Thursday, February 19, 2015

What am I Carrying?

First let me say, I'm hiking on a budget. A very, very small budget. All of the money I've saved has been allocated toward the trip itself and paying bills while I'm gone. I really didn't have any money left over for new, fancy, ultralight gear. This means I'm carrying a lot of the same stuff I carried on the AT in 2009...nearly six years ago....when the gear was actually considered light. What I don't already have I've managed to buy cheap or I'm borrowing from my incredibly nice hiker friends.

When it comes to evaluating the weight of my gear, I'm taking a similar approach to my gear as I did with the AT; I am NOT going to go through the painstaking, time sucking, make me want to pull my hair out because I'd rather watch paint dry process of weighing each little item in my bag. I've got far more important things to focus on (like spending as much time outside as possible, spending time with friends and family, working....you get my drift).

What ultimately matters is what the overall base weight of my pack is (my pack weight without food and water). Yeah, yeah, I can already hear some people saying, "but if you weigh each little thing you can decide if its worth the weight.." blah blah blah...

Here's my philosophy; if any of my essential gear (the big four - backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent) weighs 2 lbs. (32 oz.) or more, I seriously need to consider an alternative. As far as anything else  in my pack (electronics, clothes, etc.); if it makes me happy, more comfortable etc., I will more then likely bring it. I do have limits. I believe that lighter is better, more comfortable, and easier on your joints. I believe that things should be multifunctional. Finally, I remind myself I'm going out into the Wilderness where really anything beyond food, water, shelter, and clothing are a luxury. And believe me, I like my luxury bag of electronics...it weighs two pounds. Ridiculous I know, but I love to write and I'm using my phone for nearly everything (camera, navigation, blogging, kindle) so having an external battery (the brick), to me, is well worth its weight. Aside from my need to lug around this "luxury", I try to keep in mind that one of the things that makes trail life so addicting is its simplicity. I'll do my best to keep it that way.

With all this being said, I've developed a compromise for my gear list. I've listed weights of my "big four" items since this is where the bulk a packs base weight is for most people. Then I weighed my pack (without food and water) to get my overall base weight. Its a little higher than what I was shooting for, but I think I'll be OK.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram. More photos will be uploaded to my Smugmug Site when possible. I'm hiking with Cori "Grommet" Holladay. You can read her blog here.

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