Pack: JanSport Juno 73 Pack – yes, its a big pack. They asked us to bring a larger one and really it fit pretty well and carried all my stuff (much to the guide’s chagrin since I abhor a vacuum and must fill empty spaces…) I was probably at 32 pounds with all my and the group gear. Funny story at REI, when we went to go get mom’s pack, we told them of the requirements and he really tried to steer us to a 3000 cu in pack since the 4500 one is really huge. I was hesitant to go smaller, while I did agree with him, 4500 is huge, I didn’t know what kind of bulky group gear our guides would be giving us and I didn’t want to be flouting their requests already. We ended up saying thanks but no thanks to the guy and eventually coming back to find her pack on our own. Its starting to be an issue with REI folks actually. They are very nice and very smart, but they don’t seem to get that some of us have weird requirements (like me and my men’s hiking boot things and our listing for a large pack for this trip) and that sort of bothers me.
Pack Rain Cover: Osprey Raincover XL at MRO, this weighs about 8 oz and squishes down nicely into its carrying case (moreover you can get it BACK into its own case which is downright amazing.) Also, serves double duty as a rain seat that you tighten around yourself while you sit on the ground with the upper part curved around your shoulders. handy when you are under a tarp but still sitting on the ground.
Clothes: (all my clothes lived in a Sea to Summit waterproof bag (8L) to prevent them from getting wet and also served as my pillow at night.)
–>2 shirts (cool max Champion brand from Target on clearance last year) *Necessary* since I sweat and it was warm on the uphills, but cool after you took off your pack. When it was rainy, getting things to dry was a bitch and a half (and the quick dry only made it a bitch to dry off in the sleeping bag with me)
–>Rain Pants that also zipped off to shorts, but walking in these shorts was a clammy affair. I primarily used these over long johns or over my other shorts to keep warm/dry (and the fact that my legs were cold indicated that it was *cold* as I frequently run around in shorts and a wool sweater all year round here in Nor Cali.)
–>Shorts (cool max) I got these at Target and these were FANTASTIC. I need to get a couple more pair since these suckers ROCK.
–>Socks I took 3 pairs of SmartWool (or the REI brand, buy 3 and get 10% off) and swapped socks every day. Some people advocate changing sock mid-day, but I found that if I took of my shoes mid-day that my feet hurt on the afternoon trek. Your mileage may vary. I slept in one pair and alternated the other two. The happyhappyjoyjoy thing about SmartWool is that it does NOT get stinky or gross. Hooray for natural materials!
–>Undies: Ex Officio magic undies-quick dry and anti stinky.
–>Long Undies: I did a combo of SmartWool (top) and Polarmax Tech Pants long undies and while they were both ok, I really should have gotten SmartWool on both ends, the SmartWool was much more comfy. I slept in my long undies at night, both for warmth (though my sleeping bag was double plus good! especially for having been on sale for $69, but I’ll discuss it later…) I was a squicky about my skin on skin since I was pretty gross. It helped me to sleep (mom said this as well after one night that she didn’t sleep in hers.)
–>Rain Jacket: A Marmot shell that I zipped the fleece out of
–>Boots: Merrell men’s Mesa ventilators (because I have yet to find a pair of women’s hiking boots that are wide enough for me… jeebus, girls, how do you walk around on those little popsicle sticks without falling over?) though the one’s I linked to aren’t exactly it, they are ventilators which probably also helped with my feet not getting hot in combo with the SmartWool socks. I can say that I had exactly ZERO problems with my feet (and frankly I thought I would have problems with them since my feet are sort of diva-high-maintenance-Bitchy-McSnipe-esque as far as feet go. Needless to say, I was very happy- the cold I had, well, that’s quite another matter.)
–>Gaiters: I got the ones made of the same material that my Mistral pants are made from… good stuff, but I am actually pondering some Outdoor Research ones.
–>Camp Shoes: MRO had Nothinz on sale for half off… I was going to go the cheap flip flop route, but I yielded to peer pressure, and it wasn’t a bad decision. Croc knockoffs would have been just as good… plus mom bought them so even better. ;)
–>Hat: mine looked like a regular baseball cap, but is actually a winter runner’s cap with little earflaps that can fold down for the cold… and I used ’em, too. Brrr.
Tent: this was group gear and they brought it for us… It was an REI Half Dome tent ca. 2004. Very good tent, we were rained on pretty heavily and we stayed dry. Roughly 6 pounds and made of heavier material than the new UL ones they have now.
Boffo! A good one…
Sleeping Bag: Sierra Designs Rosa, on sale as previously mentioned, kept me nicely warm. It has a little feet liner at the bottom that I haven’t seen before that was really nifty as well as the dual zipper that let me stick my feet out even when the rest of the bag was zipped up. As for the ‘narrower through the torso nonsense’, well, I ain’t, to put it very bluntly. I also sleep on my side, so I’m pondering the Big Agnes bag that is built for us side sleepers, though I like the fact that the Rosa is lighter and synthetic (goosedown loses warmth if it gets wet and takes forever to dry). Still making my decision on this one. I would like a smaller bag so that it doesn’t take up a crapload of space in my bag so I can use my UL 45 pack in the future.
Sleeping Pad: Thermarest Z Lite. I have a Thermarest that I used for years and its heavy and a pain to deal with (inflate, un-inflate, etc.). I like the fold up design of this and I can bunch up parts of it to work as a pillow or under my knees when I lie flat (as I can’t really sleep on my side with my current sleeping bag). It also is nice and light, easy to manoeuvre (putting down, picking up). I did beat it up on trees when I walked though since I put it up on the top of my pack (having removed the pack lid with the pocket previously.)
–>Spork:I had a red one (which I left at home… duh) so I bought a blue one at MRO. Not bad, but I think I like mom’s Foon.
–>Cup and Bowl: I liked the bowl (its easy to open it up and lick it clean), but the cup wasn’t as fun. I didn’t bring a plate. I might consider bringing this cup or more likely this one that I use all the time anyway even though it weighs a bit more.
–>Camelbak: 2L…worth it.
Personal Patch Kit: Its an Outdoor Research ultralight organizer with little things like nail nippers (for fighting off bears), Tylenol (lots), Sudafed (even more), skin goop, toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes (for every other day wipe down) and other little snickety things that would get lost in the wilds of my pack.
I think they tried to talk me out of it, but it was one of the things that I held firm on (instead of using ziploc bags for everything).
–>Trekking Poles: I wasn’t certain how I’d work with these and mom definitely was skeptical. But they saved my butt all week. I balanced myself with them, pushed myself up mountains, took the weight off of my knees (which I will discuss later) and pretty much earned their keep (and I bought cheap-y ones in case the airlines destroyed them in my duffel I checked, so I’m guessing even lighter weight ones would be even better.) Also, if I decide on the other tent I thought was cool, it would use the poles instead of tent poles for double duty.
–>Treo in waterproof case that also had my ID and insurance card (in case of bears… they are deathly afraid of HMO’s, you know) and earphones. I probably could have lived without my Treo on this trip because I was so sick, but otherwise, I think I would have still wanted it with me.
–>Garmin eTrex Vista for fun and to see our altitude, to mark waypoints where we stayed etc. because I am a big geek. I would take this again in a heartbeat.
–>Journal small spiral binder (4×5) for notes + pen
–>Camera: My old Sony waterproof 2megapixel one so I wouldn’t worry about killing my good one on the trail.
–>More ziploc bags for trash, daily snacks, messy things, stuff that went in the bear bag at night, etc.
–>LED headlamp: A Energizer one which I didn’t use much as I observed the hiker midnight rule (a.k.a. going to bed when the sun went down… about 8 pm or 9 pm. Giggling from other tents went on long after… it really was one big slumber party. ;)
package of dried mushrooms
1 big package cheese mashed potato mix
10 string cheeses
Cheese mix from a macaroni and cheese box
GORP (with a liberal amount of peanut M&M’s, because really, who are we kidding?)
15 Cherry Pie Larabars (my favorites)
Mild Slim Jims
Now, I don’t know that I can fairly assess my food situation for this week. I caught a cold and was stuffed up and MISERABLE (not to mention other issues that some of us girlies have to deal with directly) so I really didn’t eat much this whole week. (Nor did I want to…)
In fact, everyone was going out of their way to make sure I actually put food in my mouth and ate it. To be perfectly honest, I could go for a while and not worry about missing a meal. They should have worried if I didn’t drink water (which I managed to clear out my Camelbak just about every day even though it was nice a cool out side, no problem with water at all.)
It hurt to eat stuff since my throat was raw, my taste buds were not functioning (well, no nose, no taste) and the one or two times I even remotely felt hungry was when we were walking and it went away after about 3 minutes. It wasn’t a big deal.
Here’s what I actually took (more than other folks because of my persnickety stomach)
Contrast that list with what I actually ate that week:
1 piece of jerky
4 string cheeses
1/4 packet dried mushrooms (these were amazingly good in the potato ‘soup’ listed below)
1/2 of the mashed potato mix (I ended up putting a couple of spoonfuls into a 1/2 c of hot water and ended up with potato soup… also very good. I looked forward to that as much as I did the…
Group food: chicken soup/chicken boullion/miso soup mix ~ 1/2 c each night as an appetizer as soon as we got off the trail and had water heated.
1/2 of a mild Slim Jim; it nauseated me
1 Larabar over 3 days (the nuts hurt my throat)
7 peanut M&M’s (I remember counting them)
Group food: Some noodles with the cheese mix on it
Group food: black beans and rice, but I remember having to choke them down (not because they were bad, mind you, but because I couldn’t swallow very well because of my cold.) and keeping them down was a chore as well. Not a pleasant meal. The cups of soup were the highlight of the trip.
1 cup of Earl Grey tea one morning
No breakfast, but then again I never eat breakfast (though I didn’t even want coffee… weird. Most likely I just wanted to stay in my sleeping bag a little longer rather than get up to get hot water…) The rest of the trip was lots of water, but I didn’t notice not eating much at all. I think everyone else was more concerned about the food situation than I was.
Frankly, it was just another chore.
What I didn’t take (that I would need to take on a solo trip):
JetBoil: We used a group feedbag situation that involved the guides having the stoves. That sometimes meant that I had to eat earlier than I wanted and didn’t have hot water when it would have been nice to have (later at night before I went to bed to warm up a bit.) I have an insulate-y sleeve that I should have brought for my Nalgene bottle so I could have kept some water at temperature.
Tent: Outdoor Research NightHaven Shelter with footprint. I like the fact it is 2 pounds and you use your trekking poles.
More Gorilla tape and the other little things like a lighter,water filter, a tarp and light rope that the guides took.
All in all, most things were good… but marshmallows and hot chocolate would probably be on the list somewhere as well.