7 Things I Learned About My Gear on Training Ride 3 (Ventura to Gaviota)
On these training rides we’re getting a lot of good experience using our stuff, figuring out what we need (and what we don’t), and how we need to modify what we have packed. Here’s what we learned this trip:
1. Wide leg pants = mud magnets = gross sleeping bags and gross to pack
The legs on the pants that I packed to be my camp pants are too wide. The pants are lightweight, packable, and super comfortable, but the pants have really loose, long legs – which means lots of loose, dragging material to get muddy and gross walking around a campsite. Since muddy and wet pants are gross to crawl around a tent/sleeping bag in, and gross to pack, and gross to re-wear, I am going to trade these pants in for some shorts/capris, I think.
2. 30-degree sleeping bags are (still!) too hot for summer camping
What the fridge! They weren’t horrible (like our 15-degree bags were) but ended up shedding off all of my baselayers during the night and was still pretty hot – even with 30mph wind and rain! I am hesitant to get a 40 or 50-degree bag (because I don’t want to be too cold), but, since we’re going to be largely touring during the summer months I am wondering if getting a 45-degree bag that only weighs 1lb + a liner would be the best option. Then we can just wear baselayers in the bags, and the liner will help us keep the bags clean.
3. Late night pee breaks = dirty feet. Is a bag liner the solution?
Getting up to use the bathroom at night means you’re going to have dirty feet when you get back in the tent, which means your dirty feet are going to get the inside of your bag dirty, which is going to be way more gross tomorrow night. That said – I am thinking I seriously want a bag liner. Dustin is concerned he might get tangled up in one. I am going to lead the way and try one. (Maybe silk. Oh the luxury!)
4. We were hungry. I think we need to make a better effort to work food and water storage stops into our ride schedule
I think it is going to be a challenge to time amenity stops right, and to balance what we’re spending, and also the weight we can carry.
5. Apparently you only need one shammy towel and 4 quarters to adequately shower yourself.
Dustin and I are getting really good at speed showering, and even better at cold water dancing. We thought we’d bring two big towels, but we’ve been sharing on big shammy towel and it seems to be working out just fine. We squeegee ourselves off so that we’re not soaking wet and then we strap the towel on top of the tent (to the back of the bike) when we take off so that it will dry in the breeze. (To limit road grossness we take it off in about an hour when it’s dry.) I am considering still getting another towel and using that second towel as my pillow (I have been using clothes inside of a big hat up to this point and that seems to be working out ok for me.)
6. Apparently my Thermarest Scout sleeping mat has a hole in it?
After a ton of mat searching Dustin and I have finally committed to sticking with the Thermarest Scout mats we already own. That said – while Dustin’s mat feels like an awesome 25-inch wide foam dream cot, my mat seems to be deflating itself in the middle of the night. Even partially deflated the Scout sleep was better than having no mat, so I slept pretty alright, but we definitely need to find the hole or buy a new one before the big four-month ride. If you’re looking for a camp mat that is low to the ground, wide, not very heavy I recommend the Thermarest Scout. It’s not a very 3li3t3 mat, which – with all the mat choices – might turn you off, but it’s light (1 pound or less) and the air doesn’t shift around in it, it feels like a foam bed, and you can just forget about it. (All good in my book.)
7. If it sounds like a chinook helicopter taking off then it must be dinner time!
Our camp stove is really, really loud. We knew it was going to be loud from the reviews we read online before we decided on this one, but we had no idea just how loud it actually is. That being said, the MSR DragonFly Backpacking Stove is AWESOME! It heated our food in no time. Dustin especially likes it’s ability to adjust the flame, as well as a separate fuel line adjustment, and it’s incredibly stable base for cookware. It’s also pretty easy to set up and operate, and folds up for compact storage.
So happy we’re testing our gear!
So happy that we’re taking these training rides to feel out what we need, what we don’t need, and how everything works. Over the next few months I’ll also be posting more in-depth write ups about the gear that I have (that I love!), how/why we chose our gear, and what our final packing list looks like.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to read the entire recap of training ride three, you can find it here: Riding from Ventura to Gaviota State Park: Training Ride #3.