September 28, 2010

Platypus CleanStream Gravity Filter

Platypus CleanStream Gravity Filter

Here’s my review of Platypus’ Cleanstream Gravity Filter: as soon as I see the word “backflush” appear in the instruction manual, I’m out. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely fair. But memories of MSR’s Hyperflow Microfilter, with its mandatory but inscrutable backflushing requirement, still haunt me. Yes, the Platypus Cleanstream does require (or at least strongly advise) backflushing before each and every use (more…)

Posted in Gear | 5 Comments

September 27, 2010


Or was it even hotter? The LA Times reports the official thermometer downtown reached 113° F today, the highest temperature ever recorded (going back to 1877) — and then the thermometer stopped working. Have mercy!

Posted in Current Conditions | 0 Comments

September 25, 2010

Beyond Survival

I have to say Les Stroud has acquitted himself nicely. When I first saw his show Survivorman, he was wandering the canyons of Southern Utah, cold, hungry, and miserable, complaining about everything every step of the way until he announced, abruptly, that he’d had enough and was going home. Compared to That Other Survival Guy, and his show, Les seemed hopelessly lacking (more…)

Posted in Film & Television | 1 Comment

September 23, 2010

Deuter ACT Trail 24

Deuter ACT Trail 24

Think of Deuter’s ACT 24 Trail as a well-executed example of traditional backpack design. You don’t get anything anything particularly cutting-edge here, but what you do get is functional and well-built. The 24-liter ACT Trail sits right in the middle of the day pack spectrum, both in terms of volume and also weight. The ACT makes good use of its weight, however, in the form of a comfortable suspension (more…)

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September 9, 2010

Nemo Losi

Nemo Losi

Nemo’s Losi 2P makes a big impression right out of the box: with a packaged weight of five pounds, fifteen ounces, this isn’t the tent I would normally carry for solo use. The Losi fits into the category of “larger” 2-man tents. If you’re traveling with a partner and you don’t want to rub shoulders all night, the Losi was built with you (and your comfort) in mind (more…)

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment

September 6, 2010

Half Dome Cables & Crowds

Half Dome Cables & Crowds

Bill Henry and I made a go of Half Dome’s infamous cables route on a very crowded August day. This marked the last year of the no-quota era. Rangers have subsequently instituted a permit system for all hikers above Sub Dome to prevent exactly this kind of traffic jam. Still, the weather was perfect, no fights broke out, and this video includes I believe the only footage I’ve got of a girl in a bikini. So all in all—a great day! (more…)

Posted in Video | 0 Comments

September 4, 2010

Half Dome via the Cables

Half Dome via the Cables

It is perhaps the most famous hike in the United States. Every Summer, thousands attempt the 16 mile round trip from Yosemite Valley’s floor to Half Dome’s 8836-foot summit. Along they way they will travel through some of Yosemite’s most inspiring terrain, passing not one but two major waterfalls and countless jaw-dropping vistas. But the route’s main attraction is its finale (more…)

Posted in Hiking | 8 Comments