Categories
Miscellaneous geekery Tabletop RPGs

Gaming bag additions and second impressions

I’ve had a chance to use my new Tom Bihn Pilot as a gaming bag twice now, and I’ve made a couple additions.

I can also confirm that everything I loved about the bag when it first arrived still holds true: This is a great bag!

Carrying it around has made me noticed something else about it that I really dig, too: the strap. I’m using the standard strap (which it came with), and I’ve found that when worn cross-body, I can keep the pad on my shoulder while sliding just the bag around to the front — the pad holds its grip, and the strap slides through it. That’s awesome for getting into it without taking it off.

Paracord silencer zipper pulls

Zippers are jingly! I don’t like being jingly. But Tom Bihn uses lovely zippers, and I didn’t want to snip off the pulls and replace them (the quietest option). So I knocked together some paracord (paid link) silencers:

The bag came with a baggie full of shock cord zipper pulls, but I prefer paracord to shock cord for zipper pulls.

I don’t know much about knots, so I used a simple overhand knot.[1] I trimmed the ends and melted them with a lighter to seal them up. (Folks who are into paracord crafts can do much, much cooler knots and finer sealing, but this is good enough for me.)

To add a bit of character, and to make it easy to distinguish the center pocket zipper from the two nearby front pocket zippers just by feel, I added a brass Hinderer Mount St. Helens bead to it. I love mountains, and Washington, and Mount St. Helens ticks both boxes. I chose brass because it’s one of my favorite metals, particularly because of how it patinas and takes on a life of its own through use.

By happy chance, the length that looked good to me — roughly 2.5″ — also happens to be just about perfect for keeping that center pocket pull from hitting the ground when the pocket is open:

That length is also pleasing in-hand, and makes the zippers a breeze to pull in both directions.

Hydration and tokens

I thought the Nalgene N-Gen (paid link) would be a perfect fit for the dedicated water bottle pocket, and it is! The mouth of the bottle is a bit bigger than I’d like,[2] but small enough that it shouldn’t be too easy to slop water all over myself while walking around.

I’ve got a host of tokens I use for games, from clay composite poker chips (paid link) to little glass beads to coins, but they tend to be heavy. Koplow mini poker chips (paid link) are about the size of a penny and come in a variety of colors, and a tube of 50 weighs 1.1 oz.

Here they are together:

I’ll be bringing this bag on the road to Go Play NW this weekend, and I can’t wait to see how it does as a day bag for a convention.

[1] More accurately, I used “a knot that seemed okay,” and then looked up what it was called.

[2] In between Nalgene’s wide and narrow options, but closer in size to the wide/standard mouth.

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

Pfeifferhorn

Today my friend Christian and I hiked up Pfeifferhorn (Utah, 11,326 feet), my second elevener and the third-highest peak in the Wasatch range. It’s a 9-mile round trip with quite a bit of elevation gain (about 3,700 feet in 4.5 miles); my ass feels pleasantly kicked.

Pictured below is the sight that greets you when you get your first full look at the summit: the “bridge in the sky,” a knife ridge of jumbled boulders you have to traverse to reach the trail to the summit, and what I called the “wall of death” — the actual summit route, which looked impossible from here.

Neither were as bad as they looked. The boulders were actually a lot of fun, and up close there’s plenty of options to get up the final 600 feet or so. My route took me up the white line roughly in the center, the one that has green scrub just to the left of it.

Categories
Fitness Hiking Peakbagging

First summit over 10,000 feet

When I started hiking again last year, I came up with a plan: Get to the point where I could hike up Utah’s highest mountain, King’s Peak (13,534 feet and a 30-mile backcountry hike), this year. The plan was basically 1) hike up mountains, 2) keep going higher, 3) do some backcountry camping, 4) get in better shape.

I won’t bore you with the fourth one, but I’ve been doing the first one since October, with lots of lessons learned along the way. But I don’t have the expertise to hike up higher peaks in winter, so I waited for this summer to start on the second one in earnest. The tallest peak I summited last year was Mt. Olympus, 9,026 feet.

Today, over the course of a 9-mile hike, I summited my first peak above 10,000 feet: Mt. Raymond, 10,241 feet. It’s got a slightly higher neighbor, Gobblers Knob (10,246 feet), so when I got back to the pass that links them, I summited that one as well.

Prior to these two peaks, the highest I’d ever stood was 10,023 feet, the top of Haleakala in Maui. But I didn’t hike up that — I drove up with my wife, on our honeymoon. It was fun to beat that height!

Next week I’m going to hit number three, a two-day backpacking trip built around summiting Mt. Timpanogos. Mt. Timpanogos is 11,749 feet, which — assuming I make it up and back — will be my highest solo summit, the highest point I’ve ever stood, and the first time I’ve backpacked in about 22 years.

The picture above was taken at the summit of Mt. Raymond, looking west. (It’s a lot better than the tired selfie I took atop Gobblers, because I wasn’t as bushed and I didn’t take this one.)