Our plans involve a significant amount of time camping while we are in Canada and Europe. We will have our tent with us throughout our journey, allowing us the opportunity to camp anywhere if it is necessary. In addition, we will bring a compact multi-fuel camp stove that will allow us to cook anywhere. In some ways, this is comforting, as when you are suffering from various travel illnesses, it is really nice to be able to throw together some familiar comfort food.
We needed a test that bigger than our current test and yet small enough to pack on our bikes and not have too large a footprint. Our old tent had double-doors and double-vestibule. This is a really nice feature for short trips; however, you give up a lot of height and usable vestibule space when it is divided across the entrances. The new tent has a large vestibule and enough room that we should be able to enter after a rainy day of cycling and change without getting all the gear in the tent wet!
We went with Therm-a-rest because they have a great reputation and a great warranty. The guy in the store suggested that the Women’s version was the best for both of us, because it is warmer, and the price was the same for both. Scott didn’t really like the idea of a pink sleeping pad, and we figured that I could use the extra 1-2 degrees of warmth. It might make us even!
Sleeping bag – MSR Merlin
We want something that is both light and compact. We also need a solution that is flexible, as the temperature will vary greatly depending on time of year and where we are.
Stove – MSR XGK EX
We needed a stove that would burn any kind of fuel. I disliked the MSR Whisperlite Internationale, which Scott purchased back in his university days, because I found it difficult to setup, especially with cold hands. And it can be less than stable.
Pots – MSR Duralite Classic Cookset
Again this was a matter of Scott having purchased something back in his university days and me wanting something a little nicer. Scott’s old set is stainless steel. We also have an old beat up frying pan that everything sticks too.
Since I like to cook, and we expect to be preparing a fair percentage of our meals, I wanted something that was both versatile and easy to clean. The Duralite set has a nicer (bigger) frying pan, includes a lid that fits on all posts, and has a non-stick coating that wont peel off. One additional advantage is that small pack towels for scrubbing and drying are included with the set.
Water purifier – MSR MIOX
I chose the MIOX because it is small, doesn’t have anything that will break when you drop it, and only requires standard sized camera batteries and salt to operate. Apparently, this little device is based upon the same technology that the Navy Seals use. It is pretty simple to use, you just add a little water, shake, hit the button. This creates a brine that you add to your water bottle. After 15 minutes, it has killed anything that is likely to have caused a problem. The brine smells like chlorine to me, but when added to the water, it doesn’t seem to taste bad. It is certainly nicer than iodine. I do wonder if I add it to other beverages, will it have the same germ killing affect?