Begins: May 20, 2008
Date: Wed, Nov 5th, 2008
Trip Distance: 2,140.8
Entry Visits: 1,009
Journal Visits: 108,000
Gear - Part 1
I thought this would be a good theme for this entry done on election day. Of course, if that was really the case, I would probably just title it "What Did Not." Most of this will be gear related, but I will also include a brief section on food, hitch hiking, etc.
Pack (Osprey Ariel 65) – Positives: I used a ULA pack on the AT, but found this pack was not comfortable with the sometimes 6-8 liters of water (started the trail at the end of May) I had to carry. I switched to the Osprey, and although a pound heavier, I never noticed b/c it was so much more comfortable. It fit me like a glove. I did end up sending home the top lid pocket, as I did not need the capacity. I also loved the large outside mesh pocket to carry my sometimes wet tent in. I had this on the ULA pack also, and it was a must have. Negatives: I took out the divider for the sleeping bag. The only frustration was the amount of room taken up by the hydration sack in the pack.
I will probably go with a lighter pack for the CDT, as I will probably not carry my 3lb, zero degree, Montbell sleeping bag. This is a fantastic bag though. I just want to try and do this trail a little more quickly.
Tent (Big Agnes SL1) – Positives: Awesome little tent, and BOMB PROOF in any weather. I liked the double wall tent, b/c contrary to what I often heard, I did have quite a bit of condensation on this trail. This tent really made it a non-issue. When staked out, this tent had PLENTY of room for my 5’11 frame. It was also very easy to set-up, and I loved just have the mesh on nice nights. Negatives: I had a lot of problems with the zipper separating if the tent was pitched tightly.
On the CDT, I will probably switch back to my tarp and some bug netting. I don’t like sleeping with the critters, but hopefully the netting eliminate some of this.
Quilt (Nunatak Alpine) – Positives: I started with a 20 degree Nunatak Quilt. It was comfortable down to about 30 degrees. It was lightweight, and a great quilt as long as the weather was not extreme. I really appreciated the versatility of the quilt as a light, 3-season quilt. Negatives: I loved the quilt, but even when cinched up, I would get cold spots when turning over if it was cold. This was a little irritating for me since I am a side sleeper that flips back and forth all night.
0 Degree Bag (Montbell Stretch) – Positives: I switched to a 0 degree Montbell Super Stretch. This was an awesome bag since I sleep cold. More often than not I just used it as a quilt. I was snug down into the 20’s, and never had any issues. As a side sleeper, I also loved the fact that the bag would stretch, giving me plenty of room to spread out. Negatives: There were no real negatives with the bag itself, other than it was a little too much bag, and at 3 lbs, a little heavy for the PCT temperatures.
I am looking at a 10 degree WM bag for the CDT, @ about 10 lbs. I am told this is the coldest of the 3 trails on average.
Blue Foam Pad (Walmart Brand) – Positives: I used this pad for the first 900 miles. It was not that heavy, and very comfortable. I really did enjoy this pad. Negatives: It was rather bulky.
Z-lite (Thermarest) – Positives: Light weight, and compact. Negatives: Not comfortable
Inflatable – full length (Thermarest Pro 4) – Positives: This is my pad of choice! It is incredibly comfortable, and made any type of terrain it was used on comfortable. Negatives: You of course sacrifice any weight savings, but it really was not an issue for me.
For the CDT I will probably try the Cascade Designs pad for weight savings. I hear it is much more comfortable than the Z-lite. I will have to look at some reviews first though before ordering it.
Wood Burning Stove (Bush Buddy) – I started the trail with this stove, but it was just so windy and incredibly dry, that I felt uncomfortable carrying it and switched to my pocket rocket.
Cannister Stove (Pocket Rocket) – This is an awesome little stove. Because I used dehydrated food, I was able to have a gas canister last over 3 weeks. I really have nothing negative to say about it.I am considering going stoveless on the CDT. While I enjoyed a hot meal, I often found I preferred to keep walking, and did not make them, ending up with several extras during each section. When hiking I found that I viewed my food as simply functional, and really packed in the calories in town.
Solar Charger (Solio) – This worked well in California, but was useless in Oregon and Washington where I was under canopy much more. I should have just carried 3 – 2 oz batteries instead of 1 – 7 oz charger.
Pack Cover (ULA) – I used this along with a compactor bag for my down bag and clothes.
Sunglasses – I used these diligently in CA, but did not use them after CA. I switched to cheap ones since I lost my Natives.
Pills – I carried a multi-vitamin, Glucosomine, Ibupropen, Benadryl, and Pepto tablets.
First Aid – Included a ziplock back containing bandaids, Neosporin, tape, Tenactin (a MUST have for all rashes).
Hygiene – Brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, earplugs (a MUST have)
Duct Tape – another MUST have. I used this for many different reasons.Hydration (Platypus) – Carried on 3L, and 4 1L. Actually ended up carrying only 1.5 liters of water at any given time on average. Kept a liter in the hydration sack, and a back up .5 liter in one of the other platypus, in case one got a hole. I never got a hole in any of them.
Over time, it really does become more about the journey and not the destination.
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