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REVIEW: Klymit Static V Camping mat

KLYMIT STATIC V CAMPIN MAT

A mat that we swear by. We’ve never known comfort when camping before them. We used ours for 5 months straight and got a few holes from lying them on thorns but they come with a repair kit. You really don’t feel like you are camping, no back pain, no hip touching the ground! They cost about €70 but I would splash out because any other mat will not encourage such a good sleep.
If you do not use the mat for a while, leave it somewhere with the valve open. This will allow excess water from your breath to escape.
It measures 72″ x 23″ x 2.5″
PROS

  • LIGHTWEIGHT  (514 g)
  • COMPACT WHEN ROLLED ( the size of a water bottle)
  • V SHAPED CHAMBERS ENSURE A BETTER CIRCULATION OF AIR FOR WARMTH.
  • INSULATED BASE WORKS FOR ALL SEASONS
  • COMPLETELY INFLATES IN ABOUT 10-13 BREATHS.
  • YOU DO NOT TOUCH THE GROUND, EVEN WHEN LYING ON YOUR SIDE
  • SIMPLE VALVE SYSTEM
  • EXCELLENT COMPANY SUPPORT

CONS

  • STATIC V SHAPE DOESN’T KEEP YOU ON THE MAT ALL NIGHT LIKE THEY SAY BUT IT IS INEVITABLE TO ROLL OFF YOUR MAT WHEN CAMPING IN A TENT.
  • AFTER SOME TIME THE MATS GET BLACK DOTS ON THE INSIDE FROM THE MOISTURE IN YOUR BREATH BUT THIS IN NO WAY AFFECTS THE PRODUCT .
  • IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND A PUNCTURE.
  • NOT THE LIGHTEST IF EVERY GRAM COUNTS

 

This is the official website:
Klymit mat
Here are a few on Amazon:
Click me

 

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APPLE MONSTERS

It’s been over three weeks since we stopped to work on the apple farm. After 5 months of cycling and living in a tent we are still amazed to find hot water running from the taps and just last week we discovered … The oven.

I still find myself trying not to roll over too much in the BED so I don’t touch the sides of the tent. That’s stupid zarah, sure you aren’t in any tent now.

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The work is really lovely. We are basically picking apples and plums of various delicious …Ahum… (Merv stop eating all the stock) varieties. It has been mostly estar apples for a while and man are they good when fresh off the tree.
Plums

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The Boss has over 20 hectares of land all with springs running under ground. The trees have water all year round and so they are some of the best produce in Europe. (Ya, we work here)

We are staying in a private room in a shared house. I’ve drawn a line of chalk along the floor so mervs mess doesn’t Merv with my mess. It’s so handy as we know where each other is. And then there are our neighbours in the house. There are 7, 6 polish and 1 really nice student from Ukraine. The Polish are slowly learning not to be so hostile towards us. We’ve had to stand our ground a few times and now we’ve managed to squeeze a good morning and hello out of them.

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Careful when picking!

Careful when picking!

The orchards are not near the warehouse so we must drive the tractors there each day. I’ve been appointed to drive one and I think it grinds the bones of all the older men working because they hate to see a woman with this responsibility. What if she can’t decide to break or go? Anyway I just do it and it’s all grand and dandy and they are slowly learning that smiling is good and laughing is allowed in life.

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It’s funny as there are two lovely Romanians who we are always paired with and the husband always makes fun of them saying aaaaaah specialist! As if to say look dude we are picking apples, chill out. In fairness though they have been doing it for 10+ years and have a little more speed than us (not the drug). After about 4 days you become a pro and once your first week passes you receive a professional Apple Pickers diploma. Then after your first year this is retracted, stamped and you are then none other than a renowned Lucky Luke picker. You can pick faster than your shadow. I’m not joking about these diplomas at all. If you sense sarcasm then you should get your radar checked. (Wink)

So we’ve been working 3 weeks and we are in dept as Merv ate his way through 3 crates of apples and 100 litres of juice. He sleeps in a crate now and I have to make sure I spray him twice a year with organic pesticides so he does t get eaten by the birds. Here in the picture he is choking down on a lady bird. Bless….

Bub's new look

Bub’s new look

Merv here: as you can tell zarah has no sense of humour at all. We have to work half day Saturday until 1 o clock. That’s fine with us because these extra hours we didn’t expect to have will pay for some cool gear for our bikes. We’re looking into getting a hub Dynamo which will allow us to charge even when there’s no sun. We are in the perfect country for it as the Germans are mad for hub dynamos. We are also considering getting a gps system as we have been able to speak the language of the country’s we’ve passed through but next we will be getting lost and not able to ask directions.but it would be so handy when passing through big cities as they take up quarter of our day.
Any extra hours in the evening get added up and it pays for our gluten free pizza in Köln every Saturday after we finish work. It’s a 20 k cycle in to there so it’s well worked for.

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Getting Paid to Pick Apples

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We’re in Germany. We made it out is Stiffserland alive. Merv has been slave driving us the past week as he luckily found work up near Cologne picking apples for 2 months. We were really really far south (500km away) when we got the news and ever since we’ve been following the river Rhein like two bats out of hell. We’ve to be there by Saturday and I do declare we might just make it!

Mervs half a binocular

Mervs half a binocular

We were in a flea market and Merv bought half a binocular. It was €10 and he haggled it up to €13. I’m teaching him…. Anyway we both got some weird eye thing from it and Merv looked like he got beat up and I looked like I was crying. We are trying to cure ourselves before we land up at the apple farm. They’ll take one look at us and run.

Merv got an ex- army jacket for €7 and so now we are sitting under an army tarp, with the half a binocular and the army jacket eating army rations (well, green chillie curry)

Germany is class. They charge you extra when you buy water or beer and then you return the bottles in a machine in the supermarket and get the money back. It’s all well and good but yesterday we came across this one guy. He had 3 crates ready to be loaded into the machine but OH NO! There were 3 cans on the conveyor belt. He just stood there and rang the help button. A girl came out and he explain his predicament. Merv and I just laughed at how he stood there until she moved the cans away. Wow!

 

We’ve had some nice camp spots so far and seen a few lovely things!

 

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A thousand kilometres for a thousand memories

Merv: We have finished the 1000 km dedicated to Tadhg Sexton. He’s been in our minds both day and night. He will be really missed and never forgotten.

 

  Hear your song
I can’t believe you’re gone from this world
I can’t believe your song won’t be heard

Across the field you once did stride
With your fishing rod by your side

Down to green island to fish off the rock
Sometimes pull in a big fat pollock

Fishing all day for mackerel and eel
Or down to white strand to get hooks caught in seaweed

We’d camp under the stars and cook our meal
With a pile of wet wood and a can of beer

The times we had ill keep in a locket
Like when you walked around with pears in your pocket

Camping in Wales up at Steve handy’s junk yard
Laying out on the slate spit watching shooting stars

Oh those memories won’t be forgot
Or those curries so spicy and hot

A friend you were but more of a brother
You were one of a kind there’ll be no other

We will meet you again on another plane
And on that day we’ll hear your song again.

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Stiffserland

 

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So the legs healed and we set off from Jamie’s and Jule’s toward Switzerland.

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If you guys are reading this we want to thank you soooooo much for the great time we had. Can’t beLieve it was actually a week! You made us feel really welcome. We miss Griff most of all and hope you guys managed to get to the land of the dragons.

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So we landed in Switzerland and went to our first supermarket to check out the prices. It was not open so we sat outside having lunch when someone came up to us and said: make sure you use the bin after you! Like yeah….

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so the two goons wherein the shop paying for their food when goon 1 handed over some € cash money flow and goon 2 smiled at the cashier. He promptly informed is that you can only pay in frankincense in Switzerland or euro notes. Shocked! How were we supposed to know that the currency changes! Money is pretty awesome though. They have half cents here.

Merv: our first day in Switzerland was turning out to be good. We realised we needed real money, the views were amazing,

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and after a morning of climbing up hills it all went flat as we were cycling from the mountains to the edge of lake Geneva. Some big dirty clouds were coming in and we heard some thunder rumble.

 

Dirty clouds

Dirty clouds

The lake side was really populated but over an inlet we went and found a bird watching area. There there was a three story wooden building for watching the birds. So as the lightening, thunder and the wind picked up something rotten we hauled our stuff up the three flights of stairs and set up camp.

Forbidden camp

Forbidden camp

Not a tarp but a jaytarp

Not a tarp but a jaytarp

 

It was so windy the building was rocking but it was class.

 

In the morning we were nearly packed up 8 30 when two police officers walk up and ask if we stayed there.

 

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No we said we were just getting out of the rain which had started again. It was good because there was a abandoned bike left there so we averted their attention to that saying it was probably stolen and left there.

Number plate

Number plate

Oh ya all the bikes here have a registration plate on them so they could identify it easily. So we finished packing and got the hell out of there.

Merv wasn't allowed inside

Merv wasn’t allowed inside

 

Half way there

Exploring the alps

So we’re in Chamonix in the Alps. It’s been an awesome ride to get here and it’s so great to catch up with an old friend, and to have running hot water. Jay and jules lent us some gear so we could walk up to a refuge 2700m high left of mint blanc to camp beside a glacier. We set off in the morning and got a lift to the start of the walk with jules.

First station

First station

There is the option to get a ski lift up the first section but that would be cheating. The walk up was fantastic with stunning views and we also met a Northern Irish group hiking up to traverse across the glacier.

Lunch views

Lunch views

 

The leader told us where we could camp up there as there is no grass.

 

Campsite

Campsite

We arrived earlier than expected so we. Set up camp and left the heavy bad behind to scramble around on the glacier and rocks.they have to bring everything up to the restaurant/refuge by helicopter. Here it is after dropping off some barrels of gas and bringing some stuff away.

Restaurant transport

Restaurant transport

 

after dinner we sat up to watch the sun set and as the big black clouds rolled in we thought it best to climb in the tent. Luckily the storm didn’t hit us and we had a lovely calm night. We got up at six as to get down off the mountain before the promised rain came in at around lunch time.

Early start

Early start

we took a different route down which was really steep because it was on top of a ridge that descended pretty quickly. Because of cycling for a week with no day off, the mountain bike ride and the walk our legs were pretty beat. Then the harsh down hill our legs are now beat  so much it hurts to stand. So now we’re taking it easy for a few days to recover.

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1000km Dedicated to Tadhg

 

We have reached the 5000km mark and the next 1000km is dedicated to Tadhg who recently passed away and who will be in our thoughts for a long time to come.

 

Small Ceremony for Tadhg

Small Ceremony for Tadhg

We’ve left the Dordogne region for the mountains, entering the Alps through the Vercors National park which had some spectacular views. Gorges,

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high hills looking onto valleys and mountains roads that wound down with mega S bends that would put the cork screw hill in Ireland to shame.

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We’re now enjoying a few days with Jamie and Jules up in Chamonix. They’ve lent us 2 mountain bikes and we’re going to go cycle a cross country route (as a day off) but we have no bags so I suppose it can be counted as rest.

Mont Blanc, view from J & J's

Mont Blanc, view from J & J’s

Tomorrow the. We are going to climb up the Mountain towards a glacier. There’s a refuge up there but Merv refuses to acknowledge this and still comes packing the tent.
That’s also a day off but we won’t have any bikes so I suppose you could count that as rest.

From the porch of Jamie and Jules’ you can see Mont Blanc and all of its splendour. There’s snow up there and it’s baking hot down here. MADNESS!

Merv and Jay

Merv and Jay

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Gone Bananas

Yesterday we found a flyer for a monkey forest. Yes, a place where monkeys roam relatively free. The Macaque monkey has decline 50% in the last 40 years and this conservationalist forest of 20 hectares have bred and released 600 monkeys back to their natural habitat. They ask a modest €9 to enter which helps save the little things and so we decided to head in.

Merv’s favourite animal is the monkey which explains why he loves himself so much.

Twins

Twins

They give you a handful of popcorn on your way in which you can feed to whichever monkey you choose but some have the operation sewn up I tell Ya. There’s a couple of old timers (about 30) which is ancient for monkeys and they are wiser than ourselves. They just have to look at you for a second with their beady eyes and put out their hand and BOOM you are a pile of butter, melted all over the shop.

Looking cute for popcorn

Looking cute for popcorn

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It’s nice to see that they can roam freely in such a large area. I for one am not a big fan of zoos or cages for animals.

Playing back gammon with the monkey

Playing back gammon with the monkey

 

Merv and I cooked a double dinner yesterday to last til today but on opening it this evening we realised it was a bad idea in the ferocious heat. We spent the day in a town high above the valley with a picturesque view looking down on a castle and ramparts cut into a cliff.

Rocamadour village

Rocamadour village

There was an actual elevator to go down or up and we thought we might be able to ride down the hill on the bicycles And get a lift back up but the lady in the booth didn’t entertain the idea when Merv went up to ask and didn’t even bother to get off his bike.

Speaking of castles, we’ve seen our fair share lately.

Tomorrow we head back toward the Dordogne river where we can swim again.

Dordogne

Dordogne

It’s been so hot that we feel like we’re going mental. Just ten minutes ago it started randomly lashing rain and I just stood in it trying to cool off. I’m sure there was steam coming off me. Oh and Merv tried to use our thermometer to measure the temp of the water in our drinking bottles but it broke. That’ll tell Ya.

It’s a horrible feeling when you go to wipe the sweat off your forehead but your ha d is sweaty too so you then try to rub it on your shoulder for a bit of relief and that is also dripping. Then you stop and have a glug of water but it’s like tea and there is no shop in sight!

 

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Day off Kayaking on the l’isle and fireworks

July 14th in France is a big aul day and it was full of festivities about the place.
Merv and I decided to use some of the money we got for working for Leo doing a Kayak trip 14km down the l’isle river.

 

Beautiful flat day

Beautiful flat day

Bub

Bub

Bub looking medieval

Bub looking medieval

The dude drove us and 2 kayaks to the drop off spot. Untied the kayaks and pretty much left us there to our own devises just saying “you go that way” pointing down river. He also very briefly explained there were some dams but we were left to decipher what we were to do when we came to them. It was gas as we are used to the long boring talk that Pat gives when he takes us out on the ocean and the long boring talk that Merv gives when he is giving a tour.

(Joke guys joke)

So off we went in these boats that had a built in spinning system that turned at their own will. Merv’s didn’t seem to have it but. Mine just randomly would do a spin in mid river and there I was like…. Hm thinking it was me! Ya right.

Views from the water

Views from the water

Now Kayaking is great but by the end of it I was sooooooo frustrated because of the turning and unstableness. It took us a while to complete the trip. It was a beautiful day with still waters reflecting everything. We didn’t bring enough food though and were like ravenous dogs by the end. When I began to see a familiar park bench I nearly cried and did my best paddling ever. The boat didn’t turn so I reckon I must have broke the internal spinner when I hit it with my oar.

Below the dam

Below the dam

Later we went out to see some fireworks and found a band playing. We sat and hat a drink but once that was finished we had to leave. They were an English foursome from England (duh) and lacked something. A good lead singer and a bit of karisma maybe :)
Merv and I were commenting every time he missed a note because we are professional singers who can really tell. The drummer was so funny. He was quite old and kept staring lustfully at the guitarist (also a dude). That would have been cool if he didn’t look so creepy.

The fireworks. We snuck around to an area where no one was and had a big open field to ourselves. If Merv had had a wedding ring I’d say he would have ran over after the show to ask the pyro technician to marry him. Merv’s life passions: the water, food and fireworks.

Fireworks

Fireworks

We left Leo’s restaurant and caravan to ride along the Dordogne.

 

The day was brightened by a field of sunflowers, followed by massive vin yards and corn fields.
After a quick and very shallow dip in the Dordogne we found a camping spot sheltered by a huge crop of corn. Good job we bought 2 cobs for our dinner or we’d be drooling.

Dordogne River

Dordogne River

We are sweating as it is. Like too hot, TOO HOT. And Merv the grand chef makes a spicy curry. Starving we ate it down but I could feel the sweat breaking through my forehead. It was like a chilly soup with steamy rice. Aaaaaah, it’s too bleeding hot. Tomorrow I’m buying stamps to send some sun back home.