Sunday, May 5, 2013

Event: ConFest

Over Easter, I took the family to ConFest, a big "hippie" lifestyle and camping festival. We've been a couple of times before, but this was the first time we had gone with the two littlest ... Triceratops Girl and Tactical Baby. This made it quite the adventure, with the two of us adults, a teenaged lady, a 4yo and an almost 2 yo. Camping for four days, a long way from home.

Its not as if ConFest is really roughing it, by any stretch of the imagination. Ive seen any number of campsites there which were not much more than a sleeping bag on a drop sheet, under a tarp, and yet the inhabitants had hot cooked food, from the large market area.

We took our new (but second hand) 9 person Great Outdoors - Silver Grande 9L  tent, as well as a pair of the Spinifex - Deluxe Padded Camp Stretcher beds (XL)   a folding port-a-cot for Tactical Baby and the very ingenuous Spinifex -  Double Bunk bed cots. We didn't want to spend our holiday with cranky, sleep deprived children.

Where am I going with all this? well, we packed all of our gear into my Toyota RAV4 5-door, including the two kid seats, and drove the 7 hours to ConFest, and I used the exercise as a "get the hell out of Dodge" system check. We could load up x-amount of stuff, and only that. We were cheating because we were planning to buy some food at the market, and stopped for lunch on the way. However, it was a good test of what we would need, and what we could do without.

Here's a shot of us crammed in, the backseat full of kids, the front seat full of road snacks and gear.

We took solar chargers for our electronics, lights and the like, the Australian Easter has no shortage of sunlight. The roof-rack was filled with bedding, the beds, a spare tent, camp-tables and chairs, all covered with a tarp. A cheep tarp. Lesson learned, get a better tarp.

We also packed more food than we ate, never a bad thing, and we chose our food carefully so it would not require excessive care or refrigeration. It would have lasted us a week, if we'd been careful. We had packed baby things, including formula, nappies and changes of clothes.
My big box of camping kit, which included cast iron pots and pan, tripods, spits, fire starters, hatchet, lengths of chain, wire and rope, candles as well as cutlery, plates, bowls and the like. A 30L water jug, ensured we had water at the site, without needing to continually trek to the fresh water hoses. Then there was the luggage, we each packed differently, I wore the same Urban Dax pants each day, changed shirts each day and wore my Paleo Barefoots everywhere. The rest of my kit went into my Platatac Light Field pack which also doubled as a Yoda-carry-rig for Tactical Baby as we wandered the festival.

You can see the Fiskars log splitter I chopped three days worth of redgum firewood and the Zombie Tools Deuce I took with me because ... hippies ... zombie hippies ...

What did I take from all of this?

We took too much stuff. The new camp beds, in combination with the huge tent were worth it for the comfort we gained. Even though we could have done without in an emergency, they were a great investment in comfort. We tool a lot of "snivel gear" and probably not enough food and water for a "get out of Dodge" situation.

A giant festival like this is a good indication of what a well meaning "lets bug out of the city" refugee camp might start out like, and harkens to the chapter in Max Brook's "World War Z" dealing with that.  I looked around at the haphazard sites, and the supplies we had all brought, and reaslised that we in the middle of a couple of thousand people who were a weeks hunger away from barbarism.

Sleep tight campers!

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