Frivolous Friday: Preparing for Gear Test Weekend

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!

As of right now the weekend weather looks like it’s going to be clear and cool. I’m going camping, and I’m trying several new things. I can’t wait! Since I only have 2 nights and am testing new gear I’ll be staying at a state park in a walk-in only area that I hope will not be full of people this weekend. I am VERY much looking forward to a quiet weekend alone and out of the chaos of the city.

I’m trying to go with only my regular daily backpack, instead of my big frame pack. This isn’t quite as extreme as it sounds – my daily pack is a larger military style backpack with lots of PALS webbing. I have added a deployment bag that I leave attached most of the time, but makes a great small shoulder bag when I need to just carry a few things, and a water bottle holder that holds my Nalegene bottle and aluminum mug. I use a big bag daily because I work full time and go to school part time in one neighborhood, and live about an hour away by public transit. I don’t own a car, and use public transportation to get around day to day. I need to be able to carry a lot of shit normally, so switching out my usual schoolbooks, food, and spare clothes for camp gear can work. Plus, all of that webbing means I can add a few more things if needed, which this time I definitely needed. When I finished packing it was a tight squeeze, which tells me I need a more compressible sleeping bag if I want to do this again.

In the past I’ve always used a tent. This weekend I’m going to try out the new hammock instead. I have an old large squareish rainfly in storage from a Coleman tent that eventually died. At about 10 feet on a side it’s possibly a bit too large for this job, but I’ll test it and see. The size DOES give me the advantage of “going to ground” and just using the tarp as a shelter if I need to.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about forgoing the tent. We don’t have a ton of bugs yet this year because it hasn’t gotten warm enough yet, but it’s still unnerving. However, the tent, tarp, and hardware weigh about half as much and take up about a third as much space as my tent, so those are very good reasons to give it a shot. Plus, hammocks are cool!

Food is a whole different thing when you’re carrying everything on your back, rather than eating out of a cooler. Plus, I am not entirely certain I will have access to a campfire on this trip. The park I’m going to says they have fire rings, but I’m not sure if they sell firewood and I’m not interested in hauling wood into a walk-in campsite. Luckily I have a cookset that I LOVE so having no fire won’t be a problem. I don’t like just eating trail mix and granola bars for days in a row, so having a way to at least boil water is necessary.

You know those freeze dried camping meals? Some of them are pretty good and they’re definitely convenient – but they’re expensive and pretty bulky. Plus, the vegetarian options tend to be limited. It’s surprising how much food you can get at a regular grocery store that only requires boiling water and maybe a little oil or powdered milk. I like to have oatmeal and coffee for breakfast when it’s cool out. Dinner will be mac and cheese, couscous, re-hydrated vegetables. Yes, there are some granola bars and crackers with peanut butter in there, but at least I’ll have something hot to eat too.

I head out this afternoon, and will return on Sunday, hopefully well rested. Maybe will post some camp photos and an update next week.

All links to products in this post use my Amazon Affiliate link.

Frivolous Friday: Preparing for Gear Test Weekend

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