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Begins: May 1, 2012
Date: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2012
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A Note on Gear
Alright, so I've got my updated gear list, weights and all. I've made a lot of modifications to the gear, and it would be really great if postholer would upgrade the gear list to have a bafore and after weight section. That way people could see what modification people are making and whether they are worthwhile in terms of effort and savings. Oh well, I guess I can do that a bit here. Now I'm no gram-weenie, which is obvious if you look at my total base weight of 24.2 lbs. However, I am a big fan of shaving off unnecessary weight where I can. So I do all the standard stuff like cutting my toothbrush in half, repackaging everything, and slicing off unnecessary straps. These are a few of the more useful tips that I have come up with, or that I have read about elsewhere, for someone with a similar disposition to my own...
Therm-a-rest Z-Lite Sleeping Pad: I love this sleeping pad because it is comfortable, lightweight, and extremely easy to modify. It comes in two sizes, 51" and 72," and initially I was going for the shorter to save weight. But then I realized that the 51" is too long to cover the area I care about (hip to shoulder) and too short to fold in half. I would have to cut off several sections (it folds like an accordion) to get it roughly to size I need. However, with the 72" pad i was able to cut out two 6" segments and fold the whole thing neatly in half. The result is a 30" sleeping pad that is twice as thick, yet only weighs a few ounces more than the shorter and less comfortable pad.
Crocstrap Shoes: I admit, I've always thought Crocs looked ridiculous. However, when I went shopping for a water/camp shoe, these were far better than anything I could find. Again the key words are comfortable, lightweight, and adaptable. In prior backpacking trips I have taken creek shoes from Walmart, but the inserts wear out quickly, and after stream crossings the shoes stay wet for a long time. The Crocs have no insert, and no fabric parts to get saturated. They have great ventilation and fit loosely on the feet, which should make them quick to dry and comfortable in camp. They have a strap at the heel that feels like it does nothing, with how loosely it fits, but sure enough it keeps those suckers on! Finally, because the whole shoe is foam rubber, you can take a razor blade to it and cut away large sections without ruining the integrity of the shoe.
Big Agnes Seedhouse Tent: Consider repackaging your tent in a compression bag instead of the stuff sack it came with. I picked up some cheap compression sacks from Walmart and you would be surprised at how much smaller your tent can get! Of course, I have to keep the tent poles separate, but that's no big deal considering the space saved. I also dropped the tent stakes completely. I've never really needed tent stakes, and even if i do, i can always improvise with rocks or pieces of gear.
Try tooth-powder: This one is pretty common out there in the literature. I found that making my own was cheap and easy. As an added bonus it also makes my teeth feel cleaner than regular toothpaste. I used baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground clove and have a recipe at http://jamesshimp.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html. However, the real fun is in creating your own recipe through trial and error.
James S. 2012 PCT Hike
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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