Comfort and Lightweight are Not mutually exclusive or necessarily excessively expensive.

(Wow. That was some big words.)

Back in the day we carried 50 and 60 lb. packs to have relative comfort at camp. Now you can easily carry half that weight with even more comfort.

Here are just a few little nuts that offer comfort without excessive weight gain or extremely high cost.

1. Nice wide air pad. 

Airbeam Wide in middle next to regular Exped and short NeoAir

If you have a hard time sleeping in one position (I've never liked mummy bags) I suggest a wide pad. The Klymit Static V is an inexpensive ($52) pad 23" wide, 18 oz.  I use a Gossamer Gear Airbeam Sleeper, Wide (made by Klymit) which is a torso-length pad 28" wide (at shoulders) tapering to 21" (at knees) with over 2 inches of comfortable padding for the person who moves in their sleep. 14 oz. and $100. From Gossamer Gear, www.gossamergear.com and see my post review of it or here's another goor review, http://jwboutdoors.com/2014/05/gossamer-gear-air-beam-sleeper-2/

Cacoon Aircore Pillow

2. Comfy pillow. There are many to choose from. Some puffy,  some inflatable. They all make a big difference and are an amazing departure from stuffing some clothe in a sack, which I've done for decades. I like the Cacoon Ultralight Air Core Pillow. 3.7 oz of sleeping comfort that is available for about $20 on ebay, amazon, etc. It's tiny. Like tennis-ball size when in it's pouch. Cacoon's Hyperlight model is only 2.4 oz but doesn't have a soft microfiber side. This one has both soft warm microfiber side and soft cool nylon side.

Both of the above work well with...

Airbeam Sleeper in Easychair
3. Thermarest Easychair or Trekker Chair. 11 oz. and still one of the most comfortable chairs for backpacking. Online can be found for about $30. Use your pillow behind the small of your back when lounging back in the chair star gazing.

Folding Bucket
But enough of the laying around stuff. Let's look at utility comforts.

4. Sea To Summit 10 L Folding Bucket.  2.8 oz and a handy, sturdy utility item. $20. Washing, collecting water, dowsing fires, etc. A well designed handle on the bottom makes pouring easy. Works well under a gravity water system to catch spillage and such. No ranger is going to hassle you with this much fire retardant at the ready. Available online or at your local gear shack. 


Solar Lanterns
5. Solar Camp Lantern. Luminaid or Luci Light, Solar Lights are worth their weight. At 3 oz and 4 oz respectively,  either of these solar powered lanterns make a great addition to camp and tent play. No batteries to lug around. $15-20. Online. The only real difference other than the way they are deployed seems to be weight (Luminaid is about an oz less). And they both float. Fun in the pool. I opted to cut the blow-up bag from my Luminaid and save a little more weight. The Luminaid company also supplies these to third world people with revenues from purchases so you're helping people that have no electricity. And, I believe there is something about an angel getting its headlamp every time one is charged. : )

Speaking about power on the trail...

Solar Wrap Mini
6. Solar Chargers. Charges are nifty if you are using GPS, Camera and stuff. The Bushnell Solar Wrap Mini is 4 oz. $60. One if the lightest functional phone chargers on the market. 4 hour charge time for smart phone is comparable to others.  Never run out of cell so you can blog from the field.  (Damn that sounds stupid)

Now, enough of this equipment. Let's get to the important thing.

The Press Bot, field french press coffee

7. Good Coffee. If you are like me, you like to have a good pot-o-joe in the morning. French press, fresh brewed or espresso prefered. I have never found an instant I can abide.
Enter the Press Bot from Canyon Coffee. A french press for a Nalgene bottle. How do you get a french press into a Nalgene? That's the brilliance of it. 2.4 oz and $25 from www.canyoncoffee.us. It takes a minute of getting used to to operate but makes a mean pot of fresh java that you can take with you on the trail. Genius. The coozy helps keep cool drinks cool and warm drinks warm, which is great for not only coffee during the cold months. Hot cocoa on top of a peak anybody?

Well, there you have it.
We've got our sleeping pad w/pillow, camp chair,  wash tub, camp lantern and electricity in the field taken care of and we've added under 2.5 lbs to our pack. These are all quality items that are functional and durable. We've spent about $ 250. And we are living in luxury. (I couldn't believe the difference when I changed from a foam sleeping pad to an air pad).

These are simply things I've found and like. I search for used items at thrift stores and on line. One of the Thermarest chairs I picked up for $10 and a Cacoon pillow I found on ebay for $15. Of course, you should do your own research and find deals. Try things out at your local gear shack and make sure they are going to work for you.

(Full disclosure. Not one of these manufacturers compensated me for this... damn it.)
Have fun.
Now go play outside.

Tread lightly.
#backpacking #gear #goplayoutside


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