15g Coffee Filter

Being a Yorkshire man to the bone I generally have nothing but tea flowing through my veins. For most walks my standard pack includes four Yorkshire tea bags for every day.

Lately though I’ve discovered the joy of sitting outside at my evenings Wildcamp drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee. And as much as I normally prefer tea, I have to say that fresh coffee just rounds a day in the hills off perfectly.

So I’ve been on the look out for a cheap lightweight coffee filter.

I spotted the ‘MSR Mugmate’ on Amazon which looked perfect, but baulked at paying £16 for a piece of plastic and gauze. But a quick search revealed that identical unbranded filters sell for less than £6. so I ordered something called the Finum Brewing Basket.


It’s really intended for brewing with loose tea, but works perfectly with ground coffee. It also fits perfectly inside my Alpkit titanium mug, bridged across the opening and holding the bottom of the filter just off the bottom of the mug.

Basically it’s just a plastic frame holding a fine stainless steel mesh basket. Holds back the coffee grounds very well, and easily washed in the dish washer at the end of a trip. It also comes with a lid which doubles as a drip tray once you remove it from your mug.

At only 15 grams, and for less than £6 including postage, it’s now a standard item in my pack.

And as for MSR……well they can keep their logo if it’s going to cost me an extra £10 for the privilege.

Weekend stroll along the Northumberland Coast Path

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Last weekend I spent a couple of days backpacking the Northumberland Coast Path, and it was such a delightful and peaceful walk that I’m simply going to let the photos sum it up. I highly recommend this as a gentle few days coastal walking, spending the nights sleeping under the stars to the rhythmic sound of the tide. Continue reading

Fire Maple FMS-117T stove : Gear Failure

Fire Maple 117T titanium stove

Fire Maple 117T titanium stove

The Fire Maple 117T remote canister stove has been my main stove for the past couple of years and overall I’ve been extremely pleased with it’s performance. Recently however part of the remote valve has become detached rendering the whole stove unusable. In the absence of spare parts it may now be destined for the bin. Continue reading

The Cuben Crisis – MLD Duomid Pole Mk2

Camped on top of Whernside

Camped on top of Whernside

A month or so ago I posted about a new pole set up my MLD Duomid. This used a length of carbon fibre pole to join a new pair of trekking poles I’d bought (Fizan Broad Peak). It was a neat solution and very light.

After a couple of nights recently in extremely high winds, I’ve been forced to go back to the drawing board and look again for a solution. And it’s forced me to think about one of the major short-comings of Cuben fibre as a tent material. It just doesn’t ‘give’. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 : Gear – used & bruised

Taking a break on Carn Mairg

Taking a break on Carn Mairg

Overall I think I pretty much got my kit right for this yeas TGO Challenge. Most things worked pretty well, not many went unused, and I can’t think of anything I forgot.

Anyway here’s a quick summary of how I got on with some of the gear I took. I’m only going to comment on items I’ve started using this year, or one’s which excelled or expired. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Route Review Days 10 to 14

River Tilt, still trying to find somewhere safe to cross

River Tilt, and I’m still trying to find somewhere safe to cross

At this point last year on the TGO Challenge, my head gently started to steer thoughts towards the coast. This year was different, I wanted to delay the finish as long as I could, pack in as much as possible.

Before that however there was the little matter of finding my last five days food which I’d hidden over a month earlier near Baddoch Burn over 20 km east of Glen Tilt. And to get there I first needed to find a place to cross the river. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Route Review Days 5 to 9

Sunset from camp at the end of Day 7 below Carn Gorm

Sunset from camp at the end of Day 7 below Carn Gorm

If I had to choose a favourite part of this years TGO route I’d take liberties and say the whole of the middle four days. But ahead of those there was the matter of that appalling weather which had arrived on day 3. It was still there thrashing around my tent as I awoke on day 5 and showed no signs of blowing itself out yet.  Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Route in review, Days 1 to 4


Looking West from the top of An Stac out towards Eigg and Rum

Looking West from the top of An Stac out towards Eigg and Rum

Less than 2 hours into the TGO Challenge I was sat catching my breath at the top of An Stac (814 m), gazing westwards over Loch Ailort towards the islands of Eigg and Rum rising from a perfectly blue sea. It was one of those views which makes you smile from within, a view you don’t want to turn your back on for fear it will fade from memory.

If there is a perfect start to a Coast to Coast backpack, this was a close as I’ve ever experienced. Thinking about it now I only wish I’d had more time just to sit awhile and take it in. But there were another 5 corbetts ahead of me on that first day, and so with reluctance I turned my attention east and started the steep descent ahead of the next. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 – Stats and Random Facts

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

Meall Mor, on the ridge between Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle

After last years mammoth (lazy) write up which took a staggering 9 months to complete, I’m taking a different tack this year and writing a few themed posts rather than a blow by blow account of each day. This is mainly because this years TGO was very different to my first, a quite solitary affair, and so the walking itself was a very personal experience.

I’ll probably write a post on the route itself, another on how gear faired etc…but let’s start with some stats about the trek and some random factoids. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 completed


Yesterday I finished the 2015 TGO Challenge at Dunnottar Castle on the east coast of Scotland.

This was my second TGO Challenge and in almost all ways couldn’t have been more different from my first coast to coast crossing last year. I’d planned a high level route this time, and that combined with more extreme weather, some high winds and cold air temperatures made it a much more challenging trek. Continue reading