Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3 v. Skyledge 3 Review

July 23rd, 2011


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Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3.

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Mountain Hardwear Skyledge.

We took two Mountain Hardwear tents on our recent bike tour: A Mountain Hardware Drifter and Mountain Hardware Skyledge. They were both wonderful tents. (A huge improvement over our old Sierra Designs Flashlight and even older Eureka Timberline.) Mountain Hardwear makes great tents.

They were both watertight, lightweight, and had two doors. The two doors cannot be beat. The widespread use of netting rather than ripstop means both tents were very close to as cool as can be in the heat. Both have large vestibules when the flies are pitched.

I'm over six feet all and Gerty is not petite. There was plenty of room for us in both of these tents -- they are, supposedly the three-man versions.

Which is better?

The Drifter ($194.95) is a great, simple tent. No tent is easier to set up. It has two matching poles. Sturdy enough. Very light. The opaque side panels are tall enough to provide privacy even in cramped campgrounds on a hot night. Stephen said he thought there was less cross ventilation because of those panels but I have trouble believing there was significantly less. The footprint is a piece of ripstop.

The Skyledge ($424.95) is another great tent. It is made for ultralightweight backpacking. It doesn't seem quite as sturdy as the Drifter -- I'll bet the Drifter lasts longer -- but the weight shaving doesn't compromise useability. The Skyledge has a bit less floor area but an additional short pole across the top (in addition to two cross poles like the Drifter) makes the difference unnoticeable in use. The Skyledge packs a bit smaller. The footprint is olefin -- very light but makes noise when you're unfolding it.

The only thing I would change about either tent is to make the tent poles fold small enough to fit inside a pannier. This is minor and a personal preference: the poles fit easily on top of a rack.

All in all, I would buy the Drifter and save the money. The weight saved by the Skyledge (less than half a pound?) just isn't big enough to make it worth an extra $200.

God's Law School

July 22nd, 2011


I wondered a few months ago about what sort of law school Michele Bachman might have managed to graduate from.

Sarah Posner sheds some light.

Whatever You Do, Don't Show Him The Queen of Hearts

July 22nd, 2011


If a Nobel laureate can't figure out what Obama's doing, how am I or any other Democrat supposed to?

My latest theory is that he is a sleeper agent for Grover Norquist.

Ah, well.

The Cyclotrope

July 18th, 2011



[via Bike Lane Diary] Bike wheel animation. (The title is derived, I believe, from various other "tropes" once used create animations.) The creator, Tim Wheatley, has a blog called the Cyclotrope Project.


July 18th, 2011

I supported Obama over Clinton because I didn't want another four years of "triangulating," reinforcing moronic Reaganesque ideas, and failing to provide progressive leadership.

Even if Clinton was (or is) what I thought Clinton was, she couldn't have been as spineless and incompetent as Obama has proven to be.

Goofed again.

Shakespeare, Tolstoy, And J. K. Rowling

July 15th, 2011

I thought the first four Harry Potter books were wonderful children's literature. The last three were sorry, pretentious, detestable dreck.

Little did I know the Harry Potter books and movies were not in fact juvenile literature. Rather, they are the pinnacle of Western Civilization. J. K. Rowling belongs in the pantheon of great writers. And all literature and movies are now best discussed in terms of Harry Potter.

Just so you know.

Salt Lake City Pedestrian Precautions

July 15th, 2011

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This is for real. In downtown Salt Lake, near Squatters. There were flags available on either side of the crosswalk.

If a pedestrian is hit in a crosswalk without a flag, is it the pedestrian's fault?

Bill Cunningham New York

July 15th, 2011


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Until I saw the film "Bill Cunningham New York", I had never heard of Bill Cunningham. When I learned he was a "fashion photographer," Gerty had to drag me to the theater to see the film at all.


A very interesting man living a unique and modest life and whose work, to which he is utterly dedicated, is extraordinarily prominent.

I wouldn't say the film was excellent but learning about Bill Cunningham made it one of the best films I have seen in the last couple years.

From the NYTimes review:

[H]is life is one of monastic solitude and simplicity.

He owns what look to be roughly five articles of clothing. (His signature piece is the same royal blue workman’s jacket worn by Parisian street sweepers, which sells for about $20 and comes in a plastic bag.) He favors $3 lunches. Until he moved, when Carnegie Hall reclaimed the artists’ residences there for other uses, he lived in a tiny studio with no kitchen and with a bathroom down the hall. He gets around on an old bicycle and sleeps on a cot surrounded by filing cabinets containing every negative of every shot he has ever taken. And yet somehow the patrician image is further burnished by the radical lifestyle. He’s an aesthete and an ascetic, a member of the establishment and a bohemian, and among the last of his kind.