People travel for different reasons. For me, I travel to expand my mind, my senses, and my understanding, as well as to experience beauty I would otherwise miss out on completely if I were still sitting at home. It’s the natural wonders and the wildlife that drive me when I travel, and so when my wife Leah and I ventured from Ohio to Wyoming, we set out with one goal in mind… To see as much wildlife as we could.
- Bald Eagle: 7 adults
- Bear: 0
- Buffalo: 500+
- Coyote: 2 + a pack singing near Baker’s Hole campground
- Deer: 10
- Ducks: 140+
- Elk: 16
- Fox: 1 gray, 1 red
- Hawks: 12 red-tailed, 1 red shouldered
- Horse, wild: 1
- Humans: 200,000+ too many!
- Moose: 3
- Mountain Goat: 8
- Osprey: 1
- Pronghorns: 54
- Sandhill Crane: 20
- Swans (a swimmin’): 7
A giant adult grizzly bear was standing in the middle of the road. He stood on his back two legs and as we came barreling around the curve, we slowed and in a moment everything moved at a glacial pace. He turned his head and I hit the brake. My jaw dropped as his eyes went wide with shock. His face screwed up with fear as my eyes began watering with appreciation of his beauty. It was almost as if we had caught him doing something naughty, because his face changed to absolute terror as he turned, dropped to all-fours and thumped off into the forest. It was an amazing moment, and an entirely true story. What a way to see a bear for the first time in the wild!
Before the trip, we teamed up with Outdoor Vitals to test and review their StormLOFT Down MummyPod Sleeping Bag and their Dominion 1p Ultralight Backpacking Tent. While we didn’t spend full nights in the 1-person backpacking tent, obviously, we did find it useful for storing gear and for quick naps along long hikes. Now that I’ve put them both to good use, I’d like to breakdown why I like the gear.
The Dominion 1p Ultralight Backpacking Tent is a very good option for a solo backpacker, because it’s seriously lightweight at 2lb 9oz, and packs up small at 5”x5”x20”. I’ve backpacked Europe for 9 months some years back and I would have loved to have had this tent with me. I would have frequented many less hostels if I had. When you have all that weight on your shoulders, and where you’re literally living out of that huge rucksack on your back, every ounce and every inch matters greatly. To be able to carry around your place to sleep, on top of everything else like your clothes, toiletries, survival gear, tech gear, and beyond, is quite a relief and blessing. Why it’s so lightweight is because of its DAC featherlite poles and ultralight 15D siliconized fabric. It sets up easily as the design is simple but well thought out. It has a singular pole and is modular in design so you can take its body without the covering, which is good for hot summer nights or simply to avoid the bugs. What I loved most about this tent design, besides its carry size, is how it feels bigger than I imagined it would while I was setting it up.
Overall, I came away very impressed with the quality and design of both the StormLOFT sleeping bag and the Dominion tent. The StormLOFT MummyPod bag aided me greatly on those cold nights, because it’s snug fitting, padded, comfortable, and very warm. The Dominion is a quality gear choice for any solo backpacker or overnight hiker.
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