Supplies for Our Trip

aka "The Hemmoraging of Our Bank Account"


Our adventure begins with the realization that we are missing a lot of "essential gear" for our trip:
  1. We're staying at campgrounds to save on motel costs so we need some decent sleeping bags. (cha-ching)
  2. We've decided to travel with backpacks instead of suitcases for additional mobility while traveling Europe.
  3. Our shoes aren't really meant for tons of walking and it wouldn't hurt to have a rugged pair of shoes for walking/hiking.
  4. Because of back-packs we have to travel light, but need to stay warm in European winters (ie: layered clothing), so we need new light/layered jackets. (I bet VISA loves us by now).
We don't wanna buy cheap junk that'll break during this trip so we hit some stores that carry good camping/outdoor gear -- REI and Any Mountain in Berkeley. Little did we know that our "essential" supplies were gonna be so darned expensive! I mean all the back-packs, sleeping-bags and stuff ran over $200 per item, multiplied by 2, and you can see that these supplies were going to put a major dent in our account. Luckily we got a lot of useful help (and shopped around) to reduce the overall expenditures.

Let me start by saying that the folks at REI in Berkeley are awesome (Thanks to Jason -- good luck on the Siberian trip, Martin, Ruth and any others that helped us out). These people obviously love their jobs and (in my opinion) went out of their way to help explain the various differences in the equipment we needed and helped find the "right" (not necessarily most expensive!) stuff for us:
  1. Sleeping Bags: We ended up getting some REI synthetic polar pod sleeping bags rated to 20 deg. F.
  2. Travel Bags: We also selected REI grand-tour travel bags since these seemed to have the convenience of suitcases (large zipped compartment that allows access to any part of the bag) with the nice straps and waist-belt features of hiking bags.
  3. As for shoes, Daria selected a pair of brown REI Gore-Tex leather boots (made by Merrell) that seem sturdy, comfy, and actually look nice enough to wear around town without looking like you just got back from an African expedition. I picked up a pair of similar-looking but more expensive Vasque shoes because I've always bought cheaper shoes than her and just wanted to get even. =)
  4. We bought some Columbia Sportswear jackets with the interchange system -- a shell jacket that has a removable fleece inside it.
That covers the major supplies that we got -- also picked up some nice North Face hats from their "sample" sale at their outlet here in Berkeley.