Tiny tip: How not to lose your tiny gear

Put a strip of orange tape on it to make them visible, so you don’t lose or leave them behind at a site. If they’re already fairly visible, like the red headlamp below, all the better.



DIY Trail Angel

TrailAngel-2015-12-19-1335A tradition at Lacamas Park in Camas, Washington, is decorating the Christmas tree along the main access path east of the lake.

The tree is not doing so well now as you can see from its brown needles. This may be its last year, alas, but a new tree has already been planted nearby to carry on.

A DIY “trail angel” made from a plastic bottle and some ingenuity.



Reflectix, the miracle substance

Insulated backpacking mug: a Glad small size “Lockware” storage cup with locking lid.


This is a well designed cup.

– It holds two cups / 16 oz. and has graduated measure lines on the side in both cups (½, 1) and milliliters (100, 250).

– There are two small indents on the sides that make it easier to hold without slipping.

– This lid and top are the same size as a Snow Peak Ti 700 mug, which is a nice coincidence :) so you can put them in sack one on top of the other.

– The locking lid is watertight, though not waterproof, of course. But it is designed to hold liquids in your fridge and not leak. I tested it by filling it up with water and turning it upside down for 30 minutes and it didn’t leak, though I wouldn’t count on it.


I built the cozy system out of Reflectix insulation around the sides and on the lid top, with a blue closed cell foam bottom, and duct tape using the same method as earlier

Works well. I tested this at home by using it to brew tea and have some soup. My only field test with it so far was with tea and it performed fine.

Sip Lid

The main downside to it I see is that you lose heat when you take off the lid to sip drinks. I would not want to solve that with a sip hole in the top of the locking lid.

Instead, I have an alternate lid which was the lid from a peanut can. It fits very snugly. I then used paper punch to punch in a single sip hole, which works fine for me. You could make one larger if you prefer.

Unfortunately, you can’t put both this lid and the locking lid on at the same time. So, while not yet the perfect solution, it works fine for sipping.


You can and should use it for storage, of course. You can fit 4 pilot breads in it, with room still in the bottom for something else (I put tea bags.)

Reflectix, the miracle substance

DIY pot cozy for my Snow Peak 700. This is based on Jim Wood’s great article “Three Mods for your Mug” http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/MugMods/index.html.

I found the Reflectix at my local Home Depot, but it took some doing to get it. Most of the staff there had no idea what I was looking for and sent me to look at plumbing insulation instead. Fortunately, one person did know – and they had two rolls of it tucked away in a unlabeled corner. Anyway, I now have enough for a lifetime of cozy making. 

I should add that in addition to the the Reflectix and duct tape in Jim Wood’s original design, I added some insulation at the bottom of the cozy, a round piece of blue closed cell foam, left over from modding my sleeping pad. That adds a bit of height to the cozy (3/8") but provides a lot more insulating power at the hottest spot, the bottom.

Weight of the cozy: 30 grams.