Day 61: Ulaanbaatar , Gear shopping: Camping

A fold up gas burner and cartridge, chocolate, chips and plastic bags.
Cooking with gas.

After lunch, I head back uptown to Amarsanaa Road, my local suburban shopping hub.

I thought that the shopping information at the hostel was useful, until I realised that it was 10 years out of date. Thanks, Latest updated information for travellers 2005. As a result I’m more or less on my own in my quest to procure essential camping gear.

For a start, I’ve had zero luck with my liquid fuel, so I’m hunting for Primus style gas cartridges.

Disappointingly, there are no high-end camping stores out here. The only gas I can find comes in tall butane canisters, similar to those used in the portable cookers at the hostel.

While these are cheaper than the squat Primus style cartridges, they are unfortunately incompatible with my stove, a Primus Omnifuel. It uses a screw connection and doesn’t support their twist-top design. Apparently you can buy Kovea adapters online, but I can’t see them in any of the brick and mortar shops around here.

However, a small metal burner in a Korean budget store catches my eye. Like an optical illusion from Total Recall, it opens and closes like a mechanical flower. It runs on the ubiquitous butane canisters, so I grab the burner and a 4-pack of gas and cross that one off my list.

Next up is a head torch.

My USB charged Petzl proved unreliable in Siberia, and my cheap Russian replacement runs on weird stubby batteries.

Tenting without a head torch sucks, but again it’s Korea to the rescue with a Korean Humont E40. It runs on three triple As, which I think will be much easier to get.

Then a vanity item, a small plastic thermometer.

It is intended to capture any impressively low temperatures that occur while I’m sleeping. It looks a bit flimsy for the best/worst case scenario of -50C though!

And a pair of pronged shoe chains, for added grip on the ice. They’re a bit unwieldy, but they seem like a good idea after having slipped and slid my way to the Local Bike Shop.

And finally food.

14 (!) bars of cheap Korean Lotte chocolate should be enough to motivate or barter my way out of an situation.

A can of Salt and Vinegar Pringles is rare as hens’ teeth around here and will satisfy some homesickness.

And a pile of hard-to-find zip lock bags will satisfy my paranoia with things getting wet or disorganised.

Back in town, the shopping spree continues, with the extravagant purchase of a lush and ridiculously bulky Mongolian Camel Hair blanket.

My plan is to stay warm using traditional methods, rather than relying on the hype woven into technical fabrics.

Coming to me courtesy of the Gobi Cashmere House Shop, its two-tone colour scheme and geometric repeating border is a thing of beauty. For the price, it should be!

Gear costs
Item NZD
Cooker + 4x gas (Korea shop) ? ?
Head torch (Korea shop, approx) 35,000 NZD 26.92
Thermometer (Korea shop) ? ?
Shoe chains (approx) 80,000 $61.52
Chocolate, chips, sauce, oats etc (supermarket) 30,217 } $23.24
Camel Hair blanket 220x200 295,000 $226.86