First thoughts about the ULA Catalyst pack

Posted in Photography, Reviews, Video with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by William Hooks

This is the largest offering from the Logan, UT cottage firm, Ultralight Adventures and I plan to use it mainly for winter backpacking, glacier travel, carrying video and audio gear, and when food loads exceed what I can put into my Hyperlight Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 (ie, probably over 3 days out).

It easily allows use of a large bear canister, my Western Mountaineering +5F Antelope down bag in transverse position, and provides some capability which I plan to enjoy: removable swing-type bilateral hand loops and water bottle carriers on the shoulder straps, S-curve shoulder strap option, excellent ooverall water carrying capacity with option of hydration system,and what appears so far to be unusually good fit and weight transfer. The belt pockets are large enough to carry my Nikon Coolpix and I ‘ve already modified them by attaching grab loops.ULA Catalyst pack DSCN1506 - Copy DSCN1505

Not certain yet as to how much I will use the 2 interior, removable pockets.

This pack will allow me to cut almost 5 pounds from my longer/ winter trips ,DSCN1514compared with a traditional expedition pack.

Just posted recently updated gear list for 3 1/2 season backpacking on a new page

Posted in Photography, Reviews, Travel, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by William Hooks

I hope that this information will be of help to those who ‘d like to get in the ultralight backpacking game, and even stimulate discussion of other’s experiences and lists.

I didn’t include detailed discussion of options such as UL canister stoves from Soto and Snowpeak which I use as substitutes for alcohol stoves whe n they are prohibited by regulations (as is happening in some CA locales due to extreme drought conditions), and some other alternative gear I use at times. I didn’t include equipment for more comprehensive video in the backcountry, as much of that is mentioned incidentally in my separate gear list for alpine mountaineering.

Have fun out there- and vote anything but Republican (I mean, stay safe)!

The Hyperlight Mountain Gear Windrider 2400 cuben fiber pack

Posted in Photography, Reviews, Travel, Video with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by William Hooks

This 1 pound, 10 oz friend has become my default carrier for many wilderness trips. The total weight of my setup for a 3 day outing as shown, including solo BearVault canister with Nikon Coolpix camera, food and  c 1.5L water is approx 18 pounds.Windrider 2400 w bear canister (1) Windrider 2400 w bear canister (2) Windrider 2400 w bear canister (3)I find that the belt pockets are not the easiest to open while hiking, and are smaller in capacity than I like- my clear preference is those on my Golite Jam 70- but this is a completely different category of pack.

It has 2 real, aluminum stays which are removable, but weighs about the same as the Jam 70 making it a great choice for using a bear canister—> wonderful for destinations such as the Sierra Nevada, CA where these are often mandatory. The canister can go inside or atop the pack, I really like the Y- yoke at the top which gives good stability. I find that this system is the most comfortable way I have ever seen, so far, for transporting my gear in the backcountry. The side pockets allow replacement of the Smartwater bottle without removing the pack. There is provision for both a mesh hydration reservoir holder and a covered hose port on one side.

Use of cuben fiber makes the pack very usable without a rain cover in many scenarios, especially if using good stuff sacks for internal down items.The price I paid at Nomad Ventures, Temecula, CA was $265. That’s nothing compared to a dialysis machine….

Point Fermin/ San Pedro, CA- Bug Hut under an E-Wing

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Photography, Travel with tags , , , , , , on October 24, 2014 by William Hooks

DSCN1424 E-Wing_Bug Hut_Pt Fermin  CA (1) E-Wing_Bug Hut_Pt Fermin  CA (2) E-Wing_Bug Hut_Pt Fermin  CA (3) E-Wing_Bug Hut_Pt Fermin  CA (6) HMG Windrider 2400 Upon arriving here, I recalled the words of William Clark as he and Meriweather Lewis’ 1805 expedition encountered the western terminus of their journey:

Ocean in view

Oh! the joy!

We are in view of the ocean

That great Pacific Ocean which we have so long been anxious to see

And the sound of the waves breaking on the rocky shores

Can be heard distinctly-

I wondered what the other William might say to me if he were here today…….my guess is that he’d wonder what kind of thing I was carrying on my back (Hyperlight Mountain Gear Windrider 2400, made of cuben fiber)

Sky Camp, Pt Reyes National Seashore, CA today

Posted in Captain's Personal Log with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by William Hooks

DSCN1348 DSCN1356 DSCN1379

Rained out of camp on Mt Wittenburg in Pt Reyes National Seashore this afternoon, but had a lot of fun… used the MSR E-wing tarp instead of a tent, and a Vargo Titanium Decagon stove to burn alcohol. Nice hike with views of Drake’s Bay to the west. The reconstituted beef stroganoff was good.

Returned from start of winter in the Sierra Nevada on backpacking trip

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Photography, Travel, Video with tags , on September 29, 2014 by William Hooks

We camped initially at 4000′ in Ancient Bristlecone Campground (jct of 168 and 395) and 2 Belgian tourists had an auto accident directly in front of the site that evening. We attempted to help them on this very windy night, including trying to set up their huge dome tent which blew down… we were fine in my MSR E-Wing tarp.

Yesterday, we got into our second camp at 11,600′ near Paiute Lake in the Sierra. It snowed almost all day and night. We returned to the car at mid-day today, enjoyed Bishop, CA and returned to the LA area this evening.

DSCN1197

DSCN1198

DSCN1200 - Copy

DSCN1203

DSCN1216 - Copy

DSCN1217

DSCN1218

DSCN1219

DSCN1230 - Copy

DSCN1233 - Copy

DSCN1235 - Copy

DSCN1237 - Copy

DSCN1238 - Copy

DSCN1239 - Copy

DSCN1240 - Copy

DSCN1241

DSCN1244

DSCN1245

DSCN1246

What I’ll be using tomorrow, for multicam interviews in the Palm Springs area

Posted in Photojournalism, Reviews, Travel, Video on August 12, 2014 by William Hooks

Canon 5DIII, 70D cameras with Zoom H6 DAR and backup Tascam DR-60D (need 3 XLR inputs if possible, for 2 wired lav mics and a boomed shotgun).

The Manfrotto 2 camera rail makes it easy to shoot with both cameras from nearly the same vantage point on one tripod. Be sure to crank the mounts so they don’t rotate!!

I could also attach other items to the rig with Mafer clamps, for example, instead of using an articulated arm to mount the digital audio recorder.

2-camera rail interview setup_front (1)

2-camera rail interview setup_front (2)

2-camera rail interview setup_front (3)

2-camera rail interview setup_front (4)

2-camera rail interview setup_front (5)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 210 other followers