All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Carbon Z’s
Santa Claus: And what do you want for Christmas?
Me: I want official Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z lightweight 9 ounce, 100% carbon fiber, trekking poles!
Santa Claus: You’ll make me broke, kid (and you might poke your eye out).
I sent my parents our Christmas list this week, and they nearly had a heart attack. We have invested in most of our gear throughout this past year, and all I see are $$$ as well. My sweet mother has instilled in me to never spend over $20 on an article of clothing, and now I find myself adding a $65 tank top to my Christmas list. She doesn’t understand the reasons behind it, and it pains me to spend that much money on a stupid tank top as well. But what she doesn’t realize is how much I must place my trust in these items to last me for the next six months. I must weigh everything (literally). Are they packable, do they hold onto stench? Is this durable enough? These are questions she cannot wrap her mind around, and truly, I barely can either.
So, let’s talk about gear. Everyone’s favorite subject. Except mine. Probably my least favorite topic to research; it makes my head spin. Do I invest in an ultralight tent or do I stick with my trusty REI Quarter Dome? Should I bite the bullet and spend $190 on Smartwool base-layers or do I cave into buying a polyester shirt that will absorb every bit of odor in each woven fiber.
Everyone’s budget is different. Every hiker’s approach will vary in what they believe a dirtbag should invest in. People swear by certain brands, gear, luxury items, or even how to properly treat a blister. Boots vs trail runners. Sleeping bag vs. quilt. Tent vs. Bivys. Z Packs vs. Gossamer Gear. Every single person has their opinions and places value in different items. No one is right, and no one is wrong. But after all of our research, here is what Parkes and I have decided to place value in…
Garmin Inreach Explorer+ (safety first, you’re welcome mom)
Ultra Trail Running Shoes
Gossamer Gear Umbrellas
Standard Items – Items We Did Not Spend Bookoos of Money On
REI Quarter Dome Tent (will split between the two of us to save on weight)
Cooking stove and pot
Headlamp (best $20 I’ve ever spent)
Rain gear (the cheapest of cheap)
30 degree REI Magma sleeping bag (will bring sleeping bag liner for cold nights)
A couple things we have decided to go without to save on weight.
- Pillow (will use stuff sack with clothes instead)
- Sleeping pad (will use a Nemo Switchback)
- Deodorant (there is no amount of antiperspirant to hide the fact that we smell like a butthole)
- Toilet paper (I prefer to use a nice smooth rock anyway)
- Bug spray (we surrender and succumb to all bug bites)
- Towel / wash rag
Some people will read this article and think we are insane for not investing in certain items. But who cares! Hike your own hike! We can prepare as much as we can but I bet you within the first week, some of your “must-have” items will end up in the hiker box. We live and we learn. Let us make mistakes (and trust me, we will make a whole lot of them). This whole journey is so we can challenge ourselves and learn what to place value in. Some will carry a 15-pound home, others may be pushing 45, and that is OK. To those carrying above 45 pounds, I will pray for you and your beloved knees on those steep descents.
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Well-done! I love to compare lists of “luxury” items. I think you did a nice job of showcasing our adult hiking Christmas lists😂
I love my REI quarter dome! if I was hiking with my spouse I split the weight and carry it! The gear issue has been a roller coaster ride. I some items I splurged on and others I absolutely refuse to buy because of the over hype. Altra’s are on my refuse to buy list. I’ve been using Brooks Caldera’s and Cascadia’s for several years and don’t think I should switch it up now. Gear is such a personal choice as long as the person carrying it is happy nothing else matters.