While it’s easy to do I dropped a small fortune at REI about a week ago to upgrade my backpacking and camping gear, but they let me keep my kidneys and the gear is great, so it’s a win-win. To make this short and sweet I decided it was time for me to take the plunge and really go all in on good camping gear if I was really going to commit to the dirtbag lifestyle.

My tent was just old, heavy, and way way way worn out, and I had always slept on an old foamy sleeping pad. I’m going to make some shameless promotional plugs here, but I found myself extremely satisfied with my purchases. The tent is super light and for one person it’s cozy but not cramp (I’m a short and stout build) and the sleeping pad is – not exaggerating – at least as good, if not better than any mattress I’ve ever slept on. The pillow and pad are bomber also. So, if you’re looking to outfit yourself with some mid-high range camping / backpacking gear that is light, compact, gets the job done, and won’t require a second mortgage, here’s my list:


If you’ve taken a look at my Instagram lately then you know that I had an unexpected overnight guest last night. I woke up about 1:30 a.m. and there was a scurry out of my tent and a scratch on my leg (naughty pic required, so no public posting). It was kind of bizarre since I’m no rookie outdoorsman and of course didn’t have any food in my tent. The rain fly door was actually opened, but apparently one of these fellers wanted to cuddle up on my lap. Though, since he didn’t want to use the door he decided to shred the bug net on my tent on the way in / out.

As a quick side note to this story I want to give a shout out to my humanoid guests, friends, and companions who’ve come out to visit and climb with me. Thank you for making this journey much more pleasurable.

I suspect that someone has been leaving food around campsites and my furry friend has now learned to associate those soft dome-like structures we call tents with food-finding. At any rate, no harm no foul really. I haven’t talked to anyone from REI yet, but I’m obligated to give a shout out to NEMO Equipment not only for having awesome gear, but also awesome customer service. Within 5 - 10 minutes of my posting the encounter pic to Instagram I had an email from them. Hats off to you gents!

Savagezen's Blog

A minimalist guide to my many projects.