All you have to do is ask
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received so far is to ask companies to sponsor your thruhike or send you products for your use and review on the trail. After reaching out to dozens of companies, I was lucky enough to get a response from Sawyer Products and Hydroflask. I received a box full of Sawyer goodies and a Hydroflask of my choice. I tested all of my products out on a 3 day backpacking trip on the Arizona Trail in the Superstition Wilderness.
All in all, I received some great products. I strongly encourage everyone to try both products at least once. I also recommend that anyone atempting a thru hike reach out to companies that they are interested in, and just ask what they can do to help. Even if it seems like a long shot, you might be surprised at the responses you receive. However, even though there is some cool gear out there, you have to ask yourself if it is really necessary on your thru hike.
Do I bring a Hydroflask on the AT?
Waking up to a nice cup of tea is probably my favorite way to start the day, and I wanted to be able to do this on the trail. With my Hydroflask, I was able to pour near boiling water into the bottle and enjoy steaming hot tea until the last drop. I did not have any experience with cold liquids on the trail because the temperature outside was 90 degrees. (However, I have used my Hydroflask before my hike, and I can definitely attest to the fact that it keeps liquids colder than any other bottle I have ever owned.) Anyways, I quickly realized how much every ounce counts, and that your gear really needs to be multipurpose. Though I really enjoyed being able to drink hot tea while hiking, I will not be bringing a Hydroflask on my thru hike because it is not worth the weight in my pack.
Do I use a Sawyer squeeze on the AT?
Speaking of pack weights, one item that definitely saved my back was my Sawyer squeeze. With this awesome device, you can filter water almost instantly. This means you don’t have to pack out tons of water or fear not having enough to keep yourself hydrated. My filter was so easy to use; I opted to attach mine to a Smart Water bottle and fill the bottle with stream water as necessary. However, there is an option to attach the device to a water reservoir to be kept in your pack if you would like hands free hydration on your hike. I never had any issues with my Sawyer squeeze, and will definitely be taking one of every backpacking trip I take in the future.
Thanks again Sawyer Products and Hydroflask for letting me test your awesome products!
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