Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Climbing Mount Everest

Or camping on a Harley. You face similar limitations in that you can only carry a certain amount of stuff. So what stuff do you take?

Well, a tent and sleeping bag are must haves. Rain gear. Spare clothes (although if you are a single guy you can get away with a lot less. Not saying that chicks wear more clothes, just that guys are more likely to be willing to wear the same t-shirt for four days and rinse it in a convenient stream halfway through). If you are budget conscious you need to have some simple tools for cooking at your campsite to save on restaurant bills. Everything else is comfort and, as one ages, comfort becomes less optional as it turns out. Add in a camp chair and a sleeping pad to go under your bag, otherwise you wake up each morning in absolute agony.

Now add in a gf or significant other. More stuff. If you pick the right one she doesn't go insane and it's not too bad. If you are in the market you are looking for someone who understands the limitations on motorcycle travel, but you still have two sleeping bags, two camp chairs, two sleeping mats, on top of her regular stuff.

Plus that whole "one t-shirt for four days" thing goes right out the window so now you have more of your stuff to carry. Turns out, however, that the folks who design stuff for backpackers and mountain climbers (you were wondering when I would get there, weren't you?) have the same idea in mind. Compact, lightweight gear that works. The kind of stuff you can carry in a backback, is also the kind of stuff you can shove in a saddlebag. So here are some of the items I've added and the space savings achieved.  

REI 1/2 Dome 2 tent: packed size 6" x 21"
Kelty tent: packed size 10" x 26"
Savings: 1300 cubic inches Plus it's waaaay easier to set up and tear down since the poles go on the outside, not in sleeves, plus the poles are aluminium so they don't fracture and split like the fiberglass poles, plus it weighs about 8 pounds less which isn't crucial but hey, weight is weight.  

Sleeping pad:
REI: Big Agnes Q-core insulated sleeping pad, packed size 6" x 10"
Cabelas: Alaskan Outfitters self inflating sleeping pad, packed size 6" x 30"
Savings: 540 cubic inches (BIG AGNES Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad, Wide/Long also available through Amazon)

Camping chair:
REI: Flexlite chair, packed dimensions 4" x 14"
Walmart: standard folding camp chair, packed dimensions about 6" x 35"
Savings: 800 cubic inches

Total savings just for these three items, about 2500 cubic inches (about 1.5 cubic feet) and since a Harley touring saddlebag carries 2,000 cubic inches, I have, so far, saved more than a full saddlebag's worth of stuff. 

Who say's shopping isn't fun?

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