Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gear Talk - Test your gear!

On the end of last post, I have started to talk about the testing gears before actual use. I think this is a good topic to cover, so let me talk bit about it.

(Note: the methods and all I share here are how I do and what I think is good enough. but since I am not professional on this field, I can not say that it is correct information. Therefore I can not take any responsibility over what you do based on the posts of this blog. please understand that all you do are your own responsibility at your own risk. Also understand that test is a test. The result never can ensure the out come of real use situation.)

There are many different ways I test my gears and of cause, the test methods differs on type of gear. but usually, I go through 2 different (in some case 3) stages of testings. first the Moderation test and then  the Field test.

These 2 I have mentioned on last post as well, but will explain them in more detail.

Moderation test:
This is a test I perform in "Moderate" condition. usually done at home, inside or out side. Done in fairly comfortable situation for the gear and myself.

Field test:
This I perform after the moderation test and on the actual field, usually done during short hike or day trip. So can simulate the real use condition better but in case of failure, it does not cause serious problem. 

I also have mentioned the 3rd test. this test is applicable only for DIY or self modified gears and done during making or modification process. Kind of equivalent to unit testing that I test the part which I finish making as it's done.

let me give you an example, so can get the idea what exactly I do...

For the case of shelter:
Moderation test ;
on my backyard, flat and evenly soiled ground, day light, no rain condition. set up the shelter as i intend to use.
- all parts are available and correctly usable
- how to set up.(set it up and down several times to practice. get comfortable with process.)
- how well it stands. (shake it, push it, pull it... see what happens. understand the limit.)
- spray the water or wait for the weather to turn :) (use garden water spray in different settings, distance, shower water to shelter, directly or indirectly, understand the limit.)
(FYI: some shelter has rain resistance indicated with "mm". 500mm is about light raining. 1000mm is about normal rain 1500mm strong rain.)
- sleep in it if you can (nothing tells you better than spending night in it!)

canvas poncho shelter testing under real thunderstorm
testing different configurations
testing different configurations 

Field test;

On the field where typically I would go, choose spot as real case scenario, set it up as fast as possible.
- select few different set up spot option and try it all.
- try different set up configuration (if shelter allows) and see if all parts are sufficient to accommodate all. 
- how well it stands. (shake it, push it, pull it... see what happens. understand the limit.)
- sleep in it if you can (nothing tells you better than spending night in it!)
This shelter was field tested during 2 nights trip. had good shelter next to it in case of fail.
the example was for my DIY shelters, but basic idea of how I test is the same for all other equipment. like back pack and bags, check and test at home, loaded up max, carry it around the house, see how I feel. then take it to short trip, check same thing.

As I have written like this, it sounds like I do extensive testing process on every gear on one go. In reality, I do it as the chance comes along. like the German army poncho shelter, I did not really do the moderation test because the poncho has been in use for some time as temporary shelter and the risk getting in to trouble because of the shelter was very low on that trip, as there was permanent laavu next to it. 

Well... I think you get the idea of how much preparation I put on my gears.  Outdooring, camping, trekking, bushcrafting... all are suppose to be fun and enjoyable.You don't want your gear giving you a hard time or disturbing your precious outing, do you?

1 comment:

  1. Well, you certainly are quite thorough with your testing, which is very good. Otherwise, it's just not possible to know how new gear or modifications will stand up in real use. Thanks for sharing.