REI is currently having their 20% off one item at the store and the outlet event so I determined this would be a fantastic time to go in and buy at least one of the high ticket items. Saving money is one of my favorite things.
So this morning I made sure I had the gift card that Randi and her husband gave me, my membership card, and the coupon code and went to work.
I stopped at REI on my way home from work and head straight for the backpacks. It was instantly obvious that I have NO IDEA what I was doing, what to look for, which bags to start with, etc. So, I asked for help.
The employees at REI continue to be awesome. Like, seriously awesome. I can’t stress that enough. They are helpful, informative, patient, and all around super.
Mike, the first guy that was helping me, talked to me about how much they should hold, how to fit them, how to pack them, the different features, etc. We picked out three that I should try and then he packed them down with weight.
The first one was terrible. I didn’t know it was the pack that was terrible, though. It was heavy and digging into my lower back and I couldn’t move right. And I thought it was me! Then for the first time since planning on doing this canyon hike I thought “What am I thinking?!??!” and it was bad. But I held it together and we talked about how the pack felt and he said “Take it off, we’ll try the next one.”
The next one felt so much better! It was a world of difference. Same weight as the first one was packed into it but the design was just different enough that it made a difference and I was back on solid ground.
Mike had to leave so he left me with another super helpful dude and I just realized I didn’t catch his name.
We discovered that Mike was packing me with 45lbs! My goal is to not go over 30lbs for the hike, hopefully less, so we packed the third pack with less. I don’t recall the weight. Dammit. That may be important…
I strapped the third one on and it felt really good, too. Like, I thought that would be the one I would get. But then I realized I should try the second one again with this new, lighter weight so I did just that.
It felt so much better than the other two. And so I picked my backpack. A pack that is actually designed for women and has a flower hair tie attached to it. Which made me roll my eyes when I first saw it and now I own it. That’s how life works.
Then I started asking about the sleeping bags because I didn’t know anything about them either. He basically said that a sleeping bag is a sleeping bag is a sleeping bag. You want the right temperature rating, the right weight, and to look more for natural filling than synthetic. I think. I could be wrong about that last part. But basically he said that the way you pick the bag is to determine what feature about it is important to you. I wanted it to be light and warm. I wanted it to compress down really well.
So,I got mine from the clearance area because then I could use the coupon for both items! I am so frugal, so wise.
I got one that is really light and is rated for cold weather. Because after camping in October and being really damned cold? I don’t wanna do that again. If it gets too warm, I’ll unzip and lay on it. That’s easier than freezing all night. No way. Give me warmth, people. I’m of the desert now.
I just looked up my bag…I did NOT pay anywhere close to that price. The regular OR the clearance. Wow. My total out the door for both items was maybe that price. Kudos to me and my use of coupons and gift card!
So, now I have hiking shoes, a pair of hiking socks, a backpack, and a sleeping bag. I’m really doing this!