I’m not going to do a full gear rundown, but I’ll talk about the big items and what I learned last weekend on my shakedown cruise.
Pack: Gossamer Gear Mariposa. I love this pack. Very comfortable up to 35 pounds (haven’t tried it with more). I love all the pockets and the overall design. I wish it had one more small pocket, like right above the outside mesh pocket, for small thin stuff like my “wallet”, maps and permits.
Tent: MSR Hubba. Some might call that overkill, but I decided early on I don’t want to skimp on shelter. If it’s really bad, and I need to take shelter, potentially for quite awhile, then I want a place to retreat to that’s cozy. It certainly wasn’t overkill last weekend and I’m sure I’ll be glad to have it in Washington (if it rains, HA). It did really well in the rain last weekend. Actually, with the nice vestibule and the other design features, I was very pleased with this tent. Not sure how it could be better.
Sleeping System: I hate tents, actually, so if I think I can get away with it, I will be sleeping with my 4×6 piece of Tyvek (I can’t believe how perfect this is – does the job, easy to manage, and very light and small), a ThermaRest NeoAir (also love), and a Zpacks 10-degree down bag. Still not sure about the bag. I’m skeptical that I would be warm in there at 10 Degrees. But, it is true that so far all the nights I’ve used it I have not zipped it up but just used it like a blanket, so maybe zipped up it will be warmer. And hey, it probably won’t get below 20 on the PCT anyway.
After last weekend, my favorite piece of gear is my ChromeDome umbrella, which I can strap to my pack for hands-free dryness. So awesome! I recently heard that the word umbrella comes from umbra (Latin?) meaning shade. Can’t wait to deploy it in the desert and see what portable shade is like.
I’m carrying an iPhone 5s, which will be my phone, camera, GPS, map, compass, and means to blog. Don’t worry, I’m carrying this huge rechargeable battery/charger. It’s probably more power than I will need, but I won’t have to worry about it and can maybe use the extra juice to make friends or barter some food (HaHa).
Shoes: Brooks Cascadia’s seem to be the most popular, so I’m starting with those for now. It’s taken me a few rounds to find the right insoles, but I think I have it dialed in now. They seemed kind of slippery on wet painted surfaces around town, which made me nervous, but they seemed to do OK on the wet rocks last weekend, so that’s good.
Filter: I used the Sawyer Squeeze mini last weekend, and was disappointed with how slow it was. I’ve had it for a while, and maybe I’m not back-flushing it enough. It was plenty fast the first time I used it. Still, I’m thinking about getting the larger version. I’m willing to trade a few ounces for the time it will save me. I do like the ability to gather the water and filter it later, like in my tent or on a break. We’ll see if the filter makes it to Canada or if I switch to bleach or something else.
I’m not sure what to say about my kitchen, because I’m not sure I’m happy with it. I have a Jetboil Sol (titanium) which rocks if all you want to do is boil water, but I may want to actually cook something, so we’ll see.
As with all my gear, and all my plans, I’m willing for it to all go out the window as needed. My main plan is to be flexible in all things. If something isn’t working, I’ll change it. But I’m hopeful that I have things pretty close already.