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Category Archives: Gear
Getting ready for the hike so early and not waiting until the last minute is proving problematic in the sense that I have time to look into different gear. I was going to hike the CDT with everything I had from the PCT, with only one upgrade, my sleeping bag, from a synthetic to a down bag. Then there was the half off ‘friends and family’ coupon for Mountain Hardware. I spent a lot of money on upgrades, which I feel will make a big difference in my safety and comfort on the trail.
Time rolls on, I play with my gear, then I find something on line or think of something I saw on the PCT, which is the case this time. When I met ‘Pelligrino’ she had on a pack the likes of which I had never seen before. The AarnPack. It was loaded with pockets on the chest. It seemed a bit awkward, but my ultimate frustration with backpacks is the inability to access anything you need while hiking. The tiny hip pockets are nearly useless to me, and in the end, were loaded with holes.
Pelligrino eventually swapped out her aarnpack for an ultralight. She told me recently that there were some issues with it she didn’t like, but I can’t help but think that the pockets to hold everything that I would need would be a grand thing, especially since i tend to take breaks with my pack still on…
But alas, I have my Osprey pack that I love… but some day, I want the opportunity to play with one of these.
Because I don’t like typing on that tiny little keyboard on my iPhone, I bought this. It seems frivolous, but I’m hoping it will help my interest in sharing. If you followed me on the PCT you know my blogging was terrible. My hand written journals are a sad mess of abreviations. So this might help. It’s smaller than a keyboard, BUT it has keys I like; delete, forward and back arrows… The inability to backspace on the iPhone irritates the heck out of me. Cost – $14. So what am I adding to my pack weight? 4.8 ounces. Bonuses though, – it’s RED!!! ( I misplace things in my tent quite easily, so my goal is to have everything a different color… and red is rad)…and according to the ad on Amazon, I can type in a sand storm, wash it any time, it’s wireless (which means I’ll loose some battery life on the phone while using it) … i can roll it up in a tube I use for my cords… it’s really ideal (I say that now….)
So here’s hoping it’ll inspire me to type on the trail more than I did last year….
Hey there. the clock is slowly ticking down to June 15, and by slowly I mean FAR TOO SLOW. I’m ready to do this, but I must wait for snow to melt in Glacier Nat’l Park. I put out a few feelers on the Facebook page for 2013 CDT hikers and it looks like there will be a few people starting their thru-hike just before or after me, so I won’t be terribly alone on the trail, although there are two different starting points, but they quickly merge to one.
The last few weeks have been possitive for the hike. Today I crossed the $2000 mark, and Someone donated $1000 to my fundraising site ! (AMAZING !!!) just $1000 to go to hit my official goal. After a concerning night, a few weeks back, in my tent with far too much condensation that left my new down bag wet at the head and foot, My friend Michael purchased a new Big Agnes tent for me, in fact it’s a tent i struggled with buying last year when ants ate holes in my tent, I wanted to upgrade to a double wall free standing, but decided to stick with the comfort of the tent I had, at half the price. I’m so very excited to use it! More on that tent and why later…
With what I raised and what I’ve saved I’m on good track to keep my hike moving, I just can’t have any unexpected expenses. Since I have my 6 pair of Montrail shoes already purchased (remember, I bought $115 shoes for $50 through a friends and family discount) so they need to work out well.
I was contacted by a wonderful man who hiked the AT in 1975. He provides trail magic and assistance at the Dinsmore’s Hiker Haven, who happen to be the last Train Angels on the PCT. They’re working together to get me Sqincher electrolite drink mixes on the CDT. A few people have offered to send me food supplies, but those are all packed and ready to send. Most of the food is dreary and boring though, so I’ve sent out my resupply lists and Rory (my resupply guy) will let everyone know where I’ll be and when (if I can’t) so little surprises can pop up when I least expect it. My goal will be to get in and out of towns w/little spending and temptation, so if I find an extra box of goodies at the Post Office, I’ll be able to fend off cravings at the supermarket…. or so I tell myself.
I left my job in industrial paint/prep Friday, the guys I worked with seem to want me back, even though I only worked there two months. I work very hard so it’s nice it’s recognized. Dan, who runs the paint shop, even drew me a map to follow. It starts and ends at work, and although I tell him I won’t be back until the end of Nov at the earliest, he wants me back for the busy season…. I like the little lake and mountain’s he included on the map. Funny good times.
For the first time ever, I’ve been folowing other’s blogs as they hike North on the CDT (NoBo = north bound). Wired is one to watch (click here to find her blog). She hiked the PCT in 2011 and is EXCELLENT at blogging and explaining. Her photos are amazing and I can’t wait to visit the spots I’ve seen her post about. I was able to offer up my first trail magic for her as well, by buying a piece of pie for her at the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, NM… the staff was happy to oblige my request of looking out for her arrival … Also, I’m followingHighlife (Click here to find his blog), who seems to have service everywhere on the CDT so he’s posting a lot on Facebook…
Next week I head back to see my family for a week. Other than the short two days in San Diego in April of 2012 when they saw me off on the PCT, I haven’t spent time with them in a year and a half. It will be good to see them, tell them all about the PCT, all about the CDT plans, and then head back to Portland to start climbing the mountains of the Columbia River Gorge, training for the mountains of Glacier Nat’l Park.
I’m going to try to weigh my gear and get a full gear list together. I didn’t end up doing this on the PCT because I had so much extra silly stuff that I didn’t want to know, or more so, I didn’t want YOU to know how heavy my pack was… I bought a gram scale to be technical, I’ll try to do that before I head out.
Thanks again for all of the support, and for regular updates, you’re better off following my Facebook page… facebook.com/hiking26.
Hi there. I have been sending out emails over the last few months inquiring about warranties, gear issues I had repeatedly, etc, and I thought I’d share some of their responses.
During my thru-hike of the PCT I encountered a few gear issues. Most of the companies were great to understand that I was only in town for a day and needed the issue fixed fast. Some issues continued, but half way through the hike I realized some of my gear wasn’t such a necessity after all.
Smartwool Outdoor Light Mini – These socks were fantastic BUT they didn’t last very long. My feet generally stayed warm on cold days, cool in the desert, and dry all the time (in part because of my very airy shoes. ). But they would only last a couple of weeks on the trail before holes wore through the bottoms. I swapped out socks often trying to avoid holes, but they were inevitable. At $16/pair, the price of them added up quickly. I often wore Injinji Toe Socks under, or instead of, they make great liners, and kept the area between my toes generally blister free. But back to Smartwool, I contacted them about their life expectancy, and the reply came with a suggestion to try a heavier sock, which isn’t (personally) thru-hiking practical …
“ Our best guess depends on the fit of the sock and the fit of the shoe. So maybe 250 miles or so? The wear and tear would also depend on the cushioning of the sock, and how you walk and the conditions they are worn in. It would be unique for each person. I would personally recommend the Hiking Light or Medium crew as they are one of most durable socks we make! A heavier cushioned sock will allow more wear than a micro weight and cause less damage to the natural wool fibers, therefore lasting you longer. But still, you’re only going to get maybe 250-300 miles out of the socks. And thats with rotating them as well.” – Smartwool
After receiving a pair of ‘Darn Tough‘ socks for Christmas, I sent them an inquiry about their warranty. Many people started talking about their wonderful warranty, if it has a hole in it, they’ll replace it…. I found that hard to believe. Although this process could take weeks, I imagine, it seems it’s true! Worst case scenario would be to continue buying them as I hike, as needed, ship the replacements to my resupply person, and have them thrown into the next food shipment. So here’s exactly what Darn Tough had to say!
“Our socks are guaranteed to be the most comfortable, durable and best
fitting socks you can buy. When you buy our socks you buy us. We do have a
life-time guarantee on Darn Tough Vermont socks. And, as you said, “the
further I hiked, the more I heard about your socks and their warranty.”
Yes, we have many, many people who love our socks and hike the Pacific Trail
Crest as well as other places all over the world in all kinds of elements.
And, yes, we do replace our socks if they get a hole in them as part of our
warranty. We’d love to have you see for yourself and rave about our socks
as others do so join us all and make you and your feet happy too. We don’t
want you to be disappointed – it is not a vocabulary word we use. So take a
look at our website www.darntough.com and see what we have and if you click
in the upper right-hand corner on “Where Can I Get Em?” you will see the our
dealers we have out there near you as well as online dealers. ”
Thanks Darn Tough!
Solar Panel !
My Goal Zero Nomad 7 quit charging my phone and the accompanying battery pack/charger within 300 miles. With one quick phone call and a few questions, my replacement was scheduled to meet me at the next town. I sent back the old (I think it was even on their dime) and all was good. 2/3 of the way through the hike, long long after I sent back the useless battery pack that took forever to charge, (replaced by some energizer little, cute, lightweight battery packs with USB ports, rechargable via my solar panel or any outlet), the solar panel seemed to be charging slow again. I was moving fast enough that I decided I didn’t need to use the solar panel, so it went un-used until I sent it home.
Post hike I contacted them again and asked them if they could test it for me. So a few weeks ago I sent it to them, and I await the answer. They were very friendly and all that used the goal zero chargers, that I talked to, were happy with their choice.
I love my Osprey Atmos. I started with an Osprey Atmos, several people on trail had issues with them, mine was replaced, then, I admit, I over loaded it, and it was replaced again. Right off, had issues with Osprey Customer Service. Calling me back two days later when I haven’t any service wasn’t going to work. Repeated calls ended up in voicemail. I blogged about it, I received great service from then on…. Osprey went above and beyond to keep me happily in a pack (do I get to whine and say I wanted the black one? – Really it’s my fault, it was either wait for a black pack in Independance, CA or swap my old pack for a shiny new blue one in Bishop). It seemed on the trail, while wearing a wedding gown, that I fully needed the air cushion that these packs offer, to stay cool. The Atmos is in rough condition after 1800 or so miles on the PCT, but they’ve offered to repair it via their Almighty Guarantee.
Sleeping Bag Liner
Sea To Summit Silk Liner, which, like some of my other gear, was toast a few hundred miles in. I didn’t use it that often, but when I did, the seams started pulling apart. The liner keeps things wonderfully warm, or serves as a ‘sheet’ when it’s too hot for the sleeping bag. Sea To Summit replaced the liner quick and easy. The same happened to the replacement. holes in the seams. Upon contacting them, they are aware of the issue, and hope to have it fixed by end of 2013. In the mean time, I guess I can use the holey one, or the heavier synthetic version by the same company, which I had long before the PCT.
“Every now and again, we experience an issue with a fabric or a component which does not reflect this extremely high standard – the seams on the silk liner would be one such issue. When we first received reports of seams failing on silk liners, we forwarded the information straight to our design and development staff in Perth, Western Australia. The ‘solution’ seemed clear – reinforce the seams (or in fact, use a different seam construction altogether). However, in practice, it transpired that this merely transferred the stress to the surrounding fabric, again resulting in failure.
In fairness, this has still affected a very low percentage of the total number of liners sold, although PCT Hikers tend to be pretty hard on their gear and meet often to discuss the equipment they are using, which skews the sample somewhat.
But – to be clear, it is not a matter of weak seams as much as stress being transmitted through the seam into the surrounding fabric. We do have an innovative solution to this issue, which will become available towards the end of 2013″ – Barry – SeaToSummit
All in all everything gear related went well. I think I did good with my decisions, but probably should have started with a heavier duty pack. One dreams of being Ultralight when they begin, but many of us, I think, quickly realized that we were just glutton for punishment, carrying more gear than we needed. I used the Mountain Hardware Compressor, a synthetic thermal jacket instead of a down jacket, and I loved it. My down jacket of the same brand name gets soaked on day hikes, so I’m glad I decided to endure the extra weight. I used a synthetic REI sleeping bag that I will be replacing for the CDT hike. I want a down bag, and hope I don’t regret it. They’re lighter, and compress far more than the synthetic bags, so my pack won’t be so over stuffed…. then again, i did carry a petti-coat the entire distance… for photos, you know… Strange, I know.
So, for the CDT, I plan on a new bag, but everything else worked quite well for me. I’ll likely reduce my load by one camera and make better use of the Iphone I now have. For Christmas I received a Garmen Etrex 20 to help me work my way from border to border, the CDT is not nearly as clear as the PCT was, so I’ll need the extra electronic weight.
If anyone has any questions about my gear or wants to discuss, please contact me, I enjoy it!
It seems like I don’t have any gear that’s actually made it all the way up the PCT, but overall getting gear replaced has been a breeze. I’m still carrying my Exped Synmat UL7 (inflatable air mat) but I rarely use it, it seems stupid to carry the weight, I get such a good nights sleep when I use it, but getting moving in the morning is so difficult for me, i don’t like dealing with letting the air out and rolling it up. Silly I suppose – It was replaced a few weeks back though, Exped was great about replacement.
My pack broke a couple of hundred miles back as I was flying down the trail as fast as I could to get to Crater Lake. I bounce a lot so that may have something to do with it. The tension lock on the end of the harness broke, but a zip-tie I had stashed away fixed the issue and I was quickly back on my way, although unable to adjust the straps. Thanks to Alix @ Osprey, I’m getting a new harness shipped to the Portland area. I’ve torn this poor pack up ( Osprey Atmos 65 ) even though I try hard to baby it, but it carries the weight load wonderfully. Yesterday I washed the heck out of it, so I’m glad I’ll be back out on the trail with something that doesn’t look so haggardly dirty.
My tent is in sad shape. Near Burney Falls CA, 3-4 weeks back, I awoke to ants in my tent, they ate their way through the sil-nylon and left 30 or more holes all over the top of the tent. Entering OR and soon, the often very wet Washington, I’m afraid all of the repairs I made are not going to hold up. The patches are already bubbling, as many of the holes are on the seams. A wonderful section hiker, Janet Ake, gave me a Tarptent Double Rainbow
prior to the hike. I’ve requested it from home so I can use it until I figure out if I’m buying a new one-man UL tent or if I’ll just continue on carrying the weight of the 2-man rainbow. The mountains and weather in Northern Washington aren’t going to be too much fun if I’m carrying extra weight. (Although they’ll still be beautiful !!! I can’t wait).