Pictured are the big items that I bought for this trip. I made all of my purchases on Amazon and did a fair amount of research and informal cost-benefit analysis to come up with the final choices. Might I say that these choices were not easy to make. I spent a few months going back and forth on the choices.
- Tent: There were also a few weeks when Amazon was flooded with unbelievingly low priced tents with largely good reviews. I almost jumped on that opportunity, however, the cautious side of me held back as I had some doubts about these cheap price points, especially given that the tents were all being sold through one seller. Anyway, when I decided the time was right to buy, of course, these cheap tents were no longer on the market. There were some cheap options that remained, but I really wanted a reliable tent that could bear rainstorms and is simultaneously lightweight (around 4lbs or less). At end, it was ALPS Mountaineering Mystique 1.0 vs. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1. The winner was the Lynx. After watching youTube reviews, by seeing the tents on video, Lynx seemed to be the one with a sturdier construction. I received it a couple days ago, and it’s well-built, easy to setup, and really roomy. Oh, I got the Lynx groundsheet as well, which is not a tough tarp, but exactly the same material as the tent’s floor. Hopefully, the additional layer will be better than nothing. Tent: $90, Groundsheet: $20
- Backpack: This was my easiest choice. I got the Teton Scout 3400 internal frame backpack. I just got it in the mail today and it’s perfect. The size is right and the quality far exceeds my expectations for the its price point. It’s a touch piece of work that looks like it will last a lifetime of serious expeditions. The built-in support in the back is also nice. The only minor setback is that the pocket designated for sleeping bags is rather small and my sleeping bag will definitely not fit inside. Of course, this is probably the fault of my sleeping bag, which I will be discussing shortly. Anyway, I can always stuff clothes or other items in that compartment. I found that my sleeping bag can strapped to the outside with the backpack’s attached compression straps, perfectly. $60
- Sleeping pad: This was a somewhat tough choice, as first, there are different types of pads: inflatable, foam, semi-inflatable. Ultimately, I went with an inflatable for its compactness. I got the Outdoorsman inflatable sleeping pad, which packs down to about the size of a water bottle. It already is one my favorite buys, as the material looks incredibly solid and has a nice feel to it. It’s something that I would look forward to sleeping on night after night. It is also exactly as advertised: very easy to inflate with about 15 breaths and extremely easy to deflate as well. Worth every penny! $47
- Sleeping bag: The sleeping bag is where I had the most trouble. As a result, it become the very last item that I decided on and given that I had gone with medium price points with everything else, I thought I would be cheap on this item. Again, I went wrong here. I chose the BodySource mummy bag, which is kind of awful. First, the size is much too large for backpacking: the compression sack doesn’t really compact it down substantially. Next, the material is just cheap. I’m still debating on whether I return it or if I will just use it for this trip and ditch it. $30
- Water filtration: After watching a video of hiker discussing his supplies for his upcoming Appalachian trial through-hike, I discovered the Sawyer mini water filtration system. It’s about the size of a small pocket flashlight (or torch) and seems to do an excellent job of filtering. Though I mostly trust the tap from major cities such as Lusaka, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have something like this. I remember wanting to get something like this for my first trip, but didn’t find the right thing. $20
I think I will opt out of my mosquito net this time.
Other items that I will bring include flashlight, sunscreen with the highest SPF, hand sanitizer, some doxycycline and a very bare bones medical kit.