Route taken – Eridge to Colemans Hatch
distance covered – 14 km approx
time – 4.5 hours
I arrived in Eridge after negotiating Croyden in the morning rush hour and it was a delight to exit the station and be straight into the countryside,with birds singing and the lovely smell of late autumn hanging in the air.The route i had chosen is one that it well trodden my me so it was a joy to walk has i could drift off into thought and not have to worry about navigation. In fact the map never came out.
The walk started of promising with quite a few fungi about,sadly none edible but by the time i reached the forest there were none to be seen,but i did find a apple tree laden with lovely sweet small apples and managed to fight my way through the nettles and brambles to harvest 1.5 kg. There was a chilled wind blowing from the North today which kept temperatures down but a delightful day.
Anyway to the important stuff. I was testing a few bits of kit today,i had the Honey stove from Backpackinglight.co.uk to test for the first time and i was giving my icebreaker 150g merino baselayer a second workout. Also on test were a pair of sealskinz socks which i have used before and wanted to try them out again.
So first up ill talk about the socks. I used these before and was not that impressed with them so i thought i would give them another try.Through out the day i made sure that i walked through as many puddles and mud as i could and i had dry warm feet.The last test was a ford just before the pub and the end of my walk so i thought here goes nothing so i walked straight through. On the other side my shoes were waterlogged but my feet felt dry even though they were cold now. About 100 meters up the road i stopped to take my shoes off and check my feet. The sealskinz were soaked through but my feet were only slightly damp,so the socks aren’t waterproof but they do keep out most of the water,not sure if i would use them in the wilds of scotland [ so 2.5 puppy’s on the rating scale ].
Next up the icebreaker 150g s/s top. The start of the day was quiet chilly but within about half hour of walking i was soon warm and getting a bit of a sweat on.The top kept me warm and dry through out the day even when it was soaked with sweat. It dried out quickly when i stopped for my coffee break.So far ive been impressed with this top but the ultimate test will be a extended trip to see how it will cope with smell.[4.5 puppy’s ]
Last up is the Honey stove. This was the first time i had used it and the construction of it took 3.11 minutes and was very simply.It took 15 minutes to boil 500ml of water in my snowpeak mug.By the time i had finished coffee the stove was cool enough to touch and put away.It took about a large handful of smallish twigs to bring the water to the boil and there was still enough heat too have boiled a bigger pot.
After having used the Honey stove for the first time my thoughts are that its a great stove,it’s cheap[£30]compared to the bushbuddy and the qvist stove,it packs flat[ very useful ]and of course you can use multi fuel systems with it[ i hope to get some esbit fuel tabs and try them ]. The joy of wood burning stoves is that they are silent so you don’t shut out the sound of nature,unlike gas stoves which roar like lions. Over the next few months i hope to get myself a alcohol stove and try out some different systems and work out the best one for me. The downside of the Honey stove is that it is heavy compared to other systems but if you are on a budget and want a wood burning stove this could be the one for you. [ 4 puppy’s]