Creature Comforts

posted Sep 10, 2010, 10:43 AM by Paul Wagner   [ updated Jun 16, 2013, 11:14 AM ]
Despite the fact that we have to carry everything on our backs, on every pack trip, we take a few things that aren’t absolutely necessary.   But over the years, there are a few things we’ve really come to appreciate, even though  they add a bit to the weight of our packs.  What are they?   In the Sierra Nevada, you can forget your American Express card, but don’t leave home without these!

Well, the first one we’d mention is a tiny little set of folding plastic feet that open up to give our stove canister a little broader base on the ground.  It probably cost about $10, and weighs about two ounces.  And we’ve come to love it.  Heating boiling water on a tiny stove in the mountains is hard enough without having to worry about the stove falling over…and this little gadget solves that problem perfectly.  It fits right into our cook pot with the stove, and adds a good two inches on every side of the stove for stability.  


Then we’d add our closed-cell foam seats—two 8 X 16 inch rectangles that P cut from an old sleeping pad.  We just wedge them in the bungees on the backs of our packs and pull them out every time we sit down, on the trail, or in camp.  And you wouldn’t believe how nice it is to have these to kneel on when you have to spend some time over the stove, fixing the tent, or any number of other things that require a little humility in the mountains.  At night, P uses these as the base of his pillow, too.  Cost?  Free.  Weight?  Two ounces. There's one underneath P at left...


And our mosquito headnets weigh only one ounce.  We almost forget they are in our packs, until…well, you know when.  And when we need them, they feel like the difference between life and death by mosquitoes.  


The last item weighs a bit more, but over time we’ve also come to really appreciate the Crocs we bring along as water/camp shoes.  They are great for wading streams, keep our feet protected a bit, and dry very quickly.  And around camp it is lovely to get out of your boots (and sometimes your socks, too) and just loll around in comfort.  Why not just go barefoot?  Because the last time P did that, at Benson Lake in Yosemite, he managed to get a pine needle stuck in his foot and it took a fair amount of digging and pain to get it out again.  These weight about 11 ounces, but we jam them in the bungees with the seats above, and every time we come to a stream, we just slip them out and slip them on.  P's got them on his feet in the photo below left...pure comfort in the backcountry, even fishing along a snowbound creek!

 P after an afternoon of fishing Laurel Creek...complete with snow on his Crocs, pink toes...and a smile on his face.©

Creature comforts aren’t such a bad idea in the wilderness, as long as they don’t weigh too much!