If you’re into tramping like we are, you might be a bit of a gearhead. I think it comes with the territory. Even though you have all the gear and you don’t really need anything, you’re still always looking for the next bit of equipment that will make your tramp that much more comfortable and enjoyable. For Dylan, his holy grail is a pair of boots that are not only comfortable, but will last more than a couple of months.
My holy grail is the perfect tent. I haven’t really done a post about tents – we own two. Oops. I think I had intended too, as earlier this year I decided to buy a tarptent double rainbow, after 3 years of hauling my old macpac apollo around at well over 4kg (and getting to the point of leaving it behind and just staying in huts, which admittedly really decreases your flexibility on a trip), and meeting some trampers on the Te Araroa trail who had a tarptent, then reading a million online tent reviews and basically obsessing over getting a new tent for a month or so, I finally caved and bought one – without telling Dylan who I knew would not approve of spending so much money on a new tent. I was very surprised when, instead of disapproving of my purchase, he just laughed.
We’ve had our tarptent double rainbow tent for 9 months now and have used it in a number of weather scenarios (it really got a workout in the wind on Mt. Titiroa last week). Yes, it’s definitely lighter than our macpac apollo – it’s less than 2 kg with the groundsheet. But it’s not perfect. The original pegs supplied were absolute garbage (seriously, a round, hollow peg? Yeah, that seems durable) – we threw them out and bought new ones after they just snapped on our second trip. We also have yet to test out the condensation barrier, even though I paid extra for it. And the loop at the top of the tent came out of the stitching the second time we ever used it. Luckily I can sew, and that was a pretty easy fix, but still, quite disappointing in terms of quality.
Our tarptent double rainbow just isn’t as comfortable to sleep in as the macpac apollo. Even though the tents are very similar in design with two doors and vestibules on either side, it’s got a slightly longer and narrower footprint. Which I can see the appeal of if you’re a tall skinny couple. Dylan and I are not a tall skinny couple, and could really use that extra few cm in width.
And finally, with it being a single wall tent with a bathtub floor and mesh all the way around, the wind really has a tendency to blow under tent and through the mesh along the bottom. Often, it can get a little chilly at night.
So this year, my Christmas wish list is the tarptent rainshadow 2. It’s the same price as the double rainbow, is lighter (you’ll need both your poles to pitch this one), and has an extra 28 cm in width. Also, if you ever needed to squeeze another person in, technically it’s a 3 person tent. Again, I don’t know if it would be the perfect tent (I’d really want to test it in inclement weather – I’m curious if it would hold up without a pole through the middle), I worry that the footprint might be enormous – making it tricky to pitch in alpine tussock (we seem to end up camping up there a lot), so maybe Tarptent Squall 2 would actually be a better fit, as the tent is nearly identical to the rainshadow 2, but even lighter, and a smaller footprint, but still 12 cm wider than the double rainbow.
I’m not only in the market for a new tent. I’d like a new to me, secondhand pair of meindl boots. I’ve read too many reviews to ignore anymore the possibility that meindl boots are superior to all others and actually worth the serious cash outlay. I’m not sure exactly what model I want, I’ve just been keeping an eye on trademe for a good secondhand pair in my size to pop up.
Also, the prongs on our cooker are starting to get really loose. This concerns me as I really don’t want to lose a meal or burn myself due to a broken cooker prong.
And finally, I’d like to ask Santa to bring Dylan a 60+ litre deuter pack, so he can carry more of my stuff. He’s getting too fit, and with my latest installation of health/fitness setbacks, I’m really going to struggle to keep up with him this year over Christmas. Santa should also bring Dylan some new ultrafine merino tops as well.
I really hope Santa shops online.
What’s on your tramping gear wish list this Christmas?