Irish Wilderness

St Patrick’s weekend found me visiting the Irish Wilderness for the third time.  It was essentially a repeat of the second trip with a different group and different weather.

It was the first backpacking trip for the GoLite Jam 70, a new mattress, and new rain gear (which saw action).  It was the second trip for the ZPacks quilt. 

The Jam 70 performed well and I am still satisfied with it (see updated review with pictures).  My starting weight was 24 lbs – and that included 2 liters of water.  The new mattress is a small NeoAir (20×47″) weighing 9.5 oz less than the large NeoAir I’ve used in the past.  I put the near-empty backpack under my legs for a bit of insulation and support and that worked well.  I will probably still use the large mattress during cold weather to get that extra bit of warmth.  The new rain gear is the DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2™ from Frogg Toggs.  The polypropylene material breathes better and is lighter than any other rain jacket/pants I’ve seen, and the pair is only $20!  The downside is that the material snags/tears rather easily so you might be patching it with duct tape or Seam Grip after each use if you encounter much brush.  For the price and weight, I think it will probably be well worth it.

Highs Friday and Saturday near 80 made the hikes seem longer.  It started raining about 5AM Sunday and gave us a break long enough to cook and eat breakfast.  I wondered if I should have been packing instead of eating and that question was answered in the affirmative when the rain started again just as I finished breakfast.  I’d never packed-up in that kind of rain before and the way I imagined it working didn’t, so I need to rethink that.  I’m glad I didn’t have to spend another night in it as that was one very wet tent by the time I got it rolled up.

The post-trip feast was at Hillbilly Junction in Willow Springs.  The buffet was pretty good, and I think I’d say that even if I wasn’t just coming-off a backpacking trip.

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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2 Responses to Irish Wilderness

  1. Gary says:

    One of the things we love about our Mutha Hubba tent is that is that it is free standing, which allows us to set and pack the tent with the fly set. It makes a lot of difference being able to keep the tent dry no matter the weather.

    We need to check out the DriDucks – what do they weigh? And do they offer good wind protection too? I more often carry waterproofs to keep out the wind than the rain.

    • michaelr42 says:

      My Big Agnes tent is also free-standing but I can’t imagine how one would take down the canopy before the fly. A useful capability, for sure. That said, I could have kept things drier if I really tried, and perhaps I should start practicing that technique for the next rainy trip.

      The DriDucks jacket weighs 175g and the pants are 133g (both size XL). They do have good wind protection and the jacket will probably replace my nylon wind shell in cooler temps. I don’t know yet how it feels in warmer temps. I’ve started on a review at https://michaelr42.wordpress.com/gear/driducks-ultra-lite-2-rain-gear/

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