So, let’s talk gear.
For post #2, I thought I’d hit everyone’s favorite subject: the highly debated and always controversial topic of “what on earth should i put in this bag I have to carry for over 2000 miles?”
In my opinion, there is nothing like pouring over a good gear list, as I have done (perhaps far too often) for the past three months or so. I’ve got the added bonus of working at REI, so I get paid to talk shop with fellow “gearheads” and found myself testing out loaded backpacks during the slow hours on weekday nights – after all, they do encourage hands-on learning. Anyways, I’ve had a lot of time to research gear and am lucky enough to actually look at most of it in person before making the leap to purchase.
So, without further ado, I’ll leap right in.
I’ve included notes for some items that I took a long time going back and forth on, and the reasons why.
1. Backpack – Osprey Exos 58. 2lbs 6 oz.
While many a fellow REI employee and whiteblaze posting tried to convince me of the merits of a near one-pound Granite Gear pack, I ended up going with this bad boy for a couple reasons. A. Weighing in at 2lbs 6oz it saves on weight without being ridiculous, like needing a sleeping pad for a frame (I’m sorry, I just couldn’t get behind that. Props to you guys who can). B. It has a trampoline back. Even if some may deem them impractical, they are fun to poke when you get bored. C. It is tried and tested by many a thru-hiker. ‘Nuff said.
2. Sleeping Pad – Thermarest NeoAir Xlite, Regular Length. 12oz.
Kinda crinkly at first but not much else to say except for it’s comfortable and I hope it doesn’t get too many holes in it. Apparently these are pretty popular along the trail, and at 12oz you don’t get much lighter.
3. Sleeping Bag – REI Igneo, 19 degree down. 1lb 15oz.
I get a crazy discount on REI gear which is the only way I could justify buying what would have been a $320 sleeping bag. Otherwise, this thing is pretty much amazing in all categories. Sub two pounds, packs down to 6 liters, treated down (retains up to 80% of loft even when wet, something normal down doesn’t do), comfy.
4. Tent – REI Quarter Dome 1. 2lb 2oz (with replacement stakes, MSR Mini-Groundhogs).
Again, discount. Otherwise, would have probably gone with a Big Agnes for a couple more ounces saved but this thing is really easy to set up, and really isn’t too cramped inside for an ultralight one-man tent.
a. Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody – 13.2oz
b. Arc’teryx Alpha SL Jacket – 10.8oz – super light but at the expense of pockets 🙁
c. Patagonia Capilene 3 Baselayer – 50z
d. REI Heavyweight Baselayer Bottoms – 9oz
e. REI Sahara Convertible Pants – 14oz
f. Seirus All-Weather Gloves – 3oz
g. Darn Tough Micro Light Hikers, 2 pairs – 2oz each
h. ExOfficio Give’n’Go Boxer Briefs, 2 pairs – 3oz each
i. DryFit Soccer Jerseys, 2 pairs – 5oz each
j. Everest Sherpa Hat – 5oz
k. Brooks Running Shorts – 5oz
l. Buff, 2 pair – 3oz
m. Camp Socks – REI Expedition Weight, 6oz.
a. First 700-800 miles (I know, I’m expecting a lot out of my shoes) – Brooks Cascadia 10
b. Second 700-800 miles – Brooks Cascadia 9, mail drop.
c. Camp Shoes – VivoBarefoot Ultra, removed inner sock liner thing, 7oz for the pair.
(I’ll have my trusty Vasque boots on standby for a maildrop if necessary at any time. I think I’ll prefer the trailrunners though)
7. Food and Water
a. JetBoil MiniMo – 14.5oz. I chose this because the combined weight of a pot and a pocketrocket, which I was originally considering, was only a weight savings of about 4oz. I’ll take the better fuel efficiency and power of a JetBoil, especially with the MiniMo’s simmer control and wide-mouth opening. I thought for a long time about this one.
b. Sawyer Squeeze Filter – 3oz
c. Nalgene 3L Wide-Mouth Cantene – 2oz
d. Platypus 2L Bladder – 1oz
e. SnowPeak Titanium Spork – .5oz
8. Luxury Items
a. iPhone 4s, with case – 5oz.
b. Kindle Paperwhite – 7oz. This, to me, was a no-brainer. Battery lasts a month and I want to read a lot while on the trail. Backlight is key.
c. Sony NEX-5TL Camera – 10oz. Expensive investment but I have a dSLR that is way too heavy and…I’m not going to not get gorgeous pictures of the 2000 miles I’ll be walking just because I don’t want to carry another half pound. The iPhone 4s camera wasn’t cutting it for my amateur photography snobby ways.
d. Anker Astro 6400 External Battery Charger – 5oz
e. Panasonic Earbuds – .5oz
f. Charging Cables – 2oz
9. Misc Items/Tools
a. Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 Knife – 3oz
b. Black Diamond Spot Headlamp – 3oz
c. EMI Utility Cord – 50ft, 2.4oz
d. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks – 1 4L, 2 8L, 2 13L – total of 6oz
e. Tenacious Tape
f. Ace Bandage
h. SnowPeak Titanium Spork
i. Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap, 2oz
k. Contact Case
l. Contact Solution
n. Small Repair Kit for Sleeping Pad
o. AWOL Trail Guide, cut in I don’t even know how many sections yet.
My base weight, without the camera that I am about to place an order for, is a tad over 16 pounds. I’ll do a final weigh-in before heading out onto the trail.
Things I did not bring :
1. Trekking poles. Yes, a lot of you will look at me like I’m crazy. I’ve done a decent amount of backpacking and mountaineering and prefer no trekking poles to having my hands always busy. I’ll be going with good old fashioned arm swinging, to start at least. I’ve got a pair that can be sent to me if I change my mind.
2. Pack Towel. I’m just going to use a bandanna. A certain someone is really trying to convince me to take hers…I may relent and sacrifice the extra 2oz.
3. Money. Just kidding. I’ll be bringing that too, in rolls of quarters for the obvious weight savings.
Yaxsi Yol! (Good Road)
Andrew “Tunes” Repp
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