July 2009 Archives

A while back Timber and I discussed getting a new camping cookset, because the pots and pans that we currently use are a hodgepodge of pots and pans, and we always seem to be missing some important component. So we went to REI and found that GSI made some cooksets that would fit what we need. But the problem was that some of the seemingly exact cooksets had different prices. And all we could find out about their differences online and elsewhere were mumbo jumbo about different teflon coatings which "push the boundaries of cooking technology". So what does a reasonable person do when they have narrowed down their choices to two cooksets and REI is pretty good about returns? You buy both and then decide which one you want to keep. So that's exactly what we did! So then the question becomes how do you decide which one to keep? We opened up both boxes, took out the pots and pans, inspected them, felt them, and tried to find any difference that would cause us to keep one over the other. They more or less looked the same, weighed the same, and felt the same. Then I had the idea that we would test them. I didn't want to do any crazy stress testing or take both camping because I wanted to return one cookset, and I didn't think it would be nice to scratch and dent one and then take it back. So the test I devised was pretty simple and clean. I would boil water in the biggest pot in each set (they were both the same size) and see if the fancy alien teflon technology in the pinnacle set resulted in being able to boil water faster.
So I set up the test as follows:
1. I put 8 cups of water in each pot.
2. The water that was put into each pot was the same water with the same temperature.
3. I let the pots sit for a little while to get closer to room temperature.
4. I turned on one of the burners on my gas stove and let it run for 3 minutes before putting the first pot of water on to boil because I figured both pots would be sitting on an already hot piece of metal.

After doing all that I started my timer and waited for the first pot of water to come to a rolling boil. Then I did the same exact thing with the next pot. I fully expected there to be little or no difference between the two. I was wrong.

The GSI Bugaboo Camper cookset took 12 minutes and 30 seconds to get the 8 cups of water to a rolling boil while the GSI Pinnacle Camper cookset took 10 minutes and 30 seconds to get 8 cups of water to a rolling boil.

So there was a difference of 2 minutes! I was shocked when I realized this, and it made my decision pretty easy as to which set to keep. The GSI Pinnacle Camper cookset does cost an extra $20. But that extra cost will save you fuel and time, which, over the long run, will more than pay for itself.

I wish I had more time to run more tests, but like I said earlier I wanted the cookset that I returned to be in pretty good condition, and I thought that since I'll be boiling a lot of water when I camp, then this is a pretty good test. If I had time to run more tests I would see how each holds up over multiple uses, which one is easier to clean, which one keeps food warm longer, and which one can stand more abuse. But alas there is no time for all such tests. I'll keep you posted on how the GSI Pinnacle Camper cookset holds up.

Henry Coe State Park

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

Today I went for a hike in Henry Coe State Park with Devin, Steve, Katie, and Timber to China Hole, which is a 10 mile round trip hike. The conditions were nice and cool, which is really not the norm for Coe in July. All in all it was a good hike.

More Santa Cruz

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
A week after Father's day we went back for more Santa Cruz. We started the day off at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. We did a hike through the redwoods and then we headed down to the Santa Cruz wharf to check things out before calling it a day. Overall it was a fun day to be out and about.

Father's Day 2009

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
For Father's Day this year we took Timber's parents and nephew out to Roaring Camp for a bbq and train ride down to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The train ride went through lots of redwoods and down through the Santa Cruz Mountains and ended at the boardwalk. We had an hour to hang out on the boardwalk before we got back on the train and headed back to Roaring Camp. Overall it was fun way to spend Father's day.

I am not ready to take a shot at Mount Hamilton yet. I attempted to ride to the top of Metcalf road this morning and about halfway up my legs were burning so much that I had to turn around. It has been a while since I attempted Metcalf, so I'm definitely not in the same biking shape that I was before. I'm going to have to wait a week or so before I attempt Metcalf Road again.
On June 20th Timber, Elijah, Shuvadeep (colleague from India), and myself all drove up to San Francisco to check out the California Academy of Sciences. We spent about 6 hours there before moving on to the Golden Gate Bridge and then Fisherman's Wharf. I think the Academy of Sciences is pretty good, but I did not see any underlying theme the combined the planetarium, aquarium, Africa wing, T-Rex, Blue Whale, Amazon jungle, and albino alligator all together. While each individual part is really well done they are each disconnected. My favorite museum of all time is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. But overall it was a fun day in San Francisco and I think Shuvadeep will keep his jacket with him at all times from now one. :-) Here are the pictures from this trip.
On June 7th Timber and I headed over to Menlo Park to check out the Sunset Magazine open house. It cost $15 each and it was totally packed. But they had lots of displays, including the concept cottage, outdoor kitchens, gardens, etc... They also had lots of booths, food, and other goodies. Overall I would definitely check it out again. I just have to get my mom down here for the next one. Here are the pictures we took that day.
Here are the photos from our Alaska trip in May.

Portage Glacier

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
I'm still catching up from our trip to Alaska in May. Toward the end of May (the 30th to be exact) we went over to check out Portage Glacier with my brother and his wife. It is about an hour's drive south of Anchorage. They have a boat that will take you out on to Portage Lake and will then zoom around the lake until you get to Portage Glacier which is flowing in to Portage Lake. This is a very popular spot with tourists because it is easily accessible from Anchorage. After we did the boat ride we drove through the tunnel into Whittier (where the weather is always shittier) and checked that small, gloomy town. We ate at a cafe that has the slowest service known to man and then we went back to Anchorage. Overall it was a fun excursion for the day.

September 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Contact Info:
email: tom.carroll[at]gmail.com
Y! IM: tomcarroll_95123
AOL IM: parb0y77
Skype: troutm8
Campfire: link


Adventure Race
Desolation Wilderness
Eastern Sierras
Half Dome
Hetch Hetchy
John Muir Wilderness
Lost Coast
Mount Shasta[2][3]
Mount Whintey
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
Skyline to the Sea Trail
White Mountain Peak[1][2]
Clouds Rest