1st April 2023 was the start of a new part of life and to draw a line of sorts under the routine that went before, I decided to ride up to our land (half an acre of land with an old barn without services) and spend a few nights camping (instead of sitting at my desk). It would also be a testing ground for my trip to Norway later in the year, a chance to try some new devices too.
It wasn’t a huge trip. Here’s the overall map.
Just under 200 miles in total.
First, thoughts about the weather and the impact that had. This Spring has been cold and wet here, slow to come. I was lucky in a way for my few days in that the days were sunny and, if you were in the sun and out of the wind, warm. In fact just warm enough on Tuesday to mow the whole field without a shirt – it takes most of the day to do. But as soon as it started to get dark, the temperature fell and the nights were (forecast to be) 2 degrees c. The grass, and my tent, had frost on it in the morning. That’s a first for me.
I have two sleeping bags. I think of them as a southern and a northern European version. I packed by Rab Ascent 900 (I think) which is a down bag and super toasty, though it takes up a lot of room in a pack – 3 or even 4 times the volume of my Mont Bel lighter bag – so its quite a commitment to pack for a journey. So at 9pm I crawled into it with long johns, thermal socks, three layers including a Patagonia quilted jacket – and fell asleep. I awoke during the night of course and was over heated and removed layer after layer and was still too warm. But I noticed that the outside of my sleeping bag was wet with condensation and so was the inside of the tent. In the morning I discovered that the foot of the bag where it rubbed up against the tent was very wet. I felt confident that all would dry out in the warm sun the next day but wondered whether this would trouble my camping in Norway where the next day may well be wet. (Mo I Rana is 9 degrees high and 4 low – that’s the furthest north and other cities seem to go no lower than 10 or 12 degrees coldest, though rain is frequent). I need to decide whether I need to take this large bag….
For the second night I slept in the barn on a makeshift bed, next to my bike.
I’ve been gathering some new kit and gadgets over the winter for my trip. Here’s a summary of what worked well and what didn’t and what problems I need to sort out before June 12th:
The helmet – Nexx Viljord flip front
Occasionally it was totally comfortable and at times really so uncomfortable you want the ride to end. Nice in the city to ride with the lid open. Riding at speed with the lid up is possible but not for long. Moving it around the head helps and opening it for a spell then closing again also helps. Needs wearing in big time. At times I thought this just will not work and I need to swallow the fact I’ve wasted £350 and try the Schuberth again and get some proper fitting advice.
Sena 20s Evo bluetooth headset
Works well clear and loud. No crackling or distortion. Which way turns it up and can the radio be got to work? A good buy though I didn’t use the earbuds that I had made (£180) as I didn’t need to because the sound was loud enough but also the helmet was too tight.
Is heavy and takes up valuable space but the adjustment of the flame is superb. Lights easily. I used the frying pan and the useful kettle but not the saucepan that I took. It’s a different experience to the lightweight stove I had before. It’s an end to perching and instability. I don’t think I’m going to go back.
GoPro Hero 11 camera
Easy to use and nice to see what I’m filming which you can’t do with the Sony. The 1/4” adapter mount is useless because it doesn’t tighten enough so if not level to start with, it slowly tilts back till headshots from the handlebar mount end up as sky shots. I will use the ball mount instead. That might be better made.
Sony action cam – its not new just newly mounted
The waterproof container got locked somehow so buttons didn’t work and I failed to record some things. Also the remote refused to find the camera as it often does and turning it on by hand is uncertain, even when unlocked. I need to sort this so that I know when it is turned on. Not knowing is not good enough.
Rollei travel tripod
this is a new piece of kit. Is easy to use, quite small and light to pack. I set it up when I arrived and kept it around and used it a lot. Is a game changer for self filming. Would I use it on campsites or by the roadside? Maybe not. Looks good. Versatile as all my cameras have a thread and the GoPro adapter doesn’t slip on that because you tend to use it level.
Hario Coffee filter dripper for One
Again, it takes up more room than the GSI dripper that folds completely flat – but that had design faults. This delivers a much nice and more predictable cup of coffee and does not sag, bend or get stuck on top of the cup. This is a keeper – and only cost a tenner.