Backpacking Trial Run – Weekend Camping at Berry Bend

Photograph of Gary and Ginger Allman: wildlife and lake watching

Gary and Ginger: wildlife and lake watching

This weekend we tried out our backpacking gear.

Friday evening we took several kids to Kansas City for a church event. We needed to be on hand to collect them again Sunday afternoon, so we left Lanie in the capable hands of Ginger’s cousin, put Getzger in charge at home and once we’d dropped the big kids off at Kansas City we went camping at Berry Bend on Harry S. Truman Lake.

As our goal was to test the gear, not our ability to carry the packs we only backpacked the amazing distance of around 30 feet from the car to the campsite. We didn’t arrive until after nine p.m., which meant we had to make camp in the dark. That was remarkably easy considering we’ve only put up our new tent once before.

Photograph of a MSR Mutha Hubba tent at Berry Bend Campground, Missouri

Our new MSR Mutha Hubba tent at Berry Bend Campground

We cheated on the fire. We didn’t want to spend a lot of time and energy gathering and cutting wood, so we bought some logs for $4 and I split them. We did light the fire backpacking style using cotton wool pads coated with Vaseline.

Sitting by the campfire

We were careful to ensure that sparks from the fire didn’t get near the chairs. A flat mattress would have been a disaster for the night, as they provide the ground insulation for our Big Agnes sleeping bags. A mattress repair kit will have to be an essential item.

We didn’t bother with the kayaks and had a quiet day sitting watching the lake and wildlife instead. It gave us a change to try out our backpacking chairs. I was dubious about the sitting so low to the ground, but they proved very comfortable. The great thing about the chairs is that they use our existing bed mattresses for the seat and seat back so there’s very little extra to carry.

We saw loads of different woodpeckers, hawks, and other birds including a bald eagle. We also watched the squirrels and chipmunks rushing around. Over the course of the weekend we also saw a deer, possum, coyote, and evidence of a beaver.

I never did get a chance to read the book I brought along, and I don’t think Ginger got much knitting done either.

What do you think?

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