So, I Returned My Pack

In my last post I described permit day. I wrote of the excitement and anxiety, as well as the ceremonial purchasing of our packs. We were so thrilled to do that. Carty found an awesome Osprey Viva pack and I reluctantly picked out the unisex version of hers, the Volt. Now, don’t get me wrong. This pack felt great on. Osprey is a reputable brand. It should have been an easy purchase. But over the last week, I disliked my pack more each day. First, I hated the burnt orange color of it. As minuscule as color preference sounds, I’ll be wearing this pack every day for six months and I hope to get more use out of it post-PCT. The color frustrated me, but the weight frightened me. My goal is not to be 100% ultra-lightweight, but the horror stories of first time thru hikers with 40-pound packs haunt my dreams.

And after I left work today, I did as my title suggests. I returned my pack.

I walked into Eastern Mountain Sports with a pack half my height and the straps dragging behind. I spoke with an associate who was a thru hiker himself and understood my confusion. He validated my concerns, and led me to a local lightweight gear company… and not Eastern Mountain Sports.

I never felt pressured by Carty or either EMS associates, but I felt pressured by the process. Why don’t I have any of my Big 3 purchased? I have the money ready, but why can’t I commit? Other hikers on the internet seem to have their gear picked, purchased, and prepared. But that’s the thing. We cannot compare ourselves to others, especially with the immense amounts of trendy outdoorsy posts. We must do what we feel is right for us.

As they say, hike your own hike.

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