One Bra or Two

Journal Entries for  February

February 22, 2015

It’s so weird now that we are so close to leaving (a little less than 2 months now), I feel like I don’t have to scrimp on calories anymore. A year ago November, before I knew I would be hiking the trail, I started to cut back on calories and increase my exercise regime because I was trying to lose the 15 or 20 pounds I had put on in the last 26 years of our marriage. Now that I’ve accomplished that goal, it feels odd to be able eat anything I want –knowing I will lose it on the trail.

February 27, 2015

It’s almost March! The countdown officially begins–at least it feels that way because I’m starting to notify all my volunteer places that I will be done at the end of March and I won’t be back until September! I feel like I’ve been keeping a big secret for a long time–and I have! I wanted to make sure that we’d really be going, that I wasn’t still in the pipe dream phase before I said I wouldn’t be back for 6 months! I’m not one for wishing away my life, but I’m really eager for March to be over! I’m ready to go!

Backfire on the AT

Backfire on the AT

One of the things I think about is the irony of the Appalachian Trail. The trail itself is more or less a constant–the same miles, the same paths, the same towns for everyone who hikes it. But every hike is different. Everyone who writes about their trail experience has something new to offer. Everyone comes to the trail with different needs and different goals, and everyone walks away with different lessons learned. It’s an amazing equalizer. On the trail, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you make because, while you are hiking, nothing matters but the hike.  For 2,185 miles we are all just hikers with a common goal. We are not our jobs, we are not our education, we are not our position in life. It’s a great escape!

February 28, 2015

Tomorrow is March 1st. Tomorrow we’ll officially be able to say, “We’re leaving next month.” For almost a year now, the departure date has been light years away, now it’s almost upon us. It’s hard to believe because the temperature was 7 below zero this morning and the snow is piled high outside our door. It’s hard to believe that in six week’s time we might be in t-shirts and shorts–at least in Georgia anyway.

Spider takes a break on the trail

Spider takes a break on the trail

Last night I was looking around online and found  Hiker Box (https://www.hikerboxresupply.com/), an innovative site started by  a former Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Kyrsten “Slayer” French as a result of her frustration over the limited or often overpriced food options on the trail. With Hiker Box,  you can order a variety of typical hiking foods and have them shipped to your next mail drop along the trail–all for a very reasonable price. This would make it possible for people to change their game plan regarding food as they go along rather than pack everything up in boxes 6 months in advance– or having someone back home packing them up and mailing them along the way. With Hiker Box, youcould order a box full of supplies online while you are in town A and have the box arrive in town B  when you get there several days later. I’m not sure exactly what the turnaround time is, but I think it was relatively short. Mel and I will probably just resupply as we can along the way. Even gas stations and convenience stores have foodstuffs that would work for backpacking–Ramen noodles, beef jerky, granola bars etc.–not good food, but adequate sustenance for the miles between towns.

We have been talking about this trip for almost a year now. The conversation tonight turned, not to shaggy toenails and whether to take nail clippers (previous post), but to bras; specifically how many, what kind and what color I should take. Seriously, we talked about bras. I was wondering out loud if I should bring one bra or two. I was leaning towards two because I’m taking two shirts– one to hike in and one to sleep in– so I was thinking I needed two bras and  Mel asks, “Do you really need a bra to sleep in??”

“Well, no. But what if one gets wet in the rain, I won’t want to put on a wet one.”

Mel: “If your bra is wet then your shirt is probably wet. Do you mean you’d want to put on a dry bra under a wet shirt?”

“Well, no. Not when you put it that way. But what about when we do laundry? I’ll need one to wear while one is in the wash. I don’t want to be flouncing all around in a cheesy laundromat.”

Mel: “You could put your rain jacket on over your shirt.”

Hmmm. I’m thinkin’ a water repellant raincoat on my sweaty skin in a hot laudromat might be worse than the embarrassment of flouncing around in a cheesy laundromat.

All this because we are lightweight backpackers and an extra bra is extra weight.

Hmm.

One bra or two?

 

 

 

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Comments 17

  • Laura : Mar 2nd

    I think I’m going to start with 2 and go down to 1 if it feels unnecessary once I get going.

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 2nd

      My bras are so incredibly light weight that it really hardly matters if I have an extra one–but it was worth pondering!

      Reply
  • Ruth : Mar 2nd

    I’m only bringing one sports bra with me but as a lifetime member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee I feel almost equally as comfortable without a bra as I do with one.

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 2nd

      Me too.

      Reply
  • Nancy Camden : Mar 3rd

    My van, my house, my life are set up with everything I MIGHT need. When I travel, I bring it all. This would be an unbelievable lesson to me in doing ‘with’ and without.

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 3rd

      Backpacking truly is a lesson in how little we actually need.

      Reply
  • Jen Ferguson : Mar 3rd

    I took 2 bras on my through hike last year. I was going to switch out, let one dry on back of pack. But the extra wound up being laundry clothes. That, and a pr of running shorts, plus whatever top didn’t need to go in wash(usually a fleece, sometimes raincoat). I think the extra only got washed 2,maybe 3x all trail. But at least I was clean when I was wearing it, so it wasn’t so bad. Have a great journey!

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 3rd

      Thanks. It really is a funny thing to ‘worry’ about because the bras I’m talking about barely weigh anything–no clips, no sliders, no hooks, just nylon or lycra or something light. I appreciate the feedback!

      Reply
  • Bushy : Mar 3rd

    Being a part of the ol’ gal club I have one wicking North Face bra. During laundry I will wear rain jacket and rain pants. Not the best feeling your right but that is only for the maximum an hour. I am a bit heavy up top and things no longer remain where they “should” be so to protect the innocent onlookers I will wear the sports bra. Back in my younger days (the 70-90’s) I did not wear a bra so if your girls are still in the general area where they should be, I say go wild and free just be sure to wear a soft shirt, maybe one with pockets if your shy. You could always try it out at home say around the house then progress outside with a vest or jacket on. You will end up wondering why you ever chose to wear a bra. Of course in the end it should be whatever makes you comfortable, Sparks and I determine we can chose whatever we wish to take we each just have to carry our own stuff. Have a great hike!

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 3rd

      Wonderful response! My girls are fairly small and quite adept at hanging out on their own, but a bra is more comfortable most of the time. In truth, the bras I’m considering are so lightweight that the brand name is called ‘Barely There’. I bet they don’t weigh an ounce, but as my backpacking husband has taught me, the ounces add up–and I do enjoy the challenge of figuring out what’s really necessary and what isn’t. Thanks for your input!

      Reply
  • Jill : Mar 4th

    1 bra; Who cares what you look like in a laundry? Those folks will never see you again. Nor you them. Or start with 2 and toss one if you don’t need it.

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 5th

      Good points! Thanks!

      Reply
  • Christy : Mar 5th

    I’m packing two Patagonia Barely Everyday Bras. They are super lightweight. I think my favorite part is that they are cut pretty narrow so the fabric doesn’t go anywhere near my armpit (my only area prone to chafing). If you decide you don’t need the second one, you can always send it home 🙂

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 5th

      Thanks, Christy! I’ll look at Patagonia. It sounds a lot like the kind I currently wear called Barely There–but not by Patagonia. They are really lightweight.

      Reply
  • letshike2 : Mar 5th

    I use two bras also. I like to have a dry one to sleep in at night but even more i like for the one I hike in to dry and air out during the night. The extra ounces is just worth it to me. And like others have said, you can send it home if you don’t need it.

    Reply
    • Jeanne Church : Mar 5th

      I’ve loved all the different responses to this question and my jury is still out. The bras I have are so lightweight, it will hardly be a deal breaker; but every ounce counts, so it was worth pondering. Thanks for you input!

      Reply
  • Kara : Apr 18th

    I’m bringing 2 bras because I’m backpacking with my husband, thus we have a lot of shared weight (1 iphone, 1 battery pack, 1 double sleeping bag, 1 tent, 1 cookware set, etc) which gives me a little more leeway to bring those borderline things that I had considered a bit luxurious, but that I really wanted. In the end, it comes down to the fact that I don’t want to be hiking without a bra and I don’t want to be forced to put on a sweaty stinky bra.

    Reply

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