Just back from a four-day Easter paddling trip with Floatsome (David). What a marvellous time we had! Trip report and map to follow....
As always, a few new pieces of gear really stood out on the trip:
CGear Sand-Free MultiMat: I cannot rave enough about these mats! On test here is the "small" mat, weighing in at 1.45kg (3.15lbs), and sized at 182.88cm x 182.88cm (6ft x 6ft), which should fit at least three to four adults.
To keep it secure, the sand mat has three securely sewn external D-rings each side, which aren't really necessary if the wind isn't blowing. Be warned that the D-rings don't fit the regular sand stakes I and others normally use for staking a tent on sand (the SMC Sno-Tent Stake)--instead I used my regular "land" stakes, which worked just fine.
As you can see from the image above, to lay the mat outside the entry to your tent, means no sand inside the tent or anywhere else on you. The technology's fantastic--sand and dirt falls straight through the mat, and doesn't come back up. I left the mat out overnight, and once the sun's on it, it dried fairly quickly from the night's dew or rain.
The MulitMat's fabric is very tough and thus a bit stiff. Since my hatch covers are only 20.32cm (8in) wide, David stored the mat in his Mirage's gaping rear hatch. I'm going to try out the small MultiRug next, to check its packability and pliability.
I wouldn't use the mat on an adventure race--a tad too heavy and bulky; but for weekend trips or expeditions where comfort's more the rule than weight is, the MultiMat's an essential piece of equipment to pack--for sand, dirt, grass or anywhere.
And what a great colour for a possible rescue!
NB: CGear very kindly sent me a MultiMat to test out--thanks, Ben!
High UV Protection Buff: I now go to great lengths to keep any sun off my face. In March's Everglades Challenge I wore a Kokatat Destination Baja sun hat.
While it did did the trick, it was a pain in the proverbial to un-velcro to talk or imbibe and then re-velcro--using two hands--every time. With the Buff you can just pull it down with one hand and reposition the same. The Buff's Coolmax gives you coolness and 95% UV protection. Love it!
Timolino Tabletop Mug: Currently on sale at Campmor! Everyone's got their favourite double-wall stainless steel insulated camping mug; this is now mine. And it has a very secure lid. Love not having my bottom lip burned when sipping hot tea. Also takes oatmeal, a very good NZ sauvignon and a few sips of cognac...