Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Camping: Then and Now
Back in the proverbial day, around when I was four years old, my parents first introduced me to camping. Our clan would load up the car to its brim, connect our pop-up camper on a trailer hitch and venture to a campground for the great outdoors. For some reason, many of my earliest camping memories are associated with assailments to my health and well being: my first asthma attack happened at Little River State Park when I was six, I broke my nose when I was running and tripped on a root at Acadia, and I accidentally sawed my finger while trying to help cut firewood at some state park in New Hampshire. However, those semi-traumatic events never posed a threat to deter me from the joy of experiencing nature. In 2013, I'm 22, more active in the woods than ever before, and starting to realize that I maybe am being spoiled by the gear of today.
A week or two ago, a friend of mine came into the store to buy a pair of light hiking shoes. I showed him the Vasque Mantra 2.0 GTX, and he was thrilled and purchased them. That night we decided to break them in with a little bushwhacking expedition. Rather than using my backpacking backpack, I grabbed an old pack of my late step-dad's. Everything I needed -- my tent, sleeping pad, pillow, sleeping bag -- barely took up any room in the pack, which probably has only a 20-25 liter capacity. For you gear heads, here's some spec's on what I had:
Nemo Fillo (a camping pillow that has hugely bolstered my quality of sleep): 11 oz, 11"x17"x4"+ -- inflatable core with an inch of outer memory foam and packs into integrated stuff sack down to the size of a 16oz can
Klymit Static V: (sleeping pad) 20 oz, 23"x72"x2.5" -- so comfortable and packs to the same size as my Fillo pillow
Mountainsmith Windom 35: (sleeping bag) 36 oz and is plenty enough roomy to capacitate my 6'3" frame while keeping me toasty.
Nemo Espri 2P: (tent) 55 oz, my safe-haven
So there I am, standing over my barely-half-full bag, thinking what else could I bring? I grabbed a bottle of wine, my Jetboil Flash PCS, some teabags, and an extra water bottle. With all that, a first aid kit and some toiletries, I was set, but by the time we rallied the rest of our crew, it was about 9:45pm; enter Black Diamond Storm Headlamp.
We found the site, and I set up my living quarters in a flash. The rest of the night was great, including a luxurious bonfire, star-gazing, and a fabulous night sleep. We woke up the next morning bright and early, packed up, and went back to the regular scheduled program, our lives of work and responsibility and expectation. I threw my pack in the backseat, had to take one more moment to revel in my infinitesimal mass of cargo, and then drove to work. To me, it's cool how my job facilitates adventurers.
If you're still lugging around outdated gear, come see me, and I'll show you the gear of today.