Monday, March 15, 2010

Overlooking Those Technical Details...

I have a great post all written up. Three of them, actually. I wrote them all yesterday when I went to a coffee shop with Lady Luck. She needed to study, and I needed to look cool in a coffee shop tapping away on a laptop. It all worked out pretty well.

The trick, of course, is that the laptop is a Mac. And the computer I use during the day, the one I write most of my posts on, is a PC. And I forgot to export all my brilliant writing in a compatible format.

Which is to say, my great writing is trapped in its storage medium until I can free it this evening. Whoops.

So I guess I'll have to talk about something else today. Here goes.

I went to an Army surplus store the other day to pick up various items in case of Zombie Apocalypse. I'm also planning on doing some motorcycle camping and perhaps a backpacking trip or two this year, so I wanted to see what there was in the way of gently used military gear. I was kind of disappointed to discover that a lot of the gear, such as ALICE packs, cost as much as equivalent gear at REI or Bass Pro Shops. What's up with that? I mean, I like the surplus aesthetic*, but why buy an ALICE pack if I can get an equivalent backpack that's actually comfortable for the same price?

Apart from the luggage problem, I'm also trying to figure out what to do about cooking. Almost every time I've been camping recently, there's been a "no campfire" rule in effect, which makes it hard to whip up pancakes and coffee in the morning. So I'm thinking of getting a camping stove. Right now I'm leaning towards a Coleman dual fuel backpacking stove, because white gas is cheap and easy to find relative to special isobutane canisters. Can anyone impart some wisdom?

*There is, after all, no such thing as "Too Mad Max"


Der_General said...

Personally, I think ALICE gear is clunky & overrated for a B.O.B. Check out REI's "outlet" site & Campmor's "Hot Deals" section, you'll be able to get a high-end backpack for 60% or more off retail, as long as you don't mind it being last year's colors.

The stove problem is one of weight vs. fuel type vs. potential fuel availability. I lean towards the liquid fuel stoves 'cause they'll burn damn near anything and they're bulletproof, but they're bulky and heavy. The "weight weenies" go for something like the MSR Pocket Rocket, but those little canisters are gonna get real scarce when the zombies show up...

Stacy said...

When the zombie invasion happens, I sure as hell won't be futzing with a camp stove.

That being said...

- MSR whisperlite if you like liquid fuels
- MSR whisperlite international if you plan on going somewhere where even white gas is scarce
- Snow Peak gigapower for those who prefer canisters (I do, because the stove is so small, my entire cook kit fits into a small pot, including the canister)

But the truly hardcore build a penny stove out of two heineken cans. Burns alcohol, which I hear is pretty easy to find. ;)

mq01 said...

too bad that the military surplus stuff has become expensive :( but yes, take a camping stove, you'll be really happy you did. i had a really old single burner coleman with me on many runs in my youth. always came through. ooooh lucky this sounds fun!!!

Lucky said...

Der_General - Thanks for the tips on backpacks!

At this point, I'm not going to be doing any real intense backpacking. It'll be "slightly more adventurous than car camping for a day or two" for a while, so I think I'll be OK carrying a heavier stove.

Stacy - Agreed. In case of Zombies, I'll be more concerned with survival and less with zero impact camping. But in the meantime...

I'll check out the whisperlite stoves and the gigapower. I think I'll leave the penny stoves to those who just want to boil water.

mq01 - as always, the surplus stuff varies. Some is a ripoff, other stuff is an amazing bargain. I've seen better prices on ALICE packs, though as Der General said, they're a bit overrated.

The single burner Coleman stoves do look promising.

irondad said...

Don't look to me for stove advice. I take a wire rack and some sterno cans. Seriously.

I can, however, offer advice on looking cool in coffee shops, being a Starbucks Yuppie Motorcyclist.

Go buy a beret!