Preparations for Nordseter are not what you'd call optimal. My appraoch this time round has involved contracting a nasty chest infection, simultaineously picking up laryngitis and lieing on my back for two weeks. As a method of loosing weight it's effective. Four Kilograms in two weeks (Sloman eat your heart out!). On the other hand it's not great for the cadiovascular condition or muscular development. Hopefully now I'm throught the worst of it. I'd better be. I have just over a week to cough the last bacteria out of my lungs and get used to being vertical again.
The week did bring a box to my door though. A good one too. Playing with my double-bag and down jacket combination had me worried that whichever way I stacked them up the layers weren't lofting to their full potential. Illness was stopping me from getting any practical experience. Watching the news of Europes cold snap unfold accompanied by coughing fits and cold sweats led me to the conclusion that I'd better bight the bullet and invest in a proper winter sleeping bag. So I did just that.
A little research (even if you don't buy from them an excellant resource for comparing bags can be found here) and a lot of hesitation finaly brought me to the Cumulus Prime 700. A full spec cold season down bag, with 700g of 770 fill down, trapezoidal baffle construction and full shoulder baffle. Rated down to -18°C the bag delivers more loft than my combination and the construction should make it much warmer. The full-shoulder baffle in particular should manage convective heat losses better than anything I own. It's got a DWR treated outer which makes me more comfortable about leaving the bivvy bag at home and at 1200g it come's in a shade lighter than my two bag combo. I already own a Cumulus bag so I'm fairly confident in the rating. For me that -18 probably translates to -15 or so before I'll have to reach for extra layers. Not sure about the canary yellow but I'll get over it. Jane seemed impressed. I suspect she might comandeer this bag sometime in the future.
Also in the box, in truth another box but lets not split hairs, was a new stove and a thermos flask. I caved in again and finaly opted to buy a gas burner. This time a Primus Gravity EF, remote canister stove with preheat tube which I think (hope) will provide an adequate backup to the MSR Whisperlite. I know that gas is a controversial choice for use in the cold but I don't expect we'll experience realy deep cold this time out and, in the long term, I'll get more use out of a gas burner than I would out of a liquid fuel stove. I'm also hoping that the pre-heat tube will do it's stuff and let me turn the can on it's head to good effect. I will need to get my hands on cans of Propane-isobutane mix after landing though.
Finaly, a 1l thermos flask. I think this will be worth the extra weight! I certainly hope so since, including contents, I'm looking at an extra 1.5kg.