I do know some of the gear I like to use, but I have been feeling that I need to dial in some of the little things. So last week, with a miserable forecast of rain and an overnight low of 37, it seemed like ideal gear testing conditions. On thursday, my friend Eugene and I drove east on highway 126 to the McKenzie river trail. When we arrived at the Buck Creek Trail Head, the rain stopped for a moment, and we we headed upstream. The temperature was cold enough to hike in long sleeves and a wind shirt, and of course I only brought shorts. I did not warm up until the first short climb. I have practiced walking so much lately, I was afraid I forgot how to set up a tarp. The 12 miles up to Carmen reservoir went by very easily, and I was excited to finally practice camping again. We found a campsite in a bush near the river, and with wet, frozen hands, I stumbled around my pile of nylon and tyvek, and finally put up something to sleep under that might keep the rain off.
Not sure what I'm doing with my hand here, but at least my tarp is up. Ten minuets later the rain came pouring down.
I slept terribly that night. Not sure why, usually I sleep better in the woods than at home, but I think I was cold, and the rock under my back probably did not help. From this trip I learned that I need more clothes to sleep in, and I can still set up my tarp to stay dry in all night rain. Oh, and I need to move all rocks. It was good to finally be out for more than just a day hike, and I hope to do a few more over nighters before the end of April rolls around.So as I continue pulling my hair out over things like what tent pegs I prefer, you can look at what will might be in my kit.
-Pack: Granite Gear Vapor Trail (the grey and blue one) 2lbs. I will use this from the start until after the sierras. It will handle the heavy water loads in the desert, and a bear canister in the sierras. It has more of a frame, and It's a bit bigger than the ULA Conduit (my favorite). I hope to switch to the Conduit for OR and WA.The conduit has no frame and weighs 17oz! woo!
-Shelter: I'm planning on starting with my poncho tarp (shown in the first pic) and a bivy sack. At Kennedy Meadows (about mile 700 and the start of the sierras) I will switch to a bigger tarp that I'm in the process of making, and use a bug net with it. Both systems weigh around 13oz
-Sleeping Bag: Ultra 20 from Golite, and silk liner.I sleep cold, so I will bundle up at night and the liner will help alot. weight (with liner): 27 oz
-Pad: Thermarest Z-Lite. Or other closed cell foam pad. I cut them down to torso length.
-Ground Cloth: a piece of Tyvek, it weighs about 4 oz
-2 pairs of Darn Tough wool socks
-260 weight wool top From Ice Breaker
-Light weight wool bottoms from Smart Wool
-Mont Bell Down Inner Jacket.
-Patagonia Dragonfly wind shirt
-Rain shell: Dri ducks
-Beanie from Icebreaker
All of this comes to about 2 lbs. Not to bad
-Stove: I made it out of a cat food can, it weighs less than half an ounce
-Fuel: Heet (gas line antifreeze) or denatured alcohol
-Pot: MSR Titan with foil lid. 4oz
-Spoon: Plastic to-go spoon. This doesn't even register on my postal scale
-Dish Washer: cut down pack towel
-Ignition: Mini Bic
Kitchen total is about 7oz before fuel is added in.
Hydration: This will be a large capacity in the desert then probably cut in half after Kennedy Meadows.
-Two 2+ liter platypus bottles. 1oz each
-Two 1liter Gatorade or Aquafina bottles.
-Aquamira chlorine dioxide treatment. 3oz
Clothing worn: Rail Riders Eco Mesh Shirt, Patagonia running shorts, Tilley hat or visor, who knows. Darn Tough socks and probably Inov-8 running shoes .
Minimal gear is important to me. My base weight (the weight I will cary before consumables like food and H2O) is 9.5 pounds. Efficiency in gear systems is key, and I think the parts of my system work very well together. This gear list will vary as I walk north week after week. I will find I don't need it all, and I will need and want things I don't have. What is great is I will be near a post office or store about every five days, and I can make changes when I need too.
Im not sitting next to my countdown calendar at the moment, but I think its 50 days until we fly south, just so I can walk back home.