Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Night In The Tent Part Deux

Since Ed and I see things differently I want to add my bit about the tent, sleeping bag, my pillow, padding, and the cold.  He really was going to go on this trip with a lesser tent, one that was used by our boys in Scout camping here in Oklahoma and he probably would have been OK.  Not necessarily comfortable, but OK.  Then he invited me along, and I was given this piece of advice from a friend who is a big camper “Get a good tent.  It’s one thing you don’t want to skimp on.”  Thought on that for about three seconds and realized he was right. 

Which made me think: what did we do before Google?  Ed and I did TONS and I mean TONS of research on tents and other camping gear.  I’m not convinced this endeavor would have been this successful without our beloved Google.  When we narrowed it down to the Agnes and Marmot it then became a question of:  

 Do we want more space and to be able to stand up?  Or would we like one that is really waterproof and easier to set up?  We are not tall, one of the 1st times in my life that being short is an advantage.  We have also been married for 18+ years, so we don’t mind snuggling either.  For us the Big Agnes Big House 4 was a luxury we didn’t really need. 

For me there was no question.  The dryer I am, the warmer I’ll be, and then Ed will have a happier Devon.  The world will keep turning and all will be super, duper happy.  Maybe not the rest of the world but certainly Ed’s world will be happier.   We also opted for easier set up because in our minds a worst case scenario would be pouring rain and we NEED to get the tent set up NOW!  The Marmot Lime 3P is a backpacker’s type tent so it is meant to be light weight, sturdy, and fast set up.  The bonus was the lower price.  But, and it’s a big but here, we would have paid the higher price.   We will be saving money by camping, most area’s average $30 a night rather than using hotels which tend to cost around $150 a night so spending money on a good tent is a good investment.

As for the sleeping bags Ed did all the research on that one.  I trusted him, he ordered the Pureland Track300 and when they came and I unrolled them my first thought was ‘why oh why did I trust him!’  The bags seemed AWFULLY thin.  The packaging said it was rated to 0 but I wasn’t so sure.  After about 2 min. of crawling in that night I realized that these really were going to be great.  I loved the mummy bag and the way it hugged my head.  I also loved and I mean really LOVED the flap that came down around my neck.  It kept the heat in and made a huge difference in comfort for me.

Devon's pillow.  This side is the fleece side.
Now two things I was not happy with.  My 1st problem was my pillow.  Now it was a great size.  It fit in my and around my bag and could be condensed into a small sack.  We purchased this from our local sporting goods store and didn’t pay attention to the brand or cost.  I know it wasn’t more than $5.00.  The front was a nice warm fleece and the back was made of nylon.  I laid the nylon side down so I could rest my head on the warm fleece.   This didn’t seem too bad until I would move and the pillow would shoot out from under my head.  After about the third time I knew this was going to really bother me and rather than unzipping my bag and trekking back into the house I texted my oldest and had him bring me out my pillow.  I discovered I really like having a butler while I camp. 

To solve my slippery pillow issue I plan to sew over the nylon with a fleece backing.  This should keep my pillow in place and keep it from escaping. 

He rides a bike, and cuts off pillow tags.  I married a rebel.

Devon's pillow is the green bag.  Folds up quite nicely.
Next, I found that I am a princess.  By morning both my left and right hips were in pain.  I am a side sleeper and the pad we had bought was not good enough.  We had bought the ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating pad for our trip.  Also, I noticed that the cold from the ground tended to seep through the tent floor and my bag.  Ed said it didn’t bother him but what does he know, he has an internal temp of 115 F!  See I’m a princess.  We have since ordered a new pad in hopes this will keep out the cold and solve my hip pain.  Same company just the XL size.  This one is 30”x 77”x 3” and it is considered the ‘choice for luxury camping.’  Princess Devon should now be more comfortable at night.  Maybe I can pack my butler and order him to bring me chocolates in bed too. 

My advice:  GO GOOGLE.  Make a list of what you want.  What extra amenities are you willing to live without?  What amenities do you absolutely need?  Read the reviews.  But remember that there is always someone out there that will whine about anything and everything; rather look for common complaints in the reviews.  Also, go to several websites selling that item and read the reviews on those sites as well, and then compare.  This will give you a clear picture of the item you are purchasing.  If you are able test it out before you go I suggest you do it.  After all, wouldn’t you like to find out it doesn’t really work the way you want it to close to home rather than out in the great outdoors where you’re stuck with it? 

Remember I am not a camper.  This is our 1st time in our 18+ years of married life we will be camping and for me this is the 1st time in 25+ years I’ve camped.  I really think I’ve got the pillow issue fixed and if we can solve the padding and cold seeping up from the bottom I can see me liking this.  Have an open mind and a willingness to try is the key here and it will lead to an awesome adventure. 

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