Finally got a chance to try out the tent I got from the PM. Took Jake & Spanky w/ me on their first backpack overnight. We didn't hit the trail until 3pm yesterday, so we hiked in 2.5 hours to where Norcross Pond dumps over the cascades down toward Carrigain Notch. We camped in a sweet spot in the fir trees. It dropped to about 45° - easily manageable, but it meant packing up in the morning at 6am wearing fleece, wool tights under pants and a hat. Then disrobing in stages - eventually in shorts in t-shirt by 8am. Pictures Here.
Notes for the future Mutha:
- The lid on the jetboil has a purpose. It keeps all that sputtering of rapidly boiling water from shooting out all over the place. Use it for that.
- A little LED light hung from the dome destroys night-vision and in the middle of the night, is a mistake to suddenly turn on to figure out why the hell Spanky is sleeping on your head. Put red taillight-repair tape over it before the next outing.
- Only bring mess-kit gear that matches the menu. A corollary to this rule is: almost everything can be eaten out of a mug.
- Okay, I see why my old sleeping bag (my first, from back in '81) sucks. It's warm - that's fine - but it has never been washed. It weighs about 5 lbs (maybe 4) and compressed down to the size of a motorcycle helmet (w/ visor). If it weren't for my support of Leave-No-Trace I would've left the thing in the woods.
- Do a gear check PRIOR to leaving. Did you really need 500' of paracord? Can't that med-kit be trimmed a little (50 ibuprofen? really? If MadDog's not along for the pain-train, skip all the extras)
- Only bring strike-anywhere matches if you also bring the strike-strip from the box. They suck really bad on rough stone. Glad I had a flint stick AND a lighter.
- The vaseline/cotton fire starter is THE BALLS! One freaking spark and WHOOOOSH!
- A nearly bald Jack Russell can be warmed in front of a campfire. Consider camping only in places that allow campfires, like last night. It made a little cold dog veeerrrrry happy.
- Backpacker's Pantry brand dehydrated meals aren't bad, but eating Kung Pow Chicken 2 years after the expiration date wasn't smart. Taste wise, I would've gotten the same thing by dumping a handful of peanuts in Ramen Noodles.
- Consider Ramen when camping. I wonder if it's possible to get some kind of dehydrated beans for flavor/interest.