Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby rainboxred » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 7:29 pm

Hi all. I would appreciate your opinion on my gear list. I am going on a winter photography trip along the Overland Track and side trips, over 11 days. This means lots of gear and food and unfortunately lots of weight. Currently my total weight is around 30kg and I have been training with 42kg doing soft sand and stairs. I'm 80kg and have done the Overland in winter before.

I've got 640g of food a day which gives me about 9300kJ. I will need to boil 13.2L of water for all my dehydrate food and coffee. I have tested a 100g gas cylinder to give me 8.5L of boiled water. So I will take 3 to cover the requirements and give me a bit of contingency.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7j6m6elpfc3ql ... .xlsx?dl=0

ID:
Pencil and notebook are for a diary.

Electronics:
I have two power banks. One will be attached to the phone at all times. I am using the phone to record GPS tracks and also at night for entertainment. The battery is very weak and it will not survive long in the cold, hence why I have to attached to a power pack at all times. The other power pack will be used to charge the camera and headtorch batteries. This power pack will be charged using a solar panel. I have considered using a larger power bank instead of the solar panel but it comes in as the same weight and at least with the solar panel I can get more charge (assuming I get clear skies).

Clothes:
I will be sitting around in the early morning waiting for the magic hour light to photograph so I want to have enough warmth. I have 4 pairs of liner socks, 3 of medium socks, 3 underwear. Glove system is liner gloves and over-mitts. This is so I can have warm hands and also have some protection when I'm using the camera. I also have a pair of medium gloves that I was going to use when I'm using the camera, but I will probably remove them.

Water filter:
Not sure if i need the syringe to back-flush. I haven't used this filter in the field so not sure if it will survive 35L of filtering without backflush. I presume I will be using the tanks at the huts mainly.

Packaging:
I haven't finished sorting this out but presume it will be about 500g.

Winter Tools:
Last time I went I had to bail on climbing Cradle Mt as the boulders were covered in a dusting of snow and the risk of slipping and cracking a leg was too high. This time I want to be more well equiped so that I can get on top and get the shot.

Bedding:
Could probably lose the liner. I read the new rules about having an at least -10C sleeping bag, bun not sure how strongly they enforce it.

Photography:
Could possibly lose the 3rd lens. Everything else is required. Please don't suggest I leave the DSLR at home and just use my phone.

Camping:
Flint and steel in case piezo dies.
Towels so I can clean my kitchen supplies and not have water inside my pack and the dirty one is to clean the bottom of my booties so I can wear them around the huts and also inside my sleeping bag.
Should I bring thongs to use around camp too?
I prefer a bladder so I can sip on the go.
Daypack needs to be able to carry all the camera gear, tripod, water, food, emergency supplies.
I have a lighter main bag but I had to get a new one that will carry 30kg and 90L comfortably.

Thanks for your insight.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Nuts » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 7:31 am

These are always hard to comment on I find. Personally, i'd be leaving with less than ten kg's but then looking at such a list, there's no real hard-line as to what i'd leave out. I find myself thinking almost everything would be either of some use or possibly nice to have.

I'd swap the crampons/ice axe and heavy manta's for a pair of ice cleats/ snow shoes (that i'd make a decision on in the last days) and some light boots or shoes (even then related to how much the final pack weight was). Probably shoes, probably not waterproof as as they will probably be wet through. An ice-axe may be useful on some of the side-climbs in certain conditions but it would be at an extreme where I'd probably reconsider that climb (walking solo).

I'd leave behind the water filter. I'd leave behind the solar panel. I'd plan to carry 500ml's water.

1 bog roll and some careful manoeuvring.

A down hoody may save several heavier layers? .. and if you aren't adverse to sleeping in it, i'd take a sleeping bag for the average minimum and be using clothing layers to get to the unusual, extra cold, minimums.

I can appreciate the desire for a full suite of lenses but i'm guessing they are all fast at those weights. A fast mid-wide or normal lens? if weight is at all a concern.

Most of all, i'd avoid a 3kg pack, which itself is related to the rest.
You've done this walk before I see. I suspect it's more for an affirmation.. if I was carrying 30+kg your list looks reasonable. :)
Perhaps the only concern the other way would be the gas, 300g isn't a lot of excess hot coffee given the time frame.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Warin » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 8:58 am

Hi, comments...

Route? If you doing Pine Valley .. then I'd do it as a separate trip - complete the overland ..then resupply and back track. If you use a commercial operator to get to and from the overland they could be willing to get a resupply bag to you at the bottom of the overland - this will reduce the food and battery requirements that you have to carry.

3 by 100g gas? .. a 240g gas cylinder would give less waste weigh than 2 100g ones. Thing about 1 * 240g and 1* 100g.

Not done the rest yet.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby stepbystep » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 9:35 am

Deleted due to pointless info !!
Last edited by stepbystep on Mon 02 Jul, 2018 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Tortoise » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 11:00 am

Initial comments:
1. +1 for scrapping the filter and using tablets. I use Micropur Forte. Tiny, effective, no yucky taste. Expensive, but I split the box/cost with a friend, and I rarely use them. If rumours of contamination at huts, I sometimes fill up drinking water from nearby creeks (knowing where they flow from) and cook with tank water.

2. Scrap the towels. Use chux, which are much lighter, squeeze out well and dry quickly in a good breeze or near a heater. I colour code them for washing me, drying me, mopping up condensation from the tent. Washing and wiping ones I keep in sandwich bags and often don't bother drying them. You could add a couple at minimal weight. Oh, and I cut them in half, except for my 'drying' one.

3. Not recommended for everyone - chat to GP to make sure there's no significant risk for you - but I use anti-diarrhoeals to reduce the number of times I need to go on multi-day walks, especially in sensitive areas. They slow gastric motility from whatever your baseline is. I might only need to dig 2 or 3 holes in a week instead of - well, we won't go there. Great for the environment, great convenience, much less toilet paper potentially needed. :) If you go that way, try it at home first.

4. I might have missed it, but I'd take a large ziplock bag for the map, folded for easy reference in the wet.

5. I now have a large and a small tick remover in my first aid kit. Not sure if ticks live on the OLT or not, but at 3g for both removers, I don't mind carrying them. You can get them from vets.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby stepbystep » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 11:20 am

EDIT: Sorry didn't read your list properly! That's more organised than I've ever been!

For 11 days I usually carry 30-35kg which includes tripod, 2 x lens, DSLR and filter kit, spare batteries etc. I like having plenty of food.

Tracking your GPS route on the OLT is hardly necessary and a waste of battery. Use GPS only when needed. That and fresh lithium batteries in a head torch will save the need for a second power bank. Solar panel will be useless to you this time of year, so best leave it behind. I carry 3 x spare AAA lithium batteries which act as spare for my headtorch and Spot. Those powerbanks must be massive to charge camera batteries? For a recent 15 day trip I carried 8 camera batteries and only used 6, I also shoot video and timelapse. I'd reconsider your whole battery/power setup.

Lens choices, always tricky. I opt for a 16-35 f2.8, covers my landscape work and night stuff plus a 100mm macro that doubles as a serviceable tele-photo ie 2 not 3...

Daypack. If you carry tripod by hand you can get away with a lightweight daypack with drybag liner.

Clothes/sleeping system are dependent on an individuals operating temp. You should know better than others what you need for temps down to potentially -15C.

Leave your water filter, just be smart about hygeine and a few chlorine tabs in your first aid kit will be fine.

Warin's gas suggestion is good. Hard to suggest much else as snow conditions will affect much in terms of winter gear and your clothing layering system is also hard to judge.

Don't skimp on food, especially in winter.

Lastly, no amount of insta-fame is worth killing yourself for :)
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Nuts » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:00 pm

Tortoise wrote:
3. Not recommended for everyone - chat to GP to make sure there's no significant risk for you - but I use anti-diarrhoeals to reduce the number of times I need to go on multi-day walks, especially in sensitive areas. They slow gastric motility from whatever your baseline is. I might only need to dig 2 or 3 holes in a week instead of - well, we won't go there. Great for the environment, great convenience, much less toilet paper potentially needed. :) If you go that way, try it at home first. .


That's interesting.
Dedicated. A tad extreme, but i like it!

I'm going to add to my comments that 'under 10kg' wouldn't apply to 11 days on this track (personally i'd find some other way of getting another 4/5kg's of food out there.. but the weight itself has become a bigger priority of recent years). I'd agree on Pine Valley, for the cost of a couple of hours walking, i'd duck out and come back for 3/4 days, especially if the weather is ordinary.

On the gas, with in mind that you have done some testing, have you used gas in winter rainboxred? If indeed you are very careful that may be enough but the efficiency can take a dive in single digits and minus temps.

(& i'd agree the larger cans are more efficient and better buying).
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby north-north-west » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:30 pm

Tortoise wrote: I now have a large and a small tick remover in my first aid kit. Not sure if ticks live on the OLT or not....


Even if they do, they aren't an issue at that altitude in winter.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:44 pm

Noticed that you are planning to carry a number of battery banks. Have you considered the idea of congregating all that mAh to a selectable number of 18650 Li batteries and combine them with a 'Miller ML-102 Universal USB Smart Charger' for both charging and USB output needs? It should be significantly lighter than a bunch of batteries and chargers.

I think you can keep the saline at home for your first aid kit. Whatever wound you receive whilst out there will be contaminated and sterile saline won't make any difference. Just use clean drinkable water and apply some antiseptic ointment (eg. Betadine) after. There's also a bunch of other stuff you can avoid eg. Paracetamol when you have ibuprofen in the kit. Just take half a tablet if pain is not strong. Curve tip syringe and chlorhexidine wipe, not sure what you need the syringe for. Just bring a small tube of Betadine and it'll cover all antisepsis needs as well as water treatment in an emergency. If you really need hydrolyte, then you should be due to activate the PLB. I say leave it out.

Hope these make sense.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Tortoise » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:45 pm

north-north-west wrote:
Tortoise wrote: I now have a large and a small tick remover in my first aid kit. Not sure if ticks live on the OLT or not....

Even if they do, they aren't an issue at that altitude in winter.

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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Nuts » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 1:21 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Just bring a small tube of Betadine and it'll cover all antisepsis needs as well as water treatment in an emergency. If you really need hydrolyte, then you should be due to activate the PLB. I say leave it out.

Hope these make sense.


That's a good tip on Betadine. I can't imagine a need for 'emergency' water treatment (in winter/ up there)?

Hydralyte though, sodium/potassium, (admittedly without any control to compare) it is a good immediate relief after diarrhoea or vomiting.. and a mild cause may respond to an easy day or a day's rest.. on that, maybe a bit ol school, prefer to rely on always having some spare soups, rather than go overboard with (emergency) hydralyte :) (4/5 sachets per person per day, an effective amount adds up)
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 1:39 pm

Was just suggesting Betadine as a multi-tasking part of the kit. Not concerned about water treatment when up that way but yet some may be.

Hydralyte and similar are somewhat useful for babies, small children who are far more sensitive to fluid and electrolyte shifts. For adults, our larger size have greater tolerance in those situations. Further, we can be rehydrated/replenished through various food and other intakes. As suggested, by the time when one considers those are needed in an adult, one would need far greater and more regular quantity of it or an evac is warranted.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Warin » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 1:52 pm

OK..
Toilet paper 250g *3 ? .. umm 6*11 = 66 grams .. take 1 roll?

ID .. you don't need the blood/student. Just the drivers licence. If you want stick the blood type on the back of your drivers licence.
Have a photo of these things on your phone.

Note paper .. a fair portion of this are the cardboard front and backs .. they do protect it and make it easier to write. But just use some A4 paper and your phone or some other flat surface and your done.

Change ... I'd take some folding cash ... but no coins at all. There should be a charity box for coins somewhat near the start of the overland to remove this excess weight! 20g ...

Sewing repair .. 1 button, some thread and a needle .. 30g?
Repair cord ... sliver kernmantle .. 72 g .. umm I don't think you need 72g? Or do you mean repel rather than repair?

7 pairs of socks? Might be a bit too many?
And 3 pairs of underwear. Humm. Wear one, wash the other and a spare?

I'd like to be able to use my hiking poles as a tripod .. only needs another leg with the fittings.. an idea for someone? Hiking poles upside down and use the basket threads as fittings for the tripod fixture. The hiking poles are adjustable for length so the added pole only needs to be a fixed length .. getting off subject.

There you go .. some more thoughts.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby jdeks » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 4:59 pm

rainboxred -

I hike with a DLSR regularly in winter/deep snow conditons.

I reckon you're overweight by 10kg, easy, on baseweight alone. The stuff I'd remove weighs as much as my snow baseweight alone.

My advice:

Long term - ditch the sleeping bag and liner, go quilt. You'll save easily 3-400g of weight and be arguably warmer with less condensation issues sogging your down over the trip. And get a lighter pack

Phot gear - is this a for a specific shoot? If not, whats the actual NEED for 3 sets of lenses and a full-size tripod, for the full 11 days? What ranges are you actually planning on carrying?

My own experiences in this have been that when shooting on my own schedule, I get FAR better outcomes going light, staying more mobile and getting good angles, instead of being yet another person who lugs a studio up a hill to take the same picture of the same sunset from the same point as everyone else.

You have to actually get there first - I'll refer you back to your own example regarding of being unable to climb Cradle last time to evidence that. Hauling a heavy pack for big, uphill miles is going to make you less inclined to do the extra legwork for an original, well composed shot, at which point all the extra options afforded by the extra glass become irrelevant.

I carry 2 lenses tops (usually just a fast 50 equiv) and maaaaybe one of those gorrillapods if I expect low light stuff. Ex-stock photographer for what it's worth, so I'm not exactly out there taking selfies, either.

And I dont carry them in big, bulky, bespoke foam boxes with "Canon" stickers on em either - get some neoprene sleeves (aka stubby coolers), stick in glad-bags and warp your spare sock and towels round em. Use what you have clothes you have as padding rather than carrying more.

Remember - it's the photographer that makes the photo, not the gear.



Other stuff - LOTS of superfluous gear there. Like, kilos and kilos.

I'll echo everyone else's criticism of your man-portable battery shop. I'd bet my merino hat the solar panel won't pay for its weight. Ditch the extra powerbank, fix your phone battery and go to sleep instead of using it for nighttime 'entertainment'. Bring pre-charged camera batteries (more weight and charge efficient by a big margin). Turn your DSLR LCD to min brightness, manual focus where possible (these make a whopping difference, believe me) and be frugal with your shutter.

Lots of double ups on clothes. One to wear, one spare to wash and/or air is plenty. Having 4 different layers wont make you any warmer, arguably colder. Merino, down, WPB shell - done. If you're still cold, use a thicker down layer. Multiple of consecutive thermals just hinders moisture wicking .

You have half a kilo of drybags. That's insane. This is a hike, not a scuba drive. Use bigger ones to hold multiple things. Or just get a pack shell. Wait, you already have that there too??

Daypack - a backpack inside a backpack is just an admission you bought too much stuff in the first place. You can get some nifty silnylon UL mini-backpacks that are sub 100g which might be usefull for a summit run, but otherwise thats ~half a kilo of dead weight you have there.

Do you need the crampons and and ice axe? For how many climbs? This isn't exactly alpine work. I'm forever seeing people with both, knowing how to use neither, and ultimately using them as expensive and heavy walking sticks. This isn't exactly mountaineering, unless you're doing Geryon (in which case it's not enough). But otherwise, I would think micro spikes is plenty, especially if you have walking poles, and on that note...

Personally I'd ditch the walking poles, unless you want to use them as a mono-pod for the camera ( in which case I'd definitely ditch the tripod).

By my tally, there's 8kg there, easy. Over 11 days? Yeah...you'll feel that.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby farefam » Tue 03 Jul, 2018 7:37 pm

I agree with SBS about batteries. I find 6 DSLR batteries last me about 2.5 weeks (including shooting some video). I'm fairly profligate with the shutter button, so if I could learn to control myself I'd probably double that time. Original batteries are rather expensive but you can get generic copies from BetterBatt that in my experience last just as long as the originals, at a much more reasonable price. So I'd ditch the powerbank, but I'd never ever leave my tripod behind!

I never use more than 2 lenses and even then, I usually find that I only rarely use the 2nd lens (telephoto) on most trips.

I've done several winter trips in the snow in my normal woolens and thermals and overpants/jacket but I would probably prefer these days to also have a down vest or jacket for dawn/nightime. A beanie and gloves are also essential if I want to stay comfortably warm.

The two things I wouldn't skimp on are food and cooking fuel.

Personally I don't think you need crampons or an ice axe.

I don't carry a day pack anymore. I just leave my gear in the tent and use my main backpack instead when I'm doing side trips. Otherwise you could just carry a couple of large garbage bags and leave your gear behind in them while you're off daytripping.

Within reason, the less weight on your back the better.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 03 Jul, 2018 9:51 pm

Doing some spec check on the power side...

1x 18650 (NCR18650B) with 3400mAH capacity - around A$8.50 / 45g
1x Miller ML102 charger/USB power unit - Around A$7 / 32g

iPhone X's internal battery - 2716mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 internal battery - 3000mAh
Nikon EN-EL15a battery (for dSLR) - 1900mAh / 88g
Sony NP-FW50 battery (for A7 series) - 1020mAh / 42g

Effectively, each 18650 will fully recharge a top end smartphone or a dSLR battery with spare, along with major financial and weight savings. The only hassle is to wake up in the middle of the night to sequentially charge the various devices/battery unless one has multiple ML-102 units.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Huntsman247 » Tue 03 Jul, 2018 10:59 pm

Tortoise wrote:3. Not recommended for everyone - chat to GP to make sure there's no significant risk for you - but I use anti-diarrhoeals to reduce the number of times I need to go on multi-day walks, especially in sensitive areas. They slow gastric motility from whatever your baseline is. I might only need to dig 2 or 3 holes in a week


That can't be good for you. Wouldn't that be super uncomfortable? Some things in life you just shouldn't hang on to... [WINKING FACE]
I'd be opting to lighten the pack a solid half kg each day. Lol. Just make sure you bury it well.

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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Warin » Wed 04 Jul, 2018 7:56 am

Huntsman247 wrote:
Tortoise wrote:3. Not recommended for everyone - chat to GP to make sure there's no significant risk for you - but I use anti-diarrhoeals to reduce the number of times I need to go on multi-day walks, especially in sensitive areas. They slow gastric motility from whatever your baseline is. I might only need to dig 2 or 3 holes in a week


That can't be good for you.


If your considering this.. see your GP before you do. It would not be good for me. A fellow I know suffers from doing similar .. and it is quite some years later.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby north-north-west » Wed 04 Jul, 2018 9:42 am

Gee, you're carrying a lot of clothes.

Even for a ten day trip in winter, apart from waterproofs and what I'm wearing, there's just spare jocks, one pair possum wool socks, one pair down booties, one pair possum wool gloves, one set of thermals and a down jacket which doubles as my pillow.
One pair of walking socks will do a trip like this. They will spend most of their time wet and grotty, but that's going to happen even if you take clean socks for every day. It's one fo the things you just have to put up with when walking down here. And I find my Darn Tough socks are still comfortable after that ten days of water, mud and snow.

Agree with what's been said about the batteries.
I'm not going too knock your lens selection. Sometimes there's nothing so frustrating as not having the best lens for a particular shot.

And all those drybags? One big bag will still keep everything dry and weigh a lot less. And if things are in bags, all the pack cover does is keep the outside of the pack dry.

Get microspikes and leave the crampons behind - they're overkill for the OT. The ice axe is also probably overkill. Whether snowshoes will be necessary - or even useful - is a bit of a toss-up.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby Warin » Sat 07 Jul, 2018 7:58 pm

GPSGuided wrote: The only hassle is to wake up in the middle of the night to sequentially charge the various devices/battery unless one has multiple ML-102 units.


Consider that each device will not need recharging each night.. so you should be able to charge one each night.

I'd have the phone switched off most of the time.. so that could last most of the trip. Certainly I'd put it in aeroplane mode! You not going to be taking urgent calls out there? What are you going to do about something urgent? Call in a chopper and fly out?

I'd recharge the camera battery any chance - even if it is not flat .. keep it topped up when nothing else needs a charge.
So night 1 - recharge camera. Then just follow what needs charging .. don't let a nights charging go to waste otherwise you'll be wanting to charge 2 things at once the next night.

If something does run flat during the day then give it a partial recharge so you can get the shot. No need to fully recharge it, put enough in it for it to function then recharge it fully later that night.

If you work it right you come out with all batteries flat and all shots taken.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby ChrisJHC » Sun 08 Jul, 2018 7:01 pm

The study below shows that, for longer trips, alcohol stoves (and fuel) weigh less than gas stoves:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.co ... as_14.html
Note that this is particularly true if you use a DIY soft drink can stove made from a Diet Coke can rather than regular!

It also agrees that taking one larger gas canister is better than two small ones. If you're really counting grams, you can burn off any excess gas in the larger canister so that you're only carrying what you actually need.

Re using "stoppers" to reduce your toilet requirements while hiking, there was a theory going around a while back that Army ration packs were deliberately designed to achieve mild consitpation. I have no knowledge whether there's any truth in that rumour, but a quick Google search appears to back it up.
Dehydration may have caused the same effect.

Re using a camera mount on hiking poles, I have tried this but found it difficult to get the right positioning for my older (and probably heavier) SLR. I would suspect that this option doesn't give enough precision for someone who appears to be very serious about their photography.

Totally agree with other comments re the amounts of clothing and packing material being carried!
Note that I do carry sandals with me for around camp and as an emergency pair of shoes should my boots fail. These are an indulgence and one of the first things I leave behind if I need to drop weight.
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Re: Critique My Gear - Winter Photography

Postby jdeks » Sun 08 Jul, 2018 9:01 pm

ChrisJHC wrote:The study below shows that, for longer trips, alcohol stoves (and fuel) weigh less than gas stoves:
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.co ... as_14.html
Note that this is particularly true if you use a DIY soft drink can stove made from a Diet Coke can rather than regular!


I use one of these coke can alco stoves myself, with a Sidewinder TriTri ducting/sheilding system. Even with those, they really drop in efficiency at altitude in snow. I mean, everything does, but the alco stoves can be quite hard to get the self sustaining vapor boiloff, and its still fundamentally not the same BTU output/density as a propane popcan.

Considering the OP wants to do this in winter that may be a factor to consider.


ChrisJHC wrote:Re using "stoppers" to reduce your toilet requirements while hiking, there was a theory going around a while back that Army ration packs were deliberately designed to achieve mild consitpation. I have no knowledge whether there's any truth in that rumour, but a quick Google search appears to back it up.
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Having also lived for.extended periods on those, can confirm. Its a deliberate compromise, and we were even breifed by the med officers on it. Can also confirm if you do it regularly/for long enough, it has some rather uncomfortable medium-term effects.

Without going too far off topic - unless you have blokes with guns using your poo to find you, I really don't see the payoff being worth the cost. If anything, wouldn't you rather lose that extra weight?
jdeks
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