By Evan Wishloff
This is Part 3.
30 degrees and blistering hot sun? Check. 5 degrees and torrential rain? Also check.
It was 5 degrees and drilling rain when I came across a small cafe conveniently located at a resort just off the KVR. Took a lot of willpower to not just sit inside and drink hot coffee all day...
My bikepacking adventure along the KVR was really throwing the gamut at me. Going into it, I knew I had to be prepared for anything, and I anxiously had packed, unpacked and repacked all the gear I needed on my bike multiple times.
With the plan of covering some long distances self-supported, sometimes almost 100 km from civilization, I knew I needed to have the right gear with me. When the goal is covering that much ground, weight becomes crucial, so I found myself looking for the lightest gear I could find. But, knowing full-well I could be spending the night in the middle of nowhere, having durable gear I could trust was equally important.
It had seemed to me that you had to play a game of tradeoffs when it came to weight vs durability, which is why during the planning phase of this adventure, I found myself worried about sleeping arrangements. I have seen some pretty janky ultralight sleep set-ups that did not look comfortable, dry OR bug-resistant, all of which could prove to be a problem along the KVR at night.
I looked at my trusty 2 person backpacking tent that I’ve made many a hike with, and although not gigantic or heavy by any means, it would have taken up the entirety of the handlebar bag on my bike. Then I looked at my trusty sleeping bag. The -8 degree bag was made for alpine treks, and it would take up the entirety of the saddle bag on my bike. I was quickly running out of space to pack a proper coffee set-up, and as far as I’m concerned, that part was non-negotiable.
So it was back to the drawing board, or in this case, my phone, where I called up my friends at OnwardUp, who just so happen to rep Nemo Equipment. I explained my dilemma to them and was immediately met with a reply of we have exactly what you need.
They sent me a box full of goodies in which the box probably weighed more than the contents. Inside: a crazy light tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, which weighed in at a combined weight of under 3.5 pounds! Yes, a real tent, full sleeping bag, and full length sleeping pad. I was blown away!
Cheesy throw-your-lightweight-gear-in-the-air Photo
Back on the bike, as my tired legs pushed on in the midst of my 700 km adventure, I would find myself day-dreaming about when I could set-up camp for the night. I was ready to inflate that sweet, sweet, comfortable Nemo pad and lay down for some shut-eye more often than not during the longer days.
Comfy, light, easy-to-set-up. Nemo makes some mighty fine gear!
Knowing I had the means to set-up camp comfortably anywhere acted as a real safety net - even if I had a mechanical issue with my bike far away from any town, I could at least have a good night’s rest.
Watch a few highlights from the trip below:
Yet even with a good night’s rest, the 5 am alarm would feel far too early. This adventure was no vacation, and that’s where coffee comes in. Well, a proper breakfast too, but more on that in the next post.