Bonsai Trip 1 for 2010

The moon from camp

Now that I have had my new Hilleberg Soulo tent for a little over a month, I was chomping at the bit to give it a go!

Since the holidays, my family and I have been either going to visit someone or attend an event every weekend! Now, Ciro’s 2nd birthday doesn’t count, as I wouldn’t miss that for anything!

Finally, a weekend arrives with no plans! So we go through our normal evening ritual with dinner and putting Ciro to bed. But, before Amy hits the hay I asked if she minded if I went camping. She said “sure, just pack prepared and bring a weapon!

So, with the temperatures dropping faster than Tiger’s shorts and a low pressure front moving in, I loaded the Jeep to hit the road. I thought that this would be a great test for me and some of my gear.

Accuweather reading, as I near my driving destination

I arrive at my proposed campsite around 10pm with temps hovering around 19* (back at the Jeep) with 14 mph winds making it feel like 6* against the skin.

This would be the very first time, which I had ever taken the tent out of the stuff sack. You might say, you should have checked to ensure that all parts were there.  On one hand yes, but what would happen if something broke while on a trip?  I would be pitching this tent up for the very first time in the dark, with a decent wind and cold temps. What a way to start of with testing! I will state that the Soulo backed up their statement of “ease of setup.” On this trip I took my Big Agnes (B.A.) Farwell bag with the B.A. Two Track Pad, for sleepwear I wore my Polarmax Mountain Skins, the Jetboil Flash PCS and of course my all important Mystery Ranch Crew Cab.

I was able to successfully completely pitch the tent with the footprint, setup sleeping bag with pad installed in about 15 minutes.

Tent pitched and ready to cut some Zs!

Around 1:30am I spooked a doe about 5yds from my campsite, when I had to exit the warm tent for a “nature call!

My feet started to get cold around 5:30am, so I through a hand warmer in the bottom of the bag, but it did not help.  Maybe, next time I will double up on some socks but, I am open to suggestion as well!

Around 7am I decided it was time to get moving and head back home to help Amy with Ciro. So, I boiled some water for my Mountain House Scrambled Eggs, ham and peppers. The Western Eggs tasted great and I ate the whole thing! I then disassemble the tent, sleeping bag and the like.

Firing up the Jetboil to for some eggs

Taking down the tent

Cincing the gear into my MR CC

Tightening the MR CC up

I boiled another pot of water for some hot tea while cinching all the gear in my pack.

Pack loaded, hot tea…time to head back!

My gear list:

  • Mystery Ranch Crew Cab  8lbs 12oz
  • Hilleberg Soulo Tent and Footprint  4lbs 13oz
  • Big Agnes Farwell 0* bag  3lbs 14oz
  • Big Agnes Two Track 1.5 Pad  2lbs 2oz
  • Jetboil Flash PCS  1lb 7oz
  • 1 Gallon of water in a collapsible cube 8lbs 8oz
  • Sitka Gear Celsius Jacket
  • Polarmax Mountain Skins
  • Pack Gear: First Aid Kit, knife, flashlight, headlamp, camera, Hammer Bars, Mountain House meal, mountain money, 2 arrows, release, rangefinder, Ziploc bags, parachute chord and few other items 5lbs 3oz
  • Weight of gear totaling just under 34lbs

From this short bonsai trip I learned the following items:

  • I need to work on the Soulo and see if I can make the inner tent more taut. It was sagging a bit, even with 6 points pegged out, but with no guy lines in use.
  • The B.A. Bag and pad performed well, but could be a little lighter in weight
  • The Mountain Skins were comfy and performed as they should
  • My Jetboil fired right up, even with temps below 19* and using the Jetboil fuel, left in my pack
  • Need to create a checklist, as I brought my winter Cabela’s gloves (too bulky) instead of my Sitka Jetstream gloves. These are dream to shoot your bow, while wearing them.  You can see I am wearing sneakers, which provided “No” insulation at all!
  • I need to tighten up my complete gear list and get some lightweight replacements

The next trip, I will add fire starters for testing. I will test different off-the-shelf products, cotton balls, spark generators and the like to see which two I will use this year.

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  1. Chris Wambeke says

    I like to boil water and put it in my nalgene before I go to bed. I throw that down in the end of the bag and it buys a couple more hours of warm feet.