This spring I am helping with our outdoor club’s courses on wilderness travel and backpacking. To practice what I am preaching and prepare for an upcoming trip, my wife and I took a leisurely backpack up a wilderness river valley in Olympic National Park. Snow remains in the high country, but we had spring flowers, fresh bear scat just before camp and evening Harlequin ducks feeding in the river.
Since this was just an overnight family outing, I felt I could pack some extras. I even brought a small can of chicken! Still, playing Sherpa, my walk-away-from-the-car weight was only 28 lbs. and my wife carried 15. With two people, this was a trip for the Bilgy2 tent. We had a large camp site all to ourselves and were joined at supper time by another couple who set up on an adjacent river island.
One of the packed extras was a LuminAID PackLite 16 solar light. I ran across a reference to these lights several months ago and ordered a pair. They weigh under 3 oz. each, inflate to glowing cube and put out 65 lumens on their highest setting. For an additional $10, you can chose a charity in a developing part of the world to get an additional light. My extra went to Nepal earthquake relief program. The lights are a great idea for winter and late fall trips when darkness comes early. They also will do duty during storm caused power outages at home. They work. I got about 5 hours of light on the Extra Bright setting, against the published 6 hour life. Unlike some battery operated LED’s, their brightness stays constant until shut off, a nice touch. Recharging is easy in bright sunlight, but much slower with cloudy conditions. They do light up a tent. I made a little velcro loop to hang the light from existing velcro patches inside my tent .
When I am cooking for two, I bring both pots from my Snow Peak Multi Compact set. The big pot fits my Trail Designs Caldera Cone wind screen. The small pot has a split cone windscreen I built. I ended up cooking with alcohol for the trip, leaving my Esbit stove and fuel packed. My Trail Designs 12-10 stove is an excellent match for either pot, lights quickly and comes up to temperature right away. With a nice log butt to sit on, chef duty was a breeze.
Weather on the trip in was sunny and warm. It rained only during the night, but rain protection is a strength of the Bilgy2. We had sun breaks for the trip out. In spite of gear check lists, some stuff was forgotten in packing anyway – a mug for my wife and the small bottle of dish soap and small sponge/scrubby. It didn’t matter. The trip was very pleasant and comfortable, without drama in preparation. This is the reward of assembling a good light weight set of gear.