I spent last week refining our RAGBRAI gear choices with a goal of getting it lighter and simpler. The folding cot I picked up at Cabela's for $79.99 is great for our car/tent camping, but no need for taking such a beast along on RAGBRAI with the requisite air mat because they weigh nearly 30 pounds when combined. Instead, I settled on a nice self-inflating mat from a company out of Switzerland called Exped and their product Mega Mat.
I bought 2 so Tara and I each have one as they toggle together to form a nice Queen size bed in the tent. Here's a video of the mat...
And here is Andy from Exped describing this wonderful product...
The mat is 77.5" long and 30" wide which is perfect for me. No overhang with my feet or head, and wide enough that the arms remain comfortably on the mat (and not off the side and on the tent floor)!!! It's only 5 1/2 pounds compared to the 23.1 pounds of the Cabela cot, plus the 6 pounds of the Cabela's mat. That's a fabulous combo, but too heavy for our more minimalist RAGBRAI excursion. The Mega Mat is perfect for side sleeping, back or belly sleeping and is adjustable for the amount of firmness you want.
To stuff all of our gear into before loading up on the truck, I bought two large No Matter What duffle bags from Eagle Creek.
I picked up two REI low height camp chairs for lounging around the tent.
And, of course, our trusty and easy to set up Kelty Hula House 6 which is large enough for the 2 of us, plus gear, plus bikes. I bought the Kelty footprint that goes underneath the tent to keep us dry as morning dew and rain will be a reality on RAGBRAI.
We will use our summer weight twin bed down comforters which stuff in a small stuff sack, and bring along a pillow or two each that also stuff into a sack.
The final purchase was for two 02 battery operated fans to keep us "cooler" at night - if possible in the Iowa heat and humidity...
Our daily clothing will go into individual 2 gallon Zip Loc bags to help keep it dry before using, and to keep the smell under control when dirty and zipped up in the bag. That should bring an end to my quest to get the proper gear organized for our 2013 RAGBRAI trip. The bikes are all set with the saddle bags and the bar mounted bags. We have our rain ponchos, bug spray, ear plugs, sun block, Butt Butt'r, powder, etc... .
Post Race Recovery
I feel like I played all 4 quarters of a football game yesterday on both sides of the ball and got banged up. My leg is stiff, the knee is swollen, my shoulder hurts, my chest hurts from where I hit the tree and it's been hard getting around the house today. My rule for racing during the season is, that no matter what, on Monday I do my chores of mowing and trimming the lawn, garbage duty, grocery shopping, and some house work during my summer vacation months and of course - back to work during the school year. No exceptions! I did all of that today, but at a much slower pace thanks to the knee and exhaustion of racing in the heat and humidity. Mowing and trimming this morning was a sweaty mess as it was hot and humid with little breeze. I finally gave in at 5 p.m. and took some Ibuprofen in hopes that I feel a bit more perky for our evening dinner guests at 7 pm.