Camping Gear

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When not spending time Couchsurfing or staying at hostels along the way, camping will be our primary method of overnighting. We enjoy camping for a couple reasons but mainly it’s the most affordable option we have and in areas of desolation we can just set up a tent virtually anywhere. We have selected our gear based on our needs and much of the gear we have had and used for many years, although some of it we’ve replaced for this trip.

  • Tent: Mountain Hardware Trango 3 tent — We selected this tent because it’s larger than our old REI tent, has no sleeve poles only clips, has a full rain fly, and should hold up well in any weather. We are very grateful to our family and friends who contributed to us being able to purchase this tent.
  • Camp Stove: MSR XGK EX camp stove — We used to use a WhisperLite series MSR stove; however, since we don’t quite need something that compact, the XGK lets us easily burn gasoline straight from our bikes in our stove so we don’t require carrying extra fuel such as white gas. We’ve had this stove for a few years now and love it!
  • Sleeping Bags: We use Exped Waterbloc 600 sleeping bags. We upgraded to these as our old bags were a little too warm and packed up a bit too large. The Exped bags are sized for us accordingly but zip together for extra warmth on colder nights. Both bags are made of down material allowing us to pack them smaller and both bags have a semi water resistant material in the case of damp conditions and to protect the down material.
  • Sleeping Pads: Although we started out with seperate sleeping pads our initial re-gear had us switching sleeping pads. We ended up with what we think is the best option for us, an Exped Synmat Duo sleeping pad. Its one large sleeping pad around 3″ thick with almost no insulation factor. This means that not only does it pack up fairly small but it also acts more like a regular bed. Since we live on this gear comfort is important and the Exped checks this box for us.
  • Pillows: Big Agnes Air Core pillow — We like that these pillows pack up to practically nothing, saving us valuable space. They aren’t the most comfortable things by themselves, but we’ve found that a t-shirt makes an easy pillowcase.
  • Tarp: 10′ x 12′ Tundra Tarp by Cooke Custom Sewing — We received this tarp as a Christmas gift. They are custom sewn by a fellow Minnesotan by the name of Dan Cooke. We have yet to use it but we’re pretty confident it will come in handy trying to cook in the rain or just for making some shade.
  • Headlamps: Black Diamond Icon and ReVolt — These were also given to us as Christmas gifts a few years ago. So far they have worked well, the battery life is great and the light modes are both plentiful and handy.
  • Clothesline: Don’t remember the brand but it was from Gander Mountain. It’s a bungee cord with about 10 spring clips on it. Nice to have for drying out damp towels and clothing, we usually just hang it between our bikes.
  • Utensils: Three sets of Sea to Summit polycarbonate utensils (in case we have campsite company!) and one set of Sea to Summit anodized aluminum utensils (a gift from Britt’s sister Bails) — We used to use multi-tool folding utensils but they started falling apart (let’s just say Ehren has had them since his Cub Scout days) so we decided to get loose utensils this time around, as we also found the multi-tool style difficult to clean. Just your basic knives, spoons and forks; they get the job done. We’ve also included a small metal ladle that’s been lurking in our silverware drawer ever since we first moved in together in 2009. Who knows, might be nice for soups?
  • Cookware: Speaking of things Ehren’s had since his Cub Scout days, most of the pots and pans we use are from that era. We were also recently given various pots and other cookware from a friend with well wishes so we will be incorporating that into our camp kit as well. As for cleaning these camp dishes, we use Wilderness Wash and a Kitchen Sink (both are Sea to Summit products).

We would like to acknowledge those who helped us acquire some of this gear, be it through gifts, donation or monetary contribution. The items we tote along make it possible for us to camp and be self-sufficient for longer periods of time. Thank you!