Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Motorcycle Camping

It's funny how much stuff I used to carry when I went camping. A huge heavy tent, cookstove, big bulky sleeping bag, and the list goes on. I still have my old backpack, and remember many trips when it was full and I had a sleeping bag strapped on the outside. Now I laugh. I can fit a weekend camping trip into my 10 year old daughter's backpack that she carries to school every day, and I camp in more comfort now than I did back then. Learning to carry everything we need to live on the road for a month or more on a bike taught me a few lessons. Like an extra rain tarp is a lot more useful than an extra pair of jeans and sweatshirt.

My husband and I now use a Big Agnes 2 man tent. It takes one person about 5 minutes to set up, even in the wind. We also have Big Agnes sleeping bags with the integrated mattress pad. They are warm and comfy even at cooler temperatures, but I still like a silk liner that I can tuck in around my neck and shoulders. It is less for the warmth, which it does provide, and more for the homey feel of a blanket. We have Big Agnes inflatable pillows that suit me alright, but that my husband doesn't think are big enough. I guess the difference is whether you just want something to lay your head on, or whether you want a pillow you can hold on to.

Rather than carrying a huge camp stove like I used to do, I now carry a Jetboil and Mountain House dinners. The Jetboil heats up water fast enough that I can be drinking my second cup of french press coffee before the Mountain House dinner has finished cooking. I've seen other options, but the Jetboil cup is the perfect size for one person, and it is such a compact system that I can use the extra space for something else.

My luxury item is a Kermit Chair. It is a completely collapsible director's chair (fits in a bag about 22 inches long and 4" by 6". It is also one of the most comfortable chairs I have sat in. Much better than our full size lawn chairs that we use on the deck at home.

For a month on the road I have my riding gear plus two pair of pants and three shirts. Everything possible is micro-fiber so it washes and dries quickly. My test is whether the clothes can fit in a helmet bag. If it's too bulky to fit in the bag, something comes out. It means I don't dress up much, but that's ok. I can do the dressy route at home anytime, the road is for adventure, excitement, and challenges.

1 comment:

Marty said...

I am also thinking of a jet boil. do you cook anything other than the dinners you mentioned in it? It does look like a great stove. I am planning both a route 66 and a perimeter tour this year.