Shopping in Portland

I spent the day shopping in Portland today. Tax free shopping in Oregon, yay!

My first stop was REI, an outdoors store. I was in the market for a few things. A waterproof duffle bag for the back of the bike. A pair of waterproof boots to become my primary footwear both on and off the bike. I was toying with the idea of getting a tent and I definitely wanted a headlamp. Two out of four ain’t bad.

REI had a couple of dry bags, but neither were perfect. I have a Wolfman Dry Duffel in mind and these bags weren’t quite the same. One option felt too lighweight and the other lacked tie down hooks. This is the one I’m after:

Then I had a look at boots. The shop assistant told me that her brother has a pair of waterproof leather boots he uses for motorcycling. That got me thinking, regular waterproof boots might work just nicely. So no boot purchase at REI but more on boots later.

I browsed the tent section next. I was looking at bivy bags, essentially waterproof bags that you put your sleeping bag inside. Functional, but very compact. A tent would take up an awful lot of space in my luggage. Then she suggested the Hennessy Hammock. Bingo, I was sold. Check this out:

Hennessy Hammock Expedition Sym

It’s a hammock with a rain fly and a mosquito net all in one. Not only that, but you get into the hammock through the bottom. There’s a door in the middle, so you open the door and sit up into the hammock. No rolling in or out or falling off (yes, been there, done that). Deeply awesome. Not only is this the most awesome travelling tent ever, but it’s also absolutely tiny when packed down. Hells yeah, I got me one of these bad boys.

Now I’m travelling by motorcycle with a hammock. Shamone!

Finally, I picked up a $30, waterproof headlamp. Oh, and I was sold REI lifetime membership at $20. I’ll get a store credit around February for about 10% of my purchases over the last year. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

From REI I went next door to Urban Ground Coffee. A roast beef panini with a side of raw veggies (oh yeah!) for $5.50, free water, free wifi. Nice.

In my search for the perfect boot in Portland, I found Al’s Shoe and Boot store. For men no less! From the pictures on the site, it was clear these guys are serious about boots. They have a warehouse full of them. So over I went. Save for some bike hassles I made it to the boot emporium.  Yes, the pictures tell the story, these guys are mega serious about boots.

They’re a family owned business that has been going for 62 years, and they know their boots. After a good couple of hours in the store, I finally bought a pair of Georgia Boot 8 inch Heritage boots. These are serious boots for a serious journey.

It took me a little while to come round to the idea of such a big boot. But they’re completely waterproof, insulated, and offer great protection and comfort for a motorcycle trip. They do make me look like a lumberjack, but I’m coming to terms with that!

All in all, a very successful day’s tax free shopping.

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