Monthly Archives: September 2019

Nitecore NU25 headlamp

The Nitecore NU25- a quick mod

Three Points of the Compass has used a few headlamps  on trail over the years. The one that is currently in favour is the Nitecore NU25. Available in black, yellow or white, I have the bright yellow lamp. All the better for being found as light fades.

Nitecore NU25 is a rechargeable headlamp. The port is beneath the lamp and covered from the elements when not in use

Nitecore NU25 is a rechargeable headlamp. The port is beneath the lamp and covered from the elements when not being charged

It is a great headlamp. It has a built in 610 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. Separate buttons for white or red light and has decent Cree XP-G2 S3 LED fitted.

Weather resistance is fairly good at IP66, this is helped by a flippable rubber covering to the micro-USB charge port. Beside  the two intensities of red light, there are varying white light, maxing out at 360 lumen. More stats can be seen here.

Nitecore NU25 with stock headband

Nitecore NU25 with stock headband

All that said, there is one big fault with the light. The headband is total overkill for such a lightweight headlamp. The light weighs 28g. the headband a further 25g. There is a quite well known modification that replaces the, admittedly very good, headband with a simpler set-up. For any that are unaware of this, I show it here.

Rear matrix of Nirecore NU25

Rear matrix of Nirecore NU25

The headlamp will tilt up to 60° from the curved head support. This aids its correct alignment when night walking, or when simply sitting on the tent floor at night. The headband simply slips out of the rear of this folding head support. This shows that it is made up of a number of small holes, just right for slipping thin shock cord or bungee through.

 

The makings of a lighter headband

The makings of a lighter headband

A few minutes on eBay located a number of sellers of both shockcord and cord locks. Just a few quid secured 10m of 2mm cord (more than I am ever likely to require), plus a wee baggie of double cord locks. Each of these weighs just 1.2g. Together with a pair of scissors and a lighter, is all that is required for the modification.

 

The modded headlamp

The modded headlamp

I looped two lengths of 2mm shockcord through the rear matrix. You can see how in the associated image. One running through the top, the other through the bottom. The bottom cord was then tied back on to the top cord with a running slip knot. Then trimmed and ends closed with a lighter. The top cord is long enough to pass behind my head with a little extra for adjustment if required to be worn over a beenie or similar. I ran the two ends through the toggle and tied them off together, trimmed the ends and sealed with the lighter again.

The whole job took less than five minutes to complete. The modified lamp with replacement head cord, now weighs 34g. So has knocked off 19g with no loss in function. It is less bulky, is comfortable to wear, doesn’t slip and is adjustable. A win win…

 

Modified Nitecore NU25 is comfortable to wear and easily adjusted

Modified Nitecore NU25 is comfortable to wear and easily adjusted

 

 

2019 Z Packs Duplex

A check of my new Duplex, and some tweaks

Three Points of the Compass used a Zpacks Duplex tent as his shelter during his recent hike across the United Kingdom. It was a truly excellent shelter and took a right hammering in some awful conditions. Good that it was, it is now simply worn out. There was absolutely no need to change to some other shelter so, despite the eye-watering cost of a premium product, made from damned expensive fabric, from a (now quite large) American cottage company, another was purchased.

Even in the narrow confines of my little garden, it is possible to squeeze the Duplex in, testament to its ease of use

Even in the narrow confines of my little garden, it is possible to squeeze the Duplex in, testament to its ease of use

A thin drying line is added across the width of the shelter, this only adds a gram or two to the weight

A thin drying line is added across the width of the shelter, this only adds a gram or two to the weight

My nephew kindly bought it over to the UK for me a month ago and I have finally found time today to set it up in the narrow confines of my limited garden space.

As before, I purchased the ‘camo’ version which I feel lends itself more to wild camping. Yes, I know this can look a little ‘weekend warrior’ but this choice also offers considerably more discreetness over the other fabric options which are more opaque. Again, as before, I am using my Pacer Poles as supports. I carry poles on trail anyway and this saves greatly on the weight of any other uprights.

The four door tie out points are well made and reinforced

The four door corners are well made and reinforced

There are two internal mesh storage pockets. These are mounted centrally along the sides

There are two internal mesh storage pockets. These are mounted centrally along the sides

The 2019 shelter does not appear to have undergone much in the way of unnecessary evolution since my 2017 incarnation. The two little mesh storage pockets previously attached to the ends (head and feet) are now centrally positioned below the side rainbow mesh doors. Not a useful change I feel.

I had mostly experienced wear around the tie out points on the vestibule doors, these now appear a little beefed up on the newer version.

Short length of 2mm bungee cord added to the end wall tie outs

Short length of 2mm bungee cord added to the end wall tie outs

The Duplex comes with wall guys that can be utilised to provide a little more internal space, though they are not necessary for set-up. Again, my 2017 version had problems with both of these, one end tearing off entirely in strong buffeting winds. I had learnt then to incorporate a length of bungee cord between tie out and peg/stake. So right from the outset I have added in a 300mm length between guy and peg. That should reduce any large shock or strain to the shelter sides.

My peg selection (it is not supplied with any) is now happily nailed down to what will handle most of the varied UK ground types. I also carry one extra mini-groundhog in case of loss. With my old battered 5g Tread Lite peg bag, these total 174g. This may seem a lot but it is a good selection that enables me to bash down into the occasional rocky ground, as well as pull into use one or both of my wide V profile ti pegs in softer ground or on the windward side if expecting high winds. I can also now double-peg in soft ground if required.

Peg selection- 2 x Clamcleats Tornado (37g), 2 x Clamcleats Spear (35g0, 2 x MSR Groundhogs (30g), 7 x MSR Mini Groundhogs (67g), Tread Lite peg bag (5g). Total- 174g

Peg selection- 2 x Clamcleats Ti Tornado (37g), 2 x Clamcleats Ti Spear (35g), 2 x MSR Groundhogs (30g), 7 x MSR Mini Groundhogs (67g), Tread Lite peg bag (5g). Total- 174g

The Duplex scrunches down to a small size

The single wall Duplex scrunches down to a small size

As to weight of the shelter itself, in an old 9g cuben stuff sack, it comes in on my scales at 579g. Not bad for an easy to set up, two-person shelter with four doors and two vestibules. In just a few days Three Points of the Compass is off on another hike, albeit only 170 mile or so, it will be good to be re-acquainted with an old friend, if a little shiny and new at present and requiring a few trail miles.

Z Packs Duplex with both doors tied back on one side

Zpacks Duplex with both doors tied back on one side