Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Little Gear Shopping

or, Just Give Me One of Everything
The Pinchot Trail Chronicle, part 3

Armed with a small library's worth of information on what is needed on a modest overnight trip, but with the intention of borrowing as much stuff as possible, I did realize that I would need to buy a few things of my own.

Leo had an extra sleeping bag and an extra backpack which he offered to sell to me at a steep "friend discount". Both were very nice pieces and the price was right so I said I'd take them. But then I got to looking at packs some more, researching things, reading reviews, and kinda liked the idea of picking my own gear from scratch, so next thing I knew I had bought a Gregory Baltoro 70 pack at the local EMS store. It is very highly rated for comfort and range of features, and comfort was a strong selling point with me. Leo's extra sleeping bag, a Phantom 32 from Mountain Hardwear (800 fill goose down), is absolutely beautiful and I did buy that from him.

So now I have a pack to carry my stuff in, and a sleeping bag to sleep in. Hmm. No shelter though. It seems everyone else would be bringing their lightweight one-man tents, so I guess I needed one of those too. Fortunately EMS was having another good sale, and the Velocity 1 tent was at a very good price, plus they would throw in the footprint for under the tent for free. How could I pass that up? And thus I have achieved shelter.

Pack, bag, tent. Check. But everyone recommends a sleeping bag liner to keep from messing up the expensive sleeping bag, so throw one of those in too. A Thermalite Reactor seems like a good choice. These are also useful in that if it is really warm, you can just sleep in the liner on top of the bag. Now, the ground can be uncomfortable, so a pad is recommended. Dave has an extra Thermarest good. Of course it might rain, so a pack cover can be important. Packs are water resistant, but not water proof, and having everything get soaked can make for a miserable night. So add a pack cover, for which the kind folks at REI were more than willing to sell me a Gregory 5000ci cover with which to protect the aforementioned Gregory pack.

Wow, that's quite a little pile of stuff I am accumulating, but I'm still not done. A man's gotta eat and drink. That means dehydrated food, water storage, water filtration... A Platypus 70 oz (2 liter) water bladder for my pack and a Nalgene bottle solve the storage part, and a Platypus CleanStream gravity filter will serve the whole expedition as a water purification system (in addition to what the others already have, but hey, I'm on a roll, and if you get in my way I'm liable to start throwing credit cards at you like ninja throwing stars). Dehydrated food packages; check. Clif bars; check. Gorp stuff (granola, raisins, nuts, dried fruit); check.

That covers the major stuff. Little things remained to be addressed. A little trowel to dig holes know. First aid things. A headlamp to be able to see in the dark, especially if night time use of trowel is required. Hand sanitizer. Bug spray. An eating utensil. Oh my. Easy enough to buy all that...

It's probably worth mentioning that somewhere in between purchasing the large stuff and the small stuff, my wife was kind enough to remind me that I was to be borrowing most of the gear for this trip, and that I perhaps may have strayed from plan a bit. But all in all, I thought I controlled my spending pretty well. I haven't bought a camp stove...yet.

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