Saturday, January 14, 2012

New kayaking gear

I've reached a point in my paddling, and particularly in my readiness for WaterTribe's annual Everglades Challenge, that I don't actually need any new gear. Which is a pretty sad state of affairs.

But every now and then, someone releases a new piece of equipment that can make camping life just that wee bit easier, especially when it's 0200 hours, you've been paddling non-stop for 19 hours--probably against tides and with a head wind--and all you want to do is scoff something down, put up your tent and jump straight into your pit--even if only for a couple of hours.

With my tender hips, I've long given up the thinnish Thermarests that can conveniently be blown up by mouth (in an EC there's no time to let your mats self inflate). For the past five year's kayak camping--and past five ECs--I've been a die-hard Exped down mat user, which because of its internal down, can't be inflated by mouth. I have one of the older Exped 7s, where the mat's bag is also its bellows. It can take about five or so minutes to inflate the mat, considering I'm cramped into a small one-person tent, and the bellow's adapter sometimes slips off the mat's nozzle.

Thus I recently discovered Camp-Tek's Microburst. My Microburst arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, and I've been playing with it ever since. Upon opening, the Microburst is beautifully packaged (see photo below), and comes with real English instructions. It also has an adapter for the Stephenson Warmlite (which is the smaller piece of equipment in the photo below). The Microburst comes with its own wee ripstop nylon bag (with drawcord), which keeps the inflater flap from opening by mistake (though it's recommended you store the machine without its batteries, and with the flexible inflater protruding).

Microburst takes two AAA batteries and weighs 65.2gms (2.3ozs, including batteries). For longer camping trips, Camp-Tek recommends using lithium batteries, and with that you should get about 25 inflations. All the technology behind the wee engine's rotors and engine can be read on Camp-Tek's website.

Cutting to the chase, this beauty filled my Exped 7 in about 90 seconds.

You may have to be a bit careful if you're stealth camping, as it is an engine. But it's not overly noisy; and heck, it only runs for the few seconds it takes to get the inflater onto your nozzle, and then the two minutes or less to inflate your mat.

Highly recommended!


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james Byrne said...

Thanks for posting this up. Very nice information shared.
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