This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, July 11, 2014

New & Shiny

Well, not too shiny but new.  I upgraded a couple of pieces of camping equipment.  I got a new home, a tent for trips and I am really pleased with the choice.  It's called the Houligan 2 from Coleman.  
The really impressive part of this tent is the height.  It is nearly 5' tall, taller than any 2 person tent I have seen.  What does this mean?  Simply that you can stand in front, take off your shoes and walk in.
Nope, I don't have to grovel on my hands and knees, dragging half the campsite in with me just to enter the tent.  The additional headroom makes it more comfortable to change clothes as well.   The height and size
 (6' x 8' footprint) make this an extremely comfortable tent, especially with all that netting which obviously provides great ventilation in warm weather.  Other nice touches are the extra heavy duty flooring and single pole construction.  It is easy to set up and the flooring will hold up against some pretty rugged sites.  Over the years I have found I like the Coleman designs, but the one weak point has always been the zippers.  When they fail, the tent is a goner, but they are inexpensive tents to replace.  This cost only $53.
While constructed with a full fly for 3 season protection, the extra headroom creates some air volume which is slow to heat up.  I think a heavier sleeping bag could be in order in cold weather,
but that's a moot point.  I don't do much cold weather camping anymore.
The other item you see on the floor is the new Thermarest self inflating mattress.
 I bought the large Trail Pro version which is more than 6' long and  2" thick when inflated.  It does it's job!
It inflates nicely and few lungs full of air blown in to firm it up made for the easiest nights sleep in a long time.  Even my hip stayed off the ground!
Deflating this is really efficient.  I simply opened the valve and folded the mattress slowly and deliberately squeezed out the air with each fold.
 (my  batteries were going bad so I took the following photos at home)
After squeezing the air out the first time., I closed the valve to prevent any more air entering, folded the mattress lengthwise and rolled it tightly, forcing all remaining air toward the valve. Then I forced the air out by opening the valve until all the air was gone,and closed the valve.  
 I ended up with a nice neat little roll which actually fits into a front pannier with other stuff.
 At only 2 lbs 6 oz this is really an upgrade.
I am always thrilled to find a piece of camping equipment which actually works as advertised.
 I've had self inflating mattresses before and not been impressed.  I discovered part of the problem was the instructions. The best way to store them is fully inflated with the valve open.

It was never explained that storing it inflated gives the open cell foam  an opportunity to fully expand and reach it's maximum pile and strength.   That's probably why I was unhappy with the other mattress.
 Just slipping it behind the clothes in the back of the closet is a safe place to keep it until you need it again.
 These two items are real increases in comfort without any significant weight gains.  Local dealers, as usual, didn't carry these models so I got them from Amazon, the tent for $53 and the mattress for $92, much lower than the suggested retail.  Shipping was free and they were delivered within a week.  No hassles, no disappointments, I am a happier camper!

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