Needful Things for My Thru-Hike
So just what am I taking along on my thru-hike attempt of the PCT besides the common things like a quilt, tent, backpack, and bum-chafe cream? I thought I’d shed some light on some of the pieces that are particular to me. Luxury items and oddities and how I decided on why I (might) need them.
As I’ve learned from past hikes, nothing is certain. You can’t control the weather and you’ve got to try really hard not to pack your fears. Do I really need that machete with the 12-inch blade for all those rumored hillbillies and white supremacists in Oregon? Hmm. Anyway, no one really knows what is going to happen. All you can do is make an educated guess on the things you’ll need and what the weather might do. The great thing about a thru-hike is it unfolds at a gentle pace. It gives one time to ponder on what is necessary and what is just the equivalent of navel fluff. Heavy fluff, I might add. So without further adieu, first up is:
Now this stuff is 100 percent absolutely essential. It’s on a par with air as far as importance goes with me. I am not one of those stoveless types who shout that they love cold coffee. Cold coffee on an icy morning in the Sierra? No! Just NO! Not gonna happen!
So I’ll be taking this little guy along with me: the Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy. I think the silly name weighs more than the actual item.
Weight: (excluding the coffee) 1.06 ounces.
Now this often goes hand in hand with the previous one, coffee. Sipping an Irish coffee while watching the sun dip behind the mountains can round off an already perfect day of hiking. However, this is most definitely not an essential; rather, it’s very much a luxury and won’t be something I’ll have on me all the time. Otherwise, well, then I’ve got bigger problems than falling into a stream and drowning or getting eaten.
I’ll be carrying my whiskey in this: the Platypus PlatyPreserve. Which really is just a gimmicky Platy; however, at least I’ll know which Platy has my fun juice and which has my water, as the bottles look quite different. I do not want to mix up those two while brushing my teeth in the morning.
Weight: (excluding the whiskey) 0.70 ounces.
Now this was a difficult one. Not on whether to bring it but on what lenses and accessories to bring. I’ve been on too many trips to know that I love having a good camera on hand. The terrain the PCT passes through is too spectacular to just have a cellphone to record it.
So camera body will be a Fujifilm X-T2 along with a 35mm prime lens and a 16mm wide-angle prime lens. All three have weather sealing and give me a wide range of options, from shooting portraits, landscapes, and macro. Yes, these items add massively to my base weight but the amount of enjoyment and satisfaction I’ll get out of them voids the weight penalty. Besides, compared with similar items they’re actually quite light.
Weight for all three: 2.33 pounds.
Obviously, these go together with the camera but I’ve separated them for ease of reading. I’ll have two batteries for the camera and two 16GB SD cards. In trail towns I’ll upload my photographs to the cloud for editing later.
In addition I have a very tiny tripod that weighs about the same as two ballpoint pens that I picked up years ago in a vintage shop. It’s perfect for shooting night skies or getting that fancy blurred effect from a flowing stream.
I’ll also be making use of a Peak Capture clip on the shoulder strap of my pack to hold the camera and to make sure I have quick, unhindered access to it. There is no point in having a camera if it’s always buried under your stinky clothes in your pack. If it is difficult to get to then it just ends up being unused. That just means dead weight, arguably two of the dirtiest, most unutterable words in the thru-hiker universe. Luckily, I have found that I don’t need to bring any extra cables for charging as the cable that came with my power bank also works with the camera. Win!
Weight for the above little lot: 0.84 pounds.
All of the rest of my gear is pretty stock standard, which you can see here: LighterPack
The above are luxury items, even (cough) the coffee maker. I wouldn’t die without them but to me they’re great to have and I reckon they’ll make my thru-hike that much more enjoyable. After all, there is going to be enough suffering going around already.
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