Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Living - How do I do it? (Gear)

The following is a post about my personal luxuries. I am not 'roughing-it'.

Eureeka Solitaire - Single Person Tent (or Two loving, cozy, little Peeps)

This 'minimalist-Bivyesque' style tent has held up surprisingly well. An $85 dollar purchase at Gander Mountain. It has so far withheld week long torrential down-pours in the Pittsburgh area. Sitting atop saturated sponge-like forest earth covered in leaves. While not marketed as a waterproof tent, the flooring has not had water pushing through. A light bit of water vapor/moisture has accumulated on the floor, but I attribute this to condensation. One caveate is that condensation does collect on the under of the rain fly above the no-seeum mesh. So far it has been a non issue. Merely unzip the top and rub a camp towel along the underside. The mesh keeps any drops from hitting you in the face for the most part. Not bad for a 'cheapy' tent. Condensation is a problem for nearly all tents in winter I gather.When it warms up, I've thought about purchasing a Hennessy Hammock - Asym Zip Hyperlite.

Therma-rest Prolight Regular Sleeping pad. R2.2 (old style)

This is my sleeping pad. In order to make a sleeping bag reach the marketed numbers it needs a few things. One is the sleeping pad otherwise all your body heat will simply soak into cold earth. The other parts are wearing head covering and thermals. The version I have is the older style red one. It is only R2.2. I believe the newer Orange style ones are R3. So far with my lowest temps of 20F it has kept me warm enough, although the newer style would be nice. For me, it was a clearance item at $35. Normally $70ish for the regular length in Orange.

REI - Radiant Zero Degree Sleeping Bag

In the first week of camping I went through several iterations of sleeping bags. I brought my 40F bag with me from home. When we decided to camp I humbly believed I could use that with multiple layers. Nope. I am quite the girl. Froze my bollocks off and had to change. I tried a wool blanket to supplement that I found at an Army-Navy store. Didn't work. It is now being used as wall-to-wall carpeting for when i roll off the pad, I do not freeze. Purchased another Zero bag from a company called Koeppen. It was plush, warm. Quite fantastic. However, it was huge! Stuffed in the sack it was as big as my torso. Plus it weighed 6lbs. Zee-ow! I sold that one to my co-worker and ended up finding this bag from REI. It is only 3.5lbs with a much smaller foot print. Have slept soundly ever since. The bag is nice, only sad thing is for me (vegetarian) it makes me cringe at being down. Nature simply designs a better product. Curses. Clearance find (nice to purchase gear out of season) at $140. Normally it ranges from $200-$250. Makes me happy.

Osprey Talon 44 Liter Backpack with internal Frame

As I've become more interested in Backpacking, I ended up with this pack. It is little larger than a standard rucksack. It fits far more weight than I wish to carry. The distribution of weight is nice. Comfortable. Now it is just realizing what to carry, what to leave back. Luxury versus do I really care to lug it around. So far with being able to leave things in the aircraft I am not at a lost for gear. In summer I believe I would have far less weight in it mainly pertaining to clothing weights and a lighter sleeping bag. This guy is a pretty penny at $150.

MSR Alpinist 2 person cookset

Here is my cookset. It is a neat little compact set for two. Two plate/bowls. Two Cups. A non stick pot, one larger. Lid with holes. I've cooked many delicious meals in it. Plus even popcorn. Toss the big pot directly on a bed of coals with your kernels in a little oil and poof. Within seconds its making loud noises. It is a bit large/heavy for more of an Ultra light or minimalist camper. The most noted aspect of it are the insulated mugs. They aren't a typical cylinder shape. It is more akin to a rhombus. It fits the curving of your hand much nicer. ;) Who doesn't like a good Rhombus. Purchased for around $100.

As for the actual cooking. I've used two systems. One is the Jetboil. An insulated mug that has a coil around the base to distribute heat. It is attached to a small iso-butane canister. Similar to those large generic coleman types just with a smaller fitting. The other is a Jogr screw-on that does the same thing but more minimalist. Both are lightweight. Pack well. As I move onto building the Off grid cabin I am thinking of purchasing a BioLite, blogged about earlier. A rocket stove that uses a thermo-electric conversion to turn twigs into electricity to run the fan (creating less smoke and high efficient burn) along with enough juice for a light or charging a phone etc.

According to an airport board member here in KY, "Any time you are sleeping on the ground, you are 'roughing-it'. " Perhaps he is correct. I do not mind though. :)

1 comment:

  1. I've been there too: went through many tents and sleeping bags until I found something that woks for me. Thank you for this review, I am researching a good light sleeping bag for backpacking.
    This year I started to look into getting off the grid myself very seriously. Today received a few books on the subject: "Off on our own" by Ted Carns and "Little House Off The Grid" by Mather's family.