Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Welcome to My New Blog!

It has been a few years since I took my old Urban Hippy blog offline because it just became too cumbersome to manage the security around running my own server and blog software.  I do that stuff in my day job and it was really sucking the fun out of maintaining my blog because I always had to worry about upgrades to patch security bugs, making sure my backups were running, and all that other stuff.  It just became too much like work.  I have a lot of great material from that other blog saved and I do intend to start rolling the best of it back out in this new incarnation.  Actually most of it is also stored in the Wayback Machine as you can see in the hotlink above.

I really enjoy writing about the things I enjoy doing in my spare time, like camping, cooking, preserving foods, and even a little bit of geekery, and I finally decided to move it all over to someone else's software - i.e. Google Blogger.  I'm already all-in with google, and I use blogger in my volunteer work as a Scout Leader and found it to have the vast majority of the features I need.  The only major feature lacking is the ability to back-date articles, which is what I would like to be able to do when feeding in material from my old blog.  Other than that I will be very well served on this platform.

Lighting a Coleman Stove

Here is a video of my son demonstrating how to light a Coleman stove.  It really does not make sense to try to explain it in words - just watch the video.  At the time this was shot about 4 and a half years ago, this was my first and only Coleman stove - acquired off kijiji for $50 and in mint condition in spite of its age of about 50 years.

Since then I've acquired 8 or 9 of them not one of which cost more the 50 Canuck bucks - most cost me 20 bucks.  I've started learning how to maintain and refurbish them, so stay tuned for more Coleman videos.

I got attracted to white gas stoves because of their robustness, and suitability even at colder temperatures.  Though this does come with a pricetag of requiring more maintenance.  There are a fair number of parts in one of these, and they have to be disassembled and cleaned every few years if you want to keep them running smoothly.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Temperature Data Loggers

Why a Temperature Logger?

Ever since my first winter camp when someone told me how much warmer it was inside a quinzhee, I wanted to have a way to measure that to quantify exactly what the difference would be.  I'd searched half-heartedly since then for a cost-effective solution, but it was not until just before our Scouts 2nd fall camp in November past that I really start searching in earnest.  And luckily I found the perfect item - the Elitech RC-5 USB Temperature Data Recorder.  These devices are used in the medical supply and pharmaceutical industry when drugs and other biological supplies are shipped and have to be maintained at a constant temperature otherwise they cannot be used.  One of the data loggers get packed into the box with the item being shipped, and then the data is read from the device at the other end to ensure the supplies were always kept within the required temperature range.

Aside from knowing the temperature differential inside a quinzhee or igloo, I also just find it generally useful to have a log of temperatures over the course of a camping trip or other outdoors outing.  I like to keep notes on my camping trips on what conditions were like, what gear I used, and how the gear performed.  A key part of knowing how well your gear performed is having accurate temperature data.  For example, it is useful to record in my notes "my brand X sleeping bag was a bit chilly overnight", but it is far more useful to know exactly what the temperature was.

Gear Testing a Eureka Amarok Winter Sleeping Bag

When you get a new piece of gear that you are going to rely on during a camping trip, you should always test it out at home in the back yard, or at a local park or a friend's place if you do not have a back yard.  This is especially crucial for something like a winter sleeping bag.

Believe me, I know, because I've been caught at winter camp in a sleeping bag rated to -30C but struggled to keep me warm at a mere -17C.  It was definitely a bad choice on my part to have gone to camp with an unknown bag, but my rational at the time was that the bag rating was considerably better than the lowest temperature we were going to see, and that even if the numbers were embellished they would not be embellished by that big of a margin.  Well, I was totally wrong on that one but lucky for me I ended up just having a very chilly night and not in great danger.

Welcome to My New Blog!