Well, it's Paddlefest this weekend in Ladysmith (home to a lovely market, beautiful historic down town, and cool bus, and Sealegs Kayaking), and this year Paula is leading a discussion about inflatable kayaks. We planned last year to take the train up this year--particularly because it stops practically at the entrance to the park from the highway. On the other side of the highway is a lovely motel looking out onto the harbour, but I really want to make sure all the camping gear is ready for the beginning of June, so I'm hoping to camp out at Transfer Beach Park. The motel is a back-up plan.
While hauling all the gear out, Marlene came over, and we ended up setting up her tents as well as our own. She has a great Outbound tent in her earthquake preparedness kit:
While it has a lot of interesting features (like the tunnel entrance, a semi-circular floor zipper so you can keep your boots from fouling the tent, and a large vestibule), I'm not as thrilled with the pole structure. The tent is not free-standing, relying on the tension between the guy lines and the poles to stay up. Still, its large and certainly usable.
I put up my bivy, which neither Paula nor Marlene had seen up before, and our new Sierra Designs tent.
The Sierra Designs tent ~1.5 kilos and the bivy is lighter than that. But the tent is a whole lot bigger and does allow some movement inside it without waking up to roll over. It was also a discontinued model that we got from Robinson's Sporting Goods for about a third of its original price.
I also set up the Tarn 2 from MEC. I've only used this once since getting it--that was the overnight at Sooke Potholes Provincial Park with Lila.
I really like the amount of space it offers--and the colour-coded set-up. It's too heavy to take backpacking for more than an overnight, but it should be great for bike camping--which I'm still hoping to do this summer.
One thing I did discover is that apparently I have a thing about the end of the world. I fully intend to eat after it happens. Unpacking the bins, I found I have this many stoves:
There are nine in the picture. Starting at the back, they are:
9. A Stormbuster single burner stove. This uses isobutane canisters (of which I have about 20--they went on sale), and I've taken this kayak camping. In fact, I specifically made the rear hatch on my kayak big enough to take this stove.
8. The classic Sterno stove; jellied alcohol and a fold up stove. Had this in the kayak for a while also.
7. This is an emergency stove I picked up in Cowichan Bay. You unscrew the cap, light the wick (it burns paraffin or alcohol or something like that) and then the screen unit screws on where the cap used to be. Mostly for heat, you're supposed to be able to heat a sierra cup of water on top of it. I think it was about $2, which is another reason I have it.
6. Ah, the Trangia alcohol stove. This is the Trangia Mini--it comes complete for under $30 from MEC. The stove, a small kind-of wind-screen that the burner sits in and the pot sits on, the pot and a lid and pot-lifter. Add a sixty-nine cent bottle of gas line anti-freeze and you have an emergency cooking system. Really a lovely inexpensive design.
5. The Whisperlite Internationale. Man, I wanted this stove. A tried and true multi-fuel stove, field repairable, light, and functional. But messy and smelly and burns through the fuel. This one is currently jetted for kerosene, but will also burn diesel, white gas, and pretty much anything else you can scrounge.
4. This one is an accident. It's an MSR Superfly isobutane stove that Lila bought and fell out of love with. I agree, and for the same reason--the potholders. They don't lay flat enough, and you can't protect against damage from the sharp tips on the wings. That said, it's light and works very well. These stoves are also pretty frugal with their fuel (in the red tin underneath it).
3 and 2. Alcohol stoves. #2 is a home-made version I made from the bottoms of two beer cans. I eased them together with a bit of fibreglass insulation in between them, and then punched holes in one side with a drawing pin. A hand-bent wire potholder and you're heating water. A bit frustrating to light at first, and the flame is invisible. But it works, and works well. Behind it, #3, is the titanium version of the same thing. This lives in my fanny pack for hiking along with a pack of matches and a bottle of gas line antifreeze. And it practically floats, it's so light.
1. The Optimus Crux. What a stove! 93 grams. Folds flat into a neoprene case that stores the stove in the hollow in the bottom of a fuel cannister. The red fuel cannister gives you about an hour's worth of burn time. Behind the Crux is my cooking gear: a GSI Pinnacle Soloist Cookset. The one litre pot holds the stove, the fuel cannister (the neoprene bag prevents scratching the inside of the pot) the folding titanium spork (with it's bag in front of the stove) and an insulated cup and a lid that fits both the cup and pot. Oh, and the bag it travels in is watertight, and meant to be used as a sink. A complete system that takes up almost no room and weighs almost nothing. Lila and I both have the same system, and it's our combo of choice for backpacking.
I'm not exactly sure what there will be to eat after the end of the world, but I'm certainly equipped to cook it!