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2 years, 5 packs, 2 llamas, and a Lost Luchador

Posted in: Deuter USA Blog Posts ♦ Thursday, October 10th, 2013, 11:47 am ♦ 4 Comments

aparna 3 300x225 2 years, 5 packs, 2 llamas, and a Lost Luchadoraparna 2 300x173 2 years, 5 packs, 2 llamas, and a Lost LuchadorIf there’s anything my family is determined to do, it is to live in style in backcountry. We don’t just want to survive the wilderness—we want to thrive in it.

So last year, inspired by our learnings in outdoor living from working field courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), we embarked on our first annual family llama adventure to test our family’s ability to live large outside. It was a fabulous adventure (you can read more about it on my blog), but we realized we had some work to do on the “style” end of things. Llamas whined. Panniers sagged. I had a constant fear of not carrying enough (FONCE). Fishing was a disaster. And all of our rations were dry and gas-inducing.

aparna 4 247x300 2 years, 5 packs, 2 llamas, and a Lost LuchadorThis August, for our second annual family llamaneering adventure in the Wind River mountains, we upped the ante on luxury, tweaked our systems and shifted around our pack loads with the ultimate goal of making the backcountry feel like a ballroom. Llamas still whined (I guess that’s what they do). But their panniers were lighter. I had less FONCE. Fishing was a success. And our rations were fit for a royal feast.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of our adventures.

2012 2013
Miles hiked 25 21
Elevation climbed 4,000 3,000
Turquoise-blue
high alpine lake dived into
1 3
Trout caught and eaten 0 15
Plants foraged 0 4 (Grouse Whortleberry, American Bistort, Bluebells, Yarrow, and Fireweed)
Cups of Turkish ground coffee accidentally ingested 1 (we only had cowbo
style coffee)
0 (we brought a fancy lightweight French Press
this time)
Hors d’oeuvres enjoyed Processed meat-like products Blocks of pasteurized processed cheese products Dried fruit and nuts Fresh apples from our tree Cured Italian salamiAged gouda
Action figures lost in boulder fields 1 (Star Wars Storm Trooper) 1 (Luchador action figure from Mexico)
Best meals eaten Hashbrown breakfasts and cheesy pasta dinners. I don’t know, maybe the Thai green curry with vegetables and trout, or maybe the fresh pesto pasta with garden squash, or maybe the steak dinner on night 1. It was all a delight for the taste buds.
Pack carried by
the author (mom)
7 pounds Deuter Kid Comfort II sans kid (Kieran walked the whole way!) 20 pounds (still pretty light!) Deuter ACT Zero 45+15 SL with all personal clothing and gear, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, snacks, water bladder, fishing rod and reel, Amazon Kindle, and a bottle of High West Son of the Bourye.
Pack carried by Jamie (dad) 15 pounds Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 with just day layers and snacks for the whole crew, water, and bear spray. 35 pounds Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 with all of Jamie’s and Kieran’s personal clothing and gear, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, snacks, water bottles, and fishing rod and reel
Pack carried by Kieran (now nearly 6 years old) 5 pounds Deuter Junior with Star Wars action figures, rock collection, matchbox cars, one layer, and a water bladder. 15 pounds Deuter Fox 30 with Luchador action figures, rock collection, Frisbee, inflatable globe, harmonica, slingshot, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush (book), layers, camp shoes, water bladder, and bear spray.
Load carried by Sheep (the
mellow llama)
75 pounds Handwoven panniers with more than half of everyone’s personal gear, tent, bear ropes, kitchen utensils, wine, and beer. 60 pounds Handwoven panniers with more than half of the group gear including tent, bear ropes, kitchen utensils, wine, beer, and freshies from the home garden (apples, squash, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, greens, fresh basil pesto, and homemade applesauce)
Load carried by Rapid Fire (the ornery llama) 70 poundsHandwoven baskets with less than half of everyone’s personal gear, tent, bear ropes, kitchen utensils, wine, and beer. 60 pounds Handwoven baskets with less than half of the group gear including tent, bear ropes, kitchen utensils, wine, beer, and freshies from the home garden (squash, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, greens, fresh basil pesto, and homemade applesauce)

aparna august 300x225 2 years, 5 packs, 2 llamas, and a Lost LuchadorWe’re now taking suggestions for further improvements for our third annual family llamaneering adventure. Think “llama lounging.”

Author: Aparna Rajagopal-Durban.

Read more about Aparna on her blog, Brown Girl in the Woods.

Check out the Fox 30, ACT Zero 45+10 SL and ACT Lite 65+10 on deuter.com

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