Lessons Learned From Our Vancouver to Ottawa Trip in 2015One aspect we did not cover from our Vancouver to Ottawa trip was the lessons learned. We thought that we were extremely well prepared but as we discovered there is always room for improvement. Here is what we learned:
Bicycles: Extremely happy with our Surly LHT as a touring bike. They offer a solid and comfortable ride, especially so when enjoying a fast downhill. We found that having different sized wheels required us to carry different sized spokes, tires and tubes. As a result, I now ride a new Surly LHT with 26 in. wheels just like Hélène's.
Camp stove: We experienced difficulty finding isobutane/propane canisters in Northern Ontario. Along Hwy 17, most small towns were stocked with Coleman propane canisters but not isobutane/propane canisters. We decided to get an alcohol stove instead as the fuel is readily available everywhere. We found that the Trangia 25 offered other advantages such as using two pots simultaneously.
Sleeping pads: Both of our sleeping pads suffered catastrophic failures and had to be replaced. We came across a new product last spring the Exped Synmat Hyperlite Duo Sleeping Pad. The pad accommodates the two of us and weighs less than what 2 pads would weigh. The pad was used for both summer and winter camping and we found that it works as advertised, e.g., light, warm and comfortable.
Tent: Tent condensation was also an issue. I think we only had two mornings at the most when we got up and found no condensation on the tent. We always tried to orient the tent so as to maximize air circulation but still the problem persisted. Every morning, we found ourselves packing a wet and heavy fly. For this trip, we will also take along a tarp that we sewed using a kit bought from Ray Jardine. This is the same place we got our quilt kit from. On occasion, we will use the tarp instead of the of the tent for overhead protection. For protection against mosquitoes, we have sewn a Net-Tent that we hang inside the tarp. We will let you know how everything works out.
Training: We were happy with our level of fitness as we started the trip. We were able to climb Allison Pass on day 3 without any difficulty. For this trip, we did not follow a specific fitness schedule as we did the first time. Rather, we will rely on getting fitter as the trip progresses. Again, we will keep you posted as to how that works for us.