Another weekend of working out and hoarding camping gear has gone down in our house. Last week I wrangled my husband’s niece into going to boot camp with me. I thought for sure this would be the end of our friendship, but she survived and only hated me a little for it. I now have a new work out buddy for Saturday mornings! This is awesome because it helps me stay on track and holds me accountable for my attendance. Some Saturday mornings are hard to get up and out the door. But we are using each other as a good support system, and we can complain together! We always have some bitter words to say before class, but after, we are so happy we went. A feeling of accomplishment is always achieved.
Speaking of accomplishments.
My husband and I have gathered more gear for our backpacking excursions. Slowly but surely we are getting where we need to be. This weekend marks one step closer for us! It is all very exciting. As you know, my husband has been working on some camping stoves for us to take out on the trail. Paracord and Beer Can Stoves shows a few pictures of what he has created. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about these homemade stoves. How could they work for us? The last thing I want is to be stranded in the backcountry with no food. But after watching him work so hard on the homemade stoves, and seeing them come to life, my reservations have started to diminish. After talking to a few other backpackers, and watching some videos on youtube I have learned that this is a trick a lot of people use to help save money and weight in their packs. So I am feeling confident that we are doing something right in starting our new adventure. It is a good feeling to know that we are on the right path, and asking the right questions.
We have made a list of items we need, and items we want, to have with us in our packs on our excursions. We are focusing on the “needs” first, and then we will be gathering the items we want. Like a GoPro. That is definitely a “want” and will be something to gather at a later date. We were able to get his pack a couple of weeks ago and this weekend we bought his sleeping bag, some head lamps, and our kitchen cook set. All items checked off the “need” category!
Let’s look at his sleeping bag. We decided a Marmot Trestles Elite 20 would be the perfect bag for him to get started with. Eventually we may buy a different bag but for now this one seems perfect. It is a synthetic mummy bag that weighs in at about 2lbs 11ounces, and comes with its own compression sack. This was a big buying point for us! It is packaged in a nylon stuff sack, that is used for when the bag is in storage. The base of the bag features a 3d foot box, which to me, means extra room for your feet to move around in. The bag has a lot of cool features and my hubby decided it was perfect for him.
A few weeks ago we bought a bag for me and although I did love it, after seeing the Marmot bag, I decided to exchange the one I bought and get the Trestle. One of the reasons I exchanged the bag was because the Marmot is lighter than the one I had already gotten by about one pound. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but with backpacking, we want to be as light as we can. The fact that it comes with a compression bag was another big point for me because, let’s face it, compression bags can be expensive! The storage bag was an extra bonus. The bag features an additional side zipper that allows the sleeper to undo on the top to air out and cool off if they need to. I tend to sleep warm so this is awesome for me. Also, because this is a mummy bag, some people might feel a little claustrophobic while using it. This was the case for me at first with the original bag I purchased. But once we bought his bag and checked it out, I felt it would be a better bag for me to use because of the added top zipper. Turns out I was right! There are a lot of cool things about this bag, and I am very happy that I decided to return the original one I bought and go with Marmot.
We also were able to get our headlamps. Now anyone who has ever worn one of these will tell you that you have to get over the fact that you will look absolutely ridiculous! We were no exception to this rule. I feel like we are mole people…We spent a lot of time looking at different headlamps and finally landed on the Black Diamond Cosmo and Spot We actually liked both lights, honestly I am not sure if there is a huge difference between the two, but we decided to get one of each. We got the home and could not wait to try them out. We were not disappointed. We walked around outside for awhile, learning how they work and which modes we like better. Due to the temperature drop on Friday night I had to stop our learning experience short. So last night we built a fire and sat outside and I worked on hanging a bear bag. The sun went down and it got harder for me to see and my husband remembered the headlamps. He brought one to me and it worked like a charm! One of the features that they have, and I think this is a good one, is a red light option. The red light will be handy for stargazing and for flying bugs. We will be able to read a map in the dark with the red light and still be able to look up at the stars without getting those crazy spots in your eyes while they try to adjust to a new light setting. The bug thing is more of a personal preference. Bugs are usually drawn to light, just look at your front porch light at night and you will see all the buzzing it attracts. The red light will help deflect that and the bugs should not be attracted to the light (as much) I am sure there will still be some buzzing, but hey that’s nature.
We have few more items to purchase over the next few weeks. The plan is to have all the “needs” by May (if possible) but so far we are very happy with what we have been buying. We are very excited about a trip to Rock Island WI coming up in June. Until then, we will be playing with our new toys from the comfort of our own backyard. I have been able to work on how to hang a bear bag, and how to tie knots. As I have shown before, he is focusing a lot on stoves. Together we are having a great time Starting New Adventures