trekking pole thingumybob

When I bought my GoLite Shangrila, I asked the guys at whether it could be pitched with trekking poles. pole extender 14mmBob mailed me back and said that it couldn’t, although ‘he was working on something’.

I then bumped into a chap in the Lakes who had taken a hacksaw to an old lower walking pole section and was using it to marry two Black Diamond FlickLock poles together to create one long support pole.

His solution was to remove the lower sections of the Black Diamonds and use the sawn pole section as a spigot.

‘Neat,’ I thought, ‘I’ll follow suit’.

However, just as I was about to order my new Black Diamonds, Bob’s ‘something’ became available.

The principle is the same as the sawn-off pole, but Bob’s solution is more elegant in that it uses an expander at either end and hence can be used with a range of twist lock poles with a 14mm diameter lower section. pole extender 14mm, expander joint
It works really well with my old, battered Leki Makalus, and a list of compatible poles is available on

The section does come with a health warning, though. A leaflet supplied with the pole urges caution when sliding the expanders into pole sections and care is needed.

I think it’s going to be the just the ticket, though, and at £12.99, a bargain (and for all those pole posers out there, a carbon version is available, too, for another fiver).

I’m hoping to take my new shelter ‘rig’ for a test drive this weekend and will report back.

The weather looks like it’s going to be awful… pole extender 14mm, in use

Going Shangri-la-la

Stuck on train last night coming back from London I started thinking about my new shelter purchase again and the best way to use it (well, it is a long-ish journey).

The bleeding obvious then struck me.

Rather than forking out for a nest or new pertex bivvy, I realised that I have a perfectly good, bug- proof solution in the garage.

I’ve always regarded my Big Agnes Three Wire Bivvy as a ‘mountain-top’ shelter with poles. But why not leave the poles at home and carry this and the Shangri-la for a truly versatile modular system?

It presents a couple of options: A ‘tent’ and bivvy in buggy/wet conditions or for campsites, and a bivvy-only option for those starry nights up high.

The bag weights in at 680g so the weight increase over the ground sheet is negligible – again not superlight, but an adaptable shelter which can offer all that space over a one-man tent.

Although it is a fully waterproof Event bag, it has a huge bug-protected ‘vent’ for using within the shelter so condensation should not be a big problem (the Event breathes really well, too). I also really like using the bivvy as it keeps my sleep system ‘together’.

Now I am itching to try it but the gear won’t be accompanying me to Scotland and I don’t think the other half will appreciate me wandering off to spend a night on my own.

Lakes in October, then.

Go Lite Shangri-La 3

After umming and ahhing for more than a year, I’ve finally taken the plunge and bought myself a Go Lite Shangri-La 3.

It arrived this morning from those lovely folk at after a bit of email tennis with Bob asking whether I’d fit or not without brushing the walls.

I needn’t have worried. I’ve just put it up in the garden and it’s huge.

I have bought the shelter and the Go Lite groundsheet. This is not the lightest option by any stretch but my reasoning is as follows…

This is my ‘winter’ shelter… or at least, my shelter when the bugs calm down. I have a way of combining my walking poles so will not need the hefty adjustable pole which reduces things by over 300 g.

Therefore, I have the tent and groundsheet coming in at under 1.5kg (not super light, I know) yet have all that room to do my back stretches and the added protection of a full groundsheet for the colder months.

Assuming I get on with this tent, I will investigate some bug-proof addition for next summer. Some of the US manufacturers have options here and the weights are more than acceptable.

So, first pitch and what do I think…

Build quality is good and consistent with my positive experiences using a Pinnacle pack. However, I will be sealing those seams.

The main shelter is supplied in one stuffsac with pole and a small sack of six Y pegs. The ground sheet comes in another sac.

The great news about this shelter is that it is a doddle to put up… took about five minutes.

Admittedly, the hexagonal ground sheet helps with peg placement but the technique sans groundsheet is very well demonstrated on YouTube.

Simply put, peg out the corners, put the adjustable pole into position and then tighten down the straps at the six corners… ‘simples’.

The ground sheet has bungee loops at ground level and some additional clips to raise the sides of the sheet and make a bathtub. I struggled to get this effect at first (see p
hotos) as I’d pitched the shelter low to the ground. Unhitching the bungee loops soon remedied it, though.

A full ground sheet has its draw back for wet gear, cooking, access etc, but the Go Lite groundsheet unclips easily and you can adjust the floor coverage to suit.

For all those fellow lanky folks out there, I can lay ‘width across flats’ without touching the walls and, preferably, ‘width across corners’ despite the pole obstructing a little. I’m 6’6”.

The door is large, giving great views, and secured with a light press-stud at the base. No two-way zip though, which is a shame, although I’m told that next year’s version will have one, along with another vent and improved vent ‘hoods’.

An additional tension strap also can be found at the base of the door for extra security and zip ‘protection’ – I guess .

Mid way across the base of each face is a small webbing strap to which further bungee loops can be added for more security.

I now need to experiment with different pitching heights so I’m ready for bad weather or those times when I need more ventilation.

So far, so good, though.