Update: I received an invitation to serve in Morocco with the Peace Corps from March 2010 – May 2012. I have accepted. I’ve turned in my passport along with some photos and paperwork for my Peace Corps Passport, and I’ve sent the Morocco desk my resume and Aspiration Statement.
Speaking of photos, I need to take more of them. I may have one photo Kurt took on my camera of a little hike we did on Friday, but other than that I don’t have any good recent photos.
I did buy a pack, though. And I’m looking at getting a bivy and a new sleeping bag. Here are my choices:
Pack: Gregory Jade 50. I have a Gregory Palisade, but it’s a monster – I really wanted a solid 2-3 day pack. I looked at the small women’s Osprey pack while I was in REI, but the fit was wrong. Back to Gregory I go – can’t fault their fit. I was bummed about the color – the store only had a light blue – but I’ve just found that I can buy the same pack in a dark orange (that the website inexplicably calls ‘scarlet’) online and return my ugly colored pack! Yay!
Sleeping Bag: I was looking for a synthetic sleeping bag in the 15-25 degree range – I got my current down Marmot bag in middle school, and it’s now leaking down and probably isn’t any better than a 40 degree bag. I assume I’ll be using a sleeping bag for much of fall, winter, and spring for the next two years, so I wanted something that would keep it’s loft and take the abuse – but I also wanted to be able to throw it in a pack for camping trips. After much online agonizing, I like the Sierra Designs Yachiyo 15 best. I haven’t gotten to climb into it yet – out of the synthetic bags at the REI store, I liked the REI Aura 25+. The trick with the Yachiyo will be finding it; all online retailers seem to only have the long version left – hopefully a retailer around Asheville, Indy, or Boulder still has a regular in stock.
Bivy: Kurt and I spent quite a while comparing and contrasting different bivy designs and fabric online (cost was an issue). I don’t want a claustrophobic bivy, so I’m going for one with a hoop. Out of everything I’ve looked at, the Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy looks like the best weatherproof hooped bivy for it’s weight and price.
Hopefully I’ll get to try out all this new gear on a camping trip in the southwest in late January or early February. I’m quite excited about all of it.