Gear Review- Mountain Warehouse Ultimate Self Inflating Mat

Have you guys ever had a blog post fired up and ready to go and then it gets buried in your draft folder? That has what happened to my review of Mountain Warehouse’s Ultimate Self Inflating Mat!

Mountain Warehouse sent me the mat for free in exchange for a review, but my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Mountain Warehouse is a UK-based outdoor gear that have stores throughout the UK and shopping on their website. They don’t carry lots of different brands but mainly carry their own.

I was given the opportunity to peruse their website and choose an item to test out. While looking, I was surprised at how affordable their gear is. When I saw the Ultimate Self Inflating Mat I knew that I had to get it because Ryan doesn’t want to tent it any more and I thought a mat might help change his mind because I’m not ready for a camper trailer. (See my blog post: Too Old For Tents But Too Young for a Camper).

Anyway, I was really excited when it finally arrived and ran to the backyard to test it out. It’s a decent size, slightly bigger than a back country sleeping bag but would be easy enough to strap onto a backpack and it’s light so it wouldn’t add too much extra weight to your pack.

This shows you how small it is (and how adorable Rocky is!)

This shows you how small it is (and how adorable Rocky is!)

The self inflating function is pretty cool, you just open the nozzle and the mat sucks in air. You can walk around and set up camp while it inflates. I like a firm mat so I would give it a couple of breathes to fill it to capacity.

The first thing I noticed when it was blown up was the open cell foam, it wasn’t just a flat mat. This makes the mat even more comfortable.

photo 3

When I laid on it was that it was a little too short for me. I’m 5’8 which is tall for a woman but for most men, the mat’s a little short.

Camping

I let Ryan use it for the first time while we were tenting at a softball tournament. The next morning when I asked how it was he said it helped a little but didn’t make a big difference. The next night, I took the mat and thought Ryan was crazy!! It was such a nice cushion from the hard ground below the tent and  a lot better than the foam camping mat I’ve been using.

Ryan testing it out

Ryan testing it out while Rocky watches

Final Thoughts

I am definitely very happy to have this in my gear closet for camping and it will be coming with me on many camping trips to come (unless my husband wins and gets a trailer).

The size is ok, maybe a little big for serious backpacking, but if you have any sort of back issues it’s worth it. It doesn’t add too much extra weight, just takes up a little space.

The price is very fair ($107.99 CAN- currently on massive sale for $44.99).

I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone taller than 5’10.

Visit Mountain Warehouse’s website to check out all their gear.

So excited that it's here! Trying to convince Ryan we aren't too old to tent it.

About these ads

Friday Fitness Recap- Sept. 12

Summer Friday Fitness

This week was ok, I worked out more than I rested, but I’m not at the every day place I want to be in. But I think I’m doing pretty good considering I’m working every day of the week this month.

Friday- Nothing

Saturday- 2 mile run

photo (4)

Sunday- 3 mile hike (Lineham)

10580925_10154577880285484_7357726093817003925_o

Monday- Nothing

Tuesday- 30 min Nike Training Club workout

Wednesday- 45 min Hatha Yoga

Thursday- Nothing

Let’s see what this next week brings!

10 Tips for Hiking Alone

If you were to go through my hiking posts, you would see that I hike alone a lot. This isn’t by choice, but Ryan isn’t as avid a hiker as I am and he prefers to rest and relax on weekends whereas I need to get up and go!

My grandma is always telling me how much she worries about me but I always feel perfectly safe. Here are a few tips that I use when I go hiking alone.

1. Tell someone what trail you are doing and how long you expect it to take

I always text Ryan the name of the trail I’m doing, how far it is, and how long I expect it to take. I text because I know if I don’t come home he will forget the trail name, but this way he has it in his phone. Always be sure to do this!

2. Take your dog

Rocky is not a fighter and I don’t expect him to protect me in the case of a bear or cougar attack. But he will alert me of their presence, he’ll bark before he runs away so at least I know there is something there. He may also scare them away if he’s running along the trail and through the brush.

10615480_10154523892685484_3539169306366322310_n

3. Bring the Bear spray

Always have bear spray on you (yes I know- its human seasoning!) but make sure you know how to use it! I hiked with my can for about two years before I really looked at it and realized that the safety zip tie was still on it so I couldn’t have used it if I needed it!

4. Talk to your dog or whistle while you walk

They always say to make noise on the trail which is easy when you’re with someone but not when you’re alone. I talk to Rocky as we hike and I’m sure other hikers think I’m crazy, but really I’m just making some noise. I’ll also whistle sometimes.

5. Don’t Wear Headphones

I used to always hike with headphones until forgot them and I enjoyed my hike so much more! You take in your surroundings more and you can hear rustlings or odd sounds.

6. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Watch the trail for bear scat, be aware if there are a lot of berries alongside your trail, if you’re crossing a stream or river, look both ways to see if any animals are having a drink or fishing.

10501871_10154523895515484_1698803551616291523_n

7. Ask about trails with recent sightings or warnings

I do most of my hiking in a National park (Waterton) so when I pull in, I’ll ask the Park Ranger about the trail I intend to hike. Have there been any recent sightings or warnings? If there is a sighting, I’ll still go but be vigilant, if there is a warning I’ll pick a different trail.

8. Stick to well-travelled trails

If you’re alone, its safer to pick a trail that has frequent hikers on it. Again, the noise and traffic will deter predators. I know I feel safe when I pass a large group of hikers.

9. Bring a first aid kit

Never go without a first aid kit. It’s so much better to be safe than sorry. I’ve never had to use mine but the day I do I know I’ll be glad to have it.

10. Bring emergency safety supplies

I always keep a flint in my hiking bag, even on short hikes. You never know when you may have to start a fire. If I were going really deep, I might bring a small tarp or emergency blanket as well.

I’m no hiking expert, but these are the ten tips I follow when I go hiking alone. Happy trails!

photo

Lineham Falls- You Can Look, But You Can’t Touch

I am spending my Sundays this month working at Pearl’s Cafe in Waterton. My friend Keirstyn is the manager and was short staffed for the shoulder season and asked if I could spare any time to help. The best part is that set schedule so that I am off by noon for hiking time!

Working at Pearls rocks!

Working at Pearls rocks!

I decided to hike Lineham again (I hiked it in 2010) and planned to be a maverick and actually get to the base of the falls.

10575394_10154577879590484_5670994844526814081_o

I would call Lineham a moderate hike because it’s going up most of the way, especially in the beginning. It’s not an overly steep incline, but steep and steady enough that you’re breathing heavy and your calves are burning.

Up, up we go but the scenery is so gorgeous!

Up, up we go but the scenery is so gorgeous!

I forgot to bring water so I risked beaver fever and drank out of the streams and rivers and the water was delicious! Halfway through the hike, I found a waterfall just off the trail which was a great place to rest and get more water.

10450538_10154577879980484_4516000340182515697_n

When I finally was close enough to see the fall, the trail ends.  You see the falls in the not so far off distance and think “Why the heck would the trail end here??”

Trail ends and Lineham Falls is so far away!

Trail ends and Lineham Falls is so far away!

This time around I thought I would be a maverick and I went off trail. Sorry Parks Canada! Don’t be mad! I just really wanted to run my hands under the falls!

I traipsed through growth and brush which became thicker the closer I got to the falls. I  came to a tree line and decided that if I went into an unknown treeline I may not come out so I turned around and went back ready to admit defeat.

traipsing through the bush getting scratched up. Not fun!

traipsing through the bush getting scratched up. Not fun!

When I got back to the stopping point, I realized there was a path that veered off to the right! It was a legit path so I followed it up and up.

The trail right off the "path ends' sign

The trail right off the “path ends” sign

I got so high I could see mountain goats on the ledges.

Can you spot the goats?

Can you spot the goats?

But suddenly the trail was gone, covered in shale and rocks from a slide. I thought if I walked across it I would find the trail on the other side so I channelled my inner mountain goat and began navigating through the loose ground along the steep incline toward the falls.

rock slide covers the trail

rock slide covers the trail

The incline was getting steeper and the ground looser and there was still no sign of the original trail. Since I was hiking alone, I decided it wasn’t the best idea to risk slipping and falling off trail where no one would hear or see me. I admitted defeat and turned around.

Walking through the loose rock

Walking through the loose rock

All in all it was a good hike but it was much shorter than it felt. I’m guessing my off trail escapades made it seem longer, but it was less than 3 miles round trip and took me 1:15 to complete.

photo

I’m not finished trying to touch those falls though! I’m thinking next time I may follow the river up to the base of the falls. I’ll just have to make sure I have someone with me, just to be safe.

Oh Lineham Falls! We will meet again!

Oh Lineham Falls! We will meet again!

Friday Fitness Recap- Sep.5

Friday- Walked around Waterton

I went to Waterton for dinner with my buds Keirstyn and we walked around the town and Emerald Bay while catching up.

photo

Saturday- Nothing

Most of Saturday was sitting and enjoying the view on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Sunday- Walking! Walking! Walking!

My Fitbit buzzed by about 9:30 a.m. because Rocky and I were walking so much.

Monday- One hour paddle boarding

This is a core and leg workout for sure. It works your arms too, but I would have needed another hour to feel it I think.

DSCN2050

Tuesday- Nothing

Tuesday was just too busy. I had to do an enormous grocery shop, see my grandma in the hospital, make my grandpa dinner and then I wound up sleeping over at my grandpas. This is why I need to get my butt up in the mornings!

Wednesday- Walked a lot

I volunteered to be a course marshall for the Tour of Alberta and I walked a TON, in the rain for several hours.

Thursday- Nothing

It was another evening of grandparents car so a workout wasn’t in the cards.

I know I have been saying this every Friday for weeks, but I REALLY need to start scheduling/planning for morning workouts! Life is so hectic and will be all month that I won’t get anything in if I don’t figure out a way to squeeze it into my schedule.

Rainy Weekend in Glacier National Park

This recap is a little late but life has been crazy these days. Actually, when is it ever not crazy?

For the long weekend, Ryan and I packed up the dog and headed to Glacier National Park to camp in the Apgar Campground with Ryan’s parents. They were staying the week and invited us to stay in their camper and enjoy the park.

One lesson Ryan and I learned is that we are never going to go to the States on a long weekend again. We waited an hour and a half getting into Montana and a little under an hour to get back into Canada. That is a long wait! But at least the view at the Carway border is pretty.

DSCN1855

Anyhoo, we stopped in St. Mary at Park Café because I was starving. I ordered an avocado burger with no bun and cheese and took it to go. The burger was INCREDIBLE! Every bite I took was followed by an “mmmmmmmm.” If you are ever in the St. Mary area, you have to stop there. The diner is so cute too; it reminds me of Luke’s Diner in Gilmore Girls.

Off we went through Logan’s Pass and over the Going to the Sun Road. This is a famous stretch of road because the scenery is amazing. I tried to snap as many photos from the car as I could because there aren’t very many approaches to pull off.

DSCN1866

DSCN1880

As we drove along, Rocky and I stuck our heads out the window and enjoyed the sunshine and the fresh air. I remember thinking “Fall my ass! Summer isn’t even close to being over yet.” I ate those words later, but I’ll continue.

DSCN1905

When we came to Apgar Village I thought it was kitschy and touristy and I couldn’t believe we were going to camp in a place like that. His parents already had a space at Apgar Campground and when we pulled in, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there is a ton of space between camping spots so there was a lot of privacy and it kept the noise down.

We quickly went into West Glacier to get a few groceries and passed all the childhood attractions that Ryan and his brothers visited as children; a water park, a fun centre with go karts and a large maze. We both agreed that we would have to come back next year with his kids.

We stopped at the Hungry Horse Sign for a picture because it’s a family tradition and headed up to the Hungry Horse Dam to check it out and get a photo.

DSCN1914

DSCN1919

The next morning I woke up early with Rocky and took him for a walk along the bike trail to the kitschy village and got a soy latte. As I took my first sip and looked at Lake McDonald I thought that it was actually really nice to be close to a place like this. Luxurious really. When we camp it’s usually instant coffee in the morning which isn’t all that great.

Perfect morning

Perfect morning

Rocky and I spent an hour or so walking alone the beach and enjoying the view. We went on the dock and the water was so clear that it looked really shallow, so Rocky jumped off the dock and came up surprised that it was so deep. I have never seen this dog swim so fast! He booked it for shore and I couldn’t convince him to go back in the water again. I’m guessing it was cold.

Impact!

Impact!

Cold!!

Cold!!

After my coffee was finished we walked back to the campground because I was starving only to find that everyone was still sleeping! I left Rocky there and headed back to the Village to have breakfast at Eddies Restaurant. I was sat at a very nice table for one where I had a companion waiting for me, this guy-

Breakfast for one. Sad!

Breakfast for one. Sad!

Yeah I felt a little like a loser but I relaxed and enjoyed my breakfast. After, I perused the shops and found an awesome, fleecy pair of sweats that I’ve been wearing to bed every night since I got them. We had planned to go to the old growth forest and hike to Avalanche Lake and do some fishing but in the afternoon it started to rain and it didn’t stop the rest of the day. I might have toughed it out in the rain but it was so cold you could see your breathe and that was just a little too much for me. Remember how I said I was fighting getting a trailer because I thinking tenting is more like real camping? Scratch that! We spent the whole day in his parents’ trailer drinking and playing cards and making a delicious dinner. If we had been tenting it, we would have been a miserable bunch.

Drinking in the trailer

Drinking in the trailer

The next morning was our last morning and the rain cleared up long enough for me to get on Lake McDonald on a rented paddleboard. Yes! After YEARS of talking about it, I finally got to do it! It was fun and easy and I could feel my legs and core working which was awesome.

DSCN2059

I tried to get Rocky on it but he took one step on the wobbly board and hopped off and swam for shore. It was really funny too because he hid behind Ryan’s legs and ignored me as I tried to call him out to try it again.

DSCN2057

The scenery was gorgeous though the mountains were covered in dark clouds, but I enjoyed it and have already put an SUP on my birthday wish list.

Because of the dark clouds in the mountains, we decided to scrap our plans and headed back for home early. I was definitely disappointed that we didn’t get out hiking as much as I wanted, but I had a good time with my in-laws and I’m glad we went and discovered this wonderful place! Ryan and I are already planning when we’ll come back next year with his kids.