To conclude my postings about fieldwork, here’s a partial list of the gear that I’m taking to Mongolia next week. Everything has to meet certain requirements of function, weight and cost. This isn’t extreme travel (read anything by Tim Cahill for that), but we will need to be self-sufficient and ready for dramatic swings in weather since Mongolia is landlocked with no marine influence. Rain shouldn’t be an issue, but cold nights and wind are likely based on my limited past experience. Days should be nice, even hot, at least early on.
My fond hope is that this and the previous posts will de-mystify getting out into the field by providing specific information on one way to do it.
Most of the following has gone with me before, but there are a few new things, which I’ll start with:
Thermals- Icebreaker 260 100% merino wool long-sleeved top and leggings. Not cheap, but half the bulk of what I used to have.
Pants- LL Bean Pathfinder Ripstop Cotton; less bulky than jeans; my husband loves the pair we bought him so much, he’s getting two more, so I decided to try them, too.
Shoes- New Balance 644 “sneakers” (645 follow-on); for around camp and town
And, going with me again:
Boots- LL Bean Gortex Cresta Hikers; they say you can wear them out of the box and I found that to be absolutely true. These are great boots!
Socks- Thorlo Light Hikers, daytime warm; Smartwool for cold and at night as needed; they don’t itch, so I don’t have to take silk liner socks anymore
Layers- Patagonia fleece pullover, purchased used at Wilderness Experience consignment shop, Berkeley. Black, lined jacket (see photo at top) from TravelSmith; purchased for first trip to Kenya in 1999, so no longer available, but still going strong; have only had to mend torn corner of front patch pocket.
Purse-MetroSafe200; has a steel cable in the shoulder strap and all the zippers close forward so no one can slip it open; it goes into my daypack, which is one of my two carry-ons; Peace of mind in unfamiliar cities in any country.
Neck- a long blue kaffiyeh-print scarf that I picked up somewhere; more versatile than a bandana; muffler when cold; face or camera protection from dust; wet rag or washcloth; style points in photos, like above
Hat- canvas, foldable, 360 brim from The Australian Outback Collection; took a few tries to find the right one; also gets style points (see photo above); and a baseball hat to get my hair up and out of the way in camp when showers are unavailable
So, why care about “style points”? Because part of being a working artist who intends to make a living is marketing and one’s “story”. Part of mine is the trips I take, which my friends, fans and buyers get to share. Pictures of me are part of it and I don’t want to look like a dork.
the Sleeping Bag- I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate mummy bags. It affects my sleep and I never seem to really adjust since I’m a curl-up-on-my-side sleeper. Bless their hearts, LL Bean makes one of the very few rectangular down bags for my kind of field use. It’s rated to 20F.
I do have a couple of different Thermarest pads, but the tour company provides one, so mine stay home this time.
Luggage- I have a pair of LL Bean rolling duffles that have clamshell top openings. I love them, but they aren’t available anymore. My big bag, their Sportsman’s Extra-Large Drop Bottom Rolling Gear Bag, however, is. I got it because even the larger of the two clamshell duffles won’t hold the Thermarest pad. Not long enough. The smaller one is carry-on size. It gets the camera equipment and just-in-case basics. The daypack has the laptop, documents, book, food, etc. and my purse.
Last post until I manage to get on-line in Mongolia.
ART TIP OF THE DAY
“I don’t mind hard work. You’ve got to work hard to generate something. I don’t think there’s any secret to success if you show up in the right place, at the right time and you put in a lot of time and effort and energy – you’re going to get something out of it. It’s not brain surgery.”
Ryan Seacrest, ex-actor, now host of American Idol and Dick Clark’s heir apparent as “America’s Host”