Sun Chaser Duffel Survives Desolate Mongolia

Bonfire With the Shaman.

There’s something about the vastness of the Great Plains of America that inspired the pioneers coming west. We can only imagine Mongolia today still holds a similar majesty. Our latest Adventure Journal entry takes us there and back. We bet this is one of the few faraway places that our Billings, Montana crew could feel at home: grass, wind, horses, and big, big sky!

>Dear Red Oxx,
This was my first time in Mongolia, and I will go back. It is a fabulous country. The people are tough, self-sufficient, and hospitable, the horses are amazing, the scenery is spectacular. It really is the last frontier — Very Wild West.

I wanted to go horseback riding and camping in the great outdoors somewhere. Mongolia has a lot of the unspoiled country. I went for three weeks in July. Traveled from Boston to Atlanta to Seoul to Ulaanbaatar, all by plane. From Ulaanbaatar by plane to Murun, from Murun by four-wheel vehicle overland to Hatgal. From Hatgal by boat to Jigleg. From there we trekked on horseback, sometimes with overland vehicle support, sometimes with packhorse support.

On half the horseback camping trek when we didn’t have vehicle support, the bag was loaded onto a horse and literally dragged through rivers daily. Need I say, it held up perfectly?

The man on the left in the truck photo is a Shaman. His ethnic group is Tsaatan, who are the reindeer herders of northern Mongolia, up at the border with Siberia. So I referred to him as a Tsaatan Shaman. Much as I might say an Irish writer. He was a friend of the man to his left, our guide Mishig, and he (the Shaman) accompanied us to one campsite, where he consulted with each of us, in his capacity as a Shaman. This involved a few hours around a bonfire, from midnight until 3 a.m.

On the return trip, we drove from Renchilhumbe to Murun, then by plane to UB. The trip in Mongolia was with Boojum Expeditions. One of their offices is in Bozeman, Montana. Great outfit.

As far as I can tell, Red Oxx makes the best luggage out there, for my needs. It stands up to wear, and it’s well-designed from a packing point of view. I am also glad to purchase goods made in America.

Cheers,
Robin

P.S. My next Redoxx will probably be a Flying Boxcar. For someone as small as I am (5 foot 1), you can’t beat those grab handles! They’re great for getting the bag off a shelf that is above my head, much easier than just grabbing the fabric, or trying to find the strap.

When I stow the bag in a compartment, I generally pack the strap in the bag, anyway, as it can get in the way of other people’s bags. And I always stow the strap when I check the bag.

Since there are now new restrictions on the size of carry-on luggage, I may check baggage more often — and the Boxcar is checked-baggage size.

Robin, thanks for sharing your story and photos. Your mention of carry-on luggage requirements reminds us that there’s two kinds of gotcha’s for today’s traveler: dragging bags through rivers on horseback, and climbing aboard airlines. Who’d of thought?

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