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City: Las Vegas
Begins: Apr 3, 2010
Date: Sat, Apr 17th, 2010
Trip Distance: 111.9
Entry Visits: 2,001
Journal Visits: 9,988
Guestbook Views: 578
Guestbook Entrys: 8
Pacific Crest Trail Map
The trip was beautiful and went very well. In fact, we now know we could have done more daily miles...averaging 20 miles per day is very doable.
Like I said before, the planning is about the gear so the trip doesn't have to be. My intent is to use gear that would be suitable for a 2600 mile through hike. So what worked well, and what didn't?
MYOG Packs - I decided not too long ago that I could make our own backpacks that would be lighter and more suited to our style than anything commercially available. At under 5oz, my pack worked extremely well. I have learned a few things, and will make some minor changes with the next version, but overall I am very happy and encouraged to make more of my own gear!
SMD Refuge-X tent - A one pound wonder! This tent did very well, even in the stormy conditions. The major drawback with this and any single walled tent is condensation. For that reason I prefer a tarp to a tent. The nice thing about the tent is bug protection...but they are part of nature, right?
GG Thinlight 1/4" thick pad cut down to 21 x 41. I've come to the conclusion that, unless I carry a 6" thick air mattress, there's no real comfort advantage to thicker or air pads. The only reason to go thicker would be for additional ground insulation in winter conditions.
Nunatak Back Country Blanket - while I did modify this quilt in order to save some weight and make it more efficient for us, it's still 90% the way it came. Extremely warm and comfortable...hard to beat. The only concern is that when down gets wet, it has no insulation properties. That said, even with the major condensation from the tent, the BCB got wet on the outside but never really "wetted through" to the insulation. Still, it's a concern for worse conditions. The alternative is synthetic, which even when wet still has good insulation properties, but tends to be heavier and doesn't pack as well. I think with proper care to keep it dry (i.e. going back to a tarp or adding a bivvy), this is still a great option.
No complaints...I was warm and dry the entire time. The Montbell Down Inner Parka is amazingly warm for only 9oz! The Marmot Essense rain jacket vents well enough to use as a wind breaker without making you sweat, and keeps you dry in the rain. Montbell 2 1/2oz wind pants...these are warmer than they have any right being (my only leg insulation). Wigwam Ironman Triathlon socks are great...very thin and comfortable. The only drawback is they only come in white, and only stay that color for about a half hour on the trail. Washing them never really gets them looking good again. They should offer them in black and they would be perfect!
Cooking & Water Storage
First of all, any Trail Designs Caldera Cone is great! I own several different combinations, and have not been disappointed with any. I decided to bring my TG 1100 pot with the Ti-Tri Inferno wood burning setup. This piece of equipment worked excellent! I really like the idea of using wood and not having to carry fuel, but the drawbacks are having to gather wood, constantly feeding the fire, and the fact that the black soot gets all over your hands no matter what you do. That said, I think my "set it and forget it" choice would be using their 12-10 alcohol stove. Works excellent and no mess. If you use this with the Ti-Tri cone, you always have wood as a backup option.
Platypus Hoser 3 liter...for a bladder type of system, this is my go to choice. Others seems to have a bad taste, and the platy never does. The Hoser design has never failed me, although I have had their other square bottom type fail several times. All that said, the only reason I would carry this type is because there isn't much water available and you have to carry more. I prefer to carry two 1 liter Gatorade or water type bottles.
Freezer Bag Cooking (FBC) Minimalist Cozy...I love FBC cooking. Great healthy meals prepared at home, and just add water to rehydrate on the trail. The cozy keeps it nice and hot so it can do its magic!
Essentials & Stuff
Sun Screen - I didn't bring enough for the So Cal desert.
Lightload towel - great at about half the weight of a bandana, but I made the mistake of putting it a washing machine and ruined it. Washing it out by hand makes it last a long time.
Baking Soda - this is the first time I've brought it and WOW, works great for hygiene! Keeps the smells to a minimum!!!
Mr Pumice - I took a small piece of this pumice type stone to keep my feet healthy...one of the best things I have done! I use them at home, so why not on the trail where I am asking allot more than usual of my feet?
Chap Stick for foot lubricant - go with Body Glide!
Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide drops - only used them once during the trip where water source was questionable, but great! Very little taste (unlike chlorine or iodine), and you don't have to carry the extra pound of a filter.
PCT Atlas - everything you need, nothing you don't. Just cut out the pages you need and send the rest forward to your drop boxes!
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 camera - great quality photos, HD video, and water proof. Perfect!
Equipment worn or carried
Shoes - The North Face Prophecy II - these fit me looser than regular running shoes, which I like. I tent to wear my shoes so I can easily slip them on and off.
Columbia Sportswear Crux Shirt - I love the versatility of a long sleeve button front shirt. This one seemed to wear our quickly though.
GoLite Baja Short - 4oz of extreme comfort!
Tilley Endurables Airflow hat - great sun protection, sit pad, ground insulation for your head while sleeping. Love it!
BPL Stix 130cm Fixed Length Trekking Poles - I didn't like using trekking poles until I started using ultralight ones. At less than 4oz each, they're great! (double as tent poles too)
Tech 4-0 Watch/Pedometer/Altimeter/Thermometer - I really don't use all the features, but I like the timer (used to make sure we are taking enough breaks), alarm, and thermometer.
That's pretty much it...ultralight and ultra-comfortable, both on and off the trail. I will of course continue to try new things, that's just in me. But because I was well prepared, everything worked very well on the entire trip. Most of which I would take on a 4 1/2 month through hike!