Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Frenchman 2.5 - gear review

I love reading other peoples' gear reviews, so I like to mention mine whenever I test it.

Horse gear

Pro choice saddle pad: Passed with flying colors. It did not shift, even after all those hills. Dixie had minimal hair movement under it and very nice sweat patterns. It's quite a bit heavier than the Woolback, but we're talking maybe two extra pounds. It's not dirty enough for me to clean yet, so I can't tell you how easy or hard that is.

Renegade hoof boots: Still awesome. If they fit right, they stay put, even when you're due for a trim. Some of the shod horse riders were bitching about how they'd have shod with pads or booted over the shoes if they'd known how rocky it would be, but I was not at all worried about stone bruises. And she gaited very nicely in them - finally! The ride pics show her beautiful stepping pace. As soon as I dig them out of the trailer I'll post one for you.

I still love my Griffin's pommel bags. I had to use some string to get them situated exactly where I want on my saddle, but the zippers are amazing and each bag will hold a liter of water. There's a little pouch in the middle where you can stash your map or ride card, and side velcro pockets for your hoof pick, multitool, etc. They are a million times better than the comparable Stowaway product. Also he has a very nice shade of purple.

Camping gear

Cheap black-bag solar shower: Absolutely marvelous. Mel mentioned hers a while back and it sounded lovely, so I got one too. I set out the shower in the morning, then after the ride I hang it in the horse trailer. I stand in a muck bucket and scrub down with a rag and some of that biodegradable soap, and it is the best. Like clean socks at lunch, it's one of those things that feels utterly amazing and totally changes your attitude about everything. A 2.5 gallon solar shower has more than enough hot water.

Truck tent: The mesh roof gives great views of the stars, but leaks like a sieve, can you believe it? The rain fly is a little hard to get on, but it effectively keeps the rain out. Do not trust the National Weather Service.

35 degree Sierra Trading Post sleeping bag plus Coleman air mattress: Keeps you toasty to 50 degrees, even in the drizzle. Miserably cold at 45. The air mattress is much nicer than just the eggcrate, but next ride I will try air mattress, eggcrate, busted zipper sleeping bag, and 35 degree bag. Thank god I don't try to pack out; I'd need a string of mules to haul all my crap.

Camelbak with Vitalyte electrolytes: I attribute all my success to this. Yes, it makes my back sweaty, but everything else gets sweaty anyway. Yes, it changes your balance a little, but once you get used to it you won't notice. And just think, if you fall on your back it's like a back airbag! Two liters of fluids is barely enough for a 20 mile loop, but it definitely saved me from heatstroking out.

Square blocks of ice last way longer than the same weight in bagged ice. This is common sense physics, but it actually holds true in the real world too.


  1. nothing like a shower in ridecamp. my black shower bag was set up in my horse trailer.

    i don't know about your sock thing though. i never felt the urge to change my socks.

    i did feel the urge to set a sensation endurance saddle on fire after 8 hours of hell.

  2. ROFL, lytha. Bad sensations, huh?

  3. Love all the commentary! That shower gadget sounds great. I remember Mel's review of it, too. If both of you like it so well, it must be a keeper - will definitely be looking into it before the next horse camping trip. So glad you and Dixie are at it again!


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