Beta testing a new type of fun.
It took a few years but I finally upgraded my solo camping gear beyond a giant sleeping bag and a two person dome tent. Ushered in is a new age of super light, super compact fancy fibers and fabrics. The impetus for this change is a curiosity in multi day excursions and of course the ever present satisfaction of doing more with less. Minimalism is a romance I often toy with in life but I find it hard to admit I live minimally. Maybe someday when I live in a box in the woods and drink directly from the earth.
|Sleeping bag, Bivy, Stove, pants, jacket, sleeping pad.|
In order to ensure I was comfortable with my gear in a controlled environment I opted to take an evening out in the woods with it. Thinking the Boston Commons wouldn't be the best spot for it I chose a campground, replete with transients who I believe I blended in with, to be the host.
Wompatuck State Park is an interesting mix of abandoned paved roads and buildings combined with gentle and soothing single track. Only a 20 mile or so bike ride out of Boston it was certainly a good change of pace over fighting traffic on the interstate. I fit all of my gear nicely in a 44oz Osprey pack which I did a test run with on a few miles of trails in the park itself.
The experience of biking out under a stunning coastal New England sunset was nearly a tactile one. I see beauty in so much of life and my mind rushes to break down the mystery of why something has the power to steal my attention and longing. My thought often flows like water into a vase seeking out the weakness of argument to flood as every imperfection in the ceramic is sought out. In a brute force way it searches and all comes to stop when it can fill no more and I am left with no explanation for the admiration I feel.
I stared at the layered colors of the sky and floating gas and queried it relentlessly. Was it the palate? But why would that be soothing? Are our brains conditioned to love the splendid colors of nature we don't often get to see?
I think of beauty left unnoticed. To me it is something I get to share with that which I am stunned by. We give ourselves to something in order to notice what it means to us. It is not beautiful till we stop to place its importance and color and structure against the canvas of the rest of the senses we are constantly confronted with.
It stuns me and always brings me back to the tops of mountains. The howling of wind against rock. So beautiful and void of what we value in life. I have an endless amount of faith and aspirations for our budding species. However bleak and selfish our actions seem to be I believe enough in our strengths to not fear our future. I have met the most kind and beautiful humans. But still my mind is filled with the howling of wind. Painful longing in the contrast cast by setting suns against buildings. My pictures often reflect this, spared the sight of humans.
Anyway, trip was fun. I wouldn't bring my family to this campground just off the vibe I was getting. I'll go back in a snow storm to test the winter setup out. The bivy kept me warm and the added pole kept the net off my face all night. At one point something tried to get into my bag and I scared it off. Then I was worried it was going to try and gnaw on my face so I pulled the full cover down. My sleeping bag by my feet and jacket I was using as a pillow were both damp when I awoke, assuming it has something to do with moisture and breath and condensation. Or I accidentally piddled on it when I got up in the middle of the night. I managed to melt the bottom cover of my Jetboil stove when I forgot to take it off.
The pack had ~25 pounds of stuff in it when I went for a run? Maybe less. It felt semi-sustainable but I think I'll leave the DSLR and bike lock at home when I hit the trails for real.
Gear List (There were a few other misc things and I think I only weighed myself with the pack before I dumped some of the water. I had 4 liters on me at first.)
|Osprey Talon 44||37|
|Marmot Cloudbreak 30||36|
|Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy||32|
|Thermarest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad||16|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Anorack||2|
|Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Hooded Jacket||10|
|Mountain Hardwear Epic Dry.Q Core Pants||8|
|Cold Steel Voyager (Large)||4|
|Petzl Cheapo Headlamp||3|
|Water (3 liters)||105.6|
|Kryptonite Bike Lock||42|
|Total Weight (oz)||Total Weight|