There’s nothing like camping out in remote areas to make you appreciate the little things in life. A cold drink from a cooler, for instance, tastes far better standing next to a dry river bed hours from civilization than it ever could from your refrigerator at home.
Sea to Summit recently held a meeting which I was lucky enough to be a part of. And because we’re an Aussie company, instead of a conference room or an office somewhere the venue was the Australian Outback near Alice Springs.
Over the course of five days, we navigated our way in four-wheel drive vehicles through some amazing countryside, far from roads, running water, or the other trappings of civilization. Each evening and at some stops during the day, the design team talked about new products, concepts and prototypes for us to ooh and aah over. At night, we camped out under the stars.
We all used a kit made up of existing Sea to Summit products. All of them worked really well (as you would hope); but one stands out in my mind as being valuable far beyond anything its price tag might suggest.
The Micro Sleeping Bags proved to be extremely comfortable; the full-length zipper was great for regulating the temperature during the often warm, occasionally cool nights.
The Delta Bowls, Delta Plates and Delta Sporks were also appreciated (our hosts grilled over the campfire and made sure that everyone’s plate was full). The design team provided the explanation for why the Spork is so much stronger than similar products – its nylon 66 is reinforced with 30% glass fiber.
The Pack Taps were hung from trees or the sides of the four-wheel drives, and provided clean water simply and reliably; hard to say how much this was appreciated in the hot, dry environment.
Something which was equally valuable (even if there are no pictures to prove this) was the toilet kit consisting of the Outhouse (a drybag-based toilet roll holder/dispenser), a Nylon Pocket Trowel, and a bottle of Trek and Travel Hand Sanitizer. Simple, effective, things and completely in accordance with Leave no Trace principles.
After several hot, dusty days, the pleasure of a warm shower is hard to describe. A Pocket Shower was strung up from a tree at a discreet distance from the camp, and a Tek Towel and some Wilderness Wash completed the ensemble. It’s truly amazing how clean you can get with even just a couple of Liters of water (the Shower holds 10 Liters), amazing too how good you’ll feel afterwards.
But – even though all of the above products were truly appreciated, one item of gear stands out as being worth far more than its weight in precious metal: the Mosquito Headnet. Mosquitos aren’t the issue in the Outback; flies are. From sunrise to sunset, you find yourself covered in a constant swarm of flies – that is, unless you stretch a Headnet over your broad-brimmed hat.
I have taken home many memories from an incredible trip – but the piece of gear I will cherish most is one of the least expensive.
As I said, it’s the little things in life which make the difference.