There’s always meditation that is a lifesaver in the immediate. When I’m stressing out, I strive to meditate, even if it means stepping away from the cause of the stress for one minute, just so I can refocus, rebalance, and breathe. The worst time for me is the winter, because I have a natural want to hibernate, so when I’m stressing from my work, I find myself opting to endure the stress instead of venturing outside in many layers. I find myself sitting through it, gritting my teeth, and more often than not, swearing under my breath at the source of my troubles. But that’s not a healthy response, especially when my stresses are compounded and building into a volcano that might explode on loved ones, spewing negativity where I could have avoided it.
So, this year, I am trying something new. I am planning my natural endeavors later in the season. But what’s more is I’m also keeping my gear ready for when a mild winter day comes, then I can clear my schedule and head out for a night of respite among the leafless trees and come back the next day rested and better balanced to handle the hoopla that tends to cause me to stress out. This year, my wife and I went on a trip together to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park regions of Wyoming and Montana.
We timed it so that we would be there as the tourist crowd ebbed away and just before the heavy winter snows. And boy, let me tell you, we couldn’t have planned it any better. We got to Grand Tetons as the weather was transitioning from 60-degrees to wet and 40’s, and then we made it north after a week of cool weather in Yellowstone to hit Glacier National Park days before the first massive snowstorm rained down 2-3 feet of snow. We literally left on a Monday morning and by Tuesday night, the snow had started.
To aid us in this late season camping trip, I reached out to MSR to test their Carbon Reflex 3 Ultralight Tent. The Carbon Reflex 3 is a double-walled, light-weight tent that can sleep three, but we found it perfect for the two of us, allowing us some room for gear and extra blankets to get us through the frigid nights.
MSR designed the Carbon Reflex series to be easy to build and to be extremely lightweight, which as a backpacker style traveler is among the most important details. If a piece of gear isn’t lightweight, small, and easy to haul along with everything else in my rucksack, then it’s an issue for me. I’ve spent nine months backpacking around Europe, and I can tell you that every extra unneeded ounce or inch can make the difference between a free-flowing feeling while wandering versus feeling overwhelmed, in pain and burdened by the gear. In a perfect world, you should be able to roam aimlessly and not worry about all the things you have to carry to survive, but alas, we are not living in a perfect world, and you quite literally have to strike a balance that works for you.
Most tents are either bulky, a pain in the ass to setup alone, or aren’t worth their weight in imperfect weather. But I have to say I’m very impressed with MSR’s design for the Carbon Reflex, because it boasts a double wall tent design that’s ultralight, a waterproof floor and rainfly, and is simple in its design so that there’s little issue with setup, and no complexities that are more of an irritation than an innovation. The micromesh canopy offers maximum air flow and moisture control, and allows for use on blistering summer days, as well as for chilly nights like how it was when we camped late season in Yellowstone. This tent was actually quite the lifesaver, because it allowed us to backpack in with just a rucksack on our backs, and to be able to enjoy the hike until we found the best place for us to camp for the night. A quality tent that checks off all the boxes is a thing of true beauty and MSR is among the best.
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