Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gear Modifications

For a long time I've been searching thrift stores, looking for the perfect wind vest, something I can wear when it is cold outside, but not so cold that I need a full on wind shirt or jacket. I could have purchased something from a bike store or other specialized place but it grates on my nerves to spend $50 or more for a bit of nylon and a couple of zippers. I hadn't yet found anything to fit the bill so instead I started looking around for a wind shirt I could modify to meet my needs. 

Enter the latest attempt to solve this puzzle.
As found - 7.8 ounces

An Old Navy jacket with lots of bells and whistles. An inner liner, heavy metal zippers and two pockets. After cutting out the liner and sleeves I was able to drop off 3.7 ounces. This is keeping the metal zippers and pockets. If I were to change out the front zipper and eliminate the pockets, how low could it go? I'd say at least another ounce or two.  Is it worth it? We will see. Stay tuned.

Initial modification - 4.1 ounces

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hat or Visor?

I am a confirmed visor wearer. Year round I can be seen with one of my many visors clamped onto my head, shading my eyes from sun or in other circumstances, keeping rain off my glasses. They are lightweight, can be colorful and usually stay on my head fairly easily. Two years ago in a big wind on the PCT in the Southern California deserts I did almost lose my favorite but I was saved by my hiking partner who picked it up before it flew off to Mexico.

The only downside of visors in my mind is that they don't cover my ears. Most of the time this is fine but in hot sun it can be a difficult problem. I've used my 104 (what Girl Scouts call bandanas's) as a drape to cover my ears and neck but this makes the top of my head hot. So a couple of days ago I was looking at a hat I bought years back and I realized I could cut off the top and have ear and neck coverage and still be able to vent the heat off the top of my noggin. The result is fantastic and I now have a new hat for this years trek. The only downside I can think of is that is weighs 2.1 ounces and my standard visor weighs 1.7 ounces. For the added usefulness I'm fine with that! Plus it has one of those dopey chin straps so it won't sail off to parts unknown in a big wind.