Something Old, Something New, How Do You Cook?, and What Kind of Shoe?
What’s in OneFoot’s backpack? And what brand is OneFoot’s backpack? As mentioned before, gear preference is really a personal trial and error endeavor. Ray has been hiking and backpacking for many years and has amassed quite a collection of outdoor gear. Whenever he mentions my closet or shoes, I remind him of this. Touché. I win. From among the REI-Galli branch store, he has chosen to start the trail with the following gear:
Interesting note on this one…until very recently (like yesterday) Ray had planned to hike with his Aarn Natural Balance backpack and Balance Pockets. It is big and heavy but he loves it. He thought about purchasing the Aarn Featherlite Freedom to save weight but the idea of purchasing another backpack just didn’t seem practical.
It is at this point in our blog that we introduce Ray’s mom, Bea. Those reading our blog will come to know Bea through our future writings. Those hiking the AT in 2018 will, if they are lucky, have the pleasure of meeting her along the way. She will need a trail angel name – but we will leave that to the folks she meets along the way. Bea has long been Ray’s personal trail angel and has been known to drop everything at a moment’s notice (sometime even less!) to go rescue his ass somewhere along the trail. No distance is too great, no request is too much. For example, there was that super hot summer that Ray decided to take off and do some good miles on the trail, while recovering from shingles. I wasn’t on board with the idea, knowing the pain he had been in for that past several weeks but off he went. He was only a day or so in when Bea got the call to come rescue him. The heat combined with the straps of Ray’s backpack falling directly on the painful rash were too much. If Bea had a blue light and siren she would have used it that day; she arrived in no time and never was Ray more grateful. Hikers in the Williamstown MA area have benefited from Bea’s keen eye for backpackers in need. She’s given countless rides to those around the AT in Williamstown over the years. While in our family Bea is lovingly teased for her generous gift giving at birthdays, Christmas and other occasions, it is truly her unconditional love and support that we treasure the most. Everyone should have a Bea on their side in life. It’s that simple. We introduce Bea at this point in our blog because Ray recently turned 50…and that prompts the questions “what’s a mom to get for her son for his 50th?”. Well, the Aarn Featherlite Freedom, of course! So there you have it – Ray will begin his hike with the Aarn Featherlite Freedom-Long and Balance Pockets. Ray opts to waterproof from the inside out and uses a trash compacter liner rather than a pack cover. It should be noted the Aarn backpack is water resistant in and of itself.
The Sleep System
Ray has chosen to go with his hammock. His shelter, for most nights, will be the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock (1.15 lbs) accompanied by the Warbonnet Mamjamba tarp (13.5oz) and Warbonnet Yeti 20-degree down underquilt (12.5oz). He’ll start the trail, in the cooler weather, with the North Face Superlight 0-degree sleeping bag (3.3 lbs). Once the weather warms up, he’ll switch that bag out for his North Face Cat’s Meow (2.15 lbs)
Ray plans to carry 1.5 to 2 pounds of food per day – with an average of 4-6 days at a time. He’ll carry the much needed calories in his Ursack rodent-proof bag. He’ll be cooking with his Primus pot on the Snow Peak Giga Power stove. A Sea-to-Summit titanium spoon and custom-crafted plastic cup rounds out this place setting. And by “custom-crafted”, we mean old camping cup that Ray cut the handle off of…kinda changing that old adage to “if it’s broke, don’t fix it”.
As mentioned in a previous blog entry, Ray will be using Aquamira drops while the weather is still a bit chilly. With the warmer temperatures, he’ll move to the Sawyer Squeeze water filter system. All using the Platypus Hoser 2L (2 liter) system.
OneFoot’s Two Feet
OY! The blisters over the years. We could share pictures, but we won’t. Alas, Ray seems to have conquered the day-to-day blister issue with the New Balance Leadville trail running shoe with the Superfeet orange insoles. The REI shoe department is located in our garage but most of those options don’t see the trail anymore since Ray discovered the extra-wide (EE) version of the Leadville. I envy his blister-free existence when we hike together but am relieved that he finally found a solution.
Onefoot’s both feet have come to love the Injinji toe socks. Definitely function over fashion! But, there is still nothing better than Merino wool socks with Crocs for hanging around camp in the evening. That’s right, I said it, he’ll be rocking the Crocs with socks.
And let’s not forget the Dirty Girl gaiters; peace sign pattern, of course.
Pictures, Playlists and Posts
Those who receive our annual holiday card are well aware of Ray’s ability to capture nature at her finest. On this adventure, he plans to leave the camera/lenses at home and shoot with the much lighter and multi-tasking iPhone 6s Plus. He’ll send his daily/weekly posts home to me and have his music available, as well. His Mophie Juice Pack will give him the extra battery life needed until his next in-town recharge.
What else is in that bag?
Well, there are clothes, of course – because not every day is Hike Naked Day (June 21 of each year…and yes, I would imagine Ray is taking a “zero day” on June 21). He’ll carry his clothes in a Sea-to-Summit dry bag.
First aid kit is a must! All the usual items are in there plus A&D ointment (Ray’s miracle cure for chaffing), and electrolyte tablets (particularly useful in the heat).At Ray’s recent physical, he spoke with his doctor about his upcoming AT adventure. As precautionary measures, Ray was given a prescription for Doxycycline Hyclate (to reduce chances of Lyme disease if taken as prescribed after tick bite) and a prescription for MetroNIDAZOLE (to treat the dreaded Giardia).
His toiletry kit includes paper, hand sanitizer, diaper wipes and Ziploc bag for trash. Oh, and the Deuce of Spades!
He uses the Petzl headlamp, a holiday gift from Bea a few years back. Maybe a little heavy for some but a piece of equipment that Ray really likes.
The cork grip Leki trekking poles he uses have some age to them…tried and true, for sure. He wraps a good amount of duct tape on each pole. I never understood this until we were out and had an equipment failure of some sort. In true MacGyver fashion, Ray was able to make the repair and save the hike using the tape (slight exaggeration there but you get the point). We’ve also been known to use duct tape to cover/protect blisters.
Any luxury items?
Yes, indeed. Ray loves his ThermaRest RidgeRest that he carries on the outside of his pack. Necessity? No. Extra weight? Yes. Worth it? Oh hell yes…makes any camp in the evening just a bit more comfortable.
That’s the plan, for now. Still a few months left before departure…and the holidays are just ahead so who knows what Bea will have under the tree for OneFoot. Stay tuned!…
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