Is Packing Your Bikini Ultralight? I’d Say So!
I’ve never been a big gear junkie. I feel like everyone has formulated an opinion on the latest and greatest gear. I’ve always taken that with a grain of salt because what works for one person might not work for another. On the AT I learned that quick. I learned that I do not like to carry a lot. At the start of my hike I had bags tied to the outside of my pack dangling as I walked. See Exhibit A.
As I covered myself in 100% Deet, I threw on my bug net jacket and strapped on my sleeping pad and some leftover pizza. I hiked like that all the way from Maine to Pennsylvania. After 895 miles, I ran into Hambone and Captain. Their packs were so small and they barely carried anything! They were basically sprinting down the trail. I was pushing as hard as I could to keep the same pace even though I was carrying 30-35 pounds on my back. I was in need of a shakedown!
It was pouring rain and as we huddled into the surprisingly large privy the shakedown had begun. Hambone threw everything he said “I didn’t need” in a plastic bag and tied that bag so tight I couldn’t get into it! In the spirit of ultralight, I didn’t look in the bag. I hiked into Delaware Water Gap and shipped it home. I knew I had to make some sacrifices and that my body would thank me. I cut my foam sleeping pad so small that it only covered half of my back. That didn’t seem as extreme as Captain trading in his sleeping bag for two fleece blankets and an emergency bivy. See Exhibit B—Swan Dive 2.0.
The reality is you have to make a few sacrifices if you want to have a lighter pack. Believe me, your body will thank you! Being across the world, I won’t have the luxury of cross-shipping things I don’t need. I must have my pack dialed in by the time my feet hit the sandy beach of New Zealand.
What Am I Bringing to New Zealand?
My strategy is to pack items with dual purpose:
Bikini = bra and underwear
Buff = sleep mask and headband
Socks = gloves and socks
Antibiotic Cream = Chapstick and ointment
Luekotape = blister protector and repair kit for tent
Gold Bond Powder = chafing prevention and treating trench foot
Trekking Poles = hiking assistance and holding up tent
Tent Stakes = secure tent and chopsticks
Wet wipes = shower and toilet paper (but not used at the same time)
Toothpaste = brush teeth and treat bee stings and mosquito bites (no hydrocortisone cream needed)
On the AT I got tired of carrying a lot. When I would resupply I would barely pack out any food. That’s probably one of the worst strategies. I ended up hangry (hungry/angry) and depleted of the nutrition I needed. Lowering my base weight allows me to carry more food and water and still feel comfortable on my next trail!
For a more detailed description of what is in my pack, check out my video blog!
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