The Days Before Madrid: Backyard Gear Check

I haven’t had much time to talk about it, but I am so pleased and grateful to announce that my Indiegogo campaign was a complete success — more than a success, really. At its closing at the beginning of the month, the campaign raised 101%, or $1,820. I struggle to sufficiently express my gratitude to all of my donors, to all the friends, family members, and strangers who believed enough in this crazy sojourn to support it. The funds have all gone toward my plane tickets, my gear, and my lodging in Barcelona and Madrid, as promised. So, what now?

The Backyard Gear Check

Luckily, winter has finally loosened its grasp on my little blip in Western New York. Admittedly, the 45 to 50-degree temps aren’t quite paradisaical, but they aren’t exactly something you’d see in “Frozen,” either. The last week has provided ample opportunity to feel the weight of a full pack on the road — well, as close to full weight as I can get before the travelers’ curse pops up to add a few extra pounds — and there have also been nights where the stars twinkle just brightly enough and the wind settles itself temporarily to make putting up my tiny tent and sleeping out possible.

tent le roy words from the road

 

Admittedly, the results of my backyard gear tests have been mixed. On the one hand, my sleeping bag keeps me toasty, even with the wind trying its damnedest to insert a drawer’s worth of ice blades through any and all bits of exposed skin. The tent, while snug for my…girth, allows me to keep all of my gear inside, and the rain cover seems like it could keep Noah’s mythical flood waters from sinking this particular ship. 

In truth, the only problem I have is comfort, and that’s such a first world, pampered, middle-class white kid type of complaint. I guess my problem is that my ultralight tent, sleeping bag, mat, and tarp do not a hotel room make. What did I really expect? Did I truly believe that backpacking meant the air mattress-lined, barbecue smoke-filled high life that I had grown so accustomed to on my limited camping trips as a child? You bet.

But whatever; what is there to complain about? In 11 days time my feet will carry me to the point of exhaustion day after day, such that I could fall asleep atop a bed of coals. Comfort was never the point — living as I have for 27-years was never the point. So long as my feet work, I stay dry, and I keep moving, that’s good enough.

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