My custom shirts for my upcoming hike were finished yesterday and they look great. Thanks to Darn Tough for hooking me up with the most badass socks ever, Enlightened Equipment for making the lightest, fluffiest, warmest quilt I’ve ever slept in, 3sports for supplying me with some awesome shoes, and Wild River Outfitters for the world’s lightest shirts! I’m very proud to represent such outstanding companies and products I can stand by. I wish I could put the names of all my friends and family on there because they’ve been the best supporters of all but I think I’d need an XL to fit all of them.
Weekend warriors and noob backpackers, I want to clear up some misconceptions that backpacking is necessarily a prohibitively expensive and back-breaking hobby. Below I have put together some of the information I’ve acquired over the years to help people who are interested in going on a summer adventure in the woods. I want to reassure people that getting outside is not difficult and that anyone can do it. The woods should not be thought of as a daunting hostile place that people carry machetes and guns into because frankly it isn’t. If you’re looking for a badass adventure, the backcountry in the Mid-Atlantic is not the place most of the year. But if you want a break from civilized life and want to relax, here are some tips I have, including a comprehensive budget ultralight backpacking gear list at the bottom. Continue reading 3 principles of ultralight backpacking
With a solid training week coming to a close and preparations reaching a lull, I wanted to take a moment to review a piece of gear that is going to be invaluable to me on my upcoming Appalachian Trail self-supported record thru-hike attempt, my Enlightened Equipment 50 degree Enigma quilt.
To give some background, a quilt is similar to a sleeping bag, except sports a simpler, more efficient, and lighter design. While a sleeping bag wraps all the way around you, a quilt maximizes the insulation by only covering above you and letting the sleeping pad take care below. They usually come without a hood or with a detachable one. To most new backpackers they’re daunting for their simplicity in the same way that new hikers flock to tents over tarps. Unfortunately this kind of misunderstanding really halted the quilt’s progression as an innovative piece of backpacking gear. For years quilt companies simply didn’t have access to the top fabrics and were way behind the field in design. The fully enclosed counterparts were often lighter despite being fundamentally inefficient.
When I started checking out the market for new, lighter gear to replace my battered gear from my previous trips, I was elated to find Enlightened Equipment leading the way in lightweight sleep systems. Their 10 denier nylon fabric matched that of the outdoor gear giants and the option for 800+ fill down showed their dedication to using the highest quality materials for their quilts. I continued my search for competitors to make sure EE was truly the best and nothing came close. There was no getting around it, I needed an Enlightened Equipment quilt for my hike and to carry anything else would put me at a disadvantage from the gun. Continue reading Review: Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt
I’ve posted several theoretical gear lists over the past few weeks and just wanted to post an update of an actual gear list that I’ll be using on a trip down in the Smokies this upcoming week. I just got done with a string of five exams in the last two weeks and with my first med school spring break having just begun, I am stoked to be getting out in the woods for a short fastpacking trip. I’ve laid everything out and with low temps in the low 40s, think I can get away with a base weight of just below 3.5 pounds, FSO (from skin out) base of 5.74 pounds. The trip is the 170 mile North loop of the Benton MacKaye Trail/Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park starting from Twentymile Ranger Station near Fontana Dam, heading north on the BMT, resupplying at Davenport Gap, then back south on the AT. The theoretical total was 8.7 lbs. but it ended up coming out to 7.8 with 2 days with food and 1L water.
I’m working on compiling a new pack list for an upcoming summer backpacking adventure. I wanted to get it out there to hopefully bounce ideas of some other people. Everything is weighed and listed. The tally puts it at 11.5 pounds total with 1L of water and 2.5 days of food (2lbs/day). Outside the pack, I’ll have my socks, shorts, and shirt, but will also be using Black Diamond Ultra distance trekking poles, and am 100% unsure of what shoes I will use. Any tips on comfortable, durable, lightweight trail running shoes would be much appreciated.
|2 MSR carbon tent stakes||0.423|
|3.6sqft. cuben fiber tarp 80 in||3|
|Neoair x lite||8|
|Cuben fiber rain jacket||2|
|Salomon 14+3 pack||15|
|Salomon .5L collapsible bottles||2.1|
|Black diamond ion headlamp||1.7|
|Long sleeve shirt||5|
|Platypus 2L bottle||1.3|