I'm a student on a budget. Every weekend I go snowboarding and figure I may as well sleep outside to save money, plus I like the outdoors. The Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy combined with a Coleman Tasman XO Hybrid seems like it would work. Would this be suitable for sleeping outdoors around Whistler B.C. and similar locations? Chris Vancouver, British Columbia
Why am I reminded of the scene toward the end of Pulp Fiction" when the John Travolta character, Vincent, berates his friend Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) over Jules's plan to give up the gangster life and walk the earth." Says Vincent disgustedly: Youve decided to become a bum."
Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy
Which sounds like what youve decided to do. You dont even seem to be talking about camping." Its more like, find a place to sleep in the woods." And I cant begin to list all the reasons why this is a bad idea. I see you at a party, consuming vast quantities of beer, then staggering out into the snow to find a place to save money," and freezing to death in your bivy bag. I see you getting hit by some guy on a snow machine. I see you being frisked by local police after a condo owner looks outside and sees you peeing in the woods, and decides youre a vagrant.
As far as your choice of gear goes, well, its OK. The Outdoor Research Aurora Bivy ($169; outdoorresearch.com) is a perfectly decent Gore-Tex bivy bag, in which youll be reasonably snug and exceedingly uncomfortable because you cant sit up, easily change clothes, read, or anything else. The Coleman Tasman XO Hybrid bag ($80; coleman.com) is a reasonably priced zero-degree bag that also is extremely heavy ( more than six pounds). That doesnt include the other stuff youll needa pad, flashlight (right now it gets dark at Whistler at 4 p.m.), extra clothing for fumbling around in the cold, boots to wear when not boarding, etc.
My advice: Get on Craigslist and start looking for a group of people your age going to Whistler and sharing accommodations. A lot more fun, much more social, vastly safer and saner. And probably cheaper. By the time you fuss around getting set up for sleeping in the woods," youll have spent enough to take care of you for a few weeks in some hostel-type experience.
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