A Clydesdale goes backpacking


First post!  It’s getting closer and closer…….

Most people have already left their Terminus and are well on their way.  I’m amazed that some folks I saw all clean and nervous on their first day are now posting 100 mile increment updates.  I’m still in hover mode waiting for July 1 when I’ll be starting my first long trip on the Superior Hiking Trail, SOBO.

Gear, gear, gear……It’s been my major focus for the last couple of months.  I’ve got a pile of gear I’ve accumulated over the last 10 years or so from previous successful and failed adventures.  I’m trying to make gear I already own work for me for my first backpacking trip. Full disclosure: I’m a Clydesdale. I have been dropping weight and increasing my level of fitness for about 6 months.  I’m still 250+lbs. Carrying an additional pound or two really doesn’t concern me much. I’m not waiting for the perfect time or my perfect level of fitness. I’m leaving when I’m leaving and it will work itself out. Everything always works itself out.

My stuff is older but in really good shape and there’s some new additions.

Tent:  Tarptent Double Rainbow.

I’ve had this for about 7 years.  I love this tent. I’ve grown accustomed to removing the top strut in order to pack the tent into a pannier and now a backpack.  I have the strut strapped to the single pole and will keep it on the side of my pack. I threw some duct tape around a toilet paper roll just for piece of mind that the pole/strut won’t work a hole in the mesh pocket and disappear.

Sleep System:  Big Agnes Lost Ranger bag and a Big Agnes insulated Q-Core pad.

A 15 degree bag is overkill but I’ve been ‘Up-Nort’ with it before and didn’t spend the whole time sleeping on top of it.  It can get cold in July. The pad is heavy by today’s standards, but its 4” thick when inflated. I’m a side sleeper with back issues, several missing ribs, some scars that can be measured in feet, and that resemble tent flaps.  If I could carry a waterbed, I’d consider it.

Pack:  Granite Gear Crown VC 60

I just bought this pack on mega-super-close-out.  It seemed to be highly rated in the past, light-ish weight and the price was right at under $100.  My biggest concern for this pack is that it’s 60 liters. I’m trying not to fill it all the way.

Cook System:  GSI Soloist / Homebrew alcohol stove

I’ve used this set-up for almost 10 years.  I might throw down for a titanium pot/cup combo and ditch the Soloist before this trip starts.  It’s been crushed flat in the past and beaten back round-ish. I like this particular size because of the height.  You can heat a can of food in a water bath and the lid still closes to hold in the heat. I don’t always boil water for meals, but I like having the option.  I keep the stove, a windscreen, lighter, bandana, headlamp and knife tucked inside.

Shoes:  Undecided.

I’ve tried 3 different shoes in the last 2 months.  I’ve played with using no liner socks, thin liners and thick liners.  I’ve played with stock insoles and aftermarket insoles. So far shoes seem to be my biggest issue.  I just bought another pair of shoes that arrived yesterday that I’ll be trying out on a 10 mile road walk this afternoon.  I think shoes and bicycle saddles are similar. It’s different for everyone and can be frustrating, but when you find the right one, you’ll know.


State parks in Wisconsin don’t turn the water on until later this month and I’m still on contract for another 7-10 days anyway.  I’ve got a few 3 day shake down trips planned to try stuff out and still have time to adjust. I will have an updated gear list when it gets down to the nitty-gritty.

I hope EVERYONE reading this has some sort of future adventure planned.  If you don’t, start planning one NOW and try to make small incremental steps to get you there.

You’re stronger than you think and life is shorter than you think…..



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Comments 6

  • Scott A Brotherton : May 12th

    Best of luck and I look forward to your updates – Altho a native Mid-Westerner (OH) myself (now a NC transplant) I know very little about your intended trek…

    • Eric Rimel : May 13th

      Hi Scott!
      I hope to do some updates on the trail and a few more regarding gear and motivation for this hike before I leave. The Superior Hiking Trail is considerably shorter than the AT/CDT/PCT Superior Hiking Trail. I’m going to be doing 250+ miles of it from the Northern Terminus near the Canadian border to where ever I end up parking my car around Duluth, Minnesota. I decided to start here to dip my toes in the pool rather than a cannonball into the deep end of the AT. I’m pretty sure there will be a cannonball into the deep end of something in the future.

  • Jeremy Pease : May 13th

    I think it is awesome that larger hikers are finally being recognized. I shared this article I have on Facebook for oversized hikers so we will all be wishing you luck, and hope for updates.

  • Aimee : May 13th

    Excited to follow along your adventure! I’m a ‘big girl’ about 3 months into hiking, making plans for my first overnight soon! My husband and I would love to hike a shorter long trail next summer. We have our eye on the Sheltowee Trace, but may have to settle for hiking it in sections. Best of luck on your hike!

  • Fish : May 13th


    Congrats on being accepted as a trail blogger and the weight drop! To make this about myself, I have been dropping weight too, I know I would like to do something cool, but I am not sure what yet. I am going to keep tabs on your blog as you progress. I am excited to see what will happen! Thanks for using your summers to do cool stuff.


    • Eric Rimel : May 16th

      Great to hear from you. 10 years???? Man. Yes! Follow along, please. Get motivated to do something, then do it.


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