I am not afoot yet, but I have begun to collect my gear. I ordered my tent and backpack today. My first ever tent, my first real backpack. It took months of research to narrow down these two items because there are so many different products on the market, and everyone I’ve talked to (or eavesdropped on — I belong to a couple of women hiker groups on FB, though I just lurk and listen as they discuss their gear) has a different preference.
Despite my dismal experience with REI, I ended up ordering the items from them for the very reason the stores are so popular — a more than generous return policy. I can use the products and if any time during the coming year I decide they aren’t for me, I can return them no matter what condition they are in. The only way I will ever figure out what I like is to try out various products, and I figure it’s only fair such unfair folk fund my try-outs.
So, in case you’re curious, the tent is a Big Agnes, Copper Spur UL 1 in terra cotta and silver. (UL1 means it’s ultralight and for 1 person.) The backpack is a Gregory J53 in fog gray. Not my choice of color for either item, but that’s what was available.
The other main item necessary for a life on the road is a sleeping bag, but I haven’t a clue what to get. It seems the only way to get a bag wide enough for me is to get a wide/long one, but I don’t want the extra length. Maybe a quilt would be better? Who knows. I do know I don’t want down. I don’t think I could sleep thinking of all those poor ducks who lost their feathers (and sometimes their lives) just so I could wander the world. Besides, down takes forever to dry. I’m more interested in something called Climasheild. Lightweight, synthetic, warm, dries quickly. Now if I can just figure out which of the seemingly endless styles to get.
So back to lurking, listening, and researching. But at least I have progressed beyond the dreaming stage to the gearing up stage. As a friend so often says, “It’s all good.”
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.