My first introduction to backpacking was in 2011 once I signed up for a mountaineering course in Cal State Lengthy Seaside, CA.

On the time, there was a set of wilderness programs that had been supplied and whereas I used to be not majoring in any leisure topic, I needed to begin venturing and studying of the outside. I had not been mountain climbing earlier than, and the one time I keep in mind tenting with my household was and nonetheless could be very faint. I do keep in mind the primary time I placed on a pack it was nearly twice my measurement and weighed nearly as a lot as I did, even with gear being shared. 

First identified image of me with a backpack on – 3.5.2011

12 years later…

I’ve added a pair hundred miles beneath my toes and nonetheless don’t absolutely perceive the magnitude of substances there’s on the market. To be trustworthy, I’m not an enormous fan of speaking about gear and kit weight. Its overwhelming, there are SO MANY issues to select from on the market! And with that there are such a lot of elements concerned in why one chooses what they carry.

I do, nevertheless, perceive what has labored for me, my wants vs. desires, and the load I carry, and perhaps sharing my “why’s” on some objects can assist others. I’m a fan of consolation and due to this fact sacrifice a couple of kilos the place others won’t. My base weight – loaded pack weight minus consumables – tends to fluctuate between 15 and 25 kilos relying on the season. On this case, it ought to fluctuate relying on part

Gear dry out break whereas on path after a wet day/evening.

My base weight for the PCT include the next essential objects: 

  • Pack: Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 
  • Shelter: Nemo Hornet Osmo 1P*
  • Sleeping Pad: ThermaRest Neo Air XLite
  • Sleeping Quilt: Enlightened Gear Enigma 10degree with Sea To Summit Sleeping Liner 
  • Cooking Package: MSR Windburner with 16oz gas canisterand Sea To Summit Collapsible Cup
  • Water System: 1L Katadyn BeFree and 2L Cnoc bag with Sawyer System – 1 Good Water and 1 Nalgene Bottle
  • Chair: Helinox Chair Zero*
  • Footwear: Teva Sandals / probably my superior new Buzz Lightyear Crocs that gentle up!
  • Base/Camp Layers: Prime and Backside 32degrees, BALEAF Down Pants
  • Rain Gear: Black Diamond TreeLine Rain Shell and Mountain Hardwear Acadia Pants

Amongst these things there are a couple of different smaller, miscellaneous objects that embrace: a primary assist equipment made up of things principally stolen from my jobs 1st assist equipment and a small emergency equipment bag that features an emergency blanket, nail clippers, tweezers, tick remover, poncho, waterproof matches, a small scissor, Aquatabs, headlamp, New Pores and skin and a stitching equipment. My pack additionally consists of an additional pair of socks, tent down booties, camp gloves, my FlexTail pump and a pair objects I’m positive I’m forgetting to say.

All in all, when working my gear by my second set of eyes and convincing her that I do want my – Helinox Chair for the desert part, Nalgene Bottle, additional socks AND down booties – my base weight got here out to 20lbs. 20lbs could appear to be lots to others however… they don’t seem to be carrying the load. I’m. And fortunately the pack that I’ve chosen makes these 20lbs really feel like nothing.  

Going by gear with my second set of eyes

Objects that I refuse to budge on…

That drive my second set of eyes loopy primarily consists of my Helinox Chair. However to be truthful, this merchandise might begin wars in dialogue boards over whether or not it’s a waste to hold or not. I used to query it too till I did a pair backpacking journeys the place, sure, I might use a sit pad, however my again couldn’t get comfy. So, whereas a sit pad may go for others, my again will get drained and I simply don’t discover it comfy having to shift continually or attempt to discover one thing to lean on.  So Helinox goes with me, with the “compromise” that it is going to be switched out for the bear canister as soon as I (hopefully) make it to the Sierra. At this level I can even be switching out my Nemo Hornet Osmo* for an XMid 1 to try to offset the load of the added bear canister. 

Helinox Chairs round Sallie Keyes – The consolation!

My Nalgene bottle. There’s a complete craze about Good Water Bottles occurring proper now and whereas I do partake in it, I completely love my Nalgene bottle. Having a bottle that may maintain boiling scorching water could be a life saver on these chilly nights and wet days! There’s a wager on the market that I will likely be sending this merchandise again house whereas on the path…

My Flextail Mini Pump that I did not present my second set of eyes. It is a complete luxurious merchandise however once I’ve been mountain climbing all day, the very last thing I need to do is get to camp and begin pumping breaths into my sleeping pad. 

One other merchandise I really feel I ought to randomly observe is my resolution to hold a 16oz gas canister. Whereas sure, there are 8oz and 3oz canisters, I’m positive carrying the 16oz. This comes from expertise on the JMT. One other hiker scoffed at my 16oz gas canister and as an alternative of following my guts, I switched it out for a 3oz. Lengthy story brief – my tramily ended up working out of gas on a chilly, wet day however fortunately I threw an additional 3oz canister in my pack. For sure, I’d quite carry greater than much less in relation to gas. 

I can go on and on concerning the gear that I’ve chosen to take with me and why. However in brief, all of it comes right down to – it really works for me. By way of trial and error, I’ve realized what I’m prepared to hold or not. I anticipate issues to alter, and I anticipate to ship issues house (anticipate the Nalgene!). I anticipate so as to add objects and swap out gear whereas I’m on the PCT. Issues ought to change contemplating my atmosphere will change. What I select to hold ultimately is a mixture of many elements: consolation whereas mountain climbing, consolation at camp, earlier experiences, analysis and sure… a bit little bit of worry. Concern of working out of things, objects breaking down, being too chilly, not being prepared, and so forth., and so forth. 

A lot of the gear I will likely be beginning with for the PCT. Not proven – meals, water, clothes to be worn.

Prepping to hike with 20lbs…

Has been very busy, enjoyable, and thrilling. I don’t have a exercise routine I’ve been constructing as much as or engaged on constantly. My job has all the time helped me preserve my steps and mileage all through the day. The present undertaking that I’m engaged on has 3 staircases, every 7 ranges, and I’m continually going up and down – all. day. each. day. Monday. via. Friday. So… I assume not each day, however you already know. The miles add up, and I sometimes do between 5 and 10 miles a day. Outdoors of labor, I preserve myself by doing what I really like most… adventuring! Since finishing the JMT in September, I’ve stored myself busy by mountain climbing Mount Baden Powell, backpacking San Jacinto, snowcamping in Tahoe, taking an Avalanche 1 course, an mountaineering course and primarily simply getting open air at any time when doable. 

Completely different actions which have stored me lively and busy in preparation for the PCT

My plan…

Is to begin off sluggish and construct up my mileage on the PCT. As of now, my “itinerary” begins at 10 miles a day for the primary month however is topic to alter. One of many greatest challenges will likely be to remain constant within the first month to stop any overuse or pressure to my knee. Stopping earlier accidents from flaring again up will likely be key for me, together with making certain the gear I carry works. I do plan on forsaking some resupply containers. I’ve a storage field stuffed with backup gear that will likely be left with an in depth buddy ought to something break whereas I’m on path. I’ve a folder/drive I share with a couple of family and friends that features all my analysis accomplished for resupply factors, campsites, water sources, emergency exits, contacts, and Garmin info. Typically, I really feel I could also be over ready and overthinking this.

And but, I do know I’m removed from being prepared for what’s coming my method.

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