new gear!

Last year & now it seems again this year, I have added several items to my pack list for traveling…specifically camping.  While I try not to be a constant shopper--upgrading to the latest, greatest & lightest, some things need replaced, sometimes you get an awesome gift & some items just work well & are worth duplicating.  So, here’s the new ‘stuff’ I’ll be trying this year.

the gift….Sara chose this birthday gift that’s been on my Amazon wish list (unbeknown to her) for a few years.  It’s two different types of water filters.  With the bottle, the insert & lid fit on any Nalgene bottle, of which I have several.  I’ll be able to dunk the bottle in a stream or river, shake it up, then drink it…pure water on the go!

With the Lifestraw, I can lean over the river or stream & just suck it out.  This is a great light weight option to carry in my day pack, in case I run out of water as I hike…which I have done before.  Thank you Sara….I’m excited to try these out!

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replacing the old…Danny & I have had the same set of pots of pans since we started backpacking 25 years ago.  Last summer at camp, when I scrambled some eggs, the teflon coating came off making a gray unappetizing & probably super-bad-for-you-breakfast.  

This year, I bought a new set of GSI pots & pan.  I like the way they simply nest inside of each of other & the container doubles as a sink. It also stores a little round cutting board & the lids have ’strainer’ holes for convenience.  The pans are triple teflon coated, but I was most picky about the handle.  I have a small flip-type handle on a tiny stainless steel pot I use on my solo travels, which has popped up more than once making a mess.  So, I wanted a gripper handle that locked on to the pot.  Many campers don’t want to use anything teflon & just go with pure stainless steel.  But, I wanted the ease of cleaning up the mess while out in the wilderness & without using much water.  Generally, I’ll only use these pots when Danny is with me when I tend to cook a bit more—both in time & quantity.  But, I sometimes use the frypan when I’m soloing.  So, while I’m not that excited about cooking in camp, I’ll be glad to not be eating the teflon with breakfast. We figure this set will last us for the rest of our camping days…two sets in a lifetime isn’t a bad investment.

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I also bought a pair of rain pants.  The only other pair I've ever owned was a Columbia heavy rubber-type pair (that worked great), but they are also 25 years old.  I never use them anymore. I know I’ll need one for my rafting trip in 2021, but I’m not one to put things off & if I’m going to buy a pair, I might as well use them this year too.  You can tell, since I only rarely buy new things, I’m super picky about the quality, fit & design.  I wanted rain pants with a flat front & some sort of minimal zippered pocket.  I’ve been watching & stalking this North Face pair & they went on sale on Zappos.  I ordered 4 pair…2 different sizes & 2 different lengths, so I ended up with the perfect pants.  I can’t say I’m anxious to hike in the rain, but I’m glad I’ll be prepared when the skies open up. PS:  Rain pants are also great to slip on when you need to go to the laundry mat & wash everything!!!!

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the new…  A couple of years ago, I purchased an overpriced & overly bright (all the colors I don’t love) tankini & short swim shorts to take on a cruise but I didn’t love it once in the water.  I’ve never liked the look or the design, but it didn’t seem like there was a lot of choice in the midwest in winter.   This year, I bought a rash guard from Carve designs.  I’ve never worn one before; they always seem too tight & restrictive & not flattering.  But, I liked the design of this one with the pull-type gathers on the side & the colors…I’m not a turquoise, pink & purple gal.  It’s loose enough to be active in, but tight enough to swim in (I think…haven’t been in the water with it yet).  I also bought a pair of long swim trunks.  I’m more than ready to cover these old thighs & the papery-spotted arms.  I want everything to be comfortable & active.  

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Last year when I was in Texas, in the record heat, I was worried about camping for a week & being inundated with mosquitoes.  At one of the humungous Bucky’s I visited, they sold these Thermacell mosquitos zappers.  I sort of panicked & bought one.  While I learned all about the Texas fire ants, the mosquitos stayed away, & I never even opened this.  But, I intend to take it to camp this year.  Mosquitos are in every state & drive me crazy.  I’d be just as happy if I never had to open it; never encountering another mosquito in my life….that just having it in the box & wasting my money was enough to keep those annoying insects away.  And while I’m a big optimist (I buy lottery tickets every week), I have my doubts, but I now also have my zapper.

the duplicate….I loved my Altra Lone Peaks so much from last year, I bought another pair for this year.  This is actually the Lone Peak 4.5…they changed the laces for the better, but the overall shoe is the same & is just great.  The first time I wore them was on a 8.5 mile walk—on concrete, on gravel, & on dirt…no break in time.  The color is sooooo bright I told Danny if I’m wearing them & fall off the trail, they’ll find me because of my shoes. (I’ve been wearing them on my mountain bike trail to dull them up a bit with trail dirt!)

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the other duplicate I bought was this awesome technical hoody from LL Bean.  It’s a copy cat of Patagonia’s R1.  Last year I bought both & compared them before deciding I liked the fit of the LL Bean one better.  Then after wearing it day after day & loving it last year, when it went on sale this year, I bought a second one.  And, it's in my favorite color!  Between my 2 pair of Columbia shorts, my 2 Duluth Trading travel pants & these two hoodies, I’m set for days.

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I’m still working on a travel plan for my spring road trip to the Southwest.  

In the meantime, Danny & I are planning a 90th birthday party for his mother, who is back from her 3 months of traveling & living with us.  The best part of the party is that all my kids & Claire & Emma are coming home for a long weekend.  So, I’m in party planning mode, menu & food prep mode with a few ideas of fun things to do & play with the girls in the short time they’re here.  I’m soooo excited to have them all together!

Then I’ll be packing up Camper with all my favorite things & ready to hit the road!

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