The Inevitable Gear Lists! Part 4: Hydration and Cook Systems
Welcome back to my gear list series! Give yourself a pat on the back for hanging in there this long. I firmly believe if you’ve made it through the first three, you just might have what it takes to make it to Katahdin.
A FEW THINGS FIRST:
One of the things you should know about me is that I’m a foodie. Cooking is one of my most cherished creative outlets. It is my hope to avoid a single honey bun or ramen bomb for the entire 2200 miles. So I’ve probably spent more time thinking about this part of my pack than anything else.
HYDRATION: Sawyer Squeeze, Cnoc 2L bag, 2 Smart Water bottles (1L & 24oz sport bottle)
Why I chose it/why I like it: I picked the Squeeze years ago after reading some reviews, and I’ve been really pleased with it. I ditched the bags that come with the filter because they were harder to squeeze and I wanted something with a wide opening to make filling faster, easier, and more adaptable to a variety of situations. If necessary, I have the capacity to carry almost four liters of water. That’s more than enough for the AT, but it allows me to save time in my morning routine. I can collect enough water for dinner and breakfast in one trip. I am already pretty slow to break camp in the morning, so anywhere I can shave a few minutes is a blessing.
COOK SYSTEM: Jetboil Minimo, Sea to Summit long-handled titanium spork, GSI Infinity mug, homemade pot cozy.
Why I chose it/why I like it: my Jetboil gets a lot of miles, on and off the trail. When I go car camping, it goes with me, too, along with the French press accessory. I really like the stability of the system. Yes, it is heavy, and I have my eyes on the Stash, but it wasn’t in the budget to upgrade this year.
“But Tdee, you have a mug. Isn’t that redundant?”
Yes and no. Could I drink out of my pot, or its attaching bowl? Yes, I could. I have developed a system that employs all my kit at one time. At camp, I boil my water. When it boils, I add some to my mug for hot cocoa, some to my freezer bag meal du jour, and tuck it away to rehydrate. While that is going on, I use part of the rest of the hot water to clean my hands so I can remove my contacts, and the rest I pour on a bandanna to give my feet a rejuvenating sauna bath. When my food is ready, I use the bowl to just hold the freezer bag, no dirty dishes aside from the mug, which only sees hot cocoa and coffee. In the morning, as I’m packing up, I will throw a couple coffee sticks in my mug and hang it on my pack so that when I’m ready for a midday coffee nap, a hack I picked up from a previous thru hiker, I won’t have to stop and dig into my pack. I don’t even have to take my pack off. It’s a couple ounces of convenience and efficiency for me.
FOOD STORAGE: Sea to Summit 20L Evac dry bag, Cloud Gear rock bag, 50ft of reflective line, small carabiner.
Why I chose it/why I like it: My baby hiker self had an REI gift card, which is how much of my Sea to Summit gear came into my life. I had thought about switching to a DCF bag, the difference in weight and water resistance is negligible. However, while I was out on my LASH, my bag stood out in a sea of blue bags in bear boxes and lines. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I did upgrade to the Cloud Gear rock bag from whatever silnylon bag I had before. So far so good. It’s compact and is easier for me to get up in a tree. I can use all the help there I can get!
Before you ask…
My starting base weight is somewhere around 23lbs. Meg is just shy of 32lbs with a four-day food bag and full consumables. Not bad for winter weight! I am aware of places where I could easily cut almost five pounds from my kit if I had the money to replace a few things. Maybe for my next hike!
I do have to give a shout-out to Backcountry Foodie for helping me keep my food weight down by focusing on calorie to weight ratio. Her website www.backcountryfoodie.com is a treasure trove of great nutritional and food strategy education.
That’s it for my gear series! Amicalola, I will see you soon!
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