I am sitting in a hotel room right outside the Atlanta Airport at the moment writing this. I just went through my gear for the last time and took photos of it all. I procrastinated way too much to get a picture of it all at once so I took individual photos with way more detail and got inspired to write a blog post about everything I’m carrying. My flight leaves at 6am. I’m so nervous and absolutely dreading the traveling to California part of this whole journey. The last two times I have traveled to or from the east coast I have been caught up in multiday delay travel hell for bizarre reasons with the flight companies. I’ll be flying the budget airline Spirit and checking my backpack and trekking poles which gives me even more anxiety to be separated from my gear. I’d like to say I’m concerned about flying with a budget company but it seems like it doesn’t matter because I’ve never flown with a budget company before and still dealt with all the travel chaos I didn’t sign up for. Anyways, here’s some pictures and descriptions of everything I am carrying with me!
Both my tent and my sleeping bag are gifts from my dad over the past two years. They are my favorite and most valued pieces of gear. I am so lucky to be gifted these very expensive pieces of gear that have totally changed my pack weight and comfort level while hiking. To be honest I think my dad is way more into gear than I am but he picked up the absolute best pieces I could ever want for me! The Duplex is actually the second Duplex I’ve owned. After 6k miles of hiking with the other one and some repairs with seam sealer it still forms puddles in the tent when it rains. Zpacks only guarantees a tent to last one thru hike and I got at least two thru hikes plus tons of section hiking out of mine. As you can assume thru hiking really pushes gear to it’s limits. For someone who camps 100+ nights a year it’s worth the investment. My sleeping bag was a total game changer for me on the CDT last summer. I was freezing cold about 80% of the time last summer. Because it is a 10° bag it is naturally heavier than most of the 20° bags other people carry but it is so worth it for me. These are the two pieces of gear I care the most about meticulously maintaining them so they can last as long as possible. I’ve had to patch my sleeping bag with gear repair tape and I hope it lasts a lifetime of hiking. One thing I was terrified to do but learned is very important for long term gear care is washing my down jacket and sleeping bag. If you’ve ever had to do this you know why.
I begrudgingly replaced my REI Puffy jacket because it has lost most of its feathers, has a great amount of patches, and the zipper I replaced malfunctions half the time which I can’t afford. I am sad to not be hiking with it but I’ve come to love this new yellow puffy. I’d recommend a full zip version for anyone in the market. This one is also half the weight of my old one. My Melanzana dress I picked up on the CDT in Leadville Colorado and it’s perfect for sleeping in, hiking in, and wearing around town when I’m tired of pants. The Mountain Hardware hoodie has sun protection. I am trying to take skin care as seriously as I can because of how much exposure I will get. Having arm tattoos is also a motivation to take care of my skin. The shorts I picked up from a hiker box in 2019 and the leggings are super comfy. I’d buy a second pair if I can find them again.
I recently found out that my rain gear is totally useless. To be fair it’s gone through a very significant amount of wear and tear. I might have to replace it (probably should) but I’m not ready to make the investment yet. I hiked through a day of rain this week and most of my body was absolutely numb the entire time. Everything under my rain gear was soaked. Yes, I have already tried treating it with water resistant chemicals to try and extend the life. I think I’d like to purchase some enlightened equipment rain gear pieces but it will be an investment.
I’m excited to learn to use my camera, mostly just to Navigate all the Sony menus and settings. I’d like to invest in a 1.8 OSS aperture lense at some point.; It will cost me about $400 however it would make a significant difference in photography abilities. The in reach is to send check ins to my family, the instinct watch has altitude, barometer, compass, and GPS abilities. I have used it daily for the past three years.
These are arguably the most important pieces of gear I carry. I swear by the super feet trailblazer comfort insoles. I bought six pairs in advance when I had a discount and have worn them for over 3k miles of hiking. I religiously replace my shoes and insoles every 500 miles. Sadly La Sportiva seems to be discontinuing the Karacal shoes and I’m not looking forward to figuring out what works next. I’ll buy them while I can for now. This is a men’s pair since I couldn’t find women’s in my size at a discount anymore. The visor is to help with further sun protection. I don’t wear regular hats because it’s too hot for me to wear a low pony tail. I like my hair up on top of my head. The gaiters are very important for keeping dirt and dust out of my shoes and preventing blisters in dry dusty desert environments.
This is just about everything I will be carrying with me from Mexico to Canada. Only five of the items pictured have been on every single hiking trip with me. I’ve had to replace almost every piece of gear I’ve ever owned due to damage, over use, losing it, getting lost in the mail, and upgrades. These are the most valuable items I own because they allow me to do what I love more than anything and it’s super upsetting to me when I lose any of it. I’ve literally had a melt down at the post office when $300 of very sentimental items of mine have gone missing in the mail. I’m so privileged to possess all of these things and look forward to taking them all from Mexico to Canada this summer. When I come back to my storage unit and my possessions scattered between Colorado and Ohio I expect to be totally overwhelmed with the amount of items I own to live in society. I also forgot that I will be adding a bear canister, micro spikes and an ice axe when I reach mile 700 and enter the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Don’t worry I’ll post an update about that as well. I’m so nervous to catch this flight in less than 12 hours!