The First 200: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Our favorite and least favorite items in our packs and on our backs. Along with a very small trail dictionary at the end.

Backpacking as a pair has numerous advantages; sharing gear and splitting gear between packs are just the first two to come to mind. Kelsey carries the quilt and sleeping pad while I carry the tent and stove. Two of our favorite items are actually our Exped Synmat Duo pad and our Enlightened Equipment Accomplice two-person quilt. Both of these are lightweight and make sleeping in a tent just as comfy as sleeping at home. Seriously, it’s just as comfy. No, we are not sponsored. We just love these products and would strongly recommend them to any couple planning to spend time in the great outdoors… or just one person who likes a really giant bed.

Guthook Guides is also a hot ticket item for us. This is our main navigational source; its only drawback is that it is reliant on phone battery power. (This hasn’t been a problem yet as we can charge in towns and with our Anker battery pack.) The app is very simple to use and worth every penny. It uses the internal GPS of your phone so it works when your phone is in airplane mode. (Very helpful to those trying to use minimal battery life.) It shows distance from your location to water with comments on how reliable the water source is. Locations of tent sites along the trail with reviews of how good they are. (High wind area, exposure, views, basically anything you could think of.) It is just like your old trusty map except that you can pinpoint exactly where you are in relation to everything around you. We love it and believe everyone and anyone thru-hiking would also take a strong liking to it.

Cody using Guthook for the 39th time that day.



Kelsey: Ramen with cashews and a side of apple sauce. Orange Tang to put in water! Jolly Ranchers and any other snack a small child would like.

Cody: Breakfast shake: consisting of one-third cup powdered milk, one packet of Chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials, and one serving of instant oats. And Snickers bars.


Kelsey: Tortillas. “I hate tortillas.” But Cody loves them; he says they’re an “edible dish rag.” EW.

Cody: Banana instant oatmeal (but Kelsey likes these).

(Thankfully we’re both not picky AT ALL so this list is teeny tiny… so far)

Paradise Valley Cafe – Jose Burger.


Kelsey: I’ve worn everything I packed so far but found that my winter hat and T-shirt have been the most useless. The sun is so strong here in the desert that I can’t wear my T-shirt too long before starting to burn or get too hot. All three of my other top layers have hoods so I’ve only found myself putting on my winter hat once on top of Mount San Jacinto for 15 minutes. Might be sending that home.

My favorite item is my long sleeve OR Echo Hoody that I have recently cut thumb holes in to keep my hands from burning. It dries in a flash!

Cody: I have not worn everything I’ve packed. I’m a dirty stinky dude so why would I? All jokes aside, the desert sun is way too hot to have a T-shirt so if you’re planning on bringing one leave that sucker at home. My T-shirt and camp socks have stayed at the bottom of my stuff sack since the day we left and haven’t moved. I don’t wear camp socks because after a long day of hot, sweaty feet I try to let them puppies breathe. I’ll likely be sending the T-shirt home but I’ll keep the socks for when we get a shot at higher altitudes and colder weather.

My favorite clothing item has been my Columbia long-sleeved Titanium shirt. It’s super light and dries faster than you can say Lemony Snicket. Seriously, it feels like by the time I take my pack off and set it on the ground my shirt is already completely dry. It’s a game changer.

We also thought we’d take this opportunity to explain some trail terminology that we may use for those of you who don’t know the lingo yet.

Zero day: Hiking zero miles to rest and recoup. Or to just enjoy some time off because lord knows we need it.

Nero day: Hiking “nearly zero” miles. This way we can hike into or out of a town to resupply or shower or stay in a hotel, or all of the above. A lot of our neros are around ten to 12 miles.

Resupply: This one is pretty easy; this is how we get food on trail. You hitchhike or walk into a town and buy food for the next amount of days until you need food again. Or you pick up a box at the PO that you’ve sent yourself in advance.

This is how Cody spent his nero.

The things we’ve learned about each other:

Kelsey: Cody is the biggest tent site snob I’ve ever met! He needs perfectly flat beautiful pristine tent site near water; tent sites only existent in his dreams. Hahah!

Cody: Kelsey must know the exact mileage to the T; hahah she’ll start doing math to figure out the distance we have left and the amount of time it will take if she’s bored. Hahahah.

Just in case you haven’t noticed we’re having a blast together!!!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this smorgasbord of information. If you have any further questions or want to hear about something specifically, ask away in the comment section.

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Comments 4

  • Kelly Nelson : Jun 5th

    One question for Cody – please do tell what kind of bed you have at home so we can all avoid getting one! Lol. No seriously, I’m enjoying reading about your adventure! Stay safe and Godspeed!

    • Cody : Jun 8th

      Thanks Kelly!!! I was in the Navy for four years so just about anything beats those mattresses. In all seriousness our pad is very nice and feels very similar to a real bed at home. It’s about as good as it gets for backpacking 😊.

  • Michaeline Fall Curtis : Jun 7th

    You two are amazing in so many ways but I am compelled to comment on your travel writing skills — WOW. Your tales make me smile …. I almost want to get off my lazy toosh to try hiking. Yeah, “almost” is the qualifier here 😊
    May your most excellent adventure continue to thrill and inspire you. Be safe! And, Jon Krakauer beware! K and K are serious competition. Xoxo

    • Cody : Jun 8th

      Thanks Micky!!! We’re so glad you’re enjoying it. We got a good laugh from your comment so thanks for that haha. We can’t wait to catch up with you when we’re done!!!


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