NYE Gear Test


The Backyard Sleepingbag Selfie

In preparation for the Big Hike, I took my new Big Sky Soul solo tent on the back porch with my NeoAir xTherm pad and my new sleep system: a GoLite women’s down sleeping bag rated to 30*F and an Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt from their Garage Sale. As I sat on the couch at Rock Island checking the weather for the hike, I got to thinking about how cold it would be, and how cold of a sleeper I am, and I decided I just might as well carry two bags. And then, in shoulder season when it’s not 20*F, I can use my GoLite bag and someone else in the family can use the new Enlightened Equipment quilt and voila! We have doubled the number of quality sleeping systems available for backpacking, and I can now do deep winter backpacking comfortably.

And as last night’s test proves, I can do it VERY comfortably. I slept in my Nike Pro leggings and a light wicking hoody, nothing very warm, and one pair of Darn Tough socks. Usually I need at least two pair of leggings and three shirts plus my Patagonia puffy jacket and two or three pairs of wool socks. And then probably a nalgene of hot water, and I’ll still wake up cold at 3:30am (like clockwork, I tell you).

But the gear test went well. I woke up once to take off my jacket and use it as additional pillowing (my little Sea to Summit air pillow is great, but I’m never really sure if it goes on the pad or on the ground, so it tends to move around a lot).


The tent setup went well, as expected. The Big Sky Soul is a great 1P tent, weighing in at around a pound and a half. It’s freestanding, which makes set-up a snap, although I did have to stake it to a patio chair until I actually got in it last night. NYE was windy! My new headlamp, the well-praised Black Diamond Spot, worked well. I feel confident that any night hiking or set-up I have to do will be fine with this headlamp. It’s pretty ridiculously bright.

All in all, I’m ready! Now I just need to finish buying a few supplies and food and then pack. Itinerary and gear list to come.


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