01 August 2013

Adventure Shopping is the BEST!

If you have only ever met me for approximately ten minutes in real life, you probably already know several things about me:

1) Sometimes, I make weird noises.
2) I have something of a Rapunzel complex going on.
3) I hate shopping with the fiery passion of a thousand nuclear reactors being absorbed into the sun.

Think of the most uncomfortable situation you can possible imagine being in--for example, the only normally-clad guest at a Furry wedding, a preteen at a swinger's club, a European at the Republican National Convention--whatever it is, you know that visceral feeling of awkwardness in your gut, like you just ate an angry panda and it's clawing its way through your lower intestine? That's how I feel when I think about clothes shopping. Also, I don't understand how people can actually derive large amounts of pleasure from buying a lot of expensive shit to put on their feet or buying a lot of expensive shit to put on their legs or buying a lot of expensive shit to put their expensive shit in.

I am also, as you can probably imagine, the worst, I repeat, the worst person you can ever hope to shop with (or for). Shopping for more than 45-60 minutes causes me to melt down, the only cure for which is an Auntie Anne's pretzel and a hurried exist from the mall. I can think of better things I'd prefer to spent my money on and will happily list them for you at length. I'm virtually incapable of purchasing clothes without help (read: I stand in the dressing room and complain about the cruel hand I've been dealt while my mother and sister toss clothes at me with increasing force and decreasing regard for my physical well-being). And I have to be verbally abused into actually purchasing the clothes I've been forced to try on.

That being said, there are a couple things that, give me unlimited time and an unlimited bank account, I will out-shop the entire world for: things my horse doesn't need, books, and...ADVENTURES!

Adventure shopping is awesome because adventures are awesome. And shopping for said adventures is particularly awesome because it's just really, really fun to look at all the cool adventure gadgets that solve problems I didn't even realize were problems.Of course, the biggest issue with adventure shopping is that I manage to convince myself that I desperately all the cool adventure gear. Bracelets that tell you when to reapply sunscreen? Need that. Caffeinated soap? So necessary. A jacket with 5,982 pockets, ergonomic zippers, built-in magnet therapy and smells like daisies? How have I lived my live up until this point without it?

I've had to do quite a bit of shopping for Adventuretime Mexicoland, but have worked very hard to keep myself under control and only buy shit I really, really need. This is what I've got so far!


I have an LL Bean backpack, and it's a pretty good one, but secretly, all it really wants to do with its life is be an airplane carry on, and even that it's not particularly great at. Plus it's just not suited to living for almost seven weeks out of, so I elected to leave it at home to be jealous and go to Mexico with my brand new adventure backpack that is awesome. It's big. It has secret hidden pockets for passports. It has a net so my back doesn't sweat. It even has it's very own built-in RAIN HAT so FUCK YEAH, it's a really cool backpack. Downside, it's a couple centimeters over the technical carry-on limit (yes, this is going to be a carry on because I have to change plans twice with a really tight layover in Miami which sounds like a recipe for lost luggage), but I think (hope) I'll be alright.
adventure backpack on the right, old backpack on the left!


The bane (1 of 2) of my existence is carrying towels with me on adventures because they're always so damn bulky. I always bring the thinnest towel I have which a) sucks, b) still takes up way too much space, and c) never actually dries in time, which means the next day I have to shower with a d) damp towel. By the end of my adventure, I've moved beyond just feeling resentful towards my towel and start to actively fantasize about feeding it to an industrial shredder. This time around, I elected to skip all that nonsense and buy a microfiber towel that is huge but packs down into a thin square. According to the Microfiber Bible, it dries super fast. It was also 12 euros on Amazon, so wins all around!


The other bane of my adventure existence is water bottles. Namely that I refuse to carry them because they're bulky and I hate them and never use them and therefore on the strength of my principles dehydrate like a boss. After doing some adventure internet shopping, I found these bad boys that appear to be over-sized Capri Sun packages with caps instead of the annoying straws. So when they're empty, you can roll them  down really tiny and when they're full, they're malleable and pack better. It had good reviews on Amazon.com but bad reviews on Amazon.de, which makes me think German hatred for them might just be a cultural thing but I'm American so we good, bro. Also it was 19 euros, which seemed like a lot for a water bottle, but then I remembered going to the hospital in Bolivia and how much it sucked, and then I thought about how I would like to avoid Mexican hospitals as much as possible which is why I got rabies shots and swore off tap water in advance, and so I said, "Tina, if 19 euros will keep you from stubbornly dehydrating yourself because of your slightly irrational vendetta against water bottles, consider it 19 euros well spent."
size comparison when empty

size comparison when full


My last adventure purchase, I went back on forth on this one for a while. First, the concept of having a really light, really tiny sleeping bag to protect me from bedbugs and dodgy Mexican sheets made me happy. The 50-90 euro price tag, not so much. After scouring the earth and internet, I found 15 euro ones on ebay with free shipping from some Vietnamese wholesale dealer. Given the price, it's fair to say they're probably illegally harvested from endangered silkworms, made by children, and/or not actually silk, but if they can get through six weeks without breaking, I'll consider it worth it. I wound up buying two, one for me, one for my Adventuretime Mexicoland companion Jovanna, because fuck bedbugs, that's why.

Go go gadget PLUG ADAPTER!

Because my research laptop has a German plug. Picture unnecessary. That will be all.


So that's it! That's all the fun gear I bought for Mexico itself! Lots of research gear is coming along as well, but since it's just technology, it's neither fun nor interesting to shop for/write about.

T-15 days AH!


ifs ands Butts said...

I totally getcha - I have an odd obsession with adventure stores and they are superb in every country. Jealous of all these fun new toys!

bevchen said...

I bought one of those towels before we went to Ireland. Such a great idea!! Whoever invented them deserves an award.

Amanda @ Adventure Year said...

Dude, that towel looks like it would save many angry words. I can't wait for my adventure shopping (well. the end of it), and hopefully that towel will be on it!