So, I should put out there, that some­times when we go camp­ing it is pseu­do camp­ing, in that a friend has a 5th wheel trail­er on some prop­er­ty they own, have a well, elec­tric­i­ty pumped in, and a cou­ple of sheds with equip­ment and tools (axes, saws, etc.).  They own about 200 acres, and it is abun­dant with wildlife such as deer, black bear, coy­ote,  moun­tain lion (very scarce, but they are there), wild pig (also scarce but are there), and all the oth­er wildlife you might expect.  The prop­er­ty bor­ders a large stream that has some trout, and in the event the well is not work­ing, there is a close source of water.  Pri­mar­i­ly the prop­er­ty is for them to vis­it in the sum­mer when they come ‘home’ from Flori­da, but are also think­ing of putting a cab­in or cot­tage on the prop­er­ty.  At the base of the moun­tain, there is field that they cleared years ago about an acre in size where the trav­el trail­er sits.

click to see larg­er image

What this allows me to do from time to time, is to eas­i­ly test out some new gear with­out hav­ing to trek out into the for­est and with much less effort.  This is what I did this past Sat­ur­day night.  So here is what I did.  Some time ago, I pur­chased an inex­pen­sive bivy tent from Sports­man­’s Guide.  It cost me about $30 dol­lars, and I fig­ured it would be good for quick spring, sum­mer, and fall back­pack­ing trips.  So here is my assess­ment of the bivy as it was the first time I used it.

  • It was easy to set up, about 7 — 10 min­utes
  • It would not stand up in a heavy rain, you would get soaked
  • The base of the tent is 100-+ mil plas­tic that goes up the sides of the tent about 3 inch­es to keep water from the bot­tom of the tent from soak­ing in
  • It is vent­ed nice­ly if you have the door and the win­dow closed.
  • There is no cov­er to keep the dew from form­ing on the tent, so if you sit up, your fore­head hits the top of the tent in the morn­ing, and you get a lit­tle wet.
  • Packed, this tent weighs about 5 — 6 pounds.
  • The tent is big enough for one adult, a “small” pack and your pock­et lit­ter.
  • There was a logo stat­ing “High Gear, Since 1977” on the low­er right cor­ner of the tent.

If I were real­ly camp­ing with this tent, I would have strapped a tarp up between a cou­ple of trees to keep it dry in the event of rain.

I also used a new two/three sea­son sleep­ing bag by chi­nook.  It is super com­pact and about the size of a foot­ball when packed back up, and weighs just over a pound when stuffed in the sack.  It is a 50 degree bag, and when I pulled it out of the stuff sack, I was skep­ti­cal how warm it might keep me when the weath­er report men­tioned it was going to be about 55 degrees in the moun­tains that evening.   Well, I am here to tell you, that it worked just fine.  In fact, at a cou­ple points, I woke up pret­ty warm (in a light sweat) and had to pull my arms out of the bag and slide the zip­per down a lit­tle.  After using it, I was impressed with it for it’s thick­ness…  I think I may buy one of those fleece sleep­ing bags to keep handy in the event it gets a lit­tle cold­er one night and slip it inside the Chi­nook bag as an extra lay­er if I need to.

The Chi­nook is def­i­nite­ly going in my Bug Out Bag, and will save me a pound or two of weight for a sea­son or two when I rotate gear.

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