My overnighter gear test!
Place: Mt Watatic Wildlife Management Area
Time: Evening of 4/30-morning of 5/1
Temps, early evening temps of high 50’s, overnight low of 31, morning went back up into the low 50’s once the sun was up.
Kelty Redwing 3100
Katadyn Basecamp water filter
BB Superfly tarp
Snugpak 20* bag
So, this trip didn’t go exactly as planned. My original plan was to go to a local campground in the afternoon, so that I could test things out, without having to carry too much stuff-this is something I normally do before testing new gear, as I keep backup stuff in the jeep, “just in case”. Well, the campgrounds don’t open until Memorial Weekend (what???), so I was forced into a backup plan. Fortunately, there is a local wildlife management area that I have hiked & camped at before, so, instead, I chose that area, and went without any backup gear. I only hiked in a half mile, but it was cross country, as I didn’t want to go to the top of the mountain, and I had started rather late-it was almost 7PM by the time I started walking. So, I hiked in, about ½ mile, hit the stream I was looking for, and set up camp. The tarp was exactly as expected-simple set up, and, with the pullouts, plenty of room. I didn’t get any rain this weekend, so as to the weather proofness, I don’t know, but, from reading what others have said, I don’t have any concerns. The one I have is the digital camo pattern. I have a Speer tarp as well, that was light green-the first thing I noticed was that, once the sun goes down, there is NO ambient light to be had in the Superfly. With the Speer, even in the dark of night, I could still see the tarp. Not so with this one-its DARK. But, with the light on it during the day, it is nice-not too bright at all, that can happen with some of the lighter colored tarps. Setup was simple-I much prefer the ridgeline on the Superfly as opposed to having my own on my Speer. Less line management. And, overnight, with the ends closed, this actually kept it warm within the tarp itself, by cutting all wind down, and consolidating the heat near the top of the tarp.
Next, the Kelty backpack. All I can say is that this is a VERY comfortable pack. It’s a great weekend backpack, and held my gear for an overnight stay, even though I had a large sleeping bag stuffed inside it. I had to get a little creative with my foodstuff & water filter, but it held everything! My normal warmer weather packing stuff wouldn’t have an issue being stuffed inside here. It is a VERY comfortable pack-likely the most comfortable one I have ever worn, even for this short a distance. It sits real well-like its not even there. I was quite surprised at this, as I usually have to play around with things to dial a pack in. This one, it fit like a glove right from the getgo.
The Whoopie slings worked as advertised. No slippage overnight at all. Over the course of the entire weekend I probably hung a total of 9 hours in it, with zero slippage. I am a big person-I am pushing 210 lbs, so it was a good test with it, as some people state they experience slippage. Its important to milk the gripping part-I think that’s what most people forget. I also used sticks as toggles, with no issues. Remember that the whoopee slings should be on the KNOT, not on the TOGGLE, and you will have no breakage.
The Snugpak 20* bag I had to use, as I left my 40* quilt in the jeep, because I could only carry one or the other, so I erred on the side of caution. It’s a big bag, and doesn’t compress all that well, but, it IS a snugpak bag, and is durable-hence it residing in my jeep. I used it as a quilt overnight, and it excelled. I wouldn’t recommend it as a backpacking bag, due to its weight & lack of extreme compressibility, but, for car camping, or shorter hikes, or even winter camping with a pulk, this is a great bag. The outer is made of water resistant material, which I tested by letting my water filter dribble water on it for 5 minutes-and it didn’t soak through. A heavy bag, but definitely a go to piece of gear for ruggedness, durability, and quality-as my experience with other Snugpak products have been.
Katadyn Basecamp filter-this is a cool piece of kit. You fill the water bag, hang it from a tree, and let it filter water. That’s it. It has a paper filter in it, like a Pur filter, and, although a little slower than a pump, its great to just hang up, put your water bottle under it, and let it fill while doing other chores. It took about 3-5 minutes to fill the bottle-but, it was time spent doing other things, and NOT pumping. Also, as I had a large sleeping bag in my pack, I used the waterproof bag that you fill as my food pack as well (everything was in Zip Lock bags too). I want to take this on a few more overnights/weekends, to see how well it performs over time. The things I have read is that the filter has a tendency to get clogged rather quickly, depending on your water source. I filled a nylon water bucket from the stream, then poured it into the filter bag through a bandana, so I strained most of the larger stuff out. I recommend doing some similar prefiltering if you choose to use this filter.
The LeighLo 3/4UQ. I cannot sing the praises of this enough. I LOVE this thing! It kept me very warm down to 31* overnight, according to my thermometer. It was nice & warm. I had a sit pad under my feet, and that kept those toasty warm too. I could feel immediately if the UQ slipped out of place, almost instantly. And, as soon as I adjusted it-I was all toasty warm all over again. It packs small, is simple to use & adjust, and keeps you toasty warm!
I got a few camera pics, I will attempt to post up later. Nothing spectacular, as I set up & broke camp during twilight hours on both ends...