Thursday, September 26, 2013
Where I will spend money
There's a lot of fancy and expensive gear out there. Generally, I'll use cheaper alternatives or do without.
One thing that I will spend money on is a quality sleeping bag. I've a large bag rated for zero degrees Fahrenheit. In reality, I've been comfortable in it down to -30. That's with a good ground pad, thermal underwear, and heavy socks.
There are lighter bags with the same rating. Unless I was going to be winter backpacking all the time, it's not worth the price difference. A good compression sack gets the bulk under control and I can live with my pack being a couple pounds heavier. That worked well enough for the occasional winter hike.
I've a second lighter bag too. That can be zipped together with the heavy one and make a very comfortable nest for two.
There's no sense in giving model numbers as these bags were purchased over 30 years ago. They are still going strong. They've lasted though backpacking, canoe camping, months of nonstop car camping, and now they are on the boat. Mine were purchased from L. L. Bean -on sale, of course. The company still carries a lot of decent bags.
Make sure you get a synthetic one. They are still retain heat when damp. Down is nice, but not very good wet, plus I'm allergic anyway. Cheap cloth bags are death traps.
The next place I'd spend good money for a survival situation is a good tent. Big tents are great for campgrounds. I own a nice one. However, for backpacking to throw in a canoe, or tie to a bike a smaller tent is the thing.
20 years ago I bought a quality 4 season backpacking tent. 4 season tents have better support to handle high winds and snow loading. I've used mine in the snow, and the extra strength makes all the difference. It's also a good tent to have when car camping. If my lovely wife and I were only spending one night someplace, we'd set up the small winter tent. No need bothering with the big tent for one night. We also used in places with high winds. The strong poles, low profile, and multiple tie downs keep the tent in place when lesser ones became kites. That tent is still in good condition. It's been everywhere from the mountains of Maine to Key West Florida.
If a person can keep warm and dry, the rest of survival is much easier. Never underestimate the advantage of a good comfortable night's sleep.
While these two quality items cost a few extra bucks, I've gotten years of use of them -cheap in the long run.