Comparison of Performance Kibbles

Finding information on performance kibbles can be overwhelming and the most obvious ones such as Purina and Redpaw routinely sponsor athletes and elites or offer discount programs for breeders as well as large kennel facilities. Also, not all the brands offer the same information.

It is said that a hiker should have about a calorie density of about 5 kCal/g which means typical backpacker’s meal need to be about 30-40% fat. Since protein and carbohydrate are 4 kCal per pgram, they are not a very efficient source of energy. Fat has more calorie than protein and carbohydrate combined at 9 kCal per gram.

Unsurprisingly online, there is is a bit of a rabble about low-carbohydrate diet and athleticism. This lends itself to some pretty gruesome meals which most weekend warriors do not want to touch such as drinking olive oil and heavy cream shakes. Competitive people, on the other hand, will do whatever it takes to cross the finish line.

Similarly, one shouldn’t be surprised which dog food which also increases in fat percentage as calorie density goes up. It is said by the Inuits sled dogs not fed blubbers are poor runners. Similarly, Russian aboriginals are known to sustain their dogs almost entirely on frozen fish.

Unfortunately, aside from AAFCO and FEDIAF protocols, there is no real standard. The only things regulated are the following labels: Puppy/Reproduction, Adult Maintenance, and Light or Low Calorie. “All Life Stages” are essentially puppy kibbles due to the guidelines. As a catch-all phrase, the Adult Maintenance food is disguised as kibbles for dieting. There are no regulations in regard to what constitute as “Senior”, “Large Breed”, “Performance” or any of the other trendy phrases on the market.

Some manufacturers include calories from carbohydrates, others only calculate derived from fat and protein while a select few actually has the resources to examine metabolism in a laboratory setting. Results vary quite a bit. For this reason, breaking down the percentage of each macronutrient become crucial.

There are a few caveats: large corporations much despised by dedicated dog owners such as Iams, Eukanuba, Royal Canin and NutriSource often have much more accurate nutritional analyses. Paradoxically, going low carbohydrate does increase the calorie density of the products up to a point where the trade-offs are often diarrhea and kidney problems. Since high-protein diets such as EVO, Orijen, Solid Gold and Wellness CORE are popular, let’s stack them against other competitors.

Let us set the bar at dry kibbles which do not need to be rehydrated. Dehydrated foods are popular in the raw feeding community amongst campers, but hikers will quickly find dehydrated raw foods are not that great nutritionally when space in the rucksack becomes a premium. Kibbles, by far, are the most calorie-dense of all the commercial dog foods ideal for backpacking or long distance hiking. Canned food are bulky, heavy and must be packed out, and wet foods or raw do not keep for long outside the refrigerator.

Popular brands for performance-bred dogs with inconsistent calculations such as Black Gold and Sportmix are excluded. Claims of high-calorie density with less than 15% fat, such as Ol’ Roy, are also not listed here. Puppy kibbles are largely not included even though they are often used as substitutes in absent of high-quality performance kibbles. When one compares brands, puppy kibbles are the highest in protein and fats.

Here are some of the brands which are popular in mushing, hunting, agility and other dog sports:

Brand Product Calories (kCal/kg) Protein (%) Fat (%) Fibre (%)
Acana Sport & Agility 3505 35 24 4.0
ANF Performance ———— 30 20 3.5
Annamaet Aqualuk 3951 30 16 3.5
Annamaet Encore 3887 25 14 4.0
Annamaet Extra 3992 26 16 3.5
Annamaet Manitok 3912 30 16 3.5
Annamaet Salcha 3980 30 16 3.5
Annamaet Ultra 4228 30 20 3.0
Diamond Hi-Energy 3820 24 20 5.0
Diamond Performance 3982 30 20 3.0
Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete 4710 32 25 4.0
Dr. Tim’s Kinesis 3750 26 16 3.0
Dr. Tim’s Kinesis Grain-Free 3750 32 18 3.0
Dr. Tim’s Momentum 4630 35 25 3.0
Dr. Tim’s Pursuit 3945 30 20 3.0
Dr. Tim’s RPM 3535 32 17 3.0
Eagle Pack Power Adult 3840 30 19 4.5
EVO Herring & Salmon 3821 43 18 3.0
EVO Red Meat Formula 3976 44 24 0.4
EVO Turkey & Chicken 4051 48 22 0.6
Inukshuk 26/16 3500 26 16 3.5
Inukshuk 30/25 4012 30 25 3.5
Inukshuk 32/32 4505 32 32 3.0
Kenetic Active 26k 3910 26 16 3.0
Kenetic Puppy 28k 3829 28 15 3.0
Kenetic Power 30k 4065 30 20 3.0
Kenetic Ultra 32k 4193 32 24 3.0
Kent Active Dog  3748  27  18  3.0
Kobuk Formula One 4200 30 20 2.0
Kobuk Formula 25-15 3900 25 15 2.2
Kobuk Power 30-20 4000 30 20 3.5
Kobuk Young and Active 4100 28 18 2.0
Members’ Mark Exceed Performance ———— 30 20 4.0
Native Level 1 3610 24 14 4.0
Native Level 2 3660 26 16 4.0
Native Level 3 3900 30 20 3.5
Native Level 3 Puppy 3900 30 20 3.5
Native Level 4 4130 35 25 3.0
NutriSource Peformance 4226 30 20 5.0
NutriSource Super Peformance 4230 32 21 7.0
Nutro High Endurance 3820 30 20 3.5
Orijen Adult 3900 38 18 5.0
Orijen Regional Red 3990 38 18 5.0
Orijen Six Fish 4020 38 18 5.0
Orijen Tundra 3840 38 18 5.0
Purina ProPlan Active 26/16 3919 26 16 3.0
Purina ProPlan Active 28/18 4160 28 18 3.0
Purina ProPlan Performance 30/20 4178 30 20 3.0
Purina ProPlan Performance 30/20 – Salmon and Rice 4250 30 20 3.0
Realtree High Performance 4190 30 25 3.0
Redpaw PowerEdge 26K 4255 26 18 3.5
Redpaw PowerEdge 32K 4343 32 20 3.5
Redpaw PowerEdge 38K 4605 38 25 3.5
Royal Canin PRO Endurance 4800 4346 30 28 3.8
Solid Gold Barking at the Moon 3855 41 20 4.0
Victor High Energy 3946 24 20 3.8
Victor Hi-Pro Plus 3894 30 20 3.8
Victor Nutra Pro 38 3909 38 18 3.5
Victor Performance Formula 3815 26 18 3.8
Victor Professional 3834 26 18 3.8
Victor Ultra 3964 42 22 2.7
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Ocean 3630 34 16 6.0
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original 3660 34 16 4.0
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wild Game 3734 34 18 6.0

Disclaimer: Formulas and their nutritional compositions are often affected by food shortages and price crises. Do not expect the values to remain the same and always check the bag before purchasing. Some products on the list are left blank because neither wholesalers nor manufacturers list them on their websites. Please contact them directly for more information.

Only the fibre, fat percentage, calories and protein percentages are counted since those data are the only sets consistent across all the brands. Besides, comparatively speaking, our bodies value macronutrients more than micronutrients in times of stress. The micro are important for preventing illness, boosting the immune system and so on, yet they don’t seem to have a significant factor during crunch time; unless one is neck to neck with another athlete in a competitive sport.

As one can see, the most popular performance kibbles have a baseline of 30% protein, 20% fat, and 3 800 kCal/kg. As we go up the calorie density gradient, the higher the fat and protein ratios tend to be. There is a catch, however, as we migrate into the high 30s and low 40s for protein, one begins to find reports of kidney and bladder issues which suggest dogs, at least in the average pet homes, are not utilizing the excess and are passing it through the urine.

Ironically, grain-free kibbles also tend to have higher calories except for fish-based recipes which explain why obesity is a problem with most pet dogs today. One should feed their dogs moderately and only feed liberally when required.

Ideally Manufacturer’s Recommended Sale Price would be posted as not everyone has a wad of cash upfront. Unfortunately, those who are better off end up saving more money in the long run due to the value per 100 kCal. We would need to contact all the manufacturers on the list for a wholesale pricepoint in United States Dollar to fairly compare them.

Please do not take the list as the words of God. Each bag has varying micronutrients which can lead to either malnutrition either in the form of undernutrition or overnutrition. Some of the companies on the list have been questioned for zinc toxicity and other vitamins. The table is meant to give an idea how calories are derived from macronutrients and how each brand stack up with one another.

Hunting Support by the Numbers

Recently, a marketing company Insights West released some statistics. The media has been picking up on it. So, let’s look at the press release from the company itself as well as the actual data.

According to the news, about 91% of British Columbians and 84% of Albertans say they are oppose to trophy hunting bringing an average of 88% in the Mountain West. In the same vein, about 73% of those in B.C. and 81% in Alberta support hunting for meat bringing forth 77% shared between the two provinces.  The actual data, on the other hand, which can be downloaded as PDF, says otherwise. When we tease apart the data, we begin to see sensational reporting at play.

insightswestanimal-bc insightswestanimals-ab

The poll was conducted online sampling 1 003 adult British Columbians and 590 adult Albertans between September 18th to 21st. The data was then weighted in accordance to Canadian census for age, gender and region. The margin of error is said to be ±3.1% and ±4.1% respectively.

Of course, the reactionary accuses the polling of being only conducted in large cities. However, if one looks at statistics overall for British Columbia and Alberta, the number of anglers, hunters and gun-owners are proportionally tiny compared to the general population.  Remarkably, the rural-urban divide is not as strong as one would think. We can reasonably assume the data reflects the whole population.

While it is true that sample is a small segment of the population,  or rather less than a percent, it is unrealistic to survey everyone without conducting a lengthy census every few years.

The polls seem to indicate people have a romantic idea of hunting, and the anti-hunting tirade is a small fringe of the population as about 85% in British Columbia and 88% in Alberta of the population are okay with eating meat, while only 3% finds the practice morally or unethically wrong. The numbers for meat-hunting only drops by 7% in Alberta and 12% in British Columbia. We can conclude the vast majority of the population still support hunting.

Trophy-hunting on the other hand is subjective thus we need to tease out the data to find out where the media got their cited 91% from. Only 75% in British Columbia and 66% in Alberta strongly opposes hunting for sport. About 21% of British Columbians and 26% of Albertans are on the fence and could be swayed toward one or the other.

While the numbers are frightening for hunters, they are not all that surprising considering how many people do not hunt and even fewer know the history of the North American Model of Conservation. Ignorance can easily be addressed through educating the public about hunting laws and conservation history.

Furthermore, the question of sport-hunting is not clear. There is a strong sentiment against foreign hunters which could be reflected in the statistics. There is no distinction being made between residents and non-residents which could alter the whole parameter.

Whether or not the grizzly bear hunt will be banned is non-sequitur. Many deer hunters do not know that bear meat is edible, and non-hunters could hardly be held up to the same expectations. What need to be pushed out is grizzlies and black bears are not trophies and can be indeed eaten. Many cultures around the world widely celebrate the consumption of bears.

Standing out in the samplings is the contrast between men and women. In some aspects, there is a huge difference between the sexes. The differences is most strongly most noticeable in regard to trophy-hunting with a 20 point difference in both provinces objecting to sport hunting. The figures are the same in regard to the usage of fur in British Columbia with about 65% of women and 45% of men illustrating the consistency of the rift. The numbers in favour are a bit higher in Alberta for both genders, but the gap remains the same.

The good news: there is an insignificant amount of variations in between generations. There is a noticeable difference in the grey area surrounding eating habits, however, that is reasonable given younger people are more environmentally-conscious. We do not have a crisis on our hands.

The gender gap is more problematic because hunting is still viewed as a male-dominated hobby. There is no reason to have a 20-point or 10-point difference in some of the categories. It is about time we should start being gender-inclusive. Hunting needs feminism.

Grouse Hunting Report 09/25/2015 — 09/27/2015

Half a year ago, I made the aim of blogging about my trips to increase my outdoors credentials. Keeping records and taking photographs is not my forte, but am working to change that to make it a habit. At times, it is easier just to use Facebook to keep everyone updated, and upload pictures and gear list for the blog instead of writing out everything.

I have gone out on several trips this year, but failed to write about them.

But there are good reasons for keeping a log. It allows us to reflect on our mistakes and gives materials for us to work with in the future. Also, we get to understand the area of our travels in much further depth by comparing them to others’.

Now who is qualified to write about the outdoors is subjective. Professional and avid hunters often brag about 150 days in the field; this is no small feat and anyone who could pull it off should be applauded.  Others feel 20 to 24 days in the wilderness is sufficient. On the other hand, some feels it is the number of hours spent outside which quantify someone’s experience such as the Maine Guide Program requiring 240 hours in a calendar year or a minimum of 80 hours per year spread over a 5 years span. Whether the case, it is very clear that I need to put more time under the belt.

This year is not a great one. The trip to Finland got cancelled in part to family affairs with a lot of emotional drama involving relatives and also dealing with Finnish police’s bureaucracy. Initially, I was under the impression one can simply apply for a parallel permit and borrow one from a friend, but the process is far from simple and must be done months in advance. Taking one’s own firearm over is a headache and can take a month or two to sort out without prior preparations. Now, I understand why international hunters use bows and arrows instead of a rifle: less headache, and less paperwork.

Hunting with a dog in northern Alberta is limited to 60 days of the year before the traps are down when fur is at their prime, it is time to start putting in hours. Genetics may play a big factor in how a good dog will be at hunting; but without experience, having good genes is worthless. It is said a hunter who only goes out for one or two weekends out of a month will not have a great dog on his hand.

Since vehicular thefts and vandalism is common in the Peace country, I have started arranging to be dropped off and picked up in a designated area much like any family with only one vehicle shared amongst themselves or a travelling hunter on a DIY hunt who cannot afford to have a rental car broken into. The last thing I need is to return to a truck which disappeared.

I have two dogs which do play quite frequently, but also fight over resources. Predicting what an individual perceives as valuable is next to impossible and taking both on a camping trip is not feasible. Co-existence is all about management and understanding the dogs’ needs and wants. A babysitter needs to be arranged.

My mother is away in Edmonton for her jaw replacement surgery and unable to take in one of the dogs until she is fully recovered. Since the landlord does not like strangers coming over, hiring a dog-walker was not an option. The better kenneling facilities in the region do not take in dogs at the last moment notice, and the ones that do have subpar track records of clean or safe husbandry.

One proposal was to take the trailer out and leave Riley the Vallhund behind for the day and returning every four hours. The only problem with this scenario is less time spent setting up camp and practicing wilderness skills as with such an arrangement is very much like being at home. Not my idea of a weekend.

Given the constraints, we began discussing the idea of borrowing a trailer to set up out in the middle of nowhere. Got everything set up: a bicycle for emergencies, trolley lines to keep the dogs separate when needed. Then the owner of the trailer conveniently got time off work, and tagged along for the outing. This made the whole scenario more awkward as having someone around creates social expectations. Also, since not everyone has stellar dog-handling skills, a social situation puts more pressure on the dog owner.

My partner wanted to bring along the new Norinco JW15A, a Chinese derivative of the Brno No. 1 and Brno No. 2, which I bought off a guy from Dawson Creek a few weeks prior. Uncertain how accurate the iron sight is and not yet done research on what would be a decent scope, without any .22LR in the cabinet, we reluctantly left it behind. Besides, the only store open after-hour was Canadian Tire and sometimes it can take an hour for a staff with a valid PAL licence to come and open up the display.

Due to miscommunications, we stopped at the 50 km mark instead of the 21 km mark south. This area has seen intensive logging, and grouse reports are sparse.  However, they were in the region since we saw two on the road near the area where we set up camp.

The following nights were cold, and the furnace kept coming on. I am used to the cold and was prepared to rely on my own body heat, but my partner was not and needed an external heat source. Since the dogs were not habituated to the trailer shaking all the time, they whined and barked throughout the night.

In the morning, he kept complaining about the cold, but the temperature during the day or at night was no worse than Willmore north of Jasper or Monkman in British Columbia two months prior. The complaints persisted for the night and day following after.

In the first morning, we headed north where the burns and clearcuts were according to Google Earth hoping that there would be some growth to promote the grouse population. There is no way to tell how old some of these sites are, and the imageries were last taken in 2013.  Since I did not have a topographical map for the area so far south, I stuck mostly to the roads since the area is featureless without any predominant hills or tall trees to be used as landmarks. My initial plan was to use to known rivers, creeks and marshes to navigate the landscape. Without a map, knowing where these are would instill more confidence. I have learned a few years ago not to rely on GPS, and only printed maps.

Not knowing the area is rather unfortunate since the roading habit does not need to be reinforced and would be much better to encourage Pavel the West Siberian Laika to search in a zigzag pattern more often. This is not an incorrect hunting behaviour depending on the context, as sometimes running in a straight line is a more productive way of searching, but will explain why in another discourse.

The cuts were too recent for anything other than black bears to show up, but Pavel did find one game which he barked at for four minutes. Visual was unconfirmed since by the time I crossed the cut, the game disappeared.

Just before lunch, we headed south to another clearcut which appears to be older. He found one game, barked at it for a few minutes then ceased. We continued further south, scouted the area and affirmed the habitat was more useful for moose than grouse based on the vegetation and the terrain. On our return, Pavel treed a grouse, probably the same one as earlier given the event occurred in the same area, and barked for a good ten minutes before making visual confirmation and affirming that it was a legal game species. In these parts, Sharp-tailed Grouse are restricted only to the month of October and one must take great care not to confuse them for another grouse species. One bird down.

Except the carcass got hung up in the tree since it was an aspen with four diverging trunks. The dog, understandably confused, persisted barking at it for another 15 minutes while I tried everything to get it down.

Later in the evening, he found another game up north on the road toward the burn. Since it was getting dark, it was hard to tell if it was some kind of fur-bearer such as a squirrel or marten or if it is a grouse. Taking a fur-bearer with a trapper’s licence or a trapline is considered as poaching.

Since fitness was not a priority until last winter, one begin to realize they must choose their hiking or hunting clothes based on their fighting weight when the waist is at its narrowest and the shoulders are their broadest. Otherwise, one can reasonably expect to encounter chaffing of the worst sorts. My pants, Kuhl Convertible, which I bought two summers ago, kept causing hot spots even with a belt to pull them up with. They were simply too loose. and one size too large.

On the following morning, the dog barked at something twice for about two to four seconds each. Then after running down a logging road, he stopped, turned back, seek affections and refused to continue searching. It could mean one of three things: either there’s a wolf in the area; he is getting sore; or there is an oncoming storm. Not wanting to inflict overuse injury or being stuck in the mud, which can take days to dry out, we headed back home. Sure enough, it started raining an hour after everything was packed up then snowed another hour later.

At this point in time, it is not worth putting up a gear list since only a synthetic baselayer from Mark’s, rain jacket from Marmot, Baikal shotgun, Garmin GPS and DeLorme inReach SE were carried on my person. Several observations were recorded for future blog posts which I wish to explore at a later date.

Without careful screening of partners, the trip is not something I wish to experience again. Most of my peers have a much tougher mindset and are willing to put up with the wet and cold late in the year in much more extreme environments.

Wish Lists: 5 Years in Review

Once every five years, it is generally a good idea to stop and take a hard look at one’s life and do an assessment. In this case, self-reflecting direct a person what they would like to do in the next five years and whether or not they are evolving.

So let see what was desired in the past and some of the current thought upon seeing these items:


External frame — Substituted. On the list for packrafting, and ULA EPIC was recommended by Hendrik Morkel, used by Andrew Skurka in the Yukon-Alaskan epic, and by the team in Arctic 1000. Stone Glacier KRuX will do in a pinch. Would like to try HMG Porter some day. The reason for the substitution is the use of Paradox Unaweep in packrafting by David Chenault.
1/2- or 3/4-length axes — Not yet purchased. Not necessary for winter camping if one has a batoning knife and folding saw. Popularized by Ray Mears and Paul Kirtley, and quickly became the standard in bushcraft community. Winters are long and the nights are dark. Would be a nice tool for the pulk.
Folding saw — Substituted with Silky Pocketboy which is a higher quality product and more readily available locally. Suspected Bahco Laplander is only more popular in the bushcraft community because of Ray Mears.
Tenkara rod —  Not yet purchased. Technically, Daiwa Kiyose SF is not a tenkara rod but rather a keiryu. BackpackingLight Hane is no longer available, and Kiyose SF is a close substitute. More versatile for a backpacking rod. Fixed length lines make it unideal for fishing in the lowlands where walleyes and pikes are more common.
Telescoping rod — Not yet purchased. Shimano Catana is probably the lightest backpacking rod which can handle predators. Still doing research on flyfishing, backpacking, and northern pikes.
Packraft — Not yet purchased. Considering two packrafts: one for hauling meat up to the size of a caribou or moose upon the recommendation of Becca and Luke Moffat; he other for recreational purposes such as fishing and whitewater rafting up to Class III or IV courtesy of articles by Roman Dial and Luc Mehl. Weak currency as the result of Harper administration’s insistence of transforming Canada into a petrostate led to second thoughts.
Canoe — Moved away from the coastline in 2012. Instead of kayaks, a raft or canoe would be a better investment. ALLEY Canoe is the lightest skin-on-frame on the market. There are strong criticisms of inflatable kayaks, and one might as well use a packraft instead based on analysis of kneel speed.


Adventure camera — Not yet purchased. GoPro is the most accessible one on the market. Only want this for filming proof my dog can hunt. The high bar of standard was established by Scandinavian hunters thanks to frauds committed by Russian, American and Canadian show  fanciers claiming the dogs can hunt, but were caught for staging pictures. Not a priority as other gears are more conducive to the user experience.
Shovel — Purchased SnowClaw for landscaping during winter camping. Advertised as the lightest snow shovel on the market. Need an avalanche shovel for more serious terrain.
Electric fence — Not yet purchased. Recommended by elk hunters in the northern Rockies to guard against predatory bears after a rifle shot. Bears developed a habit of charging people off of downed game.
Mountain rifle — Not yet purchased. Not high on the priority list since already has a Sako. Would like to get another rifle with stainless steel and synthetic stock to preserve the existing rifles with wooden stocks. Still undecided between Sako, Tikka, Kimber and Forbes. Need a lefthanded model.
Upland gun — Not yet purchased. Bought Baikal MP18 which was very unpleasant to shoot. Benelli Ultralight ended up on the wishlist based on media coverages. Considering a Yildiz instead based on pricing.
Rimfire rifle —  Not yet purchased. Need a rifle to practice with. Plinking with .222 and .308 get expensive. Had the opportunity to inherit a CZ and regrets passing it up. Still looking for an affordable .22LR with transferable skills to the same action used by popular mountain rifle manufacturers.
Remote stove — Purchased. Kovea Spider based on reviews from Hikin’ Jim and Woodtrekker. Very good stove for the money. Should have gone with FMS 118 for an off-the-shelf lightweight stove. Roger Caffin offers custom work with BRS 300T or FMS 300T for the cost of parts, shipping and $110 to $130 for labour.
Winter mattress —  Not yet purchased. Winter camping with Jervenbag was unpleasant. Snow kept melting and freezing. Need some cushion between the bag and snow.
Winter rucksack — Never purchased. GoLite Jam 70L seem to be highly recommended in lightweight backpacking community for winter hiking, but the company went bankrupt. Don’t see a reason to buy a separate winter backpack after purchasing Stone Glacier KRuX. Should not be difficult to MYOG bags.
Thru-hiking pack — Not yet purchased. Have not planned my first thru-hike yet, so this is on the backburner.


Hunting Backpack  — Substituted with Stone Glacier Solo. Mystery Ranch recommended by Brad Anderson. Changed mind to Kifaru Bikini frame the year after due to comfort and lighter frame. Decided upon Stone Glacier or Paradox Evolution after reading an article about the definition of ultralight hunting by David Chenault. Looking at purchasing 6200 cubic inch or 7400 cubic inch bags for those packrafting hunting adventures.
Kicksled  — Purchased ELSA kicksled from Quebec for keeping dog active outside of hunting season. Very well made. Has not yet used much due to unpredictable weather and deep snow.
Duck gun — Not yer purchased. Browning BPS recommended for left-handed shooters.
Combination gun — Not yet purchased. IZH-94 recommended by Sergei Bogatov in an issue of Primitive Aboriginal Dogs Society. Considering Haenel JAEGER 8.10 upon a suggestion by Teemu Siikamäki, but too cost-prohibitive. Not a priority at the moment. Most people in Alaska, Yukon, and British Columbia get by with a .30-06 and downloading them for small game.
Sled harness  — Not yet purchased. Got husky harness from Finland. Wheel harness from Howling Dog Alaska was recommended by Kevin Roberts of Skijor OxfordDogs. Unpredictable corner seasons and sudden snow dumps are the reason for disuse.
Skishoes — Not yet purchased. Started with a discussion about Altai skishoes. Поскряков was recommended by forum user “alpom”. Considering hunting skis from Finland, or using aboriginal wooden snowshoes which are said to be superior to Russian skishoes by Canadian trappers.


Compound bow — Not yet purchased. Need to build up the confidence with a bow and arrow. The recurve at the local archery club were not easy to learn on.
Tracking collar — Purchased. Garmin Astro 320 is recommended by Nordic hunters with dogs. Nordic model is legal in Canada; American model is not.
Bear gun — Never purchased. Bear paranoia is unwarranted and was too easily influenced by peers and family.
Skinning knife — Purchased Piranta EDGE. Recommended by backpack hunting communities such as Rokslide. Razor sharp. Buying the Bolt for a friend in Finland.
Ground blind — Purchased Jervenbag Extreme for moose-hunting in Alberta. Recommended by Brad Anderson. Found still-hunting to be too boring. Only used it a few times for winter camping. Too insulated for use as a blind. Considering replacing with -10°C sleeping quilt and an eVent bivy.
Dog vest — Purchased a Norwegian GPS vest from an unknown company. Recommended by Eirik Krogstad. Very good, would buy again. Considering one with capability for camera to be mounted.


Kayak —  Never purchased. Moved inland. Don’t have a use for it anymore. Better off with ALLEY Canoe or a packraft. See 2015 wishlist for alternatives.
Mattress — Purchased. Therm-a-Rest ProLite Woman’s was recommended by West Coast Paddlers community. Not very comfortable. Closed foam SOLite is better.
Water bladder — Purchased. MSR Dromendaty was recommended by community due to fear of puncture and abrasion from reefs. Heavy. Replaced with Platypus SoftBottles.
Alcohol stove — Purchased. Trangia was recommended by West Coast Paddlers community. Bulky. Replaced with a homemade cat can for free. Willing to experiment with Trail Designs Caldera Cone and Zelph’s StarLyte.
Woodstove — Substituted. Neufeld MK I was suggested by West Coast Paddlers. Bought Vargo Titanium Hexagonal Woodstove and never used it due to fire bans and too much snow. Backcountry Boiler would have been more useful.
Seawater filter — Never purchased. Moved inland. Don’t need this complicated and expensive device.
Drysuit — Never purchased. Moved inland.
Waterproof camera — Never purchased. Nikonos was recommended by wildlife photographers and war photographers. Moved inland.
Crab trap — Never purchased. Moved inland.
Hammock — Purchased. Hennessey Hammock was recommended by West Coast Paddlers and for rocky coastlines. Sold when moved inland due to lack of good trees and rocks.
Paddling shoes — Never purchased. Moved inland.

As one can see, the list is dominated by unsupported wilderness travels. If there is a bit more interest in trail hiking or thru-hiking, the list will be radically different.

Gear Wishlist 2015

This year, we see a departure from the interest in firearms. In hindsight, there is only really two which would be considered important. This year, we see more interest in wilderness travel  and less in thru-hiking or winter-trekking.

Essentially it’s the time where we begin to focus on transportation methods.

Let us see what is on my mind for 2015:


ULA Epic

Recently, the interest in pack rafting became a subject at the back of the brain. Many of the solutions for attaching a 2.5 kg object to the pack seems awkward. Hendrik Morkel has a workable solution.

Pack-rafting would expand the potential wilderness which has not been visited by too many people. There are still valleys in the Rockies where potentially no one have stepped a foot in for more than five decades. Being able to cross rivers and lakes would enable these kind of actions.

Other potential competitors include Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter. Based on reviews, and the dense bush in Canada, it is most likely that HMG Porter would be preferred.

Gränsfors Small Forest Axe

A small forest axe is a decent trade-off between the portability of a hatchet versus the usefulness of a full axe. We have a few felling axes for chopping up firewoods while camping in the trailer, but none for backpacking purposes.

There are several competitors which also include Collins, Garant, Council Tool, Cold Steel, Snow & Nealley, Bahco/Sadvik, Condor Tool, Husqvarna, Hultafors, Penobscot Bay and Wetterling

bahco-laplanderBahco Laplander

A folding saw is much more verstiale than an axe when it comes to combining bushcraft with long distance expeditions. With such device, one can procure just enough dry wood and tinder to start a small fire, and to set up a few poles. Anything more laborious would into the set-up time of establishing and breaking camp.

While it is 2 oz heavier than the Gerber Kershaw, the quality control of the latter is questionable.

kiyose02Daiwa Kiyose SF

This one came to my attention while browsing through Ryan Jordan’s blog looking for tips how to lighten the pack in the Mountains environment. When I first encountered the lightweight backpacking community a few years ago, there was a fantasy of thru-hiking. Some of it is still retained. In the last few years, it is more about lightweight wilderness excursions such as fishing and hunting as well as other activities such as bike-packing.

Most of my fishing usually take place on a lake and going around in the boat trolling. The idea of being able to take a light rod is really appealing, and it is very neat to see the Japanese style of fishing being adapted for westerners’ use. The biggest problem would be trying to figure out the length of rod required. Of course, for backcountry use, it will take time time to determine whether a keiryu rod or a tenkara rod would be more suitable.

There are a few manufacturers available such as Nissan, Suntec, Shimotsuke, Daiwa and Shimano. The caveat would be we have many lakes with northern pikes, and if one accidentally snag one then a spinner would be the best way to land it without cutting the line. The idea of going up to an alpine lake or a mountain stream with a simple rod is entertaining though.

ab3a6d9b5a4b29954371f039d1bc3b8cShimano Catana CX Telespin

It’s always nice to have a set of spinnign rod which is backpackable. They may not be as light or as compact as a tenkara rod, but they serve their own specific niche. Oddly enough there seems to be a bigger market for quality backpacking rods in Japan and Europe than in North America.

There are no shortages of manufacturers who produce telescoping rods world-wide and it woul dbe too numerous to list them all.

alpacka-66-1Alpacka Alpaca

Years ago, folding kayaks were of interest due to portability and compact nature which makes renting apartments easier on the West Coast. Ever since moving inland, the interest in sea-kayaking dwindled. It is a bit difficult to justify owning a 15 to 20 kg aluminium-framed kayak with a skin when the Alaskans figured out how to go down rapids with inner-tubes and devised packrafts for as little as 2 kg and as much as 6 to 7 kg. The Alpacka is considered the gold standard in packrafting, and other variants have specific niches.

Other contenders include Supai, Feathercraft, Ruta Locura and Klymit. Some are for white-water and some for flat-water. The only way folding kayaks would enter the picture if I live next to the sea. Folding canoes such as ALLY are intriguing as well.

PR49 HD collagePR-49 Alaskana

Back in 2007 and 2008, the K1 or K2 Expedition from Feathercraft was highly coveted since I had fantasy of circumstancing the entire Vancouver land. Nowadays, there is not much interest in kayaking other than around the bay and visit Haida Gwaii. The primary interest in the PR-49 though is not for expeditions, but its potential for hauling moose, caribou and elk from the bush by floating it. The raft is too bulky for any kind or realistic backpacking expedition, and for that there are wide assortments of other companies.

There do not seem to be a contender which can handle a 850-lbs load.

ALLY Canoe

The Ally is a throwback to the time when sea-kayaking was of interest. Packrafting and kayaking is a western thing, and canoeing is an eastern tradition. Very few in the East use skin-on-frame canoes, whoever, since they do require repairs and many prefer hardshells to retain their value over the years. The ones who are most interested in skin-on-frame kayaks and canoes are the ones who do extensive wilderness travel where weight becomes a problem.

Technically, the best way to combine boating and hiking is with a pack-raft with many being about 2 kg. There are lighter models, but often deemed too fragile for wilderness travel. The ruggedness of the packraft is why they dominate the scene in white-water, along with plastic kayaks.

The main appeal of the Ally Canoe is mostly from Lars Monsen’s documentaries such as Across Canada, Hiking in Norway and  Nordkalotten 365. He often used them as vessels for hiking with his dogs. If he was doing them solo, then a folding kayak would be more suitable. Paddling with a dog is possible in a kayak if it can be trained to stay in a deck hatch or if the design is an open hatch. Some kayakers have gotten around this by training their dogs to stay under the deck, or by attaching a sheet of Condura to the front or back of the canoe for the dog to lie down on.

Since the Ally weighs 21 kg, other potential alternatives to the Ally include Pakcanoes, Nautiraid Rando, Folboat Yukon and Edisto, Feathercraft Huron and Whisper . If we ignore the weight comparison, then the market  for single-paddlers opens up to Nautiraid Grand Raid IIFeathercraft Klondike, Folbot Kodiak, Klepper Aerius 1 and Longhaul Mark 1. Some also use the Folboat Greenland and Klepper Aerius II. The biggest concern would be the durability of the skin in shallow rapids which are common-place in Canada.


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