Out playing with new gear pt2 – 310’s, modified Akto, whitebox etc

by backpackingbongos

A bit more new gear waffle from my North Pennines backpack…………

Sorry no photos but I did not take any of kit whilst on the backpack (the hills are far nicer!)

Inov-8 Flyroc 310’s

Now these were a backpacking revelation.  I usually wear mid boots (Salomon Elios) when backpacking, but have found that after a couple of days trudging across wet ground I end up with hot wet feet.  This is probably due to the Gore-tex lining degrading which always seems to happen to me within 6 months of buying boots.  As my pack has gradually got lighter I thought that I would try backpacking in a pair of Inov8’s.  Over the years I have had a couple of pairs of Terrocs which although really comfy for work don’t seem to suit my feet for hiking.  On the off chance I decided to try on a pair of the Flyroc 310’s and they fitted like a glove.  I thought that the best test for them would be on rough soaking wet moorland whilst carrying a pack.

To be honest for the first couple of hours I completely forgot that I was wearing brand new footwear, that must be a good sign (although at the time I was fiddling with a brand new rucksack!).  They grip my feet perfectly with almost no movement even without the laces done up tightly.  It was only when I put my foot in the first bog that I realised I was not wearing waterproof shoes, the cold water was felt instantly!  I then spent two days sloshing through standing water and soggy bogs.  My feet were constantly wet but that is something that I sort of got used to.  There would be that sudden cold feeling as the water flooded in but my feet soon warmed up.  On the negative side, I don’t think that these are shoes I would choose to wear in cold weather if there is a risk of my feet getting wet.  That would be just a little painful.

Due to the close comfy fit I had no problem backpacking over rough ground, at no point did I feel my ankle turn.  I did notice that I was using muscles that maybe do not normally get used in boots and I had a few aches that I would not normally have.  This is probably down to using a different walking style.  Overall I felt just as confident and supported as if I was wearing boots, but much much lighter.  They were soaked when I got home but 24 hours later were completely dry.  My boots would have taken several days to dry and would have developed a pong.  I look forward to getting the Inov-8’s out again for a backpack.

Whitebox stove

I have been using meths exclusively for backpacking for a few years now as I hate the wastage of gas canisters (i.e non refillable and non recyclable).  My Clikstand stove has served me superbly for years and I have confidence in it in all weathers, it is also safe enough to use in the porch of my tent.  However it is not featherlight, so wanting to lighten my pack a bit more I purchased the Whitebox stove.  On test at home this worked very well, but the real test for stoves is on the hill with a bit of wind.

Knowing that they have a reputation for being a bit fierce I decided not to use this stove in my tent until I was sure how it performed.  I therefore set it up outside my tent in a fairly strong breeze to make a cup of coffee.  The stove comes with a piece of reflective foil to stand it on but I used an anti gravity gear primer pan underneath it instead.  This meant that I got the stove to bloom much quicker, hopefully wasting less fuel.  Even with a breeze the stove brought a cup of water to the boil pretty quickly.  Afterwards I noticed that I had scorched the ground under the stove, something the Clikstand never does.  I searched in the river and found a flat stone to rest the stove on, this also made it much more stable.

For dinner I rehydrated a homemade spag bol which filled my 1.1ltr pan (yes I am a greedy bugger).  With the breeze the stove struggled to bring this to the boil.  This was probably due to me being conservative with the amount of fuel I put in, never quite enough.  Therefore the stove kept running out before reaching boiling point and I would have to go through the priming process all over again.  It will take a while for me to work out how much fuel to use for different amounts of liquid.

For breakfast I was a bit more daring and used the stove just outside my porch on the stone.  No problems with flaring and I judged the amount of meths needed perfectly.  I need to use it a bit more but am confident that it should be usable in the porch with the door open, an upturned mug or pan extinguishes it immediately if needs be.

Finally for such a small stove, a large pan is fairly stable on top of it.  The only problem comes if you can’t find a flat bit of ground to put it on, unless you can find a flat stone it may be a bit wobbly (I suppose if you had to you could use a pan lid?).  So unless I expect weather where I would want to cook inside the tent, I think the Whitebox will join me on many more backpacks.

A modified Akto

Plenty has already been written about the Hilleberg Akto and comparisons with the Laser Competition, So I am not going to go there.  What I was interested in was how different it was in comparison to my 10 year old model, and if the end mesh modification Geoff at v-g Backpacking had done made much of a difference.

The first thing that I noticed in comparison to my old model is the weight, it is nearly 300g lighter. The flysheet has a completely different feel to it and is much thinner.  The main difference however is in the addition of a vent above the door, which should in theory provide a chimney effect and let humid air out.  The rectangular ends of the inner tent had been professionally removed and replaced by midgie netting ,which would hopefully reduce the possibility of condensation forming on the inner tent.  So how did this perform?  There was a steady rain falling all night with a gusty breeze.  I slept with the flysheet zipped up but with the upper vent fully open, I also left the end vent which was facing away from the breeze fully open.  It was great to spend the night in a tent that does not flap around and I got a great nights sleep (one of the Laser comps major failings – sorry forgot I was not going to do a comparison!).  I woke up to a bone dry inner and even the flysheet was only slightly damp.  So did the vents help?  I really am not sure as the wind would have gone some way towards preventing condensation, but at the same time it was a wet night.  The real test will be on a still frosty night when Autumn kicks in, I will provide some feedback after camping in those conditions.

Trangia 500ml fuel bottle

Ok this is probably not the most exciting piece of kit in the world, but it does provide me with piece of mind.  I have always just left my meths in the bottle it comes in, but have always been a bit paranoid about it splitting and ruining my gear.  The Trangia bottle is not particularly light at 118g but is meant to be leak proof and will not spill when it is knocked over.  There, the shortest most rubbish review ever!

13 Comments to “Out playing with new gear pt2 – 310’s, modified Akto, whitebox etc”

  1. Inov-8s are something I have been looking at also lately, I guess I also would go for non-GoreTex ones and take the Goretex socks instead. What do you reckon?

    I also have a 1l Trangia Fuel bottle, as I too didn’t want to risk bottles breaking and spilling gear. However, if I nwadays would carry meths, I would take a small 200 ml bottle, as that’s most likely all I need – its a back-up for me, after all. Good to hear that the Whitebox stove and the Akto performed well.

    You should have included pictures of all pieces, btw 😉

  2. I have tried and tried and tried Innov8 shoes but they are just too painful on the ankles for me and the pain is instant. It has to be Montrails for me. Also unless its winter, I dont mind my feet getting wet. In the winter I sometimes switch to my Goretex lined Montrails or wear waterproof socks. Job done 🙂
    I also have a Whitebox stove but found it really too fierce to use sometimes. the other thing I noted on my stove was that the flames were often yellow. Other people have said that it could be the fuel so I am going to try some pure alcohol to see if that makes a difference of not
    Re the meths bottle, I use the one supplied by Trail Designs although i have been known to take the small Trangia bottle as it is fairly bullet proof

  3. Hendrik – I would go for the non goretex version. Firstly the inov8’s are really low and I would imagine that it would not take much for water to go in over the top, once wet they would stay wet. Secondly with the mesh outers I would imagine that the lining would break down pretty quickly? I need to invest in some descent goretex socks, whatever you do don’t buy the sealskin ones as they are rubbish!

    Backpackbrewer – I have read that inov8’s often bother peoples ankles. In winter will probably go back to my Salomons. I had a pair of montrails once I think it was the stratos but they started to fall apart after a couple of months so I got my money back. Otherwise an excellent fit. Don’t mind the fierce flame of the whitebox as rarely simmer – use a pot cosy when brought to the boil. Where would you get pure alcohol? Let me know if it makes a difference.

  4. Inov – 8 310’s all the way for me. I also use Trekmate Amphibians as the Gore-Tex sock. Perfect match. I also have a pair of 295 Inov – 8 I am using as well. Stunning is word – check them out. Water ingress is not the issue as any trail shoe will get wet. It is how quick they dry out and the grip and comfort that matter.

  5. Having had an accident with my AGG fule bottles catching fire I might revert to using aluminium ones – luckily Richard over at Einzel Kocher sells a smallish sized one that’s ideal for overnight trips. That reminds me to put in a order to replace the two that I lost.

  6. I recently bought my first pair of inov-8 roclites and they are great. Trail shoes aren’t new to me but the lightness and the grip inov-8s is! I’ve not been temped to swap for a non-lined version yet but no doubt I will eventually and I’m glad it seems to be working for you.

    I’ve been using alcohol stoves for a while but I have the same issue with wind and the amount of fuel. I only really use my alcohol stoves on solo trips these days as Paul has a Jetboil and has to just stand around waiting for me! There will always be a place in my heart for the alcohol stove though.

  7. Martin, do you not find wearing goretex socks makes your inov8’s a bit tight? do you wear liners under them? Thinking about getting some for when it gets colder.

    Baz, how did you manage to set your meths bottle on fire? I bet that was not fun!

    Marcus, there is definately something about using alcohol stoves – maybe they are more ‘natural’ than using gas canisters? How are the lined versions of the inov8’s?

  8. pure alcohol was from….ahem…workplace. Never tried to buy it from a shop before

  9. I loosen of the laces to get my foot in wearing the Gore-Tex socks over socks. UK 45 shoe and Large size Amphibians. Them seem a bit baggy but are fine in use. Works for me. Once tightened up the shoe fits fine and comfy. Last Cairngorm walk I used them for miles and forgot they were on. Best bit is river crossings. Socks of and cross. Sock on after drying my feet, and then the Gore-Tex one. Does not matter the shoe is wet my feet are not and warm inside the Gore-Tex sock.

  10. I assume you are using the Whitebox solo stove, what pot do you use with it?

    I also have a Trangia fuel bottle but have tended not to use it because of weight. I have had no problem with a platypus mini bladder and the FireLite
    Red Spout Caps from BPL.com

  11. Roger I am using the whitebox duo stove – just been a bit conservative with the amount of fuel I was putting in. My pan is a tibetan titanium 1100.

    Never thought of using a platypus for meths. May get a small nalgene bottle and see how that works as they are pretty indestructable.

    • Hi Richard, Ive just found your site which is great….in midst of getting set up with lightweight backpacking gear…not cheap ! I have an Akto tent which I’m happy with , but i’m looking for a very lightweight highly compressable and ultra warm sleeping bag for cold damp conditions…I was wondering which you use..in symmer and winter…


  12. Hi Zen – you can call me James!
    unfortunately good quality backpacking gear is not cheap. I have two sleeping bags. My summer one is a Mountain equipment Helium 400 – very light and compressable and my winter bag is a Mountain Equipment Dreamcatcher 750. Neither of them are brilliant in the damp as they do not have a water resistant shell. When cold and damp I use a Rab ultra bivi to keep them dry (adds a bit of warmth as well).
    Have fun choosing your gear!

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