6/21/13

RAGBRAI Gear...and breakfast in Helsinki!

I took Tara and Alexa to the Minneapolis airport yesterday as they had an 11:30 flight to Helsinki on their way to Vienna.  I took the opportunity to stop by REI and Cabella's to survey the camp gear that is available for our RAGBRAI needs.  We're not allowed to bring our folding cots on Team Simpson (no room in the truck), so a possible couple of solutions are on my radar.

The most expensive, is the LuxuryLite/UltraLite cot.  $229 for the light one, and $239 for the 2" wider mesh version.

Here's the set up of the lighter one...



REI had a demo of the lighter one set up and I tried it out in the store.  Both by itself, and with a pad on it (we already own the self inflating pads).  It was quite comfortable.  The smaller version is only 24" wide and is too narrow for me as my arms have no where to go.  So I would need the 26" wide version.  Tara would be fine on the smaller version.

I also checked out the duffle bags looking for ones that were waterproof as rain is a reality on RAGBRAI and keeping gear dry is key.  They have 2 or 3 solutions that will work ranging from about $54 a duffle to $170 a duffle.  The combination of a cot will get us off the ground, a good duffle that fights off water and our gear packed inside of it with Ziplock bags and water proof stuff sacks will keep things dry - in theory and experience.

The TriLite cot is also an excellent solution.  It is 5 inches longer than the LuxuryLite and has a width of 25" which puts it between the 2 LuxuryLite cots.



It looks to set up a little quicker and easier and is still small enough to be able to stuff into a large or XL size duffle bag.  It may be harder to find (website says out of stock), but looks to be had for less than 1/2 the price of the LuxuryLites.  I see it ranging from $54.99 - $102 (with or without shipping depending on who lists it as being in stock and available).  I think there is one available to demo at Cabela's and I will hit that up this weekend on my trip to Red Wing for the race.

Another solution that comes in a longer size option, is the Go-Kot (gets great reviews and comes in a variety of colors)...



And then there is the Davis Big Boy Cot (I'm a big boy at nearly 6'4") which is the heaviest option at a full 31 pounds - ugh!!!





Pictured below is a cot that is 10 pounds lighter than the Davis Big Boy.  I tried it out at Sports Authority and is actually very comfortable for me.  It's the Coleman Packaway Cot and measures out at 80" x 32".

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It's not that expensive ($59-69).  I could justify that price as I would use it for camping since it takes up less space when folded up than my current 15 year old Ikea cot that I bought in Vienna.  I could could stuff it in a super huge duffel bag (like the XXX Large REI duffle) for RAGBRAI and deal with the extra 21 pounds when carrying my bag to and from the truck every day.  I know it is comfortable cot since I tried it out.  This one is totally long enough and wide enough that I could easily turn over, sleep on my side and use the side table for a tent fan.

Hmmm....do we have a winner?

There are a couple of other models that fold up that we might be able to stuff in a huge duffle (something like the Big Bear cot; or the Go-Kot).  Too bad we can't take our regular large folding cots we use for camping.  Although my old Ikea is about shot and held together with a lot of zip ties, so replacing it is due.  Something like the Big Bear, Go-Kot, Davis Big Boy Cot, Colman or another model would require a XXL or XXXL REI duffle bag.  Luciily, we don't have the 50 pound weight restriction that RAGBRAI has for those who are using the main service for hauling their gear.  Team Simpson told me they prefer we use several smaller bags rather than onle large duffle because they are easier to pack.  But I think I could fit the cot in a duffle with the rest of our gear (one bag for me, one bag for Tara).

The other purchase to be made is to get a pair of tent fans to help fight the humidity and heat in the tent at night.  02 makes a good one and there would be room in our duffles for one each (maybe 2 for me since I could use it).

Our McKinley self-inflating pads are 22" x 74" and would add extra comfort and cushion to whatever cot choice we go with for RAGBRAI.  We also have a smaller pair which would be fine for Tara, but too small for me.  I might look for one that is 25" or 26" wide (or 30") to match the cot's width that I get for myself if the price entry point is not too bad.  Again, I can try them all out at REI before deciding if it is worth it or not.  I could get by with the McKinley that I already own, but if I get one of the bigger cots like the Coleman - I need a larger pad. 

I've got to make some decisions and get things ordered so I have them in time for trying them out before RAGBRAI. 

Europe

Tara and Alexa had a massive layover in Helsinki before flying to Vienna today.  So they took the shuttle in from the Helsinki airport for a breakfast/brunch at a fish market this morning...

Here's Alexa in her red tank top with her back to the camera...

HelsinkiBreakfast

And here's what the gals split...

FinlandFish

Yum!  I wish I was there with them.  They are going to a Heurige tonight in Vienna!!!!

I will be attending opening night of Romeo and Juliet tonight and having dinner with Sarah Larsen's parents, Mark and Cathy, before to catch up with them.


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