Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Walls are closing in

I have to get out of the house from time-to-time so I head up to Chick-Fil-A and work a little bit. I enjoy a cup of coffee for an hour or so and then get a sausage biscuit. I use thier WiFi, or if you want to spell it like the SiFi name, WyFy.

Why did the Science Fiction TV channel rename it to Syfy... it makes no sense. But Oh well, I still love those New "B" movies they are putting out..... back to my morning.

I am a people watcher so I like watching (no I am not a voyeur -I try to figure out there story.

For example, there is this older guy that is up here every day that I am (for me it is 3 times a week) and I have heard him say that he retired from ATT&T. He might even be a war hero so one of these days I will find an opening and talk with him over a cup of joe. He looks like an interesting feller. He might have a story or 40 to tell me.

back to work...


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crazy day with the book

I worked on the book a little this morning before my regular day started and have all the information ready to publish. The publisher will send me an actual book for me to preview and I will make any last minute changes and have it ready to go.

We are soooo close

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Be nice to your moms. Your mother is the only mother you will ever have. 

Harry potter

Had to pop in the DVD so we could watch it without the commercials.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Castle Rocks

A lot tv shows are just crap-ola now a days. Friday night use to be full of good programing but not anymore... nope.

So we go upstairs and watch some of the previous episodes of Castle. This is one great show. Rick and Becket have a chemistry like no other.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Working on my new book about backpacking

About to wrap up this project I have been working on for a while; my new book is almost ready to be released.

The whole self-publishing deal is awesome but a lot of work. I hope the book turns out to look as nice as I hope it will. I will make the official announcement later on this week.

-  Steve 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Staying Warm in the Hammock and while Backpacking

On a recent trip to Springer Mountain, Mike one of my backpacking buddies, stayed in the shelter the first night and he was upstairs. The cracks in the loft let the 15* wind blow though the shelter like a wind turbine. He might as well have been sleeping outside. But another buddy of ours, Josh, and I were toasty in our hammocks and we didn't even have an under-quilt. I just pulled my rain fly down as close to the ground as I could to block the wind and closed the "doors" on the fly..... shown below here:

I did have a pad in my hammock so that helped. You can either use some sort of pad inside your hammock or an under-quilt. The thing with the pad is it takes away some of the comfort of being in the hammock. This is why we sleep in the hammock -comfort and warmth.
The way to keep warm, when sleeping in a hammock or even when you are sleeping on the Forest's floor in a tent, is insulation.

There are 4 ways to loos body heat when camping:

Websters defines convection as the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.

So when your warm face is exposed to the cold wind on the top of the mountain, the speed of that wind is what counts. If the if the wind is only blowing at a couple of MPH it may not cool your face very much at all. However if you are in a frigid wind storm at 50 or 60 miles an hour, you may actually get frostbite on your nose or cheeks. The blood in your body also transfers heat by convection. your body will protect its core body temperature by blood away from the extremities (arms, legs, feet and hands). This is why our feet and hands get cold quicker. Which is why I have always have kept warm with my raincoat on. though back then, I didn't really understand why. The raincoat acted as a wind barrier to prevent the cold wind from cooling down the air that is trapped underneath the raincoat.

Websters defines conduction as "the transfer of heat between two parts of a stationary system, caused by a temperature difference between the parts".

Basically conduction is the transfer of heat from one object to another object that is cooler while they are touching. Which is what happens in a hammock. Think about the hot summer days back when you would lay down in the shade of an oak tree or in the shade of a barn or other structure. It wasn't the shade that cooled you off, it was the ground. Your body is upwards in the 90* area if not hotter when you are working in the hot sun and the ground is so much cooler so when you lay down The heat transfers from your body to the ground by way of Conduction.

So when you are in a hammock, you need to keep the hammock (because you are in direct contact with the hammock) warmer than the outside air. We accomplish with a pad inside the hammock or an under-quilt. The under-quilt, because it is insulated, traps your body's heat and helps you to stay warm. If you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, even a 0* bag, the part of the bag under your body does nothing to keep warm because it is compressed and it looses its insulation factor.


Websters defines evaporation as the act or process of evaporating. radiation as the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves.

Where this comes in while you are camping is when you are hiking or working in the hot sun, you can cool yourself off by getting your clothes wet. Like on the hot summer days when you are working in the yard, if you take some water and soak your hat or your shirt, you cool off. Especially if there is a light breeze. The process of the water evaporating cools off the surface from which is evaporating from. You can take a room temperature can of coke and wrap it in a wet bandana or tee shirt and it will cool off enough to enjoy. -I learned that one in the scouts.

When you are out there in the cold weather, this can still happen which is why we use layers when we are backpacking. When you start off on the trip you need to be almost freezing. you need to be shaking almost to the point of an uncontrollable shake.

Now you can start hiking. As you hike, you start to heat up and if you start out with too many layers on, you build up too much heat and start to sweat. In the col air, sweat is bad. You control your body's core temperature with the layers. If you get too cold, add a layer. An easy way I personally control by body temperature is with a simple wool cap or a bandana when I am hiking -depending on the season.


Websters defines radiation as the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves.
As we receive radiated heat from sun rays, our body also radiates heat. My wife loves me all the time, but she REALLY loves me in the winter time. I am like the human furnace.

To prevent loosing heat via radiation, keep your skin covered as much as possible. So in the cold months,when you are hiking, start out with short sleeves and short pants even. When you start generating heat because you are walking up the mountain with 30+pounds on your back, your skin will radiate heat off of your body. This will and keep you from over heating If you have too many layers on, you will start to sweat.

Think about the car's radiator. It does the same thing. the hot water in the engine block (blood in your body) passes through the radiator, (your blood passes along your extremities like your arms and legs) and the radiator lets the heat evaporate off of the engine keeping it working at a tolerable temperature.

Your body does just that. Your body radiates heat off your skin keeping your core working at a tolerable temperature. So when you are sleeping, you need to trap that heat radiating from your body. In a hammock, we use under-quilts. Under-quilts are made from several types of materials. But the basic premise is something that you can hang under your hammock to trap the heat.

 Some use an additional sleeping bag:

 -some,m, like me, use Insultex. I made my UQ from the specs found on Just Jeff's page:

And some use a couple of sheets or ripstop nylon with pockets of down sewn into it.

It is very important to stay warm in the cold months when camping so do what you need to do to stay warm.
And as always Plan right and pack light. .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to Generate an Effective Gear Checklist

If you you travel on a regular basis, You might  have your own way of putting a list together to ensure you have everything they need for the trip. Be it a business trip, camping trip or for pleasure. If you do have a list, the list may be  in your head or on paper. You probably have this list because you have learned from past experiences that if you don’t make a list you forget something. On the trips when you forgot something, you might have even updated the list as soon as you realized you forgot that something, or when you returned home. But it is a safe bet that your list changes each time you plan a trip.

This is an important part of the weight cutting process that backpackers go through often when planning for a trip. One of the problems I see when I talk to other backpackers is they don’t have any idea how much the individual items weigh or even the grand total of the pack. if you do not know the weight of each item or the weight of the pack as a whole, keep reading as we might just have the answer. I may not know the specific weight of each item off the top of My head, but I do have a list that has the answer.

When you are designing a comprehensive gear list you need to sit down and figure out what is going into your pack. As you all should know by now, we  focus on making our packs light but functional. There are people that take all kinds of different approaches to getting together pack lists. Some people prefer comforts from home and don’t worry too much about pack weight. Some are more extreme and will not take anything with a tag on it to cut weight. This is my approach. I have turned into what we call a “Gram Weenie” I have cut off the tags from my ENO hammock and bug net and even cut lengths of chord from my stuff sacks. All of this to cut weight from my pack. Trimming the fat so to speak.

In order to really figure out what works for you, you must test and try out different pack combinations until you find the one that really shouts out “Eureka... I am as light as I can get!”. If your pack is not changing with each trip, then you might not be trying hard enough to optimize your setup.

Finding that fine line between what you “want” and what you “need” is what optimizing your pack is all about. It’s a fine line, but if you work hard enough and look close enough, you will see it.
Having someone with the same values on pack efficiency and the same idea on having a light pack, will come in handy during the preparation phase. You can work with a buddy and critique each others pack to offer a second set of eyes.

I have come up with a pack list that would be a good starting point for a less experienced hiker. There are ways that you can use Microsoft Excel to generate equations in the cells to convert grams, to ounces and then into pounds.  When you do that you can see where your weight is mostly coming from and it allows you to see where you can cut weight with new gear. As you can see in the spreadsheet below you can list each item and a short description. weigh your gear in grams and then enter that information in the “Weight in GRAMS” column. the spreadsheet will keep a running total of ounces and pounds for each item and a grand total at the bottom of each section.

My advise to you is to use my list as a guide (if you want to) and then add and cut out of it what you would like in order to find your perfect pack. If you send me an e-mail, I will personally send you the spreadsheet with the equations already in it so you can use it to weigh your items and cut your weight.