Backpacking, Gear, hiking, PCT, Reviews

The Tent

I didn’t make a video of the “unboxing” or setting up my new ZPacks Duplex tent, but here is the finished product:

ZPacks Duplex tent with vestibules not staked out.

Tent with vestibules staked out.

End of tent.

The tent wasn’t hard to set up when I followed the instructions on the ZPacks video and some other tips and tricks videos I found, although there is a learning curve. I wasn’t sure it looked right so I contacted ZPacks to find out if I was doing something wrong, and the representative seemed to think that the top was sagging too much and said that it should be taut, although when I tugged on it it seemed taut to me. I will set it up again this week and experiment. It could be that I set my trekking poles too high.

Here’s a video that shows how to set the tent up in good weather:

How to Setup a Backpacking Tent / How To Get The Perfect Pitch EVERY TIME for Zpacks Duplex Setup

And this one for setting up a Duplex in inclement weather:

Setting Up Your Tent in the Wind – Pitching the Duplex Tent in Bad Weather (Tenting in a Storm)

Tent with doors open.

Inside of tent.

I got into the tent and sat there for awhile to see how I liked it. The Duplex is a two-person tent, which I prefer for myself because I like to keep all my gear in the tent with me. If you keep things in the vestibules critters will come around at night and nibble your backpack or your shoelaces, and nobody wants that! It feels very roomy and there will be enough room for me to have myself and all my gear organized, although I’m sure it will still look like my backpack exploded. Marnie came over and saw the tent, and she thought it looked much larger than my Big Agnes tent. I don’t know if it’s that much larger, but my Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent has a larger end and a smaller end (head and foot ends), while the Duplex is the same size at both ends, so it does make it seem larger.

Door toggle.

Above you can see that the system for holding the doors back consists of just one toggle strap on each door. It seems to hold securely, but it is hard to maneuver from the inside of the tent. I plan to attach some magnets to hold the doors open, and perhaps some on the front of the doors to hold them closed, if I can figure out how to do it. The idea is to use Dyneema tape to attach the magnets to the tent and place them so the magnets hold through the tape and not through the tent itself, to avoid damage to the tent.

That’s all I have to say about the tent right now. I will update after I set it up a second time. For more info about the tent, see my other blog post here.

Just keep walking!

~Ninja

Books, Christian Life, God, Recommendations, Reviews

Book Recommendation — The Bethany Tales

I want to recommend The Bethany Tales, Four Intertwined Stories of Restoration and Hope, written by Bryan E. Canter.   The book looks at the lives of four people from the village of Bethany in the time of Jesus – Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Simon.

          “These four tales use the creative gift of imagination to explore what each of these men and women might have been thinking and feeling, while remaining true to the biblical accounts and consistent with life in first century Israel.”

I read the book around Eastertime, and found it hard to put down!  I received a much deeper insight of Jesus’ relationships with people and his last days here on earth in reading the book.  The author’s note at the beginning and the Bible passages behind the story at the end help with understanding the accounts even more.  The Bethany Tales would be a blessing to anyone who wants a greater appreciation of these records in the Bible.

The Bethany Tales is available on Amazon and other sites in hardback, paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.

Baffled, Do Not Want, Food, Reviews

Sea Veggies?

So, the other day I was shopping for ingredients to make my own laundry soap (see how to do it on the Sugar Pie Farmhouse blog).  As I was searching all over the store for what I needed, I happened to see these natural Sea Veggies snacks.  They were expensive but sounded interesting, so I thought, “Why not?”

This is what they look like:

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I’m trying to eat more healthfully.  These are full of vitamins and all sorts of wonderful things!  You get 12 of these little sheets of snack in the bag, and all of them together are only 35 calories!  Hooray!

 

 

This is what I looked like after I ate 3 little sheets:

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Image from www.grumpycats.com

 

Blargh.  It tastes like you got a mouthful of ocean by accident when you didn’t want to.  And so does the aftertaste, that won’t go away even after half a cup of coffee.  Not nice at all.  I’m sorry, people who make Sea Veggies.  I’m sure you have the best of intentions and all the vitamins and nutrients are super good for me.  If you made them taste like nothing at all, I would seriously gobble them up because the texture is nice and light and crunchy, so you’ve got that going for you.  And I suppose they might go well with sushi for those who like that sort of thing.  But no…no thank you.

Food, Reviews, Success!

COOOOKIEEE!

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I FINALLY have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that bakes properly in my obviously-factory-second oven!!  The recipe is called “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie” and you can find it here, if you like.  I decided to look online because frankly, I couldn’t remember which of the 37 recipes I had tried had failed before.  My son expressed great interest in chocolate chip cookies when I announced I was going to bake snickerdoodles.

Here is a photo of one of the actual cookies I made:

 

This is the first time since we have lived in this house that I have been able to make a chocolate chip cookie with the proper texture.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with the oven.  Usually the cookies are too puffy, or they spread out and end up wafer-thin and crunchy.  Melted butter is used for this recipe instead of just softened butter, which may be the secret.  Also, the whole batch came out the same instead of the usual way:  first cookies out of the oven = nice; last cookies out of the oven = huh?!

I didn’t make the cookies as big as the recipe suggested (1/4 cup of dough for each cookie) because I didn’t read the recipe carefully at first.  Obviously, though they turned out well a larger-size cookie (or any dessert) is always preferable, and they would have been bigger and fatter and chewier if I had used more dough per cookie. 

The cookies are Yummy.  But, they do give me heartburn a little…I’m sure it’s just from all the sugar and butter and stuff, and nothing serious.  I recommend this recipe!