Thursday, 1 June 2017

Montane Deep Heat Sleeping Bag - Don't expect any help from Montane!!

For my winter trip I bought a Montane Deep Heat sleeping bag, really excited to get it however in use I found it too constrictive.  I am very broad and just couldn't move or properly get comfortable.

So I contacted Montane support and asked if they supplied and expanda similar to those offered by other manufacturers.  Simple reply was no.....

 Not to be put off I am used to "modifying" things so I sent a polite ask to them again explaining my problem and asking if they could supply me with some material, I could then match the zips and make my own..

The response I got was - we don't keep enough material to help you out..............   Needless to say I am not impressed.  I let them know and I am writing this as a heads up for anyone thinking of buying Montane products, don't expect anything in the way of support from them unless it's standard stuff. 

I don't believe for one minute they can't get hold of a piece of their material, I believe simply that they can't be bothered as a single customer is just not worth the effort and their customer support don't consider going a little out of their way as worth their time.

Contrast that with companies like "avenir" who sent me replacemnt parts twice free of charge after I lost them....  Or Specialized who paid for an entirely new wheelset after my hubs failed on one of their bikes after  a years use... those are companies who believe their reputation and customers are worth making an effort for.

Perhaps if I was doing a high profile expedition or a large customer I would have had a better response...

For the price of the Bag I expect more support from the company - I deal a lot with support contracts in my day job and one of the first things I state when negotiating or during support reviews is that I don't measure a company by them doing their job, my standard of excellence is when things go wrong how far they are prepared to go to put things right and demonstrate their commitment to "excellent customer support". 

I am not saying they are responsible for my wide shoulders or their bag was wrong, I am saying that stating their commitment to excellence should mean more than accurate manufacturing, it's being responsive to their customers regardless of the size of the order.

Well I have learned my lesson with them and this will be my first and last purchase.

I have purchased a "Snugpak" expander panel and if I can match the zips I will use that, not the perfect solution but better than Montane's "Nothing".

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Pro E Handlebar Bag + RAV Power + E-WERK ultimate touring power setup??

Short Review

I have had this bag for about 3 months now, it has been out in all weathers day and night and it doesn't show any sign of issues.


I already have the ortlieb 6 bag but bought this one so that I could simplify my bike setup.  I know store my Busch & Mueller e-werk in the bag connected to a massive 26000Mah battery that allows you to charge and discharge at the same time.

What this means is that in the last 3 months of using it I have been able to run

1. Bike Sat Nav (Garmin Edge Touring Plus), 
2.  Action camera (Garmin Virb XE)
3. Touring tablet (Android) 
4. Phone (samsung galaxy)
5. Front light (Trelok 950) USB rechargeable (low power is still bright gives 47hrs high power = 7hrs) - also precharged before I leave
6 Rear Light (USB)
7. My mate occasionally cadging a free charge

all kept fully charged.  

I charged the battery up once before when I fitted it to the bike and last I checked it was still showing a full charge thanks to being constantly charged whilst I am cycling.

I mentioned this on the forums and had some biteback about loss of effort due to storing in a battery etc.. then charging the onboard batteries of the devices.  However, I pointed out "this is a 26000Mah" battery pre charged so way more than I am losing with the setup.

For it's size it is very light, with a single power input and 3 x outputs all capable of 2.1a I don't need to worry about being caught short on power.

Keeping the battery and the E-werk in the bag means I don't get rusty connectors, the battery is protected from the elements along with the e-werk. 

I only have one cable going to the dynamo from the mount, no more running a cable to the front light (switched to usb charged) which I prefer and during a long tour far easier to get a replacement light I would imagine and less fettling trying to rewire one (imho)

If I need to charge the Sat Nav or camera during the day I connect a cable and run it into the bag simple!

All in all I can't imagine a better setup for myself - and for long tours it is excellent.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Light mount adapter for rear racks

While busily studying away for a security exam I came up with the following, it's a short post and I will do a longer one when I refine the idea.

I am doing away with my dynamo lights and going usb rechargeable letting the dynamo permanently charge a 26000Mah battery that charges the usb lights during the day.  The most frustrating part is finding the usb light I want that fits a rear rack mount so this afternoon I made this in my shed.  I am calling it version one as a proof of concept.  It works really well, costs basically nothing and I know I can make it smaller. 

What do you think and any ideas:

Parts, a piece of plastic water tubing, some reflective tape, two bolts and some spacers.   The only work was cut off the required length of pipe, drill four holes, 2 for the bolts smaller than the head size to larger holes directly opposite to allow for a screwdriver/allen key to tighten. 

Two bolts attach to the frame

A light I had lying around mounted securely

Rear Shot of the mount

Mounted Front View

Mounted top view showing spacers to allow
the rubber ring mount to pass through

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Lightweight Tarp

I have been thinking about summer camping and lightening the load for a while, I like a larger tent being such a small guy :-)  I have used tarps before but big ones designed for a few to sleep under so decided to give solo tarps a go.

I wanted something lightweight, easy to pitch, more importantly I wanted something that didn't need several trees to pitch up.  I looked for something that I could pitch with only one high level guide rope and then tent pegs.

Here's my first try, it's the Ulti mate Survival Technologies Base All Weather Tarp - Orange, 6 x 8 Footwith the optional bug protector.

One point pitching and a
single tent groundsheet.
Large area underneath for keeping kit dry

With the number of anchor points I can't imagine ever
struggling to find an apropriate pitch.

I spent a rainy night out in this and stayed dry, with a 3 season bag it was perfect.  I would say that under heavy winds and rain, I would need to pitch tighter to the ground to stop my sleeping bag getting wet.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Pen Y Pass - Crib Goch - Snowdon - Down the Watkins Path

I had my last operation to remove my Stent on Friday the 12th August, I rested on Saturday by visiting a friend in Leicester, we went for a walk along the Golden Mile then we went for a meal and did some shopping, we finished off with a trip round the temple.

It was great to be out and about and pain free!  I was feeling so good that on Sunday I decided to climb Crib Goch to see where my fitness was because Marc and I had talked about climbing Ben Nevis the following weekend.

Anyhow it went really well I did Pen Y Pass - Crib Goch - Snowdon - Down the Watkins Path.  I was very tired afterwards but it felt great to be on the mountains and I had a good gauge of what my residual fitness was like after my inactivity due to the Gall Bladder removal and the kidney stones debacle.

Here are some pics! 

the stile on the way up from pen y pass

The initial walk up the path from the car park left me soaking
with sweat from the exhuastion as I had only come out
of hospital on friday after 4 months on and off with kidney stones and
an operation that went wrong.   The lack of activity had
taken it's toll.

looking back on the scrabble up to crib goch

red faced from the effort at this point I was starting to feel a little

Crib Goch

If this little flower can survive up here, I am
sure I can walk for a day

The views the views the views!!

This little fella does this every day!

Along the ridge of crib goch

About half way across

A cairn marking the way for me

thats crib goch done now onto Snowdon

A sign for the summit

touch the summit of Snowdon

Make my way down the watkins path

A beautiful day and nice to see the stark contrast of the tree's berries
and lilac heather against the rocky backdrop

Across the bridge

I finished up at the car park at the foot of the Watkins Path and then it was a 6 mile walk back to Pen Y Pass.   I finished the day exhausted, very footstore but in great spirits.

I was fit enough to do Ben Nevis next weekend so I had 5 days to recover :-)