More Research, Less Gear?

June 20, 2015

Last night I attended a small class at REI in Austin that covered camp stoves and water filters and purifiers. It was hands-on, and the 6 of us who attended were able to assemble, fire up and boil water on about eight different stoves, as well as try out several water filters and purifiers.

I’ve been using an MSR Whisperlite stove for several years, and chose it mainly for the ability to use unleaded gasoline in it. This allows me to always have fuel for my stove in the bike, and not have to worry about finding fuel canisters or white gas in remote places.

After trying the different stoves last night, I was almost convinced to switch to a JetBoil or a SnowPeak GigaPower (wow, it’s small but works great!), but I’m still concerned about finding fuel canisters, and how long one canister of fuel will last. I’m on a small bike, with limited space, so carrying more cans isn’t easy. With my Whisperlite, one fuel bottle is all I ever have to carry, and it fits in a bicycle bottle cage on the rear of the pannier. So I’ve talked myself back into keeping the Whisperlite for now.

The water filters and purifiers were another topic of interest. I have a Steripen purifier, but no filtration system. Based on what I learned last night, unless I’m pumping water from muck, I think I’ll be okay with this setup for my intended purposes. The Steripen has its limitations, but I’ll deal with it.

I also met another attendee at the class who had just returned from five months in India, Nepal and Thailand. It was great to chat with him and learn a little more (and confirm that I’m headed to the right places).

With the very reasonable cost of lodging in Mexico, Central and South America, it’s been tough to commit to carrying all of my camping gear for this part of the trip. I could lose 20 pounds of gear and a large bag by staying in hotels, hostals, AirBnB, etc exclusively and not camping. But part of my goal for this trip is to keep the overall costs down, so the camping gear comes along. For now….

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