Sleeping bag Should I go out and buy a lighter bag? I could save a pound or so. Is it worth the money? A new bag would probably also be smaller in my pack. But my current bag is pretty toasty and a known entity. What if a new bag wasn't comfortable?
Walking sticks After the sleeping bag there's not much else I can make lighter except the walking sticks. Should I spring for lighter ones? Again, my current ones are a known entity. I know they work. The lighter ones are very expensive.
Down jacket Last weekend I slept in my bag wearing my down jacket. I was so toasty. I didn't think I would be so comfortable without it. It's those micro-breezes that get me. But that seems like a wasted extra amount of weight. Would I need a down jacket any other time? Is there a better way to deal with the micro-breezes? If I leave it home will I find myself too cold?
Rain jacket Should I carry my rain jacket? I can't imagine there would be any rain in southern California after May 1. I should probably send it ahead and pick it up in the Sierras where I know there will be rain. But will there be enough rain that I'll need it? Or will an umbrella work ok? I have always been in camp before the rain hit in the afternoon on my Sierra trips so it's hard to imagine hiking in the rain. I've hiked in the rain locally and it's really not that bad, but at the end of the hike, I've always just gotten in the car and gone home.
Zip stove I like the idea of not worrying about running out of fuel. But a wood-burning stove is messy. I can't decide if it's a better deal than the alcohol stove. I felt kind of disappointed by my alcohol stove last weekend. It is hard to light when it is cold. It's hard to see the flame and easy to burn yourself. If you use too much fuel there's nothing you can do but let it burn. If you didn't use enough to cook your dinner, then you have to wait for the stove to cool down before you can add more fuel. It used more fuel that I thought it would but I also ended up wasting fuel, too. It's an unknown entity.
But the wood stove is sort of unknown, too. I have only used it a few times. It works very well, but your pot gets sticky and black. What if there are no sticks in the high Sierras? Should I bring the wood stove and only use the alcohol stove in the Sierras? Will I get tired of the smell? (Or will it mask the smell of my stinky clothes?)
Training hike today
I went for a hike today with my full pack. It's ok going up hill but slow. Down hill my back was hurting. I loosened things and then my shoulders were hurting. My pack has no frame at all. I'm probably pushing its upper weight limit. Either I have to reduce some weight in my pack or else I have to hope I'll get stronger in the next 20 days.
It's amazing what a difference something like 5 pounds can make in whether I'm skipping up the trail like a day hike vs whether I'm rest-stepping my way up the trail like a beast of burden. This is why I'm having a hard time deciding if it's worth the money and the unknown-factor to purchase some more new gear, or whether it's safe to leave some of my gear at home.