I am just getting into backpacking and the concept of "Ultralight'

 I've done a lot of camping in the past, so I have all the heavy stuff. I've a limited budget, so most of my stuff is DIY or cheap bargain gear.

I am currently getting a hammock setup. I've some photos of my mis-adventures in my back yard.

In album Hammock Camping Tweaks

I like this setup. Easy up, easy down. pretty functional in the weather too.

I’ve even tested space blankets.

The little ones LOVE the hammock. It’s a lot of fun to hang out in.

I’ve done extensive research on sleeping gear.

I’ve spent the night in the woods with nothing more than a space blanket & really big mosquitoes. It sucked.

This is my older tent. It’s Huge. And Heavy – 47lbs. I could park a car inside if I could figure out how to get it through the door.

I own a couple of large tents. The kids love this one, it has a doggy door and play tunnel on the back side.

I’ve made my own under-quilts for hammocks. This one is a mylar space blanket and green bubble wrap. I’ve used it on single degree nights with a wool blanket on top of me in the hammock. I was cold, but I made it the night.

I’ve made and weighed my home made gear. This is a large tarp made out of window insulation film and duct tape. This tarp is my main shelter now when I go out.

I made a bathtub floor for sleeping on the ground if I was so inclined.

Space Blanket tarp made from 2 cheap blankets taped together and duct tape tie-outs. When used right, it can make the difference between a cold night and a really cold night.

Half a dozen tent stakes.

I’ve even weighed the bag. It was free, I will use it until I find something lighter for cheaper.

Under 4 lbs. for this shelter. Not great, but much better than the 47 lbs tent I hiked a mile into the woods once…

Taken during a ‘Blue Moon’. A clear roof means you can star gaze and stay dry. I turned on the flash so you can see the tarp.

New Spark Plugs for Trucklet

The trucklet wouldn’t start. The battery finally gave up I think. I had trouble with it over the 4th of July weekend and am actually surprised it lasted this long.

As long as I was home from work for a day and needed to work on the vehicle, I did some other things to it as well.


It’s 110,000 miles on original sparkplugs. Hey, I got 108,000 on the original tires.

I’d been dreading the sparkplugs since the day I bought the trucklet. The salesman at the dealer looked at me funny when I popped the hood and swore. I have easy access to the front 3 plugs, but the back three I can barely see and can’t touch at all. I got the vehicle anyhow, knowing that one day I’d need to take the top of the engine off to replace the plugs.

The intake manifold needs to come off to replace the plugs
The intake manifold needs to come off to replace the plugs. It’s a dozen bolts and half a dozen hoses and wires. Not to hard, actually.
Tip the manifold back and bungie strap it
Tip the manifold back and bungie strap it. A bit of fuel line can be used to start the plugs so they don’t cross-thread.
All done and put back together. And the best part, it runs!
All done and put back together. And the best part, it runs!
The old plugs look a bit worn.
The old plugs look a bit worn. The color is the same between all of them, which is good.

My neighbor came over and helped with moral support, expensive tools, and sage advice. It probably would have taken twice as long and not been as good of a job without him.

Essential Oils set I want

A friend of mine has recently ‘gotten into’ essential oils. Like anything, if you are going to be an addict, you just as well be a dealer. She created living-essence.us so go check it out!

EOs are an extension of herbalism, which I’ve been studying in the last couple of years. This means, she’s sucking me down the rabbit hole with her. I’ve avoided the EOs so far, as they are terribly expensive.

Recently my girls where under the weather, and she sent home her travel kit with me over the weekend. I fell in love with this little kit.

I am in love. I am going to get me a set just like it. I am going to carry it everywhere. In a little zippered pouch smaller than the size of a point and shoot camera, she had the following.

  • Lemon (I’m going to go with Clove instead)
  • Peppermint
  • Melaleuca
  • Lavender
  • Deep Blue (for aches and pains)
  • On-Guard (Immunity booster)
  • Digest Zen
  • Terra Shield (Bug spray)


I can’t afford to get the whole kit at once, so I am going to piecemeal it together in about 4 stages.

Cute little buggers, aren't they?
My first three bottles of oils. Tiny, aren’t they?

My first indulgence is of the Melaleuca, Peppermint & Terra Shield. I am going to learn what these three can do for me very well before I get my next round.

I don’t have a carry case for these yet. I have a 3d printer. So you can guess where this is going. My first draft case is rendered thusly.

A parametric design that can be found at https://github.com/creuzerm/openscad-projects/blob/master/living-essence.us_case.scad
A temporary home
The 2nd case I printed for these 3 EOs. I buggered my my first print.

Busted! Again!

The mirror print bed broke when I tried to heat the bed up to ABS temps. It looks like a 2nd temp sensor is just a touch high and created a stress point. PLA temps didn't cause any problems with it.

One thing I noticed is when I used just the shard of mirror, the temperature quickly climbed that last 10 degrees. The temperature sensor was no longer under the mirror. The mirror must be radiating heat faster than the plain PCB board? Anybody have any science on this?

I put 2 pieces of tape down to hold some heat around the part as the printer is out in the open in my cold basement. I got a lot less lifting printing straight to glass with a bit of hairspray than I expected.

In album 2013-08-01

Broken bits of my print surface laying on the edge of the aquarium next to my printer. It’s a cheap IKEA mirror tile, so I will cut another and edge it this time. I also will adjust the sensor that the glass broke over.

Printing on a shard of my broken bed. The blue tape is to create a warm pocket of air to reduce ABS curl.

This part lifted surprisingly little for it’s shape & printing in an open basement. Less than a mm lift that worked back less than a cm. First print with the ABS after switching from PLA, so I am sure the first few layers where contaminated with PLA and I didn’t have the temps tuned right for clean printing.