Missed the hills lately as I’ve been on a trip to Indianapolis to see family.
For those of you not familiar with the Hoosier State, commonly referred to as the Crossroads of America, it’s not exactly blessed with hills.
Indeed, the agricultural plains appear endless when peering out the plane window on the approach to Indy airport.
Specialist outdoor shops or ‘outfitters’ are thin on the ground, too, but I did manage and independent store in the funky suburb of Broad Ripple. The Rusted Moon is a veritable Aladdin’s cave has plenty of gear and knowledgeable staff.
I managed to restrain myself, despite the favourable state of the Pound verses the Dollar, and left with a pair of the Keen Voyageurs. These are meant to be my summer shoes, but wearing them home on the plane I fear that they are not going to be that ‘cool… there’s plenty of Nubuk-type material used in their construction.
One purchase I am very happy with, though, is my Big Agnes Three Wire Bivy. I’ve wanted a bag for a while now – even since reading Ronald Turnbull’s superbly quirky ‘Book of the Bivy’ – but each one I’ve tried has been a squeeze. I became aware of this model after reading an account of an audacious three-day, fast-and-light assault on the West Highland Way on the PTC World Blog.
Big Anges make gear specifically for people up to 6’6” tall and the Three Wire fits me well. It has an Event top and a Cordura base. The twin pole configuration keeps the fabric away from the face while closure system give a useful range of venting options.
The hood design also means I can rest on my arms and watch the sun set (or a storm approach!) The bag will accommodate a reasonable amount of gear.
The only downside is the colour… not exactly inconspicuous is it? Some might find the structure fiddly too and Mr Turnbull would simply dismiss it as an expensive, cramped tent. (That said, I got a good deal buying this bag in the States.)
I am due to give it a go at the end of May when I plan to sleep out high in the Lakes. Fingers crossed for some settled weather.
Also on the gear front, I’ll drop into the ‘lightweight’ festival, which runs alongside the Backpacker’s Club AGM in Derbyshire on Saturday. I’m sure there will be a few things of interest on show.
You never know, I might then get out on the hills again…!