This post is inspired by Vstar Karen when she asked me a question about my new sleeping bag.
Vstar/Karen: relaxing in Baker City, Oregon
I am new to camping. I like “facilities” and while I have done lots of reading regarding tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, stoves . . . I have no experience using them so I have to rely on what I read and what others use. You can’t really go wrong with brand names but they are more expensive so when you are in the “testing” phase you buy what you think will do for the moment keeping costs down.
As for my tent I wanted something lightweight and packable for motorcycle use. I had a tent all picked out at Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec.ca) which is the Canadian version of REI, or Capellas. Something for summer use, not the best, but not the cheapest either. I thought that the Tarn2 would be the one
but then I found a Marmot on sale at Atmosphere (http://en.atmosphere.ca/view-flyer.html?src=b1) which was previously known as Coast Mountain Equipment for a much better price and I think the Marmot is a better tent
Then I bought a minimal Woods brand sleeping bag for summer use, after all we were heading to Hells Canyon in Oregon and it is always hot there. We are talking about 100F hot and this bag was rated to 45F which worked out fine for Baker City but not so fine when I went to the Coast in Waldport. Now that I found out that I like camping (with facilities), I decided to purchase another sleeping bag good for cooler temperatures. I like MEC.ca so I went on-line to check them out and I decided to buy
the MEC Ziz which is duck down filled, small and packable which is what I wanted. But then I saw another bag on sale for $50. less so I bought the Marmot Cloudbreak 20 instead to save some funds.
the Marmot is rated to 20°F (-7c) and I don`t plan on camping when it is that cold anyway. Since I don`t wear pajamas I decided to also buy a micro-fibre liner. When I decided on this Marmot I thought that I wanted a Mummy style to be warmer, and also with less material it would pack smaller. Anyway I climbed into this bag and zipped it up to try it out and it makes me a bit claustrophobic as I am not used to being confined in this small space, and there is no where to put your arms. It feels like you are in a strait jacket. Anyway, I am going to keep it anyway and see how I like it under field conditions. Maybe having confined arms and warm is better than unconfined and cold.
I may eventually also buy the MEC Ziz anyway. It is a barrel design, not so confining and is down filled. Plus in hot weather you can unzip the bag and use it as a duvet.
On my trip to Oregon I didn`t know if I needed to buy a sleeping pad or not.
Marmot trail light 2p tent with inflatable pad, Baker City, Oregon
At the last minute I decided to buy a cheap self-inflating sleeping pad from CanadianTire.ca
I mean it worked okay but it was bulky. It was on sale for about $30. so I thought that was a bargain. Now that I am refining my camping equipment I decided that I would buy something more packable so I went to MEC.ca and bought
Small: MEC Reactor 3.8 vs Large: Escort from Cdn Tire
the MEC Reactor 3.8 self inflatable sleeping pad. It is less than half the size.
My new MEC Reactor 3.8 is about half the size
I also bought a larger 35L dry sack, so now I have two. I found that I didn`t have a suitable packing system and I was fumbling to find everything when I was setting up and packing up. Everything was in disarray.
My new system is to pack as follows:
20L dry sack: holds my Marmot Trailight 2p tent
35L dry sack: holds my Marmot Cloudbreak20 sleeping bag, MEC Reactor 3.8 sleeping pad, camp towel and sleeping bag liner
My MSR international liquid fuel stove and fuel bottle and misc camping stuff will be stored in my left side case. The two dry sacks will be held onto my rear seat using Rok Straps
I downloaded the Allstays Camp & Tenting app for iOS and I wished I had this in Baker City. It would have made it easier to find campsites (with facilities) along the way . Unless it is raining, I think I would prefer a tent instead of staying in a motel.
Karen prefers camping too