Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Definitions: Coil Zipper

This is a device for accomplishing the most slick and slippery zippery.

If you've ever looked at a toothed zipper you can puzzle out roughly how it works. Maybe not exactly why, but how.

Coil zippers aren't like that. They are made with less toothiness, and work more magically, which might be one reason that they fail for no reason that any sane person can comprehend.

True, they tend to be more delicate, and are used on lightweight clothing more than heavy stuff like pack pockets or jeans flies, but some are more robust than that too.

Everything does wear out with use, coil zippers too, and in the case of a coil zipper, by the time the shiny newness is gone the zipper gets balky, snags, bunches, and eventually comes apart.

There must be a minuscule timer mechanism built in somewhere (it seems like it might work this way with all zippers) so that any catastrophe happens exactly when that zipper is needed most.

It's enough to make anyone, let alone a hiker, wind up into a coil and hiss for a while.

But that attracts snakes, so it's not a good idea either. Looks like you're screwed then.

Source: How to talk in the woods.

We few, we grumpy few, we rumply-hat geezers say to you Effort or Eff it. No sniveling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Definitions: Apex

(1) The place where the legs attach to the rest of your body so you can keep walking. The tip. The top. The tippy-top part.

The last chance for things that were meant to be together to share quality time.


Where the body forks. (As if you hadn't known since grade school.)

Occasional summer home of monkey nuts and crotch rot.

(2) The part of a turn where the turning happens. The sharpest part.

Before the apex you are entering the turn and afterward you are exiting, whether you like it or not.

This is quite a bit like life which can also suddenly be over just when you feel you're finally getting the hang of it.

This sort of realization is especially disappointing when you discover that you are not only on the way out but also have a burning fungus problem in your apex.

Source: How to talk in the woods.

We few, we grumpy few, we rumply-hat geezers say to you Effort or Eff it. No sniveling.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Definitions: Condensation

Like the inside of your nose, but all over your tent.

Here's what the National Park Service thinks: "The condensation of water vapor into clouds and precipitation is a vital link in the water cycle."

Picture throngs of gorgeous buzzing neon rainbows at sunset while butterflies flutter by gently and birds sing their last glorious notes of the day in perfect harmony among amazing, delicately-leafed trees, and the skin of your weenie puffs out as it roasts over a crackling fire.

Meanwhile, next morning, in his tent on an actual trail, so far from civilization that he can't see a parking lot or even hear traffic anymore, in a place where animals snuffle and snort around without proper supervision and eat each other when they meet, Harold Hiker awakes from sleep.

Harold has been hiking in the rain that fell from the Park Service's condensation. Harold knows what condensation really means. Most of the rain that was aimed at him hit the ground and bounced, and then ran straight into Harold's boots, and then climbed up his legs and really got to work.

When Harold set up camp he did it with a great sigh of relief. At least, at last, he thought — at last he could stop walking and get some relief from the damn rain. For a few hours anyway he would be someplace dry where the rain wouldn't be jackhammering his head and slithering up his legs in pursuit of his underwear.

Harold wanted a night of rest. He got out of his wet clothes and right into his sleeping bag and gratefully fell asleep. When Harold woke the next morning he found that the entire inside of his tent was full of condensation.

Condensation above him, condensation below him, condensation on every side of him. His sleeping bag was soaked with it. And now it was closing in for the kill. Condensation has no conscience or sense of humor, you see. Condensation will not mellow out and just be your pal. Condensation is dedicated to doing you in.

Condensation is the physical process that changes a gas to a liquid, and liquid is the stuff that makes you wet.

This is the mad dog of physics that was in the tent with Harold, and Harold had nowhere to go. Poor Harold. Some say that double-wall tents are a bad deal because they don't allow enough air circulation to prevent condensation. This may be true, but you haven't been to hell until you have spent the night closed up tight in a shiny-new single-wall tent.

Some say that tarps are better than either of the above because tarps allow more air circulation and thereby defeat condensation buildup.

This may be true, but you haven't been to hell until you have spent the night under (under is used loosely here) an open tarp, exposed to exactly every single puff of freezing, incessantly probing, rain-saturated air in the known and unknown universes.

In other words condensation is an immutable force of nature that will always be with us. Like every other form of liquid water and all known immutable forces of nature, condensation slithers and creeps around, over, into, and through everything, anything, and usually the place it wants to go most is the very last place you want ever to find it.

Nasty. It is nasty. That is the only way to say it.

The only sure way to avoid condensation is to stay home and watch TV with a big bowl of chips and a few beers handy, in front of a hot fire.

You can roast your weenie in comfort there. Dry, condensation-free roasting, in comfort, of your weenie.

And you can have pets there too. Which are also warm and dry and soft and fuzzy. Unless you are into lizards.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Definitions: Bog Log

A rustic, natural accessory to liven up the decor of each and every bog it blesses.

Organically grown, hand sawn, individually laid, the bog log is also a boon for hikers, shielding them from contact with the mucky wet evils they must travel over.

Here's our FAQ.

Q: Want color?
A: Have we got colors for you! (Sorry, only gray available at this time.)

Q: Need a special width to support those generous-sized feet of yours?
A: No problem! (Sorry, no choice of sizes available right now.)

Q: Want an extra long log to span that extra yucky pit?
A: You came to the right place! (Sorry, random lengths only today.)

Q: How about an extra stable log to keep you from flipping over and going down for the count head first into that unspeakable, yawning miasma?
A: Terrific! Glad you asked for it! (Sorry, our factory cannot currently process this type of request.)

Q: Have more questions?
A: Great! We're here to help you in any way we can! Just email us! (Sorry. System down for maintenance at this time. Expected back online by 6:00 p.m., August 27, 2033.)

Need even more info? Please re-read this post.