Sunday, February 22, 2015

Backyard Equipment Testing 2-22-15

I'm gearing up for a "possible" long distance bike tour and I'm trying to save money where I can. I've got a tent that I bought about five years ago, its a North Face Rock 22, two person backpacking tent. I chose it because it's mostly mesh and, you know, it gets a bit warm here in Texas. I've been happy with it although I've never used it in cold or inclement weather. It weighs about five and a half pounds which may be excessive for a long distance tour. I also have a North Face Cat's Meow 15 degree synthetic mummy bag that I bought in 1998 or 1999 after reading good reviews in an outdoor magazine. I've never had a chance to really test the bag, again, because I've always camped in mild weather. I also have a new Klymit Static V sleeping pad that has never been used. Yesterday morning I set up my tent and like a forty eight year old kid, I camped in my backyard last night. The temperature was forecast to reach the low forties overnight with a hundred per cent chance of rain the following morning. I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out my gear and see what will work on my "possible" bike tour and what will need to be replaced. The results: I'm very happy with the Klymit V sleeping pad. I was very comfortable in all sleeping positions, what more can I really say. The Cat's Meow sleeping bag will be replaced. I was warm most of the night, or at least I was when I could completely close the bag. The zipper was a big problem. It would constantly snag on the interior and exterior lining. I thought I was going to have to cut myself out of the bag at one point. The tent is a keeper. I left the tent pitched overnight to see how it handled the rain. After a few hours of constant rain and moderate winds the interior has remained bone dry.

This is the bag I'm considering as a replacement:

It's a Sierra Designs Back Country Bed 600. It's an interesting design, no zippers.

By the way, retirement does not equal "craploads" of free time.

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