And finally, camping gear!
Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Tent
I really wanted an MSR Hubba Hubba, but damn theyíre expensive. I looked at a whole mess of 2 man tents before stumbling upon this one. Sized well (short enough to fit in a pannier), taped seams, light, and around $120 with a footprint on sale, good enough for me.
I set it up at home first to get the gist of things. 2 aluminum poles, each attaching to 6 clips and holding the floor taught from a grommet on each corner. The rainfly is attached with clips and color coded, though itís easy to see how it goes. Small vestibule out front and a vent in the rear. Easy enough.
I set it up for my first real camping on a deck, so no stakes. I used the guy lines to hold it in place with pretty good luck. I hadnít yet realized that those were meant for the fly, which meant condensation in the morning, but nothing too bad. When I used it on dirt, I did it right. One stake on each corner of the footprint and the tent (the footprint has pole grommets too), one at the front to hold the vestibule out and one on the other 3 sides attached to a guy line to vent the tent. It was immediately obvious this worked much better. Unfortunately the ground in Zion was too hard to put stakes in, so I didnít get to vent the tent right and paid for it. It gets really hot in hot weather with the fly just lying on it.
Interior space is decent, Iím 6í2Ē and was just a tad cramped. I slept a bit diagonally and had most of my gear with me (tank bag, camelback, helmet, jacket, pants, bags for camping stuff, and random other clothing) and wasnít too cramped. I would not want to use this tent for 2 people, but for 1 itís plenty of room. The vestibule was enough to store 2 pairs of boots and a pair of sandals under without blocking the tent entrance.
Waterproofing was good, no leaks with some very heavy rain. Everything got dirty, but I hosed it off when I got home and all was well. The instructions were lacking (hence my issues with the fly) but itís relatively intuitive. Everything easily packs down into the bag, including the footprint. The zippers work well, I donít think I snagged them at all, and entry/exit isnít bad. Itís small and low, so it could be an issue for an older taller camper, but it was ok for me. I expect this tent to be by my side in future ADV rides and overlanding trips.
Bonus Review: Coleman MicroPacker LED Lantern
Bought this on a whim for $12 at Walmart. $12 well spent, itís very light and durable (I dropped it a handful of times), has a retractable reflector to aim the light better if needed, and a little loop on top to hang in a tent. I just looped my zipper pull through the hanger, worked fine as the lantern is really lightweight. They claim 120ish hours of use on a few AA batteries, I hear it gets dimmer but I never had a problem. It always gave me enough light to read by.
The one minor thing Iíd change is make it more of a hook on top than a loop, the tent has a loop in the center for a lantern but I didnít have an obvious way to connect the two. Otherwise itís brilliant, Iíll be holding on to this one.