Gear and Pre-Trip
Pre May 9, 2023
One of the most common...
... questions I get asked is about my gear. What am I carrying, what am I prioritizing, what is my "creature comfort" item? Well now, I've laid it all out for you to read about!
My base-weight (i.e. weight without food, fuel, and water) ended up being about 13lbs. This is on the heavier side of "ultralight" backpacking, but the lighter side of the everyday backpacker. The things I sacrificed in weight I'll gain in comfort, like my tent and my journal/sketchbook! Below is a little dive in to the nuances of what I am taking:
A hot topic in the outdoor world since there is such a variety in style, weight and comfort! Here I went super light and warm with my Feathered Friends 20 degree Women's Egret bag. With all of this snow in the Sierra, I wanted to be sure I'll be toasty warm at night. I feel confident with this compact bag that I'll get the warmth that I need!
A place where I opted for slightly more weight, but also more comfort was in my tent. I picked the Copper Spur from Big Agnes as my tent because it is completely free-standing. This means that when I roll in to camp all pooped from the day, I can snap this up and not worry about it falling over on me. Being an introvert, I am excited for this pop-up home as I go along the trail.
For my sleeping pads, I landed on two of them - a foam pad and a blow up one. This is for two reasons, the first being comfort as this allows for both cushion and warmth! Believe it or not, if you have a super warm sleeping bag but you're sleeping on snow with a thin pad, you will be freezing no matter how warm the bag is that you're in. The second reason is that I wanted the foam pad to be a place for me to sit, stretch, do yoga on etc. as I go along the trail.
This one is relatively simple, I am taking a small pocket rocket with fuel along with a small titanium pot to do my meals! All of my meals (a mixture of packaged and self-made dinners) only need hot water, so this system is easy peasy.
There is a lot of snow on the trail this summer, so I am packing a couple of warm pieces that I'd standardly leave out if I was only going to be in warm weather. This being wool leggings and a synthetic fleece. I'm err-ing on the side of being more prepared even if it means I've got a little bit more on my back.
For my down jacket, I have a fantastic Feathered Friends Women's Eos jacket. I've used this jacket in the Cascades many times and it is my all-time go-to for a jacket that packs down in to your bag but provides true warmth. To me, you could not ask for more in a jacket.
Lastly, with my rain gear, I decided to go with the Montbell Versalite jacket and pant. They're so lightweight and effective! Along with this, the jacket has pit-zips so that I can try to avoid sweating too much in the jacket. A sneaky need for anything in the Pacific Northwest.
Some of my self-made dinners
Last but not least, my favorite section - the Miscellaneous section! Now, do I have every single little thing that I am carrying in this misc. section in the graph at the top of this post? No. But I put down the things that I think y'all will care about.
The first thing I'll mention is my backpack - the ULA Circuit. This is a really popular pack in the thru-hiking community for a good reason! It is on the lighter side, but still has the comfort aspect to it that ensures a long life. I am really excited to use this orange cutie for days and days on end.
Now, this section has the two items that I am taking that are absolute creature comfort items and that is my journal/sketchbook (journal size), and *drumroll please* my mini watercolor kit that my friend Cezanne set me up with! I am so excited about this and it weighs next to nothing. Now - will I actually carve time out to paint on the trail? I guess I'll see :)
That's all for now folks. I am currently sitting in a cafe with less than 24 hours until I am on-trail. I'm full of butterflies and stoked! The next time you'll hear from me, I'll be a bit more covered in dirt and I'll have gone only a portion of this long walk. Time to spend a summer taking the long way back home!