Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My gear list

My gear is all set. Here it is:

Pack: Jandd frameless pack intended for short weekend trips. Has a pocket on top and the rest is just a bag with a stiff piece of foam to provide support on the back. The hip belt is not padded. I've sewn some mesh around the outside to increase the space for holding water and extras. I obtained the mesh from a sack intended for storing volley balls. I also have a small canvas pouch attached to the hip belt for holding my camera (Minolta Dimage-x with 4 extra batteries) and journal. I removed some compression straps since I usually use up all the space. In one of the loops from the old compression straps I'll stash my penny whistle.

Hiking poles: Ultralight Leki poles. I worried about shelling out the money but they're really light, quiet and I like the way the handle doesn't feel sweaty. My tent uses these poles. Sometimes I don't like having two poles and just use only one. Sometimes I don't even want one, so I kept the little plastic thing that was used for the store display and affixed that to my pack. I can easily attach the poles to my pack that way and then my hands are free to play the penny whistle while I walk. (I've been practicing and I can even play while walking up hill.)

In the main compartment: 
  • Northface down sleeping bag. I think it's rated to 20°. I've had it for about 10 years.
  • Patagonia down sweater
  • Clothes: 
    • silky long underwear for sleeping
    • wool socks, nylon liners (thin and thick -- these three socks pairs make up my #2 system for socks)
    • bicycle arm warmers
    • Gloves -- fleece fingerless gloves (XL so I can tuck my fingers inside)
    • tyvek coveralls cut in half to form rain pants and rain jacket (for light rain -- there's a real rain jacket in my bounce box for the Sierras, and some crampons for snow)
    • Marmot Dri-clime windshirt (we'll see if this and the down sweater are overkill.)

  • Gossamer Gear "The One" tent
  • Small piece of travel towel for tent condensation
  • Sierra stove with 2 cup titanium pot, foil for lid, pot grabber (I always burn my fingers), lighter, plastic spoon, lexan cup and the bottom half of a bleach bottle to both protect the dirty pot from my stuff and to use as a wash basin.
  • 2 nalgene bottles
  • Ursack with my food (Bear Vault small bear can in the Sierras.)
In the inside top pocket:
  • Toiletries: shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush (just the bristle part), tiny bit of Dr. Bronner's, dental floss, the tweezers from a swiss army knife I no longer have, small bottle of sunscreen (refill from bounce box.)
  • First aid/emergency stuff: Bandaids, molefoam, ibubrofen, vicodin (more in bounce box and also antibiotics in bounce box), immodium, neosporin, waterproof matches, 3 trick birthday candles, needle and thread, extra bite valve for my camelback bag, extra piece of elastic cord, extra hair ties
  • Safety pins
In the outside top pocket:
  • Umbrella and a mylar cover I made (will probably fall apart)
  • Flip-flops I made from the lousy insoles that came with my shoes.
  • Fleece hat that has ear flaps and a cord for under the chin. Won't fall off when I sleep.
  • Fleece neck wrap I wear on my motorcycle. Really helps keep cheeks and neck warm.
  • Clip on 1 LED flashlight.
  • Toilet paper
  • Squeeze bottle bidet (won't use TP for number one)
  • Empty wine bag from box wine for emergency extra water
  • Map/guide book bag which contains the PCT Data Book, sections of the PCT guide book, map of trail and road map of California, resupply notebook, compass, pencil with some duct tape wrapped around it, permits, water and town reports printed from Internet and a few pages of sheet music so I can learn new tunes on my penny whistle along the way, and a magnifier like a credit card to help me see (I'm getting old).
Attached to the pack or in the mesh:
  • Penny whistle
  • Z-lite pad
  • bug net
  • bandana halves
  • Camelback un-bottle (yeah, the foam is extra weight but it protects from pokey branches and keeps the water cool for a few hours)
  • Water filter
  • Cheap, simple digital watch that shows time, date and day of week
  • Patagonia polyester/spandex bra (very light, for chafing. May not wear if I get heat rash on my chest)
  • Polyester panties
  • Sleeveless lime green polyester shirt (bought at thrift store, wore on 2 bike rides and 2 hikes and it still didn't stink. This $1.50 shirt is a winner.)
  • Long-sleeved beige nylon hiking shirt (love the pockets)
  • Nylon zip-off pants in beige (I usually don't zip off, but I'll zip half way to let air in)
  • Injinji merino wool toe socks
  • Wool stocks over the toe socks
  • Cheap Hi-Tek men's low-top hiking shoes (in an astonishing size 8.5) with super-feet insoles and a metatarsal pad for my left foot.
  • Saturday Afternoons sun hat (another lovely beige)
  • Sun glasses
Total weight: (not counting my basic hiking clothes -- sleeveless shirt, long-sleeved shirt, hat, pants, shoes and socks) is about 20lbs.

Bounce box:
I found a laundry detergent bucket. I think it's 3 gallons. Kind of rectangular. Inside I have:
  • Guide book sections
  • Map sections
  • Spare extra food, mostly additives to give things flavor (didn't want to waste it)
  • Extra sun glasses
  • Real rain coat
  • Tape and mailing labels
  • Refills of sun block and TP
  • Dress for town
  • Chaco sandals (I'll see if I want to switch to sandals along the way)
  • Empty bottle for alcohol fuel
  • Alcohol stove (I find it hard to light when cold and worrying about running out of fuel and what to do if I have to buy too much was just too much hassle. I may use this in the high Sierras, though.)
  • Anti-biotics, vicodin and bandaids
  • Battery chargers
  • Nail clippers (the heavy-duty kind for my toes)
  • Odds and ends I keep dropping in there. Who knows what's in there now.

Folks like to talk about systems. This is mine for clothing, going from hottest to coldest (I get cold pretty easily):
  • Zip-off pants, most-likely never zipped off unless it's just so scorchingly hot even half unzipped isn't comfortable.
  • Sleeveless shirt for the hottest days coupled with umbrella for shade and sun protection
  • Sleeveless shirt and nylon long-sleeved shirt (sleeves roll up) for comfortable days.
  • Sleeveless shirt, nylon long-sleeved shirt and Dri-clime windshirt for cooler temps and cold wind
  • Add arm warmers to above if really cold
  • Add Patagonia down sweater if really really cold
  • If light rain that won't last long, tyvek rain pants/jacket and umbrella. If rain lasts or is heavy, set up tent.
  • Always the sun hat, add bandana if needed, add fleece hat for cold
My sleeping system:
  • Silk long underwear. NO underwear underneath them. Try to wash body before putting on. Having any sweat on your body makes you colder.
  • Wool socks
  • Fleece hat
  • If cold, Patagonia down sweater
  • Also if cold, fleece neck wrap
  • Also if cold, the arm warmers
  • Sleeping bag tossed over me like a quilt. Zipped up with only my nose pointing out if really cold.
  • Pillow made out of whatever's left (I usually sleep on my back since it hurts to sleep on side on the ground and I drool all over my sleeping bag any other way which isn't good.)
  • Tent for mosquitos/cold/rain or just sense of safety/security. Otherwise, sleep out under stars.
My hygiene system:
  • For on-trail washing: Bleach bottle wash basin, Dr. Bronner's soap. Take off underwear, wash in basin, then use as wash cloth to wash me (I did this in Nepal with great success). Can also wash other clothes in basin if needed. Use bandanas or air to dry off. Use safety pins to hang things from pack to dry.
  • Basic hygiene: I don't menstruate so I don't have to deal with that!! Hooray!! I have a squeeze bottle to hose off after peeing. TP for the other stuff. 
  • Hair: My hair is long so I'll put it up in braid(s), pony-tail, bun, whatever. Wash it every now and then with shampoo. Brush it once in a while.
Well, that's a lot of information. 

I hope all this stuff serves me well. I probably over-did it on clothing, but I know I get cold easily and for the first few weeks I won't be putting in any super long hiking days, so I'm certain I'll be happy I have a lot of layers to stay comfortable. It's been unseasonably cold this month so I'm unsure what to expect. 

I realize it's not ultralight, but I've been hiking with my gear and it seems like a weight I'm willing to carry.

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