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Ok so starting with my camping gear:

Mountain Hardwear Shifter 2: Absolutely loved this tent. I was astounded at how fast and easy it was to set up. It has a rigid but adjustable back vestibule that can be used to stow gear. It comes with its own ground sheet, fully taped seams, and the air flow was so perfect within this tent that even though I was camped at the ocean, there was not drop of condensation inside this tent when I woke up. I’m glad I got a two person tent. Had plenty of room but it would have been fine with two as well. It was snug and warm and there is a built in gear net as well as two mesh pockets where I was able to stow my electronics up off the ground just in case there was water to contend with.

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I also used a small caribeener to hang my solar LED lantern – this little gem was invaluable! I hung it up inside the tent and the light was bright enough to read maps by, get ready for bed, organize my gear, etc. It’s inflatable, takes up almost no room and no weight and throws a LOT of light. Also functions as a beacon with low and high settings for the lights as well as a strobe function.

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Mountain Hardwear Ratio 15 Down Sleeping Bag: Two words: Warm and wonderful! This bag was plenty warm and cozy. Exceeded my expectations for warmth, and that’s hard to do, since I’m a person who is easily chilled!

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Jet Boil Flash: This powerful little stove really lived up to its expectations. It literally boiled ice cold water in under 3 minutes. I also bought the matching flux ring 1.5 L cooking pot and frying pan, but didn’t use them this trip so I will let you know later how they worked. The one accessory I didn’t have much luck with was the coffee press attachment. It does in fact turn your jet boil canister into a self contained French Press. However, I’m too much of a coffee snob to boil the grounds into the water. You’re supposed to put the grounds into your press then pour the water over the top to soak the grounds. Therefore, adding the grounds after the water was boiled made it a little tricky to soak the grounds. And honestly the coffee didn’t steep well enough to be as strong as I like my coffee, plus clean up was an issue. I think honestly in the future I will probably just bring my Starbucks Via Packets.

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Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Mat: Worth its weight in gold. This was a pretty expensive purchase for me. I waited quite a while and read / watched a LOT of reviews of other products before pulling the trigger on this. However, in the end, because of all my back and muscular issues, the idea of sleeping on the ground is the least appealing thing to me about motorcycle adventuring. This mat changed all that. It’s dual core, able to  be blown up separately on both the top and the bottom layer for different conditions. Sleeping on this thing, I didn’t know I was on ground.

 

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Thermarest Compressible Pillow:  This was an extra. For sure. Unnecessary, seeing as I could conceivably use my jacket, my clothes, or any other other piece of equipment to lay my head on while I sleep. However, the idea of having an actual pillow was important to me, especially on long trips. It’s extremely comfortably and once compressed doesn’t really take up much space.

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Ogio Atlas Hydration Backpack: This was great for carrying filtered water on my trip but I thought I would want to carry it on my back to be able to stay hydrated on the road and I didn’t. Too heavy. But it was nice to have water with me and not have to disinfect a questionable water supply. Plus if I had wanted to do any hikes once we got to a campsite it was definitely nice to have along.

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ENO (Eagle’s Nest Outfitters) Hammock: This little gem might be my favorite purchase, and not just for camping. This thing is money. Small, portable, sets up almost anywhere in seconds, has its own stuff sack, and I bought the straps that go with it (the Atlas Hammock Suspension System), which make it even easier to set up (if that’s even possible).

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I’m in the process of ordering the Pro Fly Rain Tarp for it as well. It’s a super comfortable hammock and with the rain fly I could hang out in it as an alternative to the tent in inclement weather, use my solar LED lanterns in there and also use it as a shelter to dry out wet gear instead of trying to hang it in my tent. I’m considering the XL for that reason, and being that I am not as concerned about weight traveling on a bike vs. backpacking, and the tarp can double as a shelter over a picnic table or even at the beach, I’m leaning towards spending the extra $20 for the extra large tarp. The hammock with the tarp is great because it allows you the alternative of not setting up your tent if you’re in an area where either the ground is already really wet or it’s hard to find a suitable piece of ground to set up camp. You can also pop it up at any park you stop at along the way to rest comfortably or even take a short snooze before getting back on your bike! I bought the double hammock which can fit two people and is rated for like 450 pounds.

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REI Helinox Chair One: Here’s another item worth it’s minuscule weight in gold. It’s the smallest, most compact but surprisingly comfortable camp chair I’ve ever sat in. Aluminum frame, sets up in seconds. Perfect for when you want to sit over by the fire pit but the picnic table is chained down! Or put it anywhere – sun or shade, to drink your morning coffee or watch the sunset. Weighing in at only 30 oz itself, it supports weight up to 320 pounds!

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Ok! I think that’s enough on the camping gear! I’ll do the motorcycle gear separately. Happy camping campers!

To Go to Part 2 of Gear Reviews: Click Here!!

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Some Thoughts On Gear: Reviews from a relative newbie (Part 1):

Lynda Meyers


Lynda Meyers is the award-winning author of Letters From The Ledge and Finn Again


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9 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Gear: Reviews from a relative newbie (Part 1):

  1. So Lynda…. Have you ordered all your things online or do you have a place by you??? Also on your long trip how are you planning your camping…. KOA list or what??

    1. Hi Kathy! I have ordered most of my gear although a lot of it is sold at REI or other outdoor stores. I actually get the employee discount twice a year from Columbia Sportswear (parent company for Mountain Hardwear) through work so I bought my tent and sleeping bag at a wonderful discount. The other things I have bought a little at a time over the past year or more as I’ve seen things go on sale, etc. I have Amazon Prime though, so free shipping on most gear for me and it’s the easiest way I do all my research online then order and it comes right to my door.

      Re: the longer trips I usually look ahead and plan out between 2 and 300 miles and then find State Parks etc. For a lot of the Canada trip we’ve had to do that because it is August and campsites are full and reserved way ahead of time. We are staying in places like Glacier National Park and up in Jasper and Banff and these are very popular for campers in the summer. I guess it depends on the trip you’re taking and the time of year.

  2. Loving the reviews. Your bike packing, very impressive. Just bought the light. Considering the mat, sleeping bag and hammock with rain fly. Can’t wait for more

    1. Hey Wynelle, it’s been quite the adventure just researching and trying out all this gear!! haha. I’m super happy I invested in gear that’s easy to use because after 300 miles on the bike I’m pretty tired and just want everything to go up easily and work the way it’s supposed to! Happy camping!!

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