Thursday, February 25, 2010

Warm, but not very durable

I first heard of Possumdown when reading about the often mentioned Possumdown gloves + MLD event rain mitts combo. It's been recommended by many hikers, including Andrew Skurka, and claimed to be good for four season use. That made me curious so I of course had to try them out.

I haven't had the chance to try the MLD rain mitts, but the Possumdown gloves have been used during the winter, mostly as an everyday glove to and from work etc. The short story is that I find them warm, but with some serious durability issues when worn alone. I've been forced to repair some of the fingertips with some zig zags, and that has been sufficient, but new ones keep appearing. So, not something you would want to choose for a long thru-hike.

On the positive side - these are warm, light and comfortable gloves! They're quite affordable too. I got my pair via ebay for 22.95 dollars including shipping to Norway, and I didn't have to pay customs either since the amount was below 35 dollars.

Possumdown is actually a blend of NZ possum fur and merino wool. The thing is that the Possum was brought to New Zealand by settlers for economic reasons - they wanted to start a fur industry. Unfortunately they multiplied at such a rate things got out of hand and the trees and wildlife started to suffer. Nowadays they're seen as a national pest. I remember reading on the label that I was helping to preserve the NZ wildlife by buying the gloves. I've got mixed emotions about that since I care a lot about animals - I know it's probably wise to try to reduce its numbers, but it is sad to see animals hunted solely for their fur, and by sometimes cruel means (traps etc.).

Well, back to the review. Merino wool is well known for its ability to be warm even when wet, and for resisting bacterial growth. Possum fur is even warmer since the fibres are hollow and retain more warmth. The gloves I've got has 10% nylon as well. I remember being a bit surprised that they weren't 100% possum fur, but when you study the gloves closely you'll see that the possum fur is very fluffy while being a bit stiff. I don't think it would work well, something they probably quickly found out and created the blend "Possumdown". Below is a closeup picture of possumdown that I found at

So, to conclude this short review of the Possumdown gloves:

- warm
- comfortable
- relatively affordable

- a bit short on the wrist (the model I bought)
- poor durability / abrasion resistance

Wish I had more time to write a more comprehensive review, but there you have it.

Take care.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And the stuff sack goes to

#8 "HappyCamperWV".

Congrats! Shoot me an e-mail ( with your address and I'll ship it to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DIY micro tarp

Found a link to a cool DIY micro tarp project this morning on This kind of tarp is meant to be used in combination with a waterproof-breathable bivy and is a barebones solution for the hardcore SUL enthusiast. I think it would be nice to have in a day pack too, to give shelter while eating or taking a short nap out of the baking sun or chilling wind. Be sure to check you rest the rest of the DIY section on that site.

If you don't want to one yourself, then you might want to take a look at one offered by

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making stuffsacks - want one?

I've been making some stuffsacks lately for my brother and myself, and for one of you readers :). If you want the spinnaker stuff sack pictured below, then just leave a comment saying what you'll put in it if you win it. I'll draw a winner with in about a week.

The spinnaker stuff sack pictured is the last one I made. It is 16 by 8 inches, weighing in at a respectable 11 grams, or 0.39 ounces. It's not a perfect piece as I'm still stuggling a bit to sew straight on the slippery spinnaker, but quite servicable - just don't expect MLD quality and a warranty to boot :). I followed the instructions at, deviating slightly by not making a 1/4 inch hem before folding over and making the channel. Frankly I didn't see the point in stiching that. I also made the channel wider to make it easier to use the drawstring for opening and closing. The first one I made had a narrower channel which when tightening the drawstring would provide to much friction.

Here are some pictures from the construction.


Take care!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Warbonnet Blackbird on the way

(photo by Warbonnet Outdoors)

I ordered a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock today from Brandon at Warbonnet Outdoors. Brandon is a one man operation well known for producing excellent hammocks, being a long time hammock user himself. He also sells tarps, underquilts and more.

I think the Blackbird will be a step up from the Hennesy Hammock Expedition that I already own, and which I'll give to my brother to be his first hammock.

Main differences as I perceive them:

1) more user friendly suspension using webbing with a buckle and carabiner. No more knots and no more finding trees that are narrow enough for the tree huggers to fit right. Take a look at this video where Brian demonstrates how to set up the Blackbird:

2) more aggressive cut to produce a nice footbox

3) a shelf on one side to put various items needed during the night

4) side entry vs "womb entry" on the Hennesy Hammock. I kind of like the womb entry (somehow that didn't sound right), but I think I will like the side entry better, we'll see. Here's a youtube video where the designer of the Hennessy demonstrates the way the womb entry works:

5) double layer (option I chose) for strength and to make it easier to use a pad. I used my Exped Downmat 7 in the Hennessy last summer, but it wasn't ideal. This will be better for sure.

6) more comfortable to use as lounging chair, at least according to a youtube video I found. Personally I can't remember the HH being that uncomfortable.

Well, I'll report back when I get in a couple of weeks (it'll be moving along slowly via USPS First Class International).

Have a great evening.