Application to test the Ultimate Survival Technologies' s BASE Kit
Please accept my application to test the Ultimate Survival Technologies' s BASE Kit. I have read BackpackGearTest Survival Guide, version 0609, as well as the BackpackGearTest.org Bylaws, and I will follow all test and reporting requirements.
Name: David Wilkes
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I am currently getting into condition to summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, and California. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.
I am currently involved with testing the the MSR filter, Loki fleece jacket and the SolHuma Vital Stove , the PlatyPreserve, and the OR Salamander Gaiters. Sounds like a lot when listed like this (and is) but most of these will be wrapping up soon and I am looking to get in some more testing while the weather is good. I currently have no firm plans for hikes, and so will be taking trips as the opportunity presents. I am trying to plan a short through hike that I have been wanting to do for a number of years, and I am trying to reschedule a climb of Mt Adams.
I like to tinker with new stuff and emergency/safety gear is at the top of my list! Every opportunity I get I like to practice using my emergency gear, as I feel anything you are not comfortable using in good conditions is not likely to serve you well when under stress and it is needed the most. As a result I often use my various fire starters for non-emergency uses (I like to carry at least 2 plus a lighter). I have used various flint type fire starters (I have published an OR for another brand of flint fire starter) and prefer them as my primary emergency (and often non-emergency) use. I have used and currently carry the WetFire Tinder cubes. I also carry as part of my 10 essentials a whistle (I insist my kids carry a whistle as well) and signal mirror. I have had little experience using my signal mirror, and it is something I need to get more experience with (I mostly use my mirror for removing/replacing my contacts), so it is something I plan on working on during my next few outings.
If selected to test this product I would test the following (at a minimum):
Whistle Verify it works and evaluate how loud it is compared to other whistles I have used ("loudest in the world"??? I have seen other whistles make this clame). See if it makes a single tone or dual tone (I have heard that a single tone does not penetrate glass, such as a rescue vehicle's windshield, as well as a dual tone, but I have not found confirmation of this). Does it work wet and/or in freezing conditions (will my lips freeze to it)?
Fire Starter How easy is it to use? Does it work wet? Is it easy to direct the sparks at tinder, and how likely is it to scatter the tinder while attempting to use it? How does it store (is it likely to be broken while in a pack)? Are there any parts that are potential failure points, and if it does break is it still usable? Is this usable with gloves?
Signal Mirror- how easy/difficult is it to aim? Does it come with useful and easy to use instructions? How durable is it (they clam it is unbreakable and scratch resistant)? The web site says it floats, I would test that also.
WetFire Tinder How easy are they to light? How long do they burn? Do they work when wet and/or in windy conditions? Do they break apart after being stored in my pack and if so are they still usable?
Storage bag is it really waterproof and can it withstand the rigors of the inside of my pack? Is the closure secure and does it continue to open/close reliably after repeated use?
Obviously I would also be commenting on the weight and bulk of the pack and its overall usability as a kit and how well it integrates into my existing gear.
Previously Written Reports
Loki Fleece jacket (LTR due 14 July 2009)
MSR water filter (LTR due 28 July 2009)
Solhuma Vital Stove (LTR due 28 July 2009)
Outdoor Research Salamander Gaiters (FR due 11 August 2009)
PlatiPreserv Wine Preservation System (FR due 21 July 2009)
Grand Trunk Hammock
Other BGT.org responsibilities
Mentor Currently mentoring two new testers
Thank you for your consideration,