The journey continues to take it's toll on my kayak and camping gear. I thought I would just write a brief note highlighting some of the gear that continues to work as advertised, and some that is a bit disappointing. I continue to be amazed at the performance of my SPOT device. It has now been attached to my Peak UK PFD for over 4000 paddling miles and I believe I have gone through only 2 if not 3 sets of batteries. It is continually exposed to the sea salt water, the sand, and all the other daily elements that I encountered. In the end, the only thing it continues to do is just work. It is in my mind how gear perform when advertised as an 'Outdoor' product. I have not had the opportunity to use the new SPOT device, so this comment only applies to the first generation device.
My MSR Reactor stove is an amazing stove. It is never bothered by rain, sand, or wind and continues to boil my water and cook my meals in a very short time. I have only encountered one issue and that was with my first pot, where at the beginning of this trip I melted a hole in the bottom of it. I believe this was done by having sand build up in the bottom and then some how super-conducting the heat. I will keep an eye on the second pot to see if there is really an issue here.
My Bibler Bivy has become my primary shelter. I love the Tripod Bivy but must admit to some disappointments. First, the Todd-Tex, single wall works absolutely as advertised. It has carried me through some torrential storms and I have crawled out of it bone dry. The disappointment comes from the lamination on the bottom of the bivy which completely deteriorated in the first month of use. I am sure that this was caused by abrasive sand between my NEO Air pad and the bivy, but still, I feel it should not have deteriorated in such a manner. I do now have a set of stuck poles, but my experience is this is from the salt and no fault of Bibler's. Lastly, some of the tape sealing came off very early, once again, something a $300 product should not do. In the end, it is still an amazing product and something I would purchase again even with these limitation.
I have to give a big prop to Brunton who replaced my Brunton Storm Lighter without charge. Over a year of use had some how worn down the ignition system and it would no longer reliably light. Having had to use matches for a month while awaiting the replacement I can say that a lighter, especially a storm proof one, is a mandatory piece of gear. A really big thanks to Brunton for helping me out.
Lastly, my Watershed bag continues to keep my cameras safe and dry. These bags, with their unique closure, really are awesome. I have had my cockpit flooded many times as I botched beach landings and the bags have performed flawlessly. I look forward to trying some of their other bags in the not too distant future.
I have some other gear to write about, including my new Sea to Summit waterproof map case (Is it really waterproof?), my Nokia N900 v. the Iphone, the Timex WS4, my Immersion Research spray skirt, and my continued power woes. If there are pieces of gear I am using that you wish to know more details about, please drop a comment to this post and I will give you my feedback.