CAMPING MATS

You guys!!! We leave for Banff National Park later this week! Daniel and I are going with his best friend and his best friend’s girlfriend for a super duper double date. I am so so so excited! We will be in Canada for a full week and about half of our time spent there will be camping and then the other half in an Air bnb (read my post from a while back about alternatives to staying in hotels for more deets on that).

Since we are flying, we are trying to be really conscious about what we pack for the camping portion. We will have a vehicle with us so that makes things a bit easier but we still want to try and pack minimally while still being comfortable. We decided that each couple will have a checked bag to hold camping supplies and then the rest of our stuff will just go in carry ons. So the checked bag needs to hold Daniels Yeti Cooler (which we totally and completely swear by), both of our sleeping bags, the tent, and cooking utensils. But then I got to thinking, sleeping on the ground for – several nights in a row- might be a bit more pleasant if we had camping mats for under our sleeping bags. So, as always, I did a bunch of research and these are the options I am looking at:

Camping Mats

SEMOO Self-Inflating Camping Sleeping Mat/pad; camping mat

-Pros: self inflating, built in pillow, water repellant, can buckle up with another mat to make a larger surface to sleep on, and compresses into a pretty small pouch.

– Cons: A few reviews sad it didn’t inflate well or popped easily.

2017 TuTu Outdoors Lightweight Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad Mat With Inflatable Pillow; camping mats

– Pros: self inflating, built in pillow, water repellant, can buckle up with another mat to make a larger surface to sleep on, lightweight, only positive reviews.

– Cons: The only con I could find is that you have to manually inflate the pillow.

THN Outdoors Camping Mats

– Pros: they have a guarantee that you will love it, self inflating, water repellant, lightweight, insulated.

– Cons: doesn’t compress as small as others, no pillow, doesn’t buckle with other mats.

I typically try to stick with the middle of the road when I am buying products, not the cheapest but not the most expensive. These are all pretty comparable but I think I am leaning towards the TuTu Outdoors just because I definitely want the pillow and I didn’t see anything negative about it popping or tearing. Plus, I am getting one for both Daniel and I and I can see how it would be nice to buckle the two mats together. If you guys have any suggestions for camping mats send them my way! I will be sure to give a full report on the one that I go with! 🙂

UPDATE:

We did end up going with the TuTu Outdoors mats for the Banff trip and they worked out great! So much better than laying on the cold hard ground. BUT, we were car camping not backpacking in, so this was pretty much the only way these would work out. They roll up nicely and have a little bag they fit in but when rolled up they are really long and don’t get terribly small so I wouldn’t want to carry them into a campsite if it was a major hike. Otherwise, if you are car camping, these held up great! They inflated on their own but I had to give them a little boost just because I wanted them firmer. Overall, we were happy we had them, especially for the price.

Happy camping.

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LUCE LINE

Bike riding on the Luce Line trail, outdoors, Minnesota, trails, explore

Bike riding on the Luce Line trail, outdoors, Minnesota, trails, explore

Bike riding on the Luce Line trail, outdoors, Minnesota, trails, explore

Luce Line Trail

Last weekend we had such sunny weather it was so nice to get outside and enjoy the spring air. It was one of those weekends where there wasn’t an agenda or deadlines we had to keep up with, it was just time to relax and be ourselves. We made healthy meals the whole weekend, planted flowers, played with the dogs, and then went on this bike ride! So perfect.

We went on the Luce Line state trail for 14 miles on the bike! Which was a serious workout but also really fun. The trail had a lot of runners and bikers out because of the nice weather but it still wasn’t overly crowded. The Luce Line actually used to be a railroad earlier in the 1900s so it goes on and on for miles! Halfway through our ride we stopped at a bay on Lake Minnetonka and just sat on the beach for a few minutes before mustering the energy to turn back around.

If you are in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend the trail if you want to get outside, see some scenery, and be active. It is also a horse trail in the summer months!

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INTERSTATE PARK

Interstate State Park, MN

This weekend it was unseasonably warm here in Minnesota for February! It was in the 50’s almost the entire time and for us Minnesotans that could be considered T-shirt weather, amiright? My boyfriend was out of town all weekend and I decided that I wanted to take care of his two dogs (they are also featured in this post and this post – they obviously make great hiking buddies). Since I live in a tiny studio apartment in St. Paul (which doesn’t allow pets) I decided it would be best to take them back up to my Mama’s house in my home town.

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