Overnight trip. 10 mile hike in and out Late September, Chicago 'burbs

Water bottle carrier as the 'backpack'.
* Water bottle
* SOL 2 person space blanket
* .7mil plastic sheeting
* Airline wool blend blanket
* Stainless camp cup
* Mason cord
* Rain coat

I quick overnighter to a place a buddy has access to. Crazy lightweight, but I know the area, so I know there are cattails nearby to make a sleeping mat. Rained much of the night, I stayed dry. Mosquitoes where the worst part.

The 10 mile walk in was good, if a bit warm. The 10 mile hike out was brutal. Got badly dehydrated. Water bottle is too small at 32 oz.

I've done it

Big 3 under 9 lbs for ground sleeping. Should be good down into the teens.

My wife just got me a Kelty Cosmo 20 degrees,  long down sleeping bag for my birthday. Found it on her own. Won't tell me what she paid for it, obviously, but got it on a good sale with free shipping. 

I'd found a previous-year-display-model thermorest on clearance this last fall. Combined with a Cabelas Bivy Bag I bought out of the bargain cave for $39 a few years back I am sitting at 6lbs 4 oz for my all weather sleep kit in a large drybag that I won't be keeping them in as it's too hard to stuff.  

The backpack I have is a Wallmart Arrowhead 8.0 bag at 2lbs 2 oz. 

I've a polycro tarp I've made for hammock camping I can toss in for extra protection and still be at 9 lbs. 

Total cash outlay is somewhere around $250

I am thinking I am going to give it a try this weekend in the back yard. Supposed to be 5 degrees as a low and a 10+mph wind, so I am thinking I may include my wool blankets and bublewrap space blanket for safety sake. Probably will make a topless snow cave with the polycro tarp across the top earlier in the day, and let any snow we get settle on top to help insulate it some. I may tuck some hot-hands into a pocket as well. Just in case.

I made a shoe rack for behind the front door

I bought a bundle of fifteen 1x2s for $12. There are some pretty twisted, gnarly looking boards in the bundle. My dad taught me how to selectively cut with the twists and kinks in mind so the project turns out in the end. I've only 1 wonky spot I am not happy about. I used 3/4 of the bundle of wood with only a dozen of so 6 inch scraps left over.

It's built with tools my wife has gotten me over the last couple of birthdays. I love tools.

In album Shoe rack

The shoe rack is designed to fit behind the door. I’ve notched it to fit around the baseboard. It’s extended across the heat register to dry gloves and is rounded so I don’t bang my lag on the corner.

The inner space worked out to be perfectly square. Not sure how that happened, but I will pretend it’s planned.

The door opens flush against the table.

The lower shelf is angled so big shoes can fit toes towards the back.

Gloves, hats, shoes, & boots all fit on the little table. I think I like it.

A couple of weeks ago I found a packable down jacket at walmart…

A couple of weeks ago I found a ''packable down jacket'' at walmart for $29. Couldn't really afford it, but couldn't really afford to not get it. Royal Falcon is the brand. I've found references on forums it's sold under a couple of names. 14oz even for the extra large. I've been using it as a second liner for my Columbia ski jacket. Very warm combo. Too warm, really. It sticks to my arms really bad if I sweat in it, so I don't think its very breathable.

I was thinking that it being a packable coat, it would make a good sleep coat.

Today I decided to put it through its paces while shoveling Chicago's 8 inches of snow. I put on a long sleeve polyester shirt i got on clearance for $5 this spring. Essentially an under armour knock off and delightfully ugly. My insulated pants, bomber hat, some good gloves and my hiking shoes I wear every day with some freshly patched wool blend socks.

4 to 6:30. Shoveled out my driveway. Then I spent half an hour standing under the hood of a car futzing with a battery cable. Then after dark I fired up the grill for some steaks and cleared the deck while the temps dropped down to 7 degrees.

Near the end I was no longer warm, standing around waiting on the steaks. Not cold, but not warm – about the same feeling as a tshirt in my basement.

I am actually amazed by how well it worked. I dressed lightly knowing all that snow was going to be work. I paced myself so I wouldn't sweat up bad, but did a little. I expected to freeze while wrenching on the car. I didn't. The gloves are good, warm hands even though the wrenches would freeze to them. Standing out in the wind in a foot of snow, still not cold.

Seven Degrees.

It's amazing what the right combination of light weight gear can do.

I remember as a kid bundling up in layers and layers and still getting cold.

In album

This is my ‘ugly’ shirt. I’ve several different prints. The pants are my FAVORITE pair. Insulated. My folks gave them to me. They are starting to get holes in them. Time to patch them. I am thinking leather patches. In the shape of leaves.

The little one was outside with me, making sure I was piling the snow up right.

The down jacket I just got. Love this thing! The hat is a replacement for the one I lost in the house fire. I love it, my wife hates it. The gloves have some sort of plastic bag liner inside of them so the fleece is water proof. Works well, but they take DAYS to dry out.

I gave my wife her birthday present early (I just couldn't wait to play with…

I gave my wife her birthday present early (I just couldn't wait to play with the one I got for myself too). 

I got her a Qi wireless phone charger. Well, several, actually. Phones and tablets got the receivers, and there are a couple of spots that the phone routinely gets set down, so each of those spots got a charger. More charger bases will be coming, now that I know the things actually work decently.

Mine didn't survive more than a couple of hours before a teardown. These things are actually pretty small. I think I want to make some housings other than the plastic that they come with. 

3d printed & leather 'saddlebags' for the trucklet's center console so I can drop a phone in by a knee to charge.

Wooden blocks instead of the plastic blocks.

I think the LaBOREtory needs one done up in clear resin so everyone can see what they consist of.

My mind is just racing…