[Warning: post contains shirtless pics of yours truly]
It’s late Sunday night in Davis, CA, and I’m pretty much all packed up to start driving down to the border tomorrow morning, to start hiking on Wednesday morning. A couple of logistical items aside, it’s all taking shape pretty well, and I’m really excited to finally be out there.
Also, this is the first blog post I’ve made on the phone using the WordPress app. I still have computer access, so I could easily type this out, but I figure I’d better get used to blogging on my phone as I’ll soon have no other option.
Update: I fell asleep before finishing this post. It’s now Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara CA, which is such a beautiful place that I’m tempted to ditch the whole PCT thing and bum around on the beach for five months instead. We had a beautiful drive down Big Sur yesterday, which is also a completely ridiculous place and totally worth the extra two hours of driving to take Hwy 1 instead of 101 (or even I-5, god forbid!). Today we drive to LA, where I’ll meet a London friend for lunch, then San Diego to meet several Davis friends for dinner, then off hiking tomorrow morning!
Over the last few months, I’ve been gradually filling out my gear list. I live in London, so I’ve pretty much ordered it all for delivery to my mom’s house in California. I therefore saw much of it for the first time last night.
With it all together now, I thought I’d share with you the contents.
For the ease of going through it, I’ve split this into two pictures, both of which I now realize are basically on top of such a textured background as to be impossible to make out.
Starting top left, and working down and then to the right, I’ve got with me:
- Osprey Exos 58L pack. Lightweight yet quite comfortable, weighing about 1kg empty. Only issue so far is that it doesn’t have hip belt pockets, so I may want to get a fanny pack (bum bag) for my phone and snacks.
- Charger and permits. I still actually need to sort out my charging set-up on the way down.
- A sun umbrella and hiking poles (hardly visible). Keeps me comfortable while I hike!
- A knife. Lightweight yet deadly, like Arya Stark.
- Solar panel and battery pack. At least in the desert, I’ll be charging my stuff as we go using solar power.
- 50 ft of rope. Useful for lashing my guitar to my pack, hanging my food bag, and maybe other things.
- A personal locator beacon, for sending for help and pinging my location.
- A white Columbia Silver Ridge button up hiking shirt. It’ll get super dirty, but should provide good sun protection.
- Small blue towel. May still ditch this, but potentially useful to wipe/dry things.
- The Deuce of Spades titanium camping trowel (orange), for digging nature’s hygienic toilet.
- Cooking gas (propane/butane), and a 750ml pot.
- MSR Pocket Rocket 2 (hardly visible) camping stove (don’t forget to buy a lighter, Soren!)
- A titanium spork. Always get multi-purpose gear.
- 2 2L water bladders, which will be spare water capacity in addition to 2 c. 1L SmartWater bottles (not purchased yet).
And pt 2
Starting in the bottom left now and then jumping up:
- A Sawyer Squeeze water filter. Screws on top of a water bottle, and you just squeeze the water straight into your mouth.
- An assortment of hats for different contexts.
- A buff/snood (navy blue). A great multi-purpose item.
- Gaiters (dazzling tie dye pattern) for keeping sand out.
- An outer shell (light blue)
- A puffy down jacket (in blue stuff sack)
- Long underwear, in case it gets cold
- Ex Officio boxer briefs x2 (one for wearing, one for washing)
- Rain pants (in black stuff sack)
- Running shorts with liner removed
- White running t-shirt decorated by some of my friends in London, probably for sleeping.
- Socks x2
- The red thing is the box for my stove, which I already mentioned.
- Big Agnes Copper Spur Platinum 2-person tent. Comes in around 900g with everything included.
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20F quilt (a quilt in this context is like a sleeping bag that doesn’t zip up and over your head.
- Sit pad, for sitting on (obviously)
- Thermarest neo air xlite sleeping pad. Weighs around 200 grams, but is only 3/4 the length of my body.
- Sea to Summit inflatable camping pillow.
- My Klos Carbon Fiber travel guitar, which weighs probably 1.2kg. It’s a pain to pack, but I think a good decision to bring along to keep me/others entertained, and to let me write music. Klaus (as I’ve just tentatively named it) will surely feature heavily in future posts.
- A Sainsbury’s shopping bag to hold my food (not yet purchased).
- Shoes (Altra Lone Peak 4 trail runners, plus flip flops)
- A headlamp (rechargeable usb headlamp from Black Diamond)
- Toilet paper (which has to be packed in and out!)
- First aid kit
- Charging cables.
Some people are real gram counters (e.g. will cut off the handle of their toothbrush to save weight). That’s not me, partially because I don’t know exactly what I can live without yet, and partially because I don’t have a scale not made for weighing humans.
Anyway, altogether this weighs about 20 lbs (9 kg). This also represents my “base weight”, which refers to all the non-consumable weight you carry (so excluding food, water, and, though I’ve got it here, stove gas).
The most absurd people get their base weight down to about 8 lbs (4 kg), but I’m honestly not sure how people can survive so minimalistically for so long.
Here’s the packed up look, though I’ve reformatted the guitar placement:
The hiker: Before
Hiking 20 miles a day and only eating what I can carry, I expect to be a shadow of the person I was before when all is done.
Here’s what I look like today:
And some body measurements:
Weight: 229 lbs (104 kg)
Bust: 43.5 inches
Belly button: 43 inches
Hips: 41.5 inches
Derierre: 44 inches
Calves: 16.5 inches
Wrists: 7.5 inches
We’ll see how the after numbers stack up. Until then, many miles ahead. Can’t wait to get started in the morning!