Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lost Maples Hike. Field Test: EmberLit UL Stove

November rolls around and here in south Texas we have a major changing of colors in a few parts of the hill country.  Lost Maples State Natural Area is home to a very uncommon growth of Uvalde Bigtooth Maple trees.  Late October through mid-November the foliage makes a spectacular change painting the valley with reds and oranges.  This was my second trip through the park with my oldest son, last year's trip being his first overnighter.  The weather was perfect...afternoon temps in the high 60's to low 70s and night time lows just below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  According to the park rangers we were about a week too late to catch the best of this year's change.  We still were blessed with some fantastic scenery and photo opportunities...

We set camp at the farthest point of the park's backcountry.  Nice and quiet and off the beaten path.  

After camp was set first order of business was getting my EmberLit UL stove fired up.  Here are the specs straight from the EmberLit website:

The Emberlit-UL (Ultralite) Stove. Weighing in at less than 6 oz (170 g) the Emberlit-UL stove caters to those who pay special attention to the weight of their gear. Made of pure titanium, the Emberlit-UL is just as strong and impervious to corrosion as its stainless steel brother but at half the weight. With use the individual panels that make up the Emberlit-UL may take on a slight warp. This is normal and doesn’t affect the assembly or durability of the stove. Likewise it comes with a lifetime guarantee… you’ll never wear this one out either. Despite the extra difficulty and expense of working with Titanium this stove is PROUDLY Made in the USA!

I ran this stove for well over 12 hours.  Assembly takes less then a minute.  It gets extremely hot extremely fast.  10 ounces of water boiled in about 4 minutes.  I was burning primarily cedar and some oak.  Being titanium it is not only light weight but after use it cooled down and was ready for disassembly in no time!  So if you were on the move and wanted to stop for a quick cup of coffee and needed to get back on the trail...this stove fits the bill.

Order one up and throw it in your pack, you'll be glad you did!

Want to roast some marshmallows?  The EmberLit has you covered!

Bacon?  Oh yeah...there's always room for bacon!

Another piece of gear I brought along was my recently purchased BCUSA 10x7 UL tarp in multi-cam. When packing up I realized in the supplied stuff sack the tarp fits perfect in my Mors style bush pot.  Here is the info from Bushcraft Outfitters:  Bushcraft Outfitters (BCUSA)

This rip-stop fabric is very lightweight with excellent tear strength and NanoSphere® liquid repellency.  The fabric has been processed to reduce air permeability, which creates excellent wind-break properties.  The NanoSphere® repellent finish is applied to the face side.  This product is typically used for outerwear and tents due to its strength, light weight and packability.
  • 40x40D Ripstop Nylon
  • NanoSphere® Treated
  • Tabs are mil-spec Coyote Brown
  • Thread is mil-spec Coyote Brown
  • Stuff sack included
  • Stuff sack cordage is 550 paracord with a USA made cord lock
  • Tabs: 12 perimeter and 1 additional ridge line (3 total with edge tabs)
  • Weight (includes stuff sack): 13.5 oz
All components of this tarp are 100% made in the USA.

Luckily we only had a few drops of rain all weekend but it was nice to have the tarp up just in case.  The wind was coming in pretty consistant from the East so it made a nice wind block as well.  The tarp is exceptionally well constructed and is a new permanent part of my gear.

For two and three day outings I would generally use my Frost River Isle Royale Jr.  With no water sources in this part of the back country we had to pack in all our water.  Therefore, I decided to use my CamelBak Mother-Lode with its 100oz bladder.  I forgot how comfortable this pack was.  I probably had room for another two days worth of food and water.   In a different environment where I could filter my daily water needs I could easily use this pack on a five to seven day trip.
Do more with less!

Fire prep for the weekend was a handled once again with my MP Forged Hatchet. 

The "Beaver" makes quick work of oak and cedar...from feather sticks to larger kindling.

Here is a shot of my oldest son and I with some great color in the background.  All in all it was a fantastic weekend.  The gear I brought along to test preformed flawlessly but more importantly some great memories were created for my son and I.

As always, thanks for coming along...your comments and questions are always welcome!  Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fire prep and little hot chocolate...

End of the week, time to make good on my promise to take my youngest son for a little dirt time.  It was off to our favorite spot for a little fire prep and something hot to drink.  Once we arrived at our "camp" my 4 year old went to work gathering twigs and I put my new Adventure Sworn Bushcraft USA knife to good use.  Any review you find on an Adventure Sworn knife will tell you these are serious tools.  And they are.  I couldn't be happier with feel and balance as I made quick work of some cedar into a pile of shavings.  

Mother nature provided some handy tinder.  I need to research and find out exactly what this plant is but the extremely dry, fluffy, feather-like ends remind me of thistledown.

A small handful should do the trick...

After the tinder and shavings I let my MP forged hatchet (which I have code-named The Beaver) handle the processing of some kindling.

A few minutes later...

This is the first time I've actually used this stainless steel cook pot made by Stanley.  It comes with a plastic tab on the lid which I replaced with a large split ring.  The single walled stainless preformed as advertised.  Once up to temperature and the water boiling the folding handle was barely warm.  For $14 at the local bog box store I think its a great piece to have in your kit.  It also come with two heavy duty plastic cups that nest inside.  Badger approved!

Waiting patiently....

Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set...$14
Packet of instant hot chocolate...$.99
Spending three hours in the woods with my son...priceless.

Thanks for joining us!