Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm through hiking with a big pack!

Which means now I'm going to be 'thru' hiking with a smaller pack. The picture below is my alpine pack. I've always had just one pack and it's always full, be it an overnighter, a glaciated summit, or 40 days on the trail.
dbBrad and dbDog with D B-iggest pack on the trial!
So I adopted a new pack, smaller and lighter (just by getting a new pack I dropped 5 lbs!) and it's still full, just with less stuff!

dbBrad with new set. All gear, pack, clothes and electronics weighs 20.5 lbs.
I recently hiked 285 miles of Washington's PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). I started out with a 55 pound pack (pictured above). Way too heavy. No fun, too heavy and too slow. Carry less- hike faster- go further- carry less food. I started thinking about a lighter pack about five minutes into my first day. After a couple weeks I had dropped it to 45 with food and water.

dbDad and dbBrad with humongous packs with everything from spatulas and non stick frying pans to fresh veggies, tuna, a full medical kit and even a compact 45 which is both the size of the gun and the weight of my base pack!
When I was rejected by bad weather from passing over Goat Rocks and ended my trip a few days early, I was soaking wet and my base pack weighed about 40 pounds. When dry it weighted just under 35 lbs. However the Mountaineers wouldn't approve of my pack, because I had reduced their 10 essentials to about 4!

dbBrad returning to White Pass soaked and tired after getting 'rejected' by the weather at Goat Rocks, PCT WA.
However, 35lbs is still way too much if one is going to hike more than 15 miles in a day. It's roughly twice the base pack of the average through hiker I saw on the trail. During my hike, I crossed paths with over 75 people, 50 or more who were hiking the PCT in it's entirety.

dbDog is okay with the 'cats meow' but he wants North Face to make a 'dogs Roof" to sleep under!
So I looked, asked questions, analyzed and scrutinized products, methods and sound reasoning and came up with a reasonably safe yet much lighter selection of gear which has just enough comfort and warmth. I now have a base pack of about 20lbs including all my clothes, gear and electronics.

My new pack was a hand me down I had yet to use because it seemed so light and flimsy. Tent is my beloved Zoid II from MSR, Sleeping bag is my Cats Meow from North Face and cooking gear is the MSR Reactor. The Reactor and all my clothes came from Wander on Whidbey, closer, friendlier and cheaper than REI!

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