Sunday, January 23, 2011
So, our goal for this summer is a section hike of the Appalachian Trial, right? Well, this month we have begun gearing up for just that.
Gander Mountain has been running their backpacking/camping equipment on sale this month and we have made a couple large purchases. A couple weeks ago we bought two new sleeping bags. These bags impressed me with some nice features intended to keep us warm. Of course we may have the opposite problem on our summer hike, but I HATE to be cold, so we should be OK. We also bought Bunk a sleeping pad. We just bought the short pad that is self-inflatable--like the one I used on Ossabaw Island last summer--to decrease stuff we have to carry. It was only $15 (half price), so if we don't like it we can always upgrade later.
Today we made what I think is a really great buy! We purchased a Hubba Hubba 2-person tent that I absolutely fell in love with! It's mostly mesh for great ventilation and pretty views on clear nights. It also has a rainfly with two full vestibules for storing wet or muddy gear outside the tent. We saw the tent at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports first and really liked it but didn't want to buy the first thing we saw. Later we saw it again at Gander Mountain and it was 25% off. We bit! After I got home I googled it to see if we had made a good purchase, knowing we could take it back if we were disappointed in the reviews. I was NOT disappointed with the reviews! On the contrary, Backpacker.com (Backpacker Magazine) rated it one of the best finds out there in tents. In fact, the exact words were: "Meet the new benchmark in lightweight, three-season shelter." I'll take that! I can't wait till it warms up enough for us to try it out.
We've been looking at food, water, and cooking resources for our trips too. Right now I'm leaning toward the JetBoil system for each of us, thinking that is pretty much all we'd need in cookware if we stay with freeze-dried which seems to be the most common recommendation. Obviously we'll purchase some sort of stove to attach to the fuel canisters too. I'm not sure yet what to do about water purification though. A man we talked to today (a customer at Gander Mountain), said he really like the Steripens. I'm probably leaning toward the pump filters like Katadyn or Hyperflow, but I don't have enough information to decide yet. I could use some help in this area, that's for sure.
I sure hope we like this as much as I think we are going to like it! I can see this becoming addictive and a fantastic way to see lots of places around the world. I'm really glad Phillip and his friends have decided to go with us on our first section hike of the AT. Psychologically, I'm ready! Gear-wise, I'm not there yet, though. Lots to think about---lots to decide!