The Pre-Launch Jitters
Hindsight Is 20:20
I’m sure there are lots of things I will look back at and wish I changed. For example, in my last post I used the section header “The Point of No Return,” which I really should have saved for this one. The last day before takeoff was one of the most hectic days of my life. Somehow I decided to save moving for that morning and it’s just one of those things that’s always more stressful than you expect. Between that and a long afternoon nap (hectic, right?), I left my final gear rundown until about 5:30 at night.
Believe it or not, the gear did not all fit. Overbuying came in two forms for me: the wrong piece of gear for a certain purpose, and pieces of gear with no purpose. That night there were quite a few pieces I had to declare useless on the basis of saving space. Between that and a bit of repacking I got to where I needed to be, but there’s still a king’s ransom of knick-knacks and clothes in this bad boy. Take a look at the spread below!
So that’s my starting kit. All in all, it’s about 30 pounds including food. Without the food, my base weight is 19.4 pounds which can be considered a bit high, but I’m not an adherent of the ultralight lifestyle. Some people are very particular about their weight, and shave ounces and even grams where they can. While I don’t have the experience of hauling this thing around for 2,000 miles, I get the feeling that minimizing weight that way is losing a battle in its own way. I think overfocusing on weight reduction would also make me over analyze the stress on my knees and ankles as I get settled into this thing. Only time will tell on that front.
Here are a few of the items I’m including in my kit that fall into the potentially excess category.
Magnesium fire starter: 0.48 ounces
I bought one of these after failing to get a fire going in the snow on our shakedown trip. It’s light, but honestly after our first day of rain I have a hard time imagining hanging out by a fire instead of chilling in the tent. This one’s high on the list of potential hiker-box items.
Darn Tough socks, extra pair: 2.9 ounces
This one I have no doubts about. Many people consider it a luxury to carry extra socks, but the hiking socks get SO nasty so fast, and having a switch pair means you can wash one pair and still have dry hiking socks.
Gerber paraframe knife, 2.25 inches: 1.3 ounces
This is a bit of a luxury compared to some lighter-weight combos of knife and multi-tool. But I wanted a larger blade than the classic Swiss Army knife so I can cut some cheese out there 😉
Leatherman Style SP: 1.4 ounces
Picked up this bad boy so I would have a pair of pliers as well. As above, there are lighter ways to make this happen, but it was a convenient purchase and weight savings would be around 1 oz so I made the call and moved on.
Microfibre towel: 1.27 ounces
Another luxury. This I picked up purely out of fear of a wet tent. We’ll see if it’s necessary, but my peace of mind is highly dependent on my castle and the ability to hide from the world.
Mylar sheet: 0.52 ounces
Another peace-of-mind installment, the Mylar sheet is good for a crude shelter in place, ground cover substitute, rainfly substitute, and general emergency warmth. This seems like another one that’s likely to be left in a box once I’m a little more accustomed to the trail.
There are a few more things that could fall into this category, and if you’re interested you can check out my Lighterpack site here:
Of course, depending on who you ask, that list could be essentially cut in half. But I’m not quite ready to let go of all my luxuries yet! Stay tuned for more from the trail itself!
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