The Weight of my Fear

I‘ve heard that we carry our fear as weight. I don’t remember where I first saw or heard this, but most recently I read it on an Instagram post by @thebobbyblaine. As I was hiking the other day, I started to contemplate this fact. I decided it would be an interesting exercise to do the math and figure out how much my fear actually weighs. I based my weights on things I chose over what someone who is generally going ultralight would carry or not carry.

The Fear: Not being able to carry all my fear

The Items:

Osprey Viva vs ULA Circuit

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you already know I bought the ULA Circuit first and then switched to the Osprey Viva. I realized the bottom line was that I needed a pack could accommodate all my fears.

Weight (lbs): 1.3lbs

The Fear: Being wet and cold

The Items:

Outdoor Research Helium Bivy Sack

Arc’teryx Beta AR Rain Jacket

Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiters

North Face Aphrodite Pants (instead of just shorts)

I don’t like being cold and wet. Who does, I guess. The bivy sack, rain jacket, and gaiters are to soothe my fear of the crazy snowpack in the Sierra this year. The pants, well, I didn’t want to just go with shorts the way some people do. I couldn’t convince myself that wouldn’t be crazy.

Weight (lbs): 2.86lbs  

The Fear: Discomfort

The Items:

MSR Carbon Reflex 2 w/footprint

Sea to Summit Pillow

Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Xlite

Bedrock Cairn Sandals

Sea to Summit Folding Bucket

Sleeping bag liner

The fear of discomfort is a big one, as can be seen by the number of items. My fear is that if I’m physically uncomfortable, the mental challenge will reach emergency proportions and may push me over the edge.

I did the math of the MSR 2-person Carbon Reflex versus a Z-Packs Solplex, because it’s so popular and light.

I put in my air mattress, because, although I am also taking a Therm-a-Rest Z-lite, I couldn’t imagine only using the foam pad for the entire trail.

The bucket is to alleviate my fear of not being clean, and it will allow me to have a place to wash my undies, socks, Lunapads, and feet. Not all at once, of course. Plus it will allow me to collect water where it might be difficult to fill my water bottle directly.

The sleeping bag liner is a non-ultra-light item, and I didn’t know where else to include it.

And the Cairns, they’re just damn cool and will let my feet breathe after hiking. Happy feet equals happy hiker.

Weight (lbs): 4.24

The Fear: Food, Water and Health issues

The Items:

Camelbak All Clear Water Purifier and Pre-Filter

Ursack food bag

Tic tweezers

This odd collection of items includes my water purifier, which while heavy, will kill everything and doesn’t come with bags that will break or a filter that needs to be cleaned. The food bag comforts my fear of losing food to critters, and tics are just incredibly gross!

Weight (lbs): 0.98

The Fear: Mental Breakdown

The Items:

iPod touch

Goal Zero Nomad 7+ with Flip 20

When the going gets tough, nothing perks me up more than an episode of Friends. I figure listening to music or an audio book will also be a huge morale booster when necessary.

I put the solar charger here, again, not because it’s a fear, but because it’s an item that many people choose not to carry due to weight.

Weight (lbs): 0.61          

Total Weight of My Fears = 10 lbs

So, there you have it. My fears total a whopping 10 pounds. What is a scaredy-cat like me to do? Re-evaluate and accept my final choices, see how they change over time, and probably laugh about it later.


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Comments 6

  • Dhana Broser : Mar 24th

    I love your scientific approach to the decidedly non-scientific topic of fear. Knowing what your concerns will cost you in terms of weight really helps to keep it in perspective.

    • Annette : Mar 24th

      Thanks Dhana, it also gave me a chance to voice my fears and face them head on!

  • Vince Piquet : Mar 24th

    I recently purchased and have tried out lightweight merino wool long John’s. I got the icebreaker brand at Cabela’s and they work great. Pricey, absolutely. Worth it, absolutely. Six years in Tallahassee thins out the blood. Fair winds and following seas. Good luck in your journey.

    • Annette : Mar 24th

      Thank you Vince. I haven’t tried any Icebreaker stuff, but I have heard it’s good stuff. I might have to try it out.

  • Mick Chambers : Mar 26th

    With you all the way and hope you enjoy every second of your journey you are brave beyond compare!

  • Annette : Mar 26th

    Thank you Mick :).


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