Shopping for an Adventure

I spent most of yesterday online researching various camping products, such as a solar charger for my phone. What a frustrating task! There are dozens of reviews for every product as well as descriptions galore from the manufacturers. Not surprising, every opinion is different. The products work. They don’t work. They chargers charge fast. They charge slowly. Sheesh.

It does seem silly that a phone is necessary equipment for backpacking considering how new the technology is, but the device is too valuable to leave behind, or to take and leave uncharged. GPS, maps, emergency calls, blogging, photos. Amazing what that little thing will do! (And my phone is very little. A mini.)

I had to close up my computer and get something to eat to stave off the circular thinking hunger was creating. (Remember H.A.L.T.?) I kept wondering what I was doing, buying all this stuff for a life I might not even like. I truly am a homebody, and therein lies the problem. When I settle down, I gradually give way to inertia, and then stagnation sets in. Oh, my. That is not what I want at all!

So far, there is little chance of my settling down. I checked out an apartment over the weekend, and though it was nice (but pricy), it depressed me. I could feel the walls closing in on me after just a few minutes. Was thrilled to escape when the tour was over.

So back to researching. And buying. I never have understood the joy people get from shopping. That, too, depresses me. I don’t like spending money, don’t like looking for things to buy, and I don’t like trying things on. Not only did I try on an apartment this weekend, I went tried on shoes. (Can’t go walking without adequate shoes, so those are a must.) I bought two pairs, one of which I will have to return. The shoes felt good in the store, but when I tried them on today, they seemed big enough but felt like ill-fitting casts. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

And then there is gear. Sleeping system. Tent. Backpack. Water filter. Clothes. Food. Emergency supplies. Daily necessities. The challenge of fitting one’s home into a backpack is incredible. Even the lightest of the items add up. Three pounds for a backpack. Almost three pounds for a tent. Almost three pounds for a sleep system. (What makes it worse is that some equipment like sleeping pads are not geared for shorter and wider people. To get the width, I have to get extra length, and that adds to the weight, but I did finally find a sleeping pad that was wide without being long! Yay! And I decided on a sleeping quilt instead of a sleeping bag. Double yay.)

I could go lighter on all that equipment, but then there would be no point to any of this because I would be so uncomfortable at night, I would hate every step I took during the day. It’s possible I’ll hate it anyway, because carrying thirty pounds of gear for any length of time seems nigh impossible, but I will, of course, try to get acclimated little by little and see where that takes me. If nothing else, I could use the things for car camping. As someone pointed out — if it can fit in a backpack, it certainly could fit in my car. (There was a snide remark somewhere in the comment from that person about my car being a backpack, and I hate to admit it, but there is some truth to that. A VW Beetle is not the most spacious vehicle ever made.)

I thought the hard part of all this would be to actually go on an adventure, but I have a hunch by the time I set out, I’ll be so delighted the shopping is all done that I’ll just float away on a bubble of glee.

Or not. I always seem to be shocked by the difference in how I expect to feel and how I really do feel.

I am also surprised by some of the reactions I am getting. One sister is delighted I am planning a solo hiking/camping/backpacking trip. One brother is freaked out by it. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see how we all end up feeling.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand 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.

6 Responses to “Shopping for an Adventure”

  1. John J Beck Says:

    I continue to be amused by your approach. Many people would start by setting up a tent in the back yard or nearby place, try carrying the pack with what they already have acquired which they expect to take, and gradually build from there.
    If you find your pack is too heavy, you might get a smaller LED flashlight and leave the big one at home. If you find that you don’t really like staying overnight in a tent, you’ve not amasses a lot of gear that you won’t use. If you want to camp in remote locations where there’s no cell service you might leave your ‘phone at home. If you decide that for the first season you only want to stay out for one night at a time, you might not need to charge your ‘phone while on your adventure.
    But that’s just the way I think.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You’re not the only one who is amused, but I’ve never done anything the way most people do, so why should this be any different? Besides, most people have a place to live. And spouses/children/family to do things with. And old camping equipment. And a way to charge their phone in the car. None of which I have.

      Hmmm. LED flashlight? Something else to add to the list! 🙂

      If you think about it, though, it’s not so strange. All my gear will fit in the back cargo area of my VW. With an old car, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared for any emergency, so even if I never use the equipment, it won’t go to waste, especially if someday it saves my life.

      I do appreciate your comments on my adventure preparations. It’s nice to feel that someone has my back. I’m looking forward to going on a hike with you someday!

  2. leesis Says:

    go awesome Pat…love it hate it who cares…its the ADVENTURE!!! xxx

  3. Constance Says:

    If you ever got stranded anywhere with your car, at least you would be prepared.
    I have a box of stuff in the trunk of my car for if I got stranded. No tent or sleeping bag. Do have a blanket, First Aid Kit, throw away rain gear, and an old pair of comfortable beat up loafers for walking. (Example: Earthquake.)
    Never hurts to be prepared.
    People that have never owned a VW don’t realize how much you can get into that little car.

  4. Non-Adventure Update | Bertram's Blog Says:

    […] Shopping for an Adventure […]

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