Preparing the BivyPack for the Public


For years I dreamt and sketched up ideas for a backpack that would turn into a bivy tent to save weight and space while traveling. At the start of 2015 the idea became a reality with the help from a friend in Georgia, and after traveling with the pack for nearly a year I was heading back to Augusta to build yet another prototype that I hoped would then be good enough to share with others as well.

Note: The BivyPack is now available, you get it at FreestyleTravelGear.com

It took me a couple days to hitchhike there from New Orleans where I'd just been for Halloween seeing some friends. Getting out of the city was a bit slow, starting with a short ride and then a ride from a guy in a pickup truck who started off by telling me "I don't know what your plan is and I don't care," and as he dropped me off, still essentially in New Orleans, "I'll be back in an hour or so, if you're still here I'll get you over to Mobile."

Directly after dropping me off a woman stopped, but not for me as it turned out, she was just looking for a lost phone case. At the same moment a cop was pulling someone else over. With all this going on I had to keep walking and sure enough, the guy in the pickup truck returned after about an hour and picked me up again.

It's unclear why he picked me up, as he seemed intent on being sort of a dick. He didn't care about what I was doing or where I was going, as he said. He asked where I wanted to be dropped off, so I told him the split in the highway where I-65 goes north, just before the city of Mobile, would be perfect.

"I'm dropping you off at this truck stop, that's that," he then affirmed, ignoring my suggestion. The truck stop was several miles before the split, an inconvenience that's not wildly uncommon while hitchhiking, but more so annoying given how easy it would have been to drop me at the split instead especially since he seemed to be intentionally not doing so.

That's how it goes though, so I hopped out of his truck and started walking on down the highway. Traffic was backed up nearly to a standstill, someone stuck a Subway sandwich out the window for me as I walked. Eventually someone gave me a ride; I sat next to an assault rifle in the backseat, "It's not loaded," the man assured me, with his girlfriend on his way to court.

That ride got me to that I-65 junction, I walked up and paused to eat my new sandwich in the grass. I got just one more short ride to north of the city before it got dark where I found some trees to tuck away in for the night to camp.

I got an early start in the morning and rides came a bit steadier that day, four in total, the last of which from a guy heading all the way to Delaware indeed driving right through Augusta where I finally popped out and walked the short way to John and Lilly's house.


I spent about a week there altogether, drawing up plans and putting together a new prototype for the BivyPack, implementing all the improvements I'd thought up over the past months of tripping around with previous model.


Before heading west altogether, aiming to see family in Wyoming for Thanksgiving, I drove up with John and Lilly to a section of the Appalachian Trail. We spent four nights on the trail, the last of which tripping in a good spot with a nice fire going by night. Another hiker with a trumpet came by blasting at one point until late we finally attempted to go to sleep.


Once out of the woods a couple guys offered us a ride to the main road. John and Lilly hopped out so they could hitch back to their car, I stayed with the guys as they were continuing towards Chattanooga which would get me going west. I happily chowed down a hot meal at Waffle House they treated me to before parting ways, soon walking and camping near the highway in my new BivyPack once again.

There was still plenty of road between me and Wyoming, but I was happy to have the new pack and now confident that it was ready to open up to others who might want one. In the coming month I'd prepare to share the idea and set up a Kickstarter to do so, triggering a whole new layer of things to come in my travels.

November 3, 2015 to November 15, 2015

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