This last trip was a big one for me. This was the first time that I’d been out on the trail for four days. There was a major defeat that led to a big detour. This was also the first trip where I felt that my gear was just what I wanted and my menu was great too.
For years I have been using an extra backpack that I had laying around for all my day hiking. It’s a sturdy old Timbuk2 bag and works fine, but it is heavy and lacks a chest strap or any of the other features that a good daypack might have. I’ve been a fan of REI’s Flash series for years. I use an old model that I got on the cheap for backpacking. My hiking buddy uses one of the small Flash 18 packs for his day hiking. I wanted a bit more in the way of features so I decided on the Flash 22.
We started late on our first day. My hiking partner didn’t pick me up until around nine and we had to stop for some supplies on our way, so we didn’t get on the trail until almost eleven. Luckily, everyone else was lagging even more and we were able to get a good parking space right next to the caretaker’s trailer. We got our packs on and adjusted and got moving. Pretty much right away, my buddy realized that he forgot his poles. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, since it meant that I would feel like a bit of a jerk using my poles when he didn’t have his. The jaunt to the base of the Ruckel Creek trail was quick though, so I really didn’t have long to wait before the climbing began.
I really enjoy gear. I like to spend time comparing the merits of different brands and analyzing the performance of the kit that I take out on the trail. I might be a fetishist, yet I think that many hikers would agree that having good gear can make all the difference between a miserable slog and an invigorating hike. Gear can also be the only thing that stands between an inconvenience and a disaster. As such, I am always on the lookout for good books about gear. Trail Tested was written by Justin Lichter, who probably wears out more gear in a year than most people ever own. He hikes thousands of miles a year and he knows a thing or two.
I continue to love my Fivefingers. I’ve been wearing them more and more on my regular days about town. Since it has been a cold and wet spring so far, I’ve been wearing my Bormios, a leather ankle boot. Their treated leather is fairly resistant to water and warmer than my Treksports.
I’ve been doing more walking lately and I’ve been enjoying it. Sadly, much like my experience while hiking, my shoes have been pretty unfriendly to my feet. In an effort to keep my feet happy I have been wearing my Fivefingers more. Though I originally bought them for hiking and the outdoors, I am using them more and more for walking about town.
I’ve started to firm up my plans for backpacking next year. I have a pair of loops that I want to do and I have the months picked out. The next thing is to start revisiting my gear. I’ve backpacked with a buddy before, but I want to be prepared to do these trips solo. That means that I will need a few necessities that I don’t already own. In addition to that, I have a couple more ‘luxury’ items that I would like to have.