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2-Day PAC Test Results  A notification of this news item was emailed to subscribers. Click to subscribe!  [4th Feb 08]  See below for comments (112)

Stick tries to poke into PAC2 wheels as Chris hauls past - Click for full-size.
Clark wading PAC2 through swamp - Click for full-size.
Tent set up ontop of PAC2 - Click for full-size.
Chris hauling PAC2 along 4wd track - Click for full-size.
Clark hauling PAC2 into the distance - Click for full-size.


Well, as promised at the end of the last update, earlier this week Clark and I took our PAC2 deep into the Blue Mountains, loaded it up with 150kgs of non-essential camping gear (like an eski) as well as excessive amounts of water (in 2 large 35 litre drums) and gave the cart hell for a few days.

We asked our good old mate Tom Hayllar (who has walked up, down, across and around Australia) where would be the best place to go, and he directed us to an old unused 4WD track out past Newnes, following the Wolgan River in the Wollemi National Park. So we took the epic wheels off the PAC2 frame and lashed it all onto Clark's roof racks then drove the four hours to Newnes where we assembled our cart, loaded it up, and set off.

You can see for yourself by watching the vodCast (Video Clip - CLICK HERE FOR QUICKTIME MOVIE or CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE LINK), how it went. My smile kinda gives it away – even after our recent tests down on the local rock platforms etc, we were genuinely amazed at both how easy it was to haul PAC2 along, up and over obstacles etc, and also how incredibly tough our wheels seem to be! We dragged them right over viciously broken pointy branches, spiky plants, jagged rocks, slid the whole cart sideways off sandstone platforms, and even pulled it off ledges – all while loaded up with 150kgs – and while we broke, bruised and tore ourselves, the PAC2 wheels just lapped it up! So we're very pleased about that! We even practiced turning the harness around on steep downhill sections and hauling/easing PAC2 down in front of us as we slowly walk it downhill. This is not as easy at it sounds - but it's better than having the PAC2 trying to run over you from behind!

Another spot of good news – this was the first time I'd tried out my brand new SCARPA boots that GORE-TEX® supplied me for the expedition (through Paddy Pallin), and after tentatively easing my sore toe into it, I forgot all about it! The boots are just awesome! Perfectly snug and comfortable, and I was able to haul the PAC2 leaning all the way into the harness without even noticing my toe. Brand new out of the box, we were both thrilled with how our boots performed.

After each spending a night sleeping inside the tent mounted on top of the PAC2 as designed, we learnt a few things and have a few refinements to make to generally make life more comfortable and practical out there – including possibly looking at making a fold-away rigid top for the cart rather than the tensioned silver material that the tent currently sits on. This should make for a more comfortable night’s sleep, provide faster access to our bags etc underneath without having to undo a bunch of fiddly little hooks, and will also give us more ground clearance underneath as we'll then be able to lift the cargo netting up higher.

On our way hauling back out past the historic Newnes Hotel beside the river, the owner called us over (to ask us what on Earth we were doing) and then invited us to stay for dinner! So after a few days of strenuous exercise, we both thoroughly enjoyed his good old fashioned country meal!

On the whole though, we have officially given the basic design the big tick of approval, and so today (Monday 4th Feb) we started building the 2nd PAC2 in the garage at home. We've allocated most of February for building the second PAC2, but if today's progress is anything to go by, we'll get it done sooner than that! We had an excellent day’s work.

We’ll keep you posted! Be sure to take a look at the little video clip that goes with this update: CLICK HERE FOR QUICKTIME MOVIE or CLICK HERE FOR YOUTUBE LINK.


Global Marine Networks provides the satellite email software xGate for all our expeditions. Check it out, it's awesome!Landwide Satellite Solutions provides us with our Iridium 9505A satellite phones & accounts, as well as data adaptors that let us send and receive emails on our Eee PCs via satellite! Sat phones are amazing, and Landwide is the place to get them!We are using the awesome new ASUS Eee PC 900's on this expedition! Solid-state, less than 1kg, Windows XP, perfect!

Our live expedition updates are written on our tiny ASUS Eee PC 900 laptops, and sent via Iridium 9505A satellite phones from Landwide Satellite Solutions, using email compression software xGate from Global mareine Networks! Thanks guys - it's the perfect set up!


4th Feb 08 - Tineke spaarndam - commented:

Hello Chris and Clarc,It was amazing to see your big travel!!!!Love Tineke
(Offensive Comment?)


4th Feb 08 - Margaret - commented:

Hi Chris & Clark, the video is great. A pity there are no stills of you hauling/pushing the PAC out of the river. I thought those moments looked nice and dramatic.
(Offensive Comment?)


4th Feb 08 - Ian Bellert - commented:

What good fun eh? will the cold climate effect the wheels much? Have you a hand pump or a compressor to inflate them?
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4th Feb 08 - Max & Sandy - commented:

Hi Chris & Clark, The PAC2 is looking good. Consider foam sandwich panels for bed base, the potential problem is buckleing failure of the top surface not tension failure of the bottom surface therefore asymetric sandwich. Great to hear the Australian bush sounds as background.
(Offensive Comment?)


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wow, just blows us away how you guys manage all of this. So much fun and the new pac looks a breeze !!! as if . Keep us in the loop we love it xx
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