Liners and Gaiters and Bear Cans (Oh my!) T-41

When delving in to the world of long distance hiking, you almost immediately encounter endless gear lists and a near religious obsession with pack weight. I get it. If you are going to carry something for any significant distance, it makes good sense to have everything deliver value exceeding its weight (and the space necessary to bring it along). Some things are non-negotiable like backpack, sleeping bag, and shelter aka The Big Three.

IMG_0385
The Big Three

As a Boy Scout in the late 1970s, enormous, external frame packs reigned were de rigueur and while some attention was paid to weight, ‘Be Prepared’ often translated into bulky, heavy packs. Fast forwarding to more recent times, pack frames went internal and most all equipment became smaller and lighter. Even so, my ‘old school’ mentality resulted in trips up Mt Rainier and elsewhere lugging 60+ pound loads even while appearing more streamlined. That I looked better doing it did not necessarily mean it was any easier.

Confronting the challenge of thru-hiking the PCT, it seems prudent to rethink my approach. Being mistaken for a day hiker with a tiny pack appears to be the ultimate form of flattery for the new breed ‘ultralight’ hiker. These folks worry their loads down to fractions of ounces and often compare their lists with others online. A ‘pack teardown’ is when one hiker critiques the gear choices made by another hiker with the goal of reducing to the smallest and lightest load possible.

I must admit I got caught up a bit in the mania and have published a preliminary gear list. Indeed, there’s an app for that too.  I am not much interested in measuring and comparing ‘pack’ size but I am all about gear choices that serve as efficiently as possible. Let me tell you, outdoor gear has come a long way since my days as a Boy Scout. I pulled out all my existing gear and almost to an item, technology and design has improved.

If you peruse my list, you can see that I’m not necessarily solving for smallest and lightest. It’s more like smallest and lightest that will make the hike not just bearable but also enjoyable. I am trying to get my base weight – all equipment but no food or water- down to under 20 pounds. For those who know me well won’t be surprised to find camera and electronics make up a significant percentage of clearly extraneous pack weight. What can I say? I like my gadgets and I want to use what I can to share my adventure with others. I’ll carry it and you will benefit. Good deal no?

2 Replies to “Liners and Gaiters and Bear Cans (Oh my!) T-41”

  1. Two quotes by my favorite sage, Lao Tzu:
    “Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”
    “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

    As you embark on this trek I am quite sure that facing the adversities and the highs will help you learn more and more about yourself. Your lack of fixed plans make it clear your focus is the journey, not the destination.

    I admire the courage to take this trip–I more admire the courage to so deeply introspect.

    Like

  2. This is a challenge! For my Camino my pack has to be no more than 10lbs and I am finding it to be not too hard of a challenge. I started with a pack that is only 40L and weighs 2lbs 2oz. That is helping. Still, with a full water bladder it will be 12 lbs, so I’m a tad concerned.

    You’re gonna rock this PCT!!!

    xoxo,
    Nina

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s