched, flat and wide. You just know you are going to enjoy this trip!

Could have avoided this log jam by taking the left fork. Many people have drowned side on to logs like this in shallow water. The canoe tips upriver, fills with a tonne of water and you are trapped in it (particularly if it is a kayak) with your nose two inches under the water! If in doubt, get out! I always have an open canoe, either (the current Old Town Pack Angler) Canadians or kayaks with holes which are open to below your knees (like the Perception Minnow). Inflatables may be safer. We have a couple of Alpacka pack rafts which we love.

A real Huck Finn day.

Lunch stop. There are dozens of delightful spots where you can camp for the night. The river abounds with of deer, trout and red-fin perch. 

The only thing I needed to make the day perfect were Della (away crafting) and the dogs – need a second person to look after them through the car shuttle. There will be another day!

It is a great section of river for white water training purposes (for folks who already have some experience in canoes). It begins with wide slow flat water and the occasional pebble race, then gradually moves on to Grade 2. Some of these are tricky and require you to develop navigation skills. Then there are the two Grade 3 rapids (below Burgoyne’s) which can be shot again and again on a lovely fine day such as yesterday was.

Things to remember:

Stay in the centre of the current.

Lean in towards rocks (plastic boats – the reverse for inflatables).

Never get side on to the current (or logs).

Beware of overhangs, logs etc – stick to the slower edge of (such) bends.

If in doubt get out and check first.

Don’t be worried about portaging. Better to be a live mouse than a dead lion – better still to be a live lion! If you hurt yourself badly alone in the wilderness you will be sorry! Why you should not do silly things like take your shoes off in a river or cross on logs! And never jump! Softly, softly, catchee monkey.

I only took a few snaps. You can view more detailed pics and instructions eg here:


See Also:




29/09/2019: Ultralight Waterproof Fabric: I am after some light waterproof fabric to make one of my new 10 x 10 Tarps and new versions of my Pocket Poncho Tent and my Deer Hunter’s Tent. I would like to source the fabric out of China (where most of it is made anyway) and have been trying and trying (with Alibaba) so far with little success.

If I can purchase it cheaply enough (eg for less than US$2/metre) I will then see whether I can have some whipped up (eg by someone in Vietnam) into tents etc to sell on the website…In the meantime I will source some eg from the suppliers below, possibly using a shipping agent to save on freight.

I will make the silpoly version of the 10 x 10 Tarp out of some of the .93/yd2 (above) or the 1.06/yd2 4000PU (but I will certainly use this for a groundsheet – for its extra waterproofness). As I will need 9 metres to build the tarp the material for the tarp will weigh 284/326 grams. I expect the tie-outs and guys to add less than another 50 grams to this, so I should have a very light tarp (approx 330 grams).

The Tyvek model was made out of 1.85/yd2 Homewrap (ie 2.21oz/m2 or 63 gsm) so the Tyvek must have weighed 568 grams of this, therefore my tie-outs and guys only added 44 grams.

I like the ‘Dark Olive’ colour. I made my Pocket Poncho and Siligloo tents out of it (in a 1 oz/yd2 which Tier Gear and Dutchware used to sell under the name Xenon) and have found it to be very serviceable. Sambar deer also seem to completely ignore it and will walk right up to it even in the daylight – which is nice!

I will probably make a simple 7′ x 4′ (2.1 x 1.2 m) groundsheet for it (for Della and me) – as I say out of the 1.06/yd2 material. It should weigh 87 grams. 330 + 87 + approx 10 x 6 gram stakes = 447 grams for the complete tent/shelter! Not bad for the size and flexibility this has. It can also be used as a hammock tarp.

Because this fabric has polyester on one side  (instead of silnylon) you can tape or glue to it, so that I will finally be able to make my inflatable bathtub groundsheet out of it, if I choose. I will try the simple ‘valve that the Graham pillows use for a start. If these do not work, the DIY Pack raft people have suitable valves. A 7′ x 4′ (internal) inflatable ground sheet should still weigh less than 100 grams!

I am going to make a slightly bigger Poncho Tent (one which will accommodate taller people – and in a pinch two; at least Dell and me!) I will use the .7 oz/yd2 fabric for this.  As the original weighed 185 grams (complete), I expect the new one will weigh somewhere above .7 times this – somewhere between 130-150 grams perhaps. Quite a spectacular weight for a completely enclosed shelter, (nearly) big enough for two! Of course I have to add a space blanket or piece of polycro to that (<50 grams) for an ultralight groundsheet.

The Deer Hunter’s Tent should come in at under 400 grams in the .93 oz/yd2 fabric, including floor.It is a lovely little tent.I have really enjoyed the Tyvek model. Time to finish it off in a lighter material.

Below are some of the waterproof fabric products I am looking at:

 1.4 oz/yd 47.46gsm 1 silpoly https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/waterproof-polyester-fabric/products/1-1-oz-silpoly-pu4000?variant=11054730177 58” 4000mm

1.3 oz/yd2 silnylon https://www.questoutfitters.com/Coated_2.htm#SILNYLON%201.1%20OZ%20RIPSTOP 62-65″ US$5.65/yd

72” wide  1.3 oz/yd2 44gsm silpoly https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/waterproof-xl-wide-fabrics/products/1-1-oz-silpoly-xl?variant=35045467469 US$8.50/yd 2500mm

1.24 oz/yd2 42gsm silnylonhttps://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/waterproof-nylon-fabric/products/1-1-oz-silnylon?variant=11168938177 US$4.75 58” 2000mm

1.06 oz/yd2 36 gsm: https://www.extremtextil.de/en/ripstop-nylon-tentfabric-silicone-coated-20den-36g-sqm.html?number=70777.SAND E9.90/m 1.5 m wide 1400-5000mm

1.07 oz/yd2 36.28gsm https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/waterproof-polyester-fabric/products/membrane-silpoly-pu4000?variant=10662993601 US5.50/yd 58-59″ 4000mm

.93 oz/yd2 31.5gpm US$7.50/yd: https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/waterproof-polyester-fabric/products/membrane-silpoly?variant=21841469185 58-59” 2,000mm

.7 oz: http://rockywoods.com/7D-Ultralight-Coated-Ripstop-Nylon-Fabric 23gsm US$14.49/yd

.51oz/yd2 17.29gsm cuben https://ripstopbytheroll.com/products/0-51-oz-dyneema-composite-fabric-ct1e-08?variant=1030734849 US$32/yd 54” wide

See Also:

10 by 10 Tarp Update

The Pocket Poncho Tent

The Deer Hunter’s Tent:



24/09/2019: The Valley of the Deer: I guess every hunter dreams of some secluded valley where it feels like you are the first person to have ever trod – at least where the deer are as plentiful and tame as rabbits and there is no competition from other hunters. Where you can arrive at your camp after a couple of day’s hard slog getting in and notice at once that no-one else had been there. For years this was ‘my’ such valley deep in the Gippsland mountains. I guess it is a wonder I had it for so long undisturbed.

But, one should be very careful who you tell about such a magical spot. And perhaps even more careful of making a path in which is easier for you to follow without stooping with a pack on. I confess my bad back has made me guilty over the years of breaking a branch off here and there so that I can smoothly thread my way through the tall timber.

Other sharp eyes are ever looking out for such give-a ways, so that one day I arrived to find my usual pile of wood burned (I always leave a pile against a late arrival), rubbish strewn everywhere, bones left near camp. Toilet paper! Some people really annoy me. Can’t they carry a 12 gram trowel? For that matter don’t they have heels? I quietly vacated a spot where I had watched countless deer over the years.

My new spot is way down that very steep hill. Nearly a kilometre vertically in only about the same distance horizontally! There are very few ways through the tangle of precipices. I want to hunt the other side of the valley, and you can’t get to it from the other side – or from this side without a pack raft.

There I go again leaving signs to show me the cleft in the rocks where I can clamber down. At 70 I don’t think I will have many more years I can make it there and back again anyway really.

I have always chosen steep country (because others eschew it), but this country is steep by even my (young) standards, and a hard fall at my age could be very nasty indeed! Still, I think I would rather someone find my beached bones underneath some grass tree on a steep mountainside somewhere in the Victorian mountains than die in bed incontinent and incoherent.

Stupidly (I know) I have broken off the odd branch to ease my passage. This time I found my way down in half the time because of it, and annoyingly where I have been others are bound to follow. This (along the river) stood out to me like a beacon – because I did not carry a machete either time. It could have been canoeists. I will hope so. No other sign of hunters.

This time Della could not come and I did not get bluffed out (like last time – poor Della!)

At least no-one else had come along and shared our precarious camping spot (below) since I was there before. Does Spot remember? Of course he does.

I carried this little raft (now US$110 – Sept 2019) to get me across the river. Under a kg and this half kg paddle. I forgot my 282 gram life vest. I am still here so it clearly would have been a waste of effort carrying it! Photo below was taken in the farm dam, but you get the idea. They are not a great craft. But they do the job. Just. I will make one of my own of these folks light weight models: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/01/02/new-diy-pack-raft/

There were a couple of swans at camp to greet me – the first I have ever seen on a white-water river. Migrating perhaps?

I set up camp for the night. My new tarp arrangement (610 grams) needed no pegs or a pole to erect. Spot and I were as snug as bugs in there,

and so cosy with that delicious warm fire out the front.

Right behind my camp was this beautiful brachychiton – with pittosporum understory. There are some beautiful sights in the Victorian bush. These Brachychitons are hundreds of kilometres from where they are supposed to grow. Don’t they know? Climate change perhaps? Get real. I have had a rare enough resident of the Northern territory travel all the way to my back fence to die. Australia is an island after all.

Next morning all we had to do was paddle across to where that creek joined the main river. Over there. Downstream of the confluence the creek had changed its course over the years creating a flat nearly a kilometre long and as much as 300 metres wide. Further up that very long remote creek are other magnificent flats – to be explored on a later trip. As I mentioned it is just about impossible to access from the other side of the river.

We are across the river and looking back (upstream) at our tent amongst the manuka opposite. I can just make it out – but I know where it is. You would never spot it from the river. I like to have my camp invisible from the river, as you never know what kinds of two-legged snakes will came along and maybe even steal your paddle (as happened to me once!) I had found a way down between the two cliffs centre. As you can see it is extremely steep, such that you can only just stand up on it.

The view downstream from the same spot. That ridge looks much better and leads to the other end of the flat (and another flat downstream). I will explore it on a future trip. I could not find where the ridge started at the top on this trip. You can get around that vast precipice near the top (I think), but there may be others!

This shot shows better just how far this flat extends along the river.

There is lots of grass to eat. If I was sheep farming there I would ‘carry’ about 3-4 ewes per acre – and this flat is at least a couple of hundred acres! A sambar deer eats 2-3 times what a mature ewe needs, but you get the point. There are lots of deer here. Hundreds!

It is a very beautiful creek – and has trout.

With its own small grassy flats

Well grazed pasture on the main flat here.

And here.

A high traffic area.

Along the back of the flat is a string of billabongs, each containing many wallows as in the foreground. I was able to see this from Google Earth – and the deer tracks going to and from them. Spot sees something at the far right end of the photo.

He knows not to go for these fellows. We have blue tongue lizards in the garden he was trained not to chase, and then moved on to not chasing red-bellied black snakes (as shown here). I have not trained him not to chase sambar deer – quite the reverse. Hence the shortage of photos of deer. He sees them off before I notice them usually – but we are here to both have fun! And I prefer eating lamb anyway. My sheep farmer prejudices showing there.

The billabongs are quite extensive – and beautiful.

Stretching downstream underneath that ridge. I naturally expected that the deer would be bedded along the ridge and not on the flat itself, but I was quite wrong about that. The deer here are quite undisturbed and have no reason not to be lazy. Spot and I may give them reason in the future to be a bit more wary!

Lots of ‘preaching trees’ along the flat. Lots of thrashing, rubs etc. Lots of stags hereabouts.

This is the bottom end of the flat looking across at another flat downriver. If I can get down the gentler ridge (right) to here this will make a better base and camp. It is also easier and closer to get across the river here. There is a good screen of bushes opposite behind which I can set up a camp.

That is the same precipice seen from the bottom of the flat. As you can see there is a way down the ridge behind it. There may be other unseen precipices as one ascends. One foot after another and I shall find out in the future.

And where are the deer, you ask. The flat positively reeked of deer. I have never smelled such a strong scent of many deer except where there is a plague of red deer in the leatherwood fringes of the snowgrass tops in Fiordland (where I go sometimes to hunt moose). And there were groups of deer sleeping all over the flat. Unfortunately the flat had suffered from a bushfire not so long ago and there was much regrowth that did not show on the Google Earth photo. Visibility was only a few yards.

A dozen times Spot put up groups of deer who leapt up, honked at him and crashed off – with him yapping in pursuit. No time to get a photo. Precious little time to even get off a shot – had I wanted to anyway. I will need to clear a few walking trails though the flat so that I can creep along without stooping under thick vegetation or making a noise if I want to shoot any. The grassy clearings here and there and wallows would be fine places for ambush hunting (if you did not have a dog with you!) but which I prefer not to do. Unsporting for the deer I feel. As I said earlier I prefer lamb anyway. And i really prefer to just see the deer nowadays. I would not enjoy hauling bits of them up those steep ridges anyway. Perhaps if i make a permanent camp down here – a drum with an Intex raft, paddle, shelter, cookset etc, so I don’t have to carry so much stuff in – and out. I might be able to canoe this river during the summer and drop one off.

The only other thing to report was that as I was driving down the precipitous 4WD track my rear brakes let go. I had spat out a brake pad as one of the pistons in the caliper had seized. You should never drive in such a manner that you cannot stop without brakes. I had a long drive back (over 50 km) without any other brakes than the hand brake (and engine) to somewhere my lovely Della could bring me a spare part to fix it. 50 years yet she never ceases to delight me!

See Also:







24/09/2019: 10 by 10 Tarp Update: I sewed the tie-outs onto the Tyvek tarp on Friday night and headed up the bush to give it a try-out on Saturday morning. Completed it weighed 610 grams. An acceptable weight for such a commodious and versatile shelter. In silnylon it would weigh under 350 grams.

To reiterate (just in case you have not read my earlier post yet) this is a 10 foot by 10 foot (actually 3 x 3 metre) piece of Tyvek Homewrap. I think it looks better with the printed side in. This is the simplest configuration (in the photos below) for 1-2 people pitched from the centre of one side to the centre of the other and with flaps folded in to make floor/doors.

I am using a piece of Polycro here as a ground sheet, but another (approx 5′ x 7′) piece of Tyvek (205 grams) would be even better (and more durable). A similar piece of silnylon would weigh 110 grams. Adding the weight of the guys and pegs will still give you an amazingly flexible shelter option that weighs under 500 grams!

You can also pitch the tarp as a simple floorless diagonal which will span 14 feet and have edge cover of 10′ either pegged out from from a pole or tree to the ground (as shown) or as hammock tarps between two trees. Or it can be pitched as a completely enclosed hammock shelter spanning 10′). If you are using it as an open shelter pitched much as above except from the corners instead of half way along the sides (as shown) it will accommodate several people. I would use a ridge pole with such a span. (You can get away without one to 10′).

Anyway plenty of room for me and Spot (who is hiding under my sleeping bag).

Spot has come along simply to smell the flowers.

Looks good down (a very steep kilometre vertically) by the river, doesn’t it?

You don’t need to bring pegs or a pole. The bush is full of sticks which can be used instead. A foot long forked stick like this will give the tent better purchase especially in sand than any bought peg anyway.

And it is a simple matter to tie the shelter to a tall stick.

It always looks even better with a fire out the front I think.

Especially at night.

See Also:




20/09/2019: A Magical Day: (Della) ‘yesterday revisiting Tongue Point and Fairy Cove at Wilson’s Promontory with friends. The beautiful spring weather, the good company and the 8 km walk were all very pleasant indeed, and we were warmly welcomed by the appearance of some winged luncheon guests at Fairy Cove (not actual fairies) as well as a killer whale surfacing just below the cliffs of Tongue Point’.

09/09/2019: 60 DIY Ultralight Hiker Ideas: It has been quite a while (over two years) since I first posted this. Time for an update. There are now over 100 ‘ideas’ to try out. Most will save you money or at least improve your outdoors experience; nearly all of them are my own ‘inventions’. Hope you find something useful to you.

99. Two Great Poly Tarp Configurations

 98. The Intex Double Paddle

97. A Hiking Bidet

96. Thermoplastics #101

95. A Wider Lighter DIY Sleeping Pad

94. Even More Free Stuff for Hiking

Seamless Tyvek Tipi

The Ultimate Camp Shoe

Extempore Hiking Poles

Embryo Wire

Stop Losing Your Pillow

More Free Stuff for Hiking

Free Stuff for Hiking

Best $5 Spent on Camping Ever

Fire Umbrella

DIY Dry Back Pack

How to Carry a Saw

Make Your Sleeping Pad Warmer

Whoopie Sling Guy Line Tensioner

Electric Drill Earth Auger

DIY Air Frame Pack

New Fancy Feast Stove

Budget Pack Mods

Self-Cleaning Pet Water Bowl

More Bird-Brained Things

Trees and Tree Guards

Ultralight Bathtub Floor

Convert a Car to a Camper for $50

Nightcore Tube Hat Clip

A Cure for Slippery Mats

The Siligloo

Simple Hammock Double Up

The Pocket Poncho Tent

Raincoat Shelter

Ultralight Hiking on a Budget

Ultralight Cups

Knee Pillow

Bathtub Groundsheet Chair

Ultralight Poncho Tent

Simple Hearing Aid Safety Clip

Fun With Sticky Tape – Mylar Poncho

A Ball of String and a Feed of Cray

Repurposing Camping Gear

More Fun With Sticky Tape – Mylar Vest

Fishing With Floss

Securing Hearing Aids

Four Gram Fishing Handlines

Hammock Side Insulation

An Open Shelter

4 Gram String Reverse Tripod

Linelock Tie Downs

Attaching Tie Downs to Your Pack

DIY Head Torches

Impregnable Gun Safe

Toughened Foam Flip Flop

The Ultralight Fisherman

Hand Line Fly Fishing

Cold Weather Booties

Pimping a Gorilla

Adding Down to a Sleeping Bag


How to Avoid Being Wet and Cold While Camping

World’s Lightest Tarp Clip

15 Gram Blue Foam Flip Flop

Tyvek Jack Russell Rain Coat – 13 Grams

Ultralight Trail Baker

Folding Staircase for Camper

11 Gram Rechargeable Head Torch

Enginesaver – Low Engine Water Alarm

Ultralight Glasses Case

Hole-less Poncho Shelter

The Ultralight Bush Chair

Pitching the Poncho – This May Save Your Life

Faux Packraft Vs Alpacka Raft

Fire Tent

Honey I Shrank the Tent

Tyvek Twin Fire Shelter

New Decagon-Octagon Igloo Tent

Home made Pack Raft

Poly Tent by the Ultralighthiker on the Cheap

DIY Hiking Desalinator

No Sew sandals

New Tyvek Forester Tent Design

Tray Top Camper

How to Light a Fire in the Wet

Catenary Curves

Bathtime on the Trail – the 1 Gram Platypus Shower

Ultralight Clothes Pegs

Tarp Bathtub Groundsheet

The Egg-Ring Ultralight Wood Burner Stove

Inflatable Bathtub Groundsheet

Tyvek Tent Designs

Tyvek Bivy

The Deer Hunter’s Tent

Tyvek Solo Fire Shelter

Ultralight Chair – Groundsheet

Mobile Phone Antenna

Trowel Peg

Some other people’s great DIYs:

Tim Tinker

Transparent Tent Instructions

Brawny’s Tarptent

DIY Crampons

DIY PFD 114 Grams


The DIY Gunsmith

DIY Stun Gun

DIY Netless Hammock

DIY Side Burner Metho Stove



08/09/2019: The Rapid Raft: Cheap, light, quick, simple and tough – and almost self-inflating. What’s not to like? Here are the two most outstanding features.


15″ x 5″ when deflated. 33″ x 72″ inflated. 3 lbs. Tubes 200 denier. Floor 400 denier. The nearest competition I guess is the Ultralight version of this one: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/01/02/new-diy-pack-raft/or Klymit’s Pack Raft: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2016/04/23/klymit-packraft/ It has to be a great option especially if there are rivers/lakes to cross on your route.

Winner Best New Gear Outdoor Retailer Summer 2019: Buy now from A$365 (Sept 2019)


07/09/2019: Harbingers of Spring at Jeeralang Junction: ‘Snapped late yesterday as the cold front approached!’


In other developments the Ring-Tailed Possum I thought a victim to Brer Fox has moved his house from the plum tree (too wet) to a Macadamia behind it:

07/09/2019: Still only two swallows. They are now over a fortnight late, but I am heartened by this old post: 13/12/2016: Swallow Update: The missing birds have at last returned. They came in day before yesterday in a veritable swarm. They all wanted to check out the garage (where many of them were born) and I was standing in their way. They were swooping and diving only inches away from me as they passed by. They must have experienced a period of low food somewhere along their migratory path which delayed them until they were fat enough again to fly. Really glad to see them back though! Welcome home for the summer little guys!

06/09/2019: Two Great Poly Tarp Configurations: I know most people can’t sew (and probably don’t have much money either) so I suggest either of these two simple poly tarp ‘hacks’ for en excellent dry shelter (which you can also enjoy a fire out front with). They both also feature ‘stand-up’ room (at least if you are shorter than 6′) which I think is so much more comfortable than crawling around on your hands and knees on wet ground entering and exiting (eg to put another log on the fire).

Both can be closed in case rain decides to come from every direction at once. I recommend (if you can sew) sewing gross-grain tie-outs to them and cutting off any excess material. You don’t need the hems or useless grommets for example (and especially if they have rope in them as some do). If you can’t sew I suggest you buy some tarp clips. These ones are really good and light I find the smallest ones fine. You may even make a kayak with them.

The 8 by 8: This can be made from a 12 ‘by 12′ tarp. When I began this post I own that I intended to dig out a 12′ x 12’ model I used to use for years while waiting for hounds to wander back in from sambar deer hunting. It i s hidden in the shed somewhere. I rediscovered a couple of them I had made in my drums along the river where I went recently and spent a couple of delightful nights camped in them – I only regret I did not take any photos!

Well, I did find one:

While we were waiting for hounds, cooking our sausages etc (Brett Irving shows how)  I would set it up like this (in the rain). When I went to bed, I would drop it down, fold the back flaps under to make a ground sheet and bring the front ‘wings’ across a bit so I stayed dry all night. Of course I could also keep the fire going so I stayed toasty warm. Half a dozen could shelter safely under it during our ‘cook-up’ at day’s end.

As it eventuated I was keen enough to try out a smaller model (& in Tyvek!) that I went ahead and made it instead of continuing my search through the labyrinth of the shed:

This diagram below is for the smaller one therefore and is in feet but I actually cut the tarp out of a 3 metre roll of Tyvek, so the intermediate points are actually 1.5 metres. If you are making the 8′ x 8′ above instead you will begin with approximately a 12′ x 12′ tarp. Halving the sides will give you a 8′ by 8′ diamond in the middle with 12′ diagonals and the flaps will be approx 6′ long. The size below is likely all you will need – unless you have lots of friends!

Once I used to carry just a 7′ by 7′ nylon tarp (and my raincoat). I had a few uneasy rainy nights when the wind wanted to shift a bit, but I never got wet. I even used it quite successfully as a hammock tarp many times – and again never got wet. You can get too excitable about size and ‘making sure’. Most nights it doesn’t rain anyway – and how often do you go camping when it is going to?

This 10 x 10 tarp can also be pitched as a hammock tarp (and with closed ends on both sides!) It will definitely keep you dry under the most extreme conditions. I may add a couple of extra pieces of Tyvek to the floor (with some Tyvek sticky tape) instead of the 6 x 4′ blue poly tarp you see in the pictures below – or I will use a piece of Polycro instead. I will post the dimensions of the floor pieces when I have cut them out.

And here it is:

There will be more tie-outs.

The front flaps can be configured in a variety of ways depending on conditions. I have only altered one side in the photos. I will take it down (tonight?) and sew all the tie-outs on as I am intending a (return) trip to a new spot in the very near future. I will be taking in a canoe drum – to leave it, a fire umbrella, ultralight saw, a cookset and a A$40 Intex raft and paddle in so I can hunt/explore the other side of the river. On the trip out, and on future trips I will be able to travel more lightly.

I also need to work out a way to fire-proof my drums (as I lost so many in the summer fires). My initial idea is to bury them standing up so that the top of their lids is level with the ground (in a grassy spot). The deer will keep the grass short in the warmer months. I will then peg out a 1 metre by one metre fire blanket over it. I will have a go at dyeing it. I know that the white fire blanket will attract attention, but I am hoping that folk who get to such remote places will be civilised enough to simply use the shelter etc if they need or wish and put it/them back in the drum. When there is a bushfire it should go out at the edge of the fire blanket and not be hot enough to melt the drum.

On this trip I will see if I can find a small cave in a rocky cliff to stow it. I may take a makeshift piton and some string to secure it there.

The front opening is an equilateral triangle 7′ on a side, meaning its height is approx 6′ . You can either tie to a piece of wood (as shown) or to a small tree (if available) – which obviates the need for front guys. You could pitch it lower (and so wider) but the flaps at the front would not join.

My grandson enjoyed it.

As well as his mother and our dogs, Spot and Honey.

PS: I usually have two guys at the front instead of the one shown so that I can peg out to the ground at the side front thus making room for a fire immediately in front of the shelter (say about 5′ away).

In Tyvek the tent in the photos above will weigh about 650 grams in the 1.85 oz/yd2 Tyvek Homewrap. A lightweight blue poly tarp I bought locally yesterday had a stated fabric weight of 90 Grams Per Square Meter ie 2.6544 Ounces Per Square Yard (or 43% more) The 12 x 12 model is 44% heavier than the 10 x 10 model, so you might want to reserve it (in poly) for car camping, as I used to. Nonetheless I think you should give one a try. If I made the one above out of 1 oz silnylon it would weigh under 450 grams (under a pound) including pegs and guy lines! Pretty good for a tent with a floor you can stand in which can double as a hammock tarp.

It will cost you very little, and I’m sure you will be mightily pleased with it particularly when you want to sit in front of a warm fire out of the wind, and especially on rainy days. One advantage of such a shelter is that your back does not get cold when you are sitting in front of the fire as the heat is reflected off the back walls. I usually find that I am sitting around when the temperatures are below freezing in just my shirtsleeves!

The Forester Tarp: I haven’t got time to finish the second section of this post just now so it will become a future post. I must finish the tent above and get a few other jobs done around the farm or else I will never get away up the bush. What I have in mind is to add ‘wings’ to the front and back of this basic Forester design (cut down a little in size as in the second link below) so that the front will close (as in the tent above) and the back will also close with overlapping flaps from either side – so that the whole tent can be cut from a single piece (Tyvek is not quite wide enough – I think). This design will make a roomier tent than either the 12 x 12 or the 10 x 10 models above with more stand up room.





Note on Tie-Outs: I would sew a piece of reinforcing material at the front tie-out (which takes all the weight of the fabric -and any flap) and also at the rear one (particularly on the Forester – for the same reason). Otherwise I have found that simply hemming the material then sewing the gross-grain ribbon for the tie outs along the hem for 2’3 inches then forming an approx 2″ loop, giving the material 180 degree twist (like a Mobius strip) – so it is easier to get the pegs through, then sewing along the hem for a for a further 2-3″ on the other side works well. As this one may also be used as a hammock tarp I might also reinforce the corners.

BTW: You can pitch either of these tarps as simple floorless diagonals where the smaller of the two will span 14 feet and have edge cover of 10′ either pegged out from from a pole or tree to the ground (as shown) or as hammock tarps between two trees. (Obviously if you were going to use it like this, you would need to carry a piece of Polycro as an ultralight groundsheet You can buy a piece 5′ x 9′ from Amazon.com.au for A$11.46).

So, something like this (or the photo of the blue tarp at the top):

Steve Hutcheson and myself Wonnangatta-Moroka Winter 2012

Or you could pitch it like this. I will have to remember to sew on a tie out to help support the back wall in this configuration.

DIY Hiker: You can find over 100 of my other DIY hiker ideas here: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2017/07/13/60-diy-ultralight-hiker-ideas/

See Also:









01/09/2019: Snow Day: The photo of me standing in the snow in front of the archway in the last post reminded me that back on 10th August 2005 we had this amazing dump of snow around here – South Gippsland and Southern Victoria in general. Much more snow and lower down than we ‘normally get – whatever that may mean.

Back in 1983 there was an even bigger dump. I remember it even snowed at Tarwin Lower where we were then living within 10 metres of sea level –  our driveway here at Jeeralang Junction is exactly 200 metres above sea level, so that we are safe from the Poles melting.

There was substantial snow on the road all the way to Mirboo North back in 1983 where we then worked. It was so heavy it broke the tops of the old cypress trees on our farm here at Jeeeralang Junction and they have been falling down ever since. Of course we were not living here then (1991 on) so we didn’t see it but the dump in 2005 we did see. We kept the kids home from school (as it was very cold and might become even more dangerous) so I took quite a lot of photos of it, after I had been around the lambs on the flats first thing in the morning.

This was the view across the road from our driveway as I drove down.

The Maremma sheep guard dog, Brandy wasn’t fazed by all that white stuff. He grew up on our old Dobbins Hill farm on the top of the Jeeralangs several hundred metres higher up where it often snowed in winter.

Here is the old archway again with my oldest daughter Irralee posing in front of it.

The snow was still falling intermittently throughout the day – here along the front of the house.

Looking down towards the front gate through Della’s extensive gardens.

The snow falling in front of the hills opposite.

Irralee again in front of the other archway. She must have been the first of the children up that day. She seemed very happy to see the snow (or because it was my birthday!)

We used to have a lot of this model Subaru (1981-4) -around a dozen of them! Someone had built a snowman on the bonnet of this one.i used to fit five canoes on one set of those roof racks in summer!

Mid-morning but the snow was still falling heavily. We didn’t know whether Della would be able to get to or back from Mirboo North where she worked at the time – but she did!

Brandy decided discretion was the better part of valor and sheltered under the archway.

Della’s rose garden.

Rams on the hill looking forlorn.

And others just lying around in it.

These two look quite blizzarded in.

At various times during the day I took one family member or another up the road to look at our old Dobbins Hill farm where the snow lay much heavier. This is my son, Bryn at the front gate.

And again.

My daughter Merrin.

The snow was really coming down for her. Even when she was a small child she never needed to wrap up from the cold.

But her husband, Matt did. 

After Della returned from work, she wanted to have a look there too.

And took a photo of me also standing at our old front gate. Some days the snow was thick enough up there to toboggan.

The road back down was looking a bit icy.

Looking down on the home farm from the top road.

And again.

It was snowing heavily as Della and I drove back down.

This old plum tree in the paddock looked quite magical.

There was lots of snow waiting for us in the driveway.

View of the bottom dam in the creek below the house.

And across the creek.

Heading down to the Hazelwood Flats farm the snow was much lighter though there had been more ice and snow when I first arrived there to check the lambs at daybreak. The warm water of the power station pondage just across the road helped melt it into icy puddles quite quickly.

But the surrounding hills had practically enough to ski on.

By the time Della and I got there to re-check the sheep in the afternoon the snow was pretty much all gone.

Just vast icy puddles.

And ewes standing around looking forlorn and bereft.

The worst part about such a cold day was all the stock losses. We actually lost no adult sheep (They were all in good condition – and we had plenty of hay I could put out as well) but one farmer in South Gippsland lost 300 Jersey cows. Another lost 3,000 sheep. My losses for the day were (approx) 200 newborn lambs which I found (mostly) lying dead in 6″ deep icy puddle of water when I was going around the lambs as I did first thing every morning at lambing on our property then on the Hazelwood Flats.

Of course there were others which were near expiring. I did everything I could for them,, but it was not to much effect. The best thing was putting out several dozen big round bales of hay which the sheep could tear at – in the process making warm dry beds for the surviving lambs. It was pretty distressing (on my birthday) I can tell you to be losing around a fifth of my annual income; somewhere above $30,000 (gross) worth!

Something like this: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2015/11/27/anguish/

See Also: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/08/31/the-arch/

31/08/2019: The Arch: Which I built in a morning (for $27) over thirty years ago is no more. Back on 08/06/2014 I posted this about it: Invisible worlds: the archway: Straight outside our front door we have this archway: you’ve probably seen it before in family photos, as it makes an interesting backdrop. Around here we have often been too busy to notice things, but as we are slowing down we maybe have more time for noticing and less for doing…anyway, we were sitting in front of it the other night watching the pigeons fly…And hearing them too: since a have had my new Siemens waterproof hearing aids I can once again hear the wondrous ‘whoosh’ of pigeon flight…we noticed a fair sized flock of starlings circling as well. It was just on dusk. We were wondering what they were doing.

Well, Della put the pigeon food in the loft and opened the trap. The pigeons dropped into the loft like stones. A chill was creeping in, so we turned to go in the front door. Suddenly, literally in the blink of an eye I guess, 100 starlings fell out of the sky into that archway. They must have done this several thousand times since I built it many years ago, but we had never caught them doing so. They are quiet neighbours, obviously up at sunrise and off about their business, returning swiftly at dusk, and making no outward noise to advertise their presence. I am sure the potato vine has benefited enormously from their residence over the years though. So much in nature is virtually invisible to us even if it is right before our eyes.

The arch was very simple to construct, and we do need more of them, one leading down to the shed, for example – a job for another day…I marked it out, drove 3’ lengths of ¾ gal water pipe into the ground vertically to half their length, then slipped the required length of concrete reo inside them (to form a hoop), and lengths of 1 ½ inch poly water pipe over them, Surprisingly each arch is strong enough like this for a large person like me to swing on. Having made a row of them, we simply clad them with light gal weldmesh (attached with cable ties), planted the potato vine/s, and voila! You used to be able to walk up pavers through it from the ‘guest’ parking below to our front door, but over the years Della has so cluttered it with interesting decorations this may no longer be possible…

Della had this to say about its demise: Underneath the Arches: Some Garden Nostalgia.
‘After 28 years of being front and centre of our house, our old archway has been demolished, to be replaced by a new one. Steve built the original out of gal water pipe and concrete reo covered with poly pipe, and I enthusiastically planted it out with climbing roses each end and potato vine between.

The accompanying pictures, beginning with a 3-year-old Merrin cradling her kitten “Blackie”, document the aging of that archway. Within 2 years, when the 3 children are pictured on their first day of the school year, the sky has been all but obliterated, and from then on, despite my constant battle with shears and secateurs, the potato vine took over, smothering the roses and creating a dense, tunneled thicket that became home to dozens of starlings.

A couple of years ago, the weight of all that vine began crushing the structure, so that it was impossible to even crawl through it. Something had to be done, so we added it to the jobs planned for our recent excavation work.

This was the famous ‘Snow Day’ Aug 10th 2005:

Its removal was the work of less than 5 minutes: one large munch, a roll of the jaws and a lift up and out. And while the excavator was here, Steve arranged to have it dig in the supports for the replacement walkway which he later finished with some carpentry.


So: the sky has returned, I have 10 new climbing roses ready for planting, and I have learned an important lesson about avoiding potato vine! The old pavers will need replacing, but I will get the garden cleaned up and replanted first.

Meanwhile, Merrin and a 3-year-old Milo (complete with a puppy, this time) posed today for a photo of our archway for the next generation.


See Also:







21/08/2019: The Dragonfly Knife: I know I posted about this remarkable knife some time back, but mine arrived today and it is the most astonishing knife I have ever owned. Only 10 grams but razor sharp and capable of butchering a deer. It is also absolutely beautiful: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2019/08/20/the-dragonfly-ultralight-titanium-knife/

19/08/2019: Unusual Locking Folder: Opinel make some pretty unique knives. I guess I came to the party a bit late on this one, but I have two of them in my hand right now and they are magnificent! First I bought the Opinel No 6: because a reader (Tim) recommended it (in this post), as follows: ‘Opinel #6 has a lock blade of about 72mm at 27g. Easy to sharpen, very nice to use with its full flat grind to zero. My favourite folding knife when weight matters.: https://www.opinel.com/en/tradition/stainless-steel/n6-stainless-steel‘ He suggested the stainless model but I found the carbon steel one cheap so I bought it: https://www.opinel.com/en/tradition/carbon-steel/n6-carbon It cost me only A$16.99 (delivered) on eBay. A very good buy.

Then a friend (Jock) happened to give me a No #8 stainless for my recent birthday, so I have two to compare. Riches indeed. The No 6 is 27 grams and the No 8 has an 8.5 cm (3 1/3″) blade and weighs 59 grams.

The first thing I discovered was the unique blade lock. I had seen them in the shop and passed them over as I thought they didn’t have one. Instead they have what might be a superior one. At least there is no way this blade lock is going to fail and leave you with severed fingers – as can happen. You can see in the photos I took below how the ring-type lock they have works. They call it the ‘Virobloc safety ring’.  You just need to rotate it to make the bade stay in the open or closed position. Just hook it around with your thumbnail (as shown) though as it wears a bit it will become easier to rotate.

You can see how it moves into place completely blocking the movement of the blade in either the open or closed position.

Now completely blocked.

This is the No 6 Carbon). It has a 7 cm (2 3/4″) blade.

My hands are still pretty scratched up from nearly a week of bush-bashing I see.

It is a very attractive little knife with its distinctive and comfortable beech handle. A rounded handle like this is great on the hand