The Art of Camping Solo & Eco Zoom Review

I LOVE travelling alone. Don’t get me wrong…..I do love my travel friends too – insert Campsite Gal Pal, Jen Whalen for example, but the older I get the more I really crave my discoveries and chill time with numero uno – me, myself and I! Ya – I will admit there are moments when I feel a bit lonely, but I overcome those feelings and go do something awesome – alone – again! Flying solo also makes me, for the most part, better at peopling!



Society seems to take issue with women camping and traveling solo. And that subject has been beaten to death on blogs all around the world so I will simply mention that I have been a victim time and time again of this strange thing called “women just can’t or shouldn’t go places alone.” Every time I travel alone I am met with “OMG aren’t you scared of getting raped?” or “You are insane – there’s bears out there,” and my favourites “Your husband let’s you!?” and “Who are you meeting (wink wink, nudge nudge) you saucy minx you?” While some of those questions are genuine concern and could have legit action, I refuse to live my life in fear. The others are ridiculous and some are actually no one’s business. 

I had a ridiculously crazy busy summer. I was not living the life I craved. I love what I do for the money, but my adventure and outdoor time was seriously compromised. I finally had a breakdown and decided to nix all plans and make my own – alone – no rock paper scissor games to decide where to go, what time to get up, what to eat. Just me, my ideas, my desires, my thoughts, my food. It was the best thing I did for me in a long time.

Here’s what I did:

1. Threw the the tent and accessories into the truck. (I scored a cool truck tent on a buy / sell site that fits the box of my truck.

2. Prepped some food – basic to gourmet and packed a new wood stove to test (review below).

3. Packed my art supplies, book, camera and gramophone.

4. Drove for over an hour into the forest off grid, subsequently ending up on the other side of Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park. I don’t do organized campsites very often unless absolutely necessary.

5. Set up camp by a creek.

6. Chilled out – slept, arted, skinny dipped in the creek, dried off naked in the sun, read, gathered wood, chopped wood, hiked, and oh my goodness – drank a few rounds with a random stag party that showed up nearby.

7. Just be brave.



You see – it is not that hard. Even when the stag party showed up to share a drink and celebrate their friend, I embraced that. Turned out to be amazingly fun and very insightful. It wasn’t scary. Besides I had my bear spray! And there I was the lone forty year old woman with 4 twenty something men around my campfire slugging back whiskey. Again, you can keep your judgements. I had a hoot listening to them. They really let their emotional guards down with me and I learned a lot from them that night and a lot about myself too. I learned I was wiser and totally way funnier than I thought. I also learned that they wanted their wives and girlfriends to be as brave as they perceived me to be. They wanted the women in their lives to have the confidence and knowledge to go out and camp like I was. And most importantly they wanted their lady loves to know that permission wasn’t a prerequisite to be their own independent person and go do “stuff.”

So…..it gave me an idea. I decided that I would like to offer a progressive camp for women to learn to camp. Will anyone sign up when I finally put it out there? No idea, but I want to try it. I want every woman to feel the way I do when I solo camp. I want every woman to feel unafraid and confident to just go out there and do it, to know the tools of the trade, and to pack their gear with  assurance. On that note – details will launch this coming spring……


PRODUCT REVIEW – EcoZoom Dura Rocket Stove

coffee

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the arrival of this product to test with the timing of my apparent mental collapse into the forest! It arrived slightly damaged, but nothing that we couldn’t quickly fix. I figured it would be a good time to test this product since a large fire was not necessary for just one person.

I used this stove every day I was out on my solo adventure. It is perfect for car camping and packs easily and is very durable. I also packed an extra grill that I had on hand to place over the top of it. Once I set up camp, I gathered some small sticks, dry bark, moss and pine cones and ignited the fire right in the stove. You want to make sure you place it on level ground. I had to use make shift shims to make it level. I also packed some small cut offs of spruce and pine from some recent crafting projects to specifically use to feed the fire in this stove.

It is a fully self contained, self feeding (aside from the odd little push of the wood into the mouth of it to keep feeding the fire) and clean burning. It was efficient and heated my water and food up fairly quickly.

my-set-up2

Pros:

  1. Easy to pack into the vehicle.
  2. Easy to use.
  3. Efficient.
  4. Clean and easy to clean.
  5. Kind of really cute!

Cons:

  1. Heavy – great for car camping, but not a pack it and trek it in kind of stove.
  2. For stays in National Parks where taking from the earth is strictly prohibited, you will need to pre-plan and pack your fire sources / wood.
  3. If using this instead of a gas stove top, controlling your temperatures becomes a problem.

The cons are minor I think. I am really looking forward to putting this to use again very soon for some winter camping and picnicking. I say worth having in my inventory of gear for sure. I like the idea that it is an eco product and has the capabilities to only use what we forage for without any chopping of wood.

To read more on this cool product or to purchase go here…… http://eartheasy.com/dura-rocket-stove-by-ecozoom

 

0 Responses

  1. […] alannahgamblinjensen I LOVE travelling alone. Don’t get me wrong…..I do love my travel friends too – insert […]

  2. Dustin
    |

    You sure are a brave woman and reading all those frequently asked questions gave me a chuckle. Anyway, thanks for the review. I’ve been looking for real opinions about the rocket stove by EcoZoom. Now I’m positive about getting it for next camping with my son and beautiful daughter.

    • alannahgamblinjensen
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      Thanks!! It’s definitely a good go to for car camping / drive up and setup! I don’t see myself lugging it far on foot! I thought it was super useful and the idea that I can have a contained fire with minimal effort or maintenance is really nice!

  3. thenotdeadyetblog
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    Like you, I refuse to let fear rule my life. Fear is a tricky thing. It’s important to recognize real risks and do your best to mitigate them, but it should never cross the line into refusing to be alone, or avoiding all men. The stag party sounds like so much fun! And I would totally sign up for a camping trip–mostly because I tend to learn as I go, and I’m sure I’m doing everything wrong.

    • alannahgamblinjensen
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      THANKS!!! We all learn best from winging it I say!! My entire life is a “wing!” lol We are working on some fun stuff with this website so stay tuned!!

  4. AH
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    You really are a brave woman. I just ran into your blog so I don’t know if you’ve discussed this before but have you ever travelled outside the US….I come from Africa, and going out alone in a town at night is scary, let alone go hiking

    • alannahgamblinjensen
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      I have traveled outside of Canada and the USA. I did Europe when I was 21 for a couple of months. I did travel with a room mate from university, however I did take some time solo. I think different places present different risks though. My friend and I hitchhiked our way around Scotland from London and return. We had steadfast rules and each other’s backs. I think that was probably the best part of our entire Europe trip! We were very well cared for by the English and the Scots!

      • AH
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        cool!

  5. NorthstargalMN
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    Well said, thank you for posting on this topic! I did my first solo backpacking trip last year and had the same reactions–even from my progressive friends and family. Thank goodness for a husband that knows me well enough to encourage me despite my fears and self-doubt. It was an amazing experience knowing I had to rely on myself for absolutely everything: where to go, food, water, shelter, etc. While I had a few moments that would have been great to share with someone, I found joy, freedom, peace and a renewed sense of appreciation for all the people in my life. Glad to know there are kindred spirits out there!

  6. Thomas Franklin
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    Love your attitude and great energy in taking action to relax. Getting away from it all for a period of time is good for your soul. All today’s rush and fuss starts to wear away at ones patience and makes us less likely to be up to the challenges of just living in the now. Besides, moving back toward nature helps us reflect on what’s good in life, and self reliance brings out the best in us.

    • alannahgamblinjensen
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      I am shooting for much much more of it all very soon! I am rigging up my trailer and taking it off grid this summer – it’ll become my “cottage” – hopefully this same spot!