My Four Loves – UPS, USPS, FedEx, and Prime
I am a sucker for the ring of the doorbell, announcing the arrival of yet another precious package. Now I know how folks felt in the olden days, when storks delivered babies. Little bundles of joy, right to your doorstep. Today, it’s brown boxes you just want to hold, and squeeze and snuggle. But of course, I bring them inside and open them.
Whistles on lanyards, and bright silver cook pots
Soft downy quilts, and no heavy camp cots
White rainproof paper and no hammock strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Musicals aside, gear accrual has begun! Because I have not field tested anything yet, this is just a summary of my choices thus far. Keep in mind this is the gear list of an overweight, mid-50s packer. I’m sure my choices are different than many others.
I have created a spreadsheet for your perusal, including a filtering column for mandatory—the stuff you have to bring; and optional—the stuff I am choosing to bring. I have listed the price I paid, although you may do better or worse. I’ve also left in the items that I eventually returned/exchanged, to show where I went wrong. This is a work in progress, so please don’t totally flame me. Though constructive input is welcome!
1: Tried and True
I am an independent contractor and bill hourly, so every hour I spend researching gear and scouring for deals is an hour I’m not billing my clients. In many cases I am defaulting to best of gear lists. I don’t have time to reinvent the wheel when extensive research has already been done. So I perhaps overpay in some instances but, for me, it all comes out in the wash.
I suspect a good number of you will do far better in finding deals. I have seen some AMAZING bargains you folks have found, and it’s quite impressive. That said, I got a decent price on my Big Agnes Fly Creek at the REI Outlet.
2: Simplicity of Ordering and Return
While occasional sales and direct-from-manufacturer pricing may be better in some instances, I am mostly using Amazon Prime. Fast, and no-questions-asked returns. If I need something replaced on the trail, it’s pretty much a one-click process. I don’t want to complicate things with multiple suppliers, haggling, etc.
3: Focus Where it Matters
Footwear is one area I will try and try again, since it’s critical. I have a local gear store that is very knowledgeable. I haven’t started this step yet, but I walk in Brooks and really like them, so I’m already leaning toward their trail runners.
Sleep system is an area where I am perhaps overcompensating. I just got back from a weekend camping trip with my North Face 30-degree bag. It dropped to 45 degrees, and I was cold! I’m bumping down the temp rating on my quilt choice, just to be sure. I’ve ordered the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 degree. A bit pricey, but if my body on the trail were to feel every day like my body does today, there is no way I could make it.
I have ordered two sleeping pads that my backside will be auditioning: an Ecotek Hybern8 and Klymit Static V. I plan to give each one a night when Big Agnes arrives.
Shelter. I bought the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2. You’re probably wondering why I bought a two-person tent, and there is a method to my madness. If there is a rain day, I MUST have room to have all my stuff inside, vestibule be damned. I will blog and diary at night, and can’t do so with my elbows brushing the sides of my tent. These are extra ounces I’m willing to sacrifice for. Long story short: I just needs me some space.
4: Other Really Important Stuff
I was measured today for my backpack, and have an Osprey Aura coming over from the warehouse for me to try on tomorrow, courtesy of some super helpful folks. There were other Osprey models in stock on the floor, and I really liked what I saw.
I opted for the Snow Peak 1400 Titanium cookware. Really lightweight, with the lid doubling as a plate, in case I want to eat like a socialized gal and not inhale directly from the pot. #Civilitygoals.
5: Miscellaneous Nitty-Gritty
Peruse my gear list, linked above, to see the other choices I’ve made. I’ll weigh in once I’ve given them a shakedown.
Feature image via Creative Commons
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FYI – lots of places will (like the Trek) ‘advise you’ when certain deals are going on – GearJunkie and Outside Online are both pretty good about that and others as well. Likewise if you are ‘attached’ to certain gear companies, sign up for their emails and w/that typically comes a one time/newcomer discount of varying degrees.
Both of the afore mentioned sites also have a bevy of ‘best of’ for all kinds of hiking gear as does the Trek…