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.