Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 13, 2012

Highway to Hell 400km brevet ~ Union Bay Control

Highway to Hell 400km brevet ~ Union Bay Control.

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | April 24, 2012

I’m a card carrying Randonneur!

I’m a card carrying Randonneur!.

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | October 21, 2011

Some pictures of Tai getting his new mandolin

I told Tai that if he practiced hard and stuck with the mandolin for 2 years, I’d buy him an F style mandolin.  Well, he kept his part of the bargain, so I had to keep mine…

And here is a video of him playing it last night   …

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 25, 2011

MSR Hubba Hubba Tent Review

I recently picked up a MSR Hubba Hubba Tent from Robinson’s Outdoor Store in Victoria, BC and thought I’d write a review, and hopefully help someone make a decision if they are in the market for a 2 person tent.  I read a lot of reviews over at Trailspace.com and this tent gets a lot of praise.  I also see a lot of tents come through Fillongley Prov. Park and get a good peak at the ones that catch my eye and talk to the people and see how they like them.  I paid $289.00 (Canadian), which is the same price as MEC has it listed for.  Unfortunately, the “Footprint” isn’t included and is an additional $34 accessory that I feel should be included in the price and package.  Another option that I picked up is the “Gear Loft” for $3.50 from MEC which connects to 4 loops at the top of the tent creating a hammock to store things while you are sleeping.  I didn’t mind paying the $3.50 for this add on, but $34 for the footprint is pretty steep for something that should be included ~ or else make a floor that is more durable.

On with the review.  The tent comes in at just 4 pounds and can be packaged quite small if you put the poles in the side pocket of your backpack.  Setting up the tent is easy and can be done fairly quickly.  I’m comparing this to my 25 year old North Face Bullfrog that still works fine.  The Bullfrog is probably a little heavier (I can’t remember how much it weighs), but is simple and easy to set up by yourself.  The Hubba Hubba takes a little longer as you have to put the footprint down first, an added step that the Bullfrog doesn’t require.  The Bullfrog has 3 poles, whereas the Hubba Hubba poles are all connected together and the tent either clips on to the poles or is fitted through grommets on the 4 corners and 2 on the top. A few of things things that I really like is that there are 2 doors, one on each side so you don’t have to crawl over someone to get out if you are on the “wrong” side.  There are also pockets at each end so if you sleep head to foot, each person has a pocket near their head to put things that are within easy reach.  There is a lot of screened area so if you don’t need to put on the fly, you really feel like you’re sleeping outside.  With the fly on, there is a vestibule (not very large compared to the Bullfrog, but the Bullfrogonly has one) by each door to keep your things dry and out of the elements.  It comes with 6 pegs to hold down the fly and corners.  When I was taking it down, there was a bit of breeze that rolled the tent when there was nothing inside.  It’s a light tent!

This is definitely a tight 2 man tent, or a generous solo tent.  With 2 thermarests laid down inside it (1 regular size and 1 large size), the floorspace was pretty much covered from end to end and side to side.  This means that your backpack and gear will have to stay outside the tent under the vestibule, which is tight and blocks your way at getting out. If you like to bring your gear inside the tent with you, you might want to consider a bigger tent ~ the Mutha Hubba from MSR is the next size up and only weighs a couple of pounds more.  The other option is picking up a Gear Shed, also made by MSR, that adds on a nice roomy vestibule.  It’s only 1lb, 12 oz and adds 26.5 sq. ft / 2.46 sq. m.  I’m thinking that this might be the ticket to get my gear out of the elements and within easy reach while in the tent.

This tent is definitely worth checking out if you are in the market for a 2 person, 3 season tent.  It looks and feels like it will stand up to a lot, while still not adding that much weight to your backpack.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of it while I had it set up, but will add some the next time I use it.  In the meantime, here is a picture of the Hubba Hubba tent and Gear Shed taken from the MSR site.

I will also add to this review after I use it while camping and not just in the backyard.

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 24, 2011

Primus OmniFuel Stove Review

After doing a lot of online research, I finally decided on buying a new stove and the Primus OmniFuel won out.  One of the main reasons why I bought this stove is because I went kayaking last summer in the Broughtons (out of Telegraph Cove) and my friend had one and it worked like a charm (when it had gas ~ we ran out, but more on that later).  My initial reaction was “Damn, that sucker is loud, but look at how well it works”.  It felt rock solid and it boiled water fast!  Since that trip, I’ve been looking at multi~fuel stoves when I went into outfitter stores and also online, and I’ve always come back to this one.  I previously had an old MSR WhisperLite and an all-in-one Coleman to compare it to, so this isn’t my first stove.  The WhisperLite (I think it was the international model, but wasn’t label as such at the time I bought it ~ around 1990) was a good stove, but I remember having to clean it on a regular basis and also trying to balance my pot on it without tipping it over.  The legs definitely had some flex to them compared to this new Primus.  That WhisperLite finally died, although I’m sure that I could have bought parts and resurrected it, but I couldn’t be bothered.  While living in Japan I bought a Coleman stove that had the fuel poured into the bottom part of the stove and the burner was on top.  It weighed a lot and it was near impossible to prime it when there was a pot on it.  I still have it and will keep it as a back up or to show the kids the different designs that stoves come in, but I doubt it will see much action outside the backyard now that I have this new stove.

With a little bit of background out of the way, now onto the review.  I picked it up at Robinson’s Outdoor Store in Victoria (what a great shop with tons of selection and very knowledgeable and friendly staff) for $132.99.  I saw it up in Courtenay at one of the outfitters for $188 and Mountain Equipment Co-op had it for $162.99, so it made the decision that much easier to buy it then and there.  I think it was the last one as they took it out of the display case for me and put it in the box that was under the counter.  Either way you look at it, it was brand new and a great price!

The box includes the stove, 3 jets, a multi~purpose tool for stove and fuel pump maintenance, a fuel pump for bottle use (bottles not included), grease, a wind screen and a nice little carrying bag with a zippered pocket on the inside.  I bought a couple of refillable bottles for use with white gas.  I also bought a 460ml propane isobutane butane canister of gas just to try out, but I think that I’ll be mainly sticking with white gas as I can see how much fuel is left in the bottle.  Last year while camping with one of these stoves, we ran out of gas mainly because we couldn’t see how much gas we had left.  If we knew how much gas we had left, we probably would have skipped that 3rd coffee after dinner😉  White gas is a lot cheaper than those canisters, burns almost as clean and produces a lot less metal going into the recycle bin.  The instructions were easy to follow (yes, I did read the instructions ~ I must be getting old) and changing the jets is a straight forward operation.  The stove comes with 3 different jets to burn with different fuels and cleaning them is a snap with the multi-tool.  Connecting the fuel line with the gas canister required just screwing it on.  Open the main gas line, then the stove gas control and light.  It’s that simple.  The website says that you can boil water in 3:00 + 40 seconds for pre-heating.  I timed it at 4:15 which is pretty impressive the first time operating it. And yes, it was as loud as I remembered.  I mentioned this to the salesperson when I bought it and she said that it wouldn’t be as loud using white gas.  We’ll see.  It’s a very easy stove to use and the 3 foot “platform” for the pot is very stable.  Turning it off is simple as well.  Just turn off the main gas (the knob near the canister) and then the stove gas valve once the flame is out to ensure that all the fuel is out of the line.

The stove packs up small and everything fits nicely in the bag supplied.  The small items can be zipped away to ensure they wont accidently fall out.  I really like how this works on the initial test in the workshop and I look forward to using it out on the trail and when camping.  It’s not the lightest stove on the market, but it’s built like a tank and will burn anything that is remotely flammable, which give you piece of mind and confidence making it worth the little bit of extra weight.  I have no doubts that this stove will last decades and can’t even imagine all the places this stove will go with me now.

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 23, 2011

A few posts coming down the pipes …

There will be a few posts coming in shortly (and hopefully with some regularity after that).  Tai and I have been doing some training and will hopefully keep you updated with that, which will also help us keep motivated.  I won’t tell you right now what it’s for as I plan on doing a post concerning it when the time is right ~ it’s actually pretty cool.  I’ll have some gear reviews as well to post as I get familiar with it and hopefully it will help you if you are ever in a position to need/buy what’s being review.

Since the last post way back when, things have been busy here with not too much to report.  Lots of family stuff that keeps you busy but not of much interest to a lot of you who might be reading this.  Norie and the kids went to Japan for 7 weeks (I’ll be posting pictures of that soon as well) and I was living the single life and eating Kraft Dinner on a regular basis.  Norie has been on me to update this site for a while now, so here it is.  The long weekend is over and we are tired from a lot of hiking/cycling.  Back to the grind tomorrow and I’ll get at least a couple of posts up this week.

Here are some pictures that were taken while hiking on Hornby Island yesterday.  We did the Middle Bench Trail and the Ford’s Cove to the Hornby Ferry Trail.  We were all pretty tired when we got back to the ferry some 4 plus hours later.  Sorry that some of the pictures are sideways, but I’m tired and don’t want to switch them around right now.

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Posted by: denmanrandonneur | September 27, 2010

Test from iPod

Just a test from my new iPod. Typing is a lot slower on this compared to a regular keyboard. How do kids text so fast? Pictures of my kayaking trip to Telegraph Cove to follow in a couple of days.

Posted by: denmanrandonneur | August 30, 2010

Norie went on a picture taking spree today…

… and here are the results …

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Posted by: denmanrandonneur | August 29, 2010

Random pictures from this summer

I’m on a posting kick tonight …

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Posted by: denmanrandonneur | August 29, 2010

Dresser finished and installed

Here are some pictures of the dresser at the end of the build and when I installed it.  The clients were very patient and great to deal with.  I’ll let the dresser do the rest of the talking …

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