The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The Bivvy and the Tent

The Bivvy:
Those of you who were reading last weekend will have seen that I spent a night lying inside a waterproof bag on the floor of a copse on Cannock Chase. The purpose was dual: to ensure that my Alpkit Hunka bivvy saw its maiden voyage before winter set in and to enter John Hee’s Hip-Pack competition just a hair’s breadth before it closed on Sunday.

I got home on Sunday morning to find that Lost in a Forest (aka Mark) had also made a last minute entry into the competition and had beaten me good and proper in the quest for the lightest weight (1.454kg to my 4.4kg).

I couldn’t possibly have been miffed, and indeed I took my hat off to Mark, when I read that he had gone to the lengths of fashioning his own backpack out of a bag and parcel tape and had spent a chilly autumn night out with a 1 season sleeping bag and an emergency blanket in lieu of a bivvy. He was a very deserved winner.

When on Friday Mr. Hee published the ‘official results’ (complete with commentary) I was perhaps a little disproportionately pleased to see that I had been awarded a prize for my efforts.

With the rose-tinted glasses that are wont to afflict me after such challenges (a bit like walking the K2B and swearing that I would never walk 40 miles in a day again; a day later I said that I would do it again, but in a bit more of a leisurely fashion; by three days later I was plotting a sub-10 hour time for next time!), my memory is already trying to kid me that the night on the Chase was good fun. So, I’m now plotting ways as to how to go significantly lighter if the competition was to occur again. Perhaps my prize of The Book of the Bivvy will give some hints and tips.

Husband must be worried. Last time I read a book by Ronald Turnbull (Three Peaks, Ten Tors), I started mentioning such things as walking across Wales (although I have a more leisurely two day timeframe in mind, rather than the single day).

The Tent (Again)
Wendy had another outing in the garden again today – just to demonstrate her to Ma-in-Law (who dutifully oohed and aarrhhed).

Fortunately we don’t get too many passers-by here, or they may have thought us a little strange when all three of us crawled inside, zipped shut the door and stayed there chatting for slightly longer than was reasonable. The outcome was to decide that you could easily sleep three inside of her. We also established that she’s nice and warm inside with three people zipped in.

With her packed back away* in her bag I placed her on the kitchen balance scales. Due to only having metric weights up to a total of just over a kilo, I had to mix my metric and imperial units. The result was that Wendy weighs, in her bag, just 1kg and 10oz. Or converting that into metric she weighs a smidge less than 1.3kg. That's almost a kilo less than the TN Voyager that was our existing tent of choice.

[*as an aside and somewhat contrary to my existing theory as to the best way to pack gear, the instructions are quite definite on this matter: “try to always fold and roll it exactly the same way, so it folds where it wants to and you minimize additional creases. Never ‘stuff’ it …: that’s a way promoted to destroy gear fast”.]

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