Friday, July 31, 2009

Adventure beckons

previous expeditions Lake Eyre
In late August I will be heading outback with a few friends on a motorcycle trip. We plan to ride to South Australia and make our way to Arkaroola via Yunta onto Strezleki track to Coward Springs up the Oodnadatta track, then to the Painted desert, Cober Pedy, William Creek and back to the Flinders Ranges and home.

At this point it's all about preparation, fitting out our bikes with the necessary components so that they can cope with the 1000's of km of corrugated dirt roads. A trip of this nature on a motorcycle requires a minimalist approach, as too much weight compromises the handling of the bike. Considering that it will be necessary to carry ten liters of additional fuel plus adequate water supplies for venturing into the desert it makes the whole propsition an interesting logistical challenge. So all my gear is spread out around the house, as I go through a trial pack and then discard items.

I intend to take along a few new gadgets to test with the aim of writing up a review. Hopefully the one item I do not have an opportunity to review is the first aid kit. My firewood processing combo will be a Bacho folding saw and the Becker BK2 knife. I also have a new Mountain Hardware Sprite 1 tent and CaribeeCosmic 1600 compact synthetic sleeping bag. The Caribee bag only cost $89 and even though it has a rating to -5 I'm a bit nervous about it's ability to cope with the cool desert nights. My understanding is that Australia unlike Europe does not have an official rating standard for testing sleeping bags, so one is at the mercy of the manufacturers in-house rating scheme. As a precaution I will be packing a Coleman emergency blanket which I will place beneath the sleeping mat in order to provide some insulation. A silk sleeping bag liner will also be thrown in for good measure.
I actually have a great Macpac down sleeping bag that is tried and trusted in these conditions however; I have never owned a synthetic bag and I am curious to see how it performs. By the way I purchased the Macpac bag in 1994 and it is still as good as new! It cost a lot in it's day, but quality often comes at a price. That fact does make me a little nervous about the Caribee.....oh well!
Anyway it's time to get back to the packing.

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