Family and friends of adventurers, we understand shopping for us for the holidays is difficult. We get it that our alternative lifestyle of living out of cars and rucksacks makes us seem foreign to normal people. We don’t wear jewelry or fancy clothes; our gear is honed for very specific purposes; and what you know about us is based on hair-raising stories and Facebook pictures. So I want to help you on what to shop for that special family member who shows up with a ratty beard and uncombed hair for the holidays. I put together a gift list that may help guide your shopping. Continue reading Backpacker gift guide 2016
This summer I attempted to break Matt Kirk‘s Appalachian Trail unsupported thru-hike record. Unfortunately I was unable to complete the hike due to a torn calf in Connecticut but I am wiser because of the trip and better prepared to attempt it again in the next few years. Below is my gear list for the trip, which I don’t think is too absurd to say is the lightest and smallest pack anyone has ever attempted a thru-hike with. At only 3.5 pounds for the base weight, I used a 10 liter running vest pack instead of the traditional massive backpacks most hikers use. And if I were to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Of course I sacrificed some comfort in camp but it enabled me to hike faster and further than I ever could with a heavier pack. I hope you enjoy checking out my gear choices. If you have any questions about why I chose something or how I liked it, feel free to comment below. And if you like this post and want to keep updated on others like it, please consider subscribing! Continue reading Gear list: Appalachian Trail thru-hike record attempt
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.
In addition to eliminating gear, it also helps to pick what you must carry carefully. There always seems to be something lighter for either the same price or even less. Usually these gear changes come with no sacrifice of quality and often serve their purpose better. However, sometimes there seems to be no perfect setup and the options are endless. I want to illustrate some of my choices and the frustrations I have had that led me to these gear choices. There are some specific priorities with regards to dropping weight. First and foremost, I try to ditch weight from the pack to relieve my spine of unnecessary burden. Secondly, I try to ditch or minimize gear on my body, such as a watch or shirt. Also of importance but often overlooked is body weight. Many backpackers carry an additional 50 pounds of fat on their abdomen, making their journey difficult and far more dangerous. However, I will only talk about the modifications to gear.
- Pack: Osprey Hornet 32Coming in at 1lb. 4oz. this is one of the lightest packs on the market. This is a huge downsize from my Osprey Exos 58 liter pack and also a huge weight drop of 19 ounces. Additionally, I dropped the “brain” off the top of my pack for another 3 ounces weight savings. The brain is to make little things more accessible but I found that I can put these things into a ziploc bag in the top of my pack for just as much convenience. Additionally, some of the other bells and whistles on this pack can be removed or cut off. I’ll never be carrying an ice axe so I have no need for that loop on the bottom. This pack is frameless, so I am counting on being able to drop enough Continue reading Gear list and review