Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Tent - MSR Holler


Our tent came in the mail today! We got an MSR Holler tent, and it is the best tent I've ever been inside. It's light and durable enough to be our backpacking tent, yet it's also big enough that we won't feel stifled if we use it for regular camping. It can be set up using just the footprint if we want to go ultra-light. The vestibules are sweet, and I really like the gear loft inside. The tent hangs from the poles, of which there are only two, one hubbed and one standard. The rain fly drapes over the poles perfectly, so that the rainfly never actually touches the inner tent. In short, it's perfect. Click the jump break at the end to check out the pictures; I'll be doing it like this in the future so that the initial pages load faster.

We also got a water filtration system which is pretty sweet. It's gravity controlled, so no pumping endlessly from a stream for us! All I have to do is fill the "dirty" bag up with water and hang it higher than the "clean" bag. Gravity pulls water from the dirty bag through an in-line filter before depositing it in the clean bag, ready to drink! To clean the filter, I just lift the clean bag and lower the dirty back and let water back-flush through the filter for four seconds, and it's done! It's called a Platypus Gravity Works filter, and it's awesome. It weighs less than most pump filters, and will clean a liter of water in about 2.5 minutes. I tested it on our tap water today, and it went a bunch faster than that. I'm assuming it's talking about nasty, silty water taking a longer time.

Best of all, with the points that we got from buying these things off of Moosejaw, we got a free $89 backpacking / camping hammock! So cool! I'm very excited to use that on our next trip, which will be a five-day treck through the Porcupine "mountains" along the northwestern coast of Michigan's upper peninsula. We'll be hitting Lake of the Clouds along the way, and I can't wait. The trip will be from August 5th - 11th, and I think there will be a total of nine of us going. It's the same group (Mike, Kelly, Darren and Susanne) with which Nicole and I hiked the 47-mile Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore last year, plus three people (Josh and Jamie and Josh's brother). I'm not sure how long the trail is this year, but I think it's around 30 miles. So, quite a bit easier than last year, but it will be hillier, so that will be interesting...

I used some of my allowance and bought a special case for our camera that will let me carry it on the trip. It attaches to the waist strap of my hiking pack, and even has its own waterproof rainfly in the (likely) event of a downpour. This should help me get some great pictures of that trip to share, so be looking forward to that! It's basically a glove for the camera that opens at the top, giving me quick access to the camera. That's right - QUICK ACCESS. That way, if I see a bear, I'll be snapping pictures of it way before it rips off my leg.

One last thing - Nicole's and my 2nd anniversary is this weekend. Can you believe it? I'm not going to say anything about where we're going or what we're doing because Nicole doesn't know yet. Something tells me it would ruin things for her if one of you let it slip... It's going to be tons of fun and not a little bit played-by-ear, as I didn't start planning it until this past Saturday afternoon... That's one thing about having your anniversary on Memorial Day weekend; EVERYONE is making plans for that weekend. In the future, we might stagger our anniversary plans to avoid the crush...

I'm still figuring out my whole "blogging style," in case you can't tell. I don't know what I like reading yet. Believe it or not, this is mostly for me, not for you. I love it when I can keep people updated on how things are going in my life, and this has been proving a great tool for doing that. So, if you care enough to read, I do want it to be enjoyable for you. However, that being said, probably the only one to go back and read these posts ten years from now will be me. I'll either have made it and will be a doctor by then, or God will have led me in some other direction that he has planned out for me. Either way, I'm going to want to look back and see all the little stops on the way that led me to where I am. The point is, I will be the one reading it, and I really don't want to be bored by my own writing. So, I'm still trying to work out a way of doing this that serves both of these goals equally: writing to keep others informed in an enjoyable way, and writing for my future self's retrospective pleasure. Thanks for reading, and if you want to marvel at something for a bit, I'd suggest just taking a look at your hands. Isn't it amazing how they respond to your thoughts? How you can close your eyes and feel what they feel? Isn't it amazing how much we take for granted in all the little functions that are constantly being carried out by our bodies? Think about the awesome gift that God gave you in that body. That's something that I've thought about a lot lately, and I will definitely be writing a post on it later. Until then, click below to see those pictures that I mentioned earlier and probably weren't expecting anymore and are now surprised to be seeing.








Footprint first to preserve the tent and help it live a long happy life.
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Nicole agreed to help give some size perspective.
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The tent goes on top of the footprint.
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There are only two separate poles; the middle one is short and straight, only extending between the two middle grommets, and the four-legged hubbed pole connecting the corners.
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This is one of the hubs. It was awesome how well they snapped together and gave a solid structure to the frame.
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The tent itself just sort of hung from the frame.
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The poles snapped together at the top, and the tent was hung from the top down.
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The snaps from the tent slid easily onto the poles.
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The interior: spacious luxury. It's technically a 3-person tent, so it will be perfect for the two of us an Naiya.
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Plenty of venting up top.
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The rainfly just sort of draped over the poles. Since the tent inside just hangs from the poles, the rainfly never touches the tent, minimizing any condensation drips from getting inside. The corners of the rainfly just snapped into buckles in the tent or footprint. Everything is made so that if you want to set up your structure in a hurry, or if it's raining and you don't want to get the tent wet while setting it up, you can just construct the poles with the footprint and throw the rainfly over it, then set up the tent inside later, or not at all.
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This was not intentional, as our gear was purchased more than a year apart, but somehow it all matches.
Nicole was ecstatic about this.
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Inside it feels HUGE. The gear lofts up top are convenient, especially if you want to dry something out.
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In the wild, the vestibules at either end would be staked out, but we decided to forego pounding stakes into our living room carpet...
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