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July 2021 Issue
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Closed cell foam mats are the best

Our reader of the month wins a Gasmate Travelmate II Deluxe Twin Stove with hotplate worth $149 from

Letter of the month

Closed cell foam mats are the best

I still have my 10mm closed cell foam mattress from 40 years ago. It was the bees-knees when it came out, with all the attributes mentioned in the article (‘The multipurpose mattress’, June 2021), but I think the author undersells the insulating properties of CCF. 

I have slept in an ice cave, a snow trench, and permafrost ground without an issue of cold penetration on my CCF. I have a slightly heavier inflatable now for comfort, not warmth and it is 1/8th the volume. Will it be around in 40 years? I doubt it.

I suspect the R-values may be a guide, good for comparing similar mats but they don’t truly reflect real-life outdoor sleeping where a bony hip can compress a comparable weight air inflatable substantially reducing its ability to keep you warm. 

As the author says: it’s hard to beat a CCF.

– Steve Edmonds

More choice for bigger gear

It was good to read the article and editorial on plus size clothing (‘Go big or go home’, May 2021). 

As a woman who enjoys the outdoors, yet is definitely plus-sized, I struggle to find outdoor clothing that fits. 

I want to be able to get technical clothing that is safe and comfortable outdoors. I also want to be able to get more choice in colours. Men’s clothing tends to be darker, khaki-based. I like brighter, lighter, more feminine colours like pink, purple, light blue, peach etc.

I looked at the Stoney Creek range and I would fit the men’s 7XL size if they had any left. But it’s all khaki-coloured. I want to stand out in the bush, not blend in! It’s safer. 

Why is it OK for men to be big and active but not women? Women should be able to get clothing made for women in a range of sizes, styles and colours.

Hopefully, next summer will be different. It’s difficult to go into outdoor shops, hoping against hope that something might fit, and it’s way too small. 

In the article, the author advised readers wanting greater choice in plus-size clothing to tell the retailers, but the shame of being too big can make it hard to speak up.

I took the author’s advice and emailed Stoney Creek and Bivouac Outdoor and was told it would be passed on to the relevant people. 

– Rita Davidson

Good luck finding the clothing you need, Rita. Wilderness will be following up later in the year to see if anything has changed with regards to plus-size clothing choice. If you’re a plus-sized reader, do like Rita and get in touch with outdoor retailers and manufacturers to let them know you need greater choice.

Turn back before it’s too late

The article ‘I think you should turn around’ (June 2021) brought back memories of mountain running in the Tararua Range. In training for the Southern Crossing race, I began a run to Bridge Peak. But faced with atrocious conditions even below the bushline, I realised it was only safe to get to Field Hut, have a brew and then return to the car park. 

What was gratifying was the stream of trampers coming down the hill, proactively trying to turn me back or warning me not to go above Field Hut. Good on them.

This was on June 14, 2009, the day when Te Papa boss Seddon Beddington and his partner perished due to exposure further up the same ridge. 

– Peter Stevens

Luxe meals a winner

The web-exclusive ‘Confessions of a luxury tramper’ (April 23), inspired me to share with you one of my own outdoor buddies.

Sure, he can be a pain to deal with when he pulls steak out of his pack, wanting to cook it with the little gas we have carried in and carefully calculated to melt enough snow for our dehydrated meals. But we definitely don’t complain when we get offered fresh mandarins (peeled on request, too) or perfect avocados at lunchtime. Or when dinner gets cooked up with two heads of broccoli and six different types of halloumi.

However, while we carry all our personal food out of the hills again, we do grumble a little about why he couldn’t have told us what he had planned beforehand. 

And how, with the extra food weight in his pack, is he able to keep ahead of us while also face-timing his parents and building cairns on the trail?

– Lauren Smith

High court decision the right call

Buller Tramping Club is rapt with the recent High Court decision against helicopter flights and heli-biking in Paparoa National Park. There’s enough challenges with some mountain bikers putting trampers at risk (by speeding and also not letting trampers know of them coming up from behind), without choppers dropping them off near Croesus Hut.

Our profuse thanks to Federated Mountain Clubs and Forest and Bird who challenged DOC’s dodgy process and ill-advised support for recreational flights and landings. DOC’s flawed reasoning: they wanted to support increased visitor use of the Paparoa Track. You would think the new Great Walk was busy enough!

This excellent decision has interesting implications for the Mokihinui Catchment, recently added to Kahurangi National Park. Many local people, and BTC members, are increasingly unhappy about excessive helicopter flights ruining quiet enjoyment as mountain bikers are dropped off to huts, arriving late in the day and annoying those who have biked or walked all the way there.

– Linda Grammer, secretary Buller Tramping Club