Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gearing Up

I've been fiddling around with my stuff this week trying to figure out if, how, and where everything will fit in my pack. For those interested, I created a page ("Gear List" at the top) and listed my gear. This is everything I am starting with but I am sure I will make some changes as I go. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the weight. My dry pack (no food or water) weighs about 22 lbs. For total starting pack weight, 30 was my goal, 35 was my limit, and I came in right about 31. Not bad. This is with 4 days of food and 2 liters of water.  Obviously I will be eating food as I go, and depending on my location I will have to carry more food, so of course the pack weight will fluctuate.

So, the good news? Everything fits; everything seems to work. The bad? Thankfully nothing major to report...not yet anyway. There are a few minor issues/observations that have come about:

1) I think my fuel bottle leaks. It's sneaky though, because when I turn it upside down and try to see where it leaks from, nothing comes out. It had been laying on its side earlier and I picked it up and the bottle was slightly moist, so something is going on. There is a spout at the top; I think maybe when I squirt fuel out of the spout a few drops remain inside, which then leak out even when I close it. You know how when you're drinking from straw and you stop sucking, a bit of liquid comes out the bottom? It's kind of like that. It will be stored upright in a side pocket in my pack so I don't think it will be much of a problem. At least I hope it will not be much of a problem.

2) I am not good with a lighter. To light my stove I have to stick the flame down inside, and I burn my thumb when I turn my hand upside down. If there is a trick to doing this, I haven’t figured it out and I’ve decided I'm going to stick with matches.

3) I don't have a pack cover. I've bought and tried two and neither fit correctly. I have my camp shoes strapped to the outside of my pack so it takes extra fabric to wrap around those, and both covers are too small. I don't know if I will be able to find something before I start or if I will just make do without one until my first resupply point. Here's to hoping for no rain?

4) Speaking of rain, I was planning to test my tent in the rain, and I set up camp in the backyard a few nights ago to do so; however, the test was aborted when my cat snagged the fabric in an attempt to play with one of the crossing pole hooks on the rain fly. The damage was minor—one small hole and a few snags—but I did seal the area with silicone just to be sure. Since I haven't had the tent out in the rain, I suppose I will just have to trust my seam-sealing workmanship?

5) I have never used a hydration bladder and I feel like I'm sucking in a bunch of air with each drink. I'm assuming this is normal and is just something I will have to get used to...or maybe there’s a trick to this too that I have yet to learn. Either way, the water gets to my mouth, so that's what matters, right?

Again, I don't think any of these things are worthy of much worry. I am sure I'll encounter much bigger problems!

This will probably be the last post before I start the trail. I may write more but will wait to publish until a few days in. Thank you everyone for the support and encouragement! (And thank you municipal court for excusing me from jury duty on the 31st!)

(I just changed the calendar on my wall to July. My sister is getting married so I will be coming home for the wedding, and if all goes according to plan, the calendar will be correct the next time I see it. A simple action, but significant...I'm really leaving!)

So, here goes nothing? Here goes something? Here I go.


  1. Godspeed Lindsey. Here's to a safe and spiritually rewarding adventure. XOXO Aunt Chris

  2. You will be in my prayers Linds. I am so very proud of you for the amazing journey you are about to start!! I can not wait for all of your updates. (for some reason, I think I would feel more comfortable tho if you had a dog with you), just sayin.....Love and Hugs, Manda

  3. hey lindsey,

    i've been following your blog as i will be starting soon as well. i may have some suggestions for your above problems. First: the vargo fuel bottle (which i also own). I realized that leaking would probably occur so what i did was mark of a smaller squeeze bottle and fitted it with the dispenser cap and got another cap to seal it completely. The dispenser will prob always leak a lil. even if you have it upright after a few days you may notice that it is beginning to evaporate. So try two caps, one to dispense, one to seal. this works well for me.

    Second - maybe the design of the caldera, or maybe you just need a lil practice. I would still carry a lighter, i will always trust them more than matches.

    Third - You need a pack cover! Do yourself a favor! Wet stuff sucks.

    Four - I highly recommend testing that tent before you hit the trail. If you have never sat in a tent in the cold while water creeps in around you and slowly soaks you, you will be in for a big shock! take it from one who knows. also, you'll prob be tenting a lot more in the beginning because of the amount of people starting at similar times.

    Five- I myself have a love-hate relationship with bladders, love the ease of use on the trail, hate the plastic taste, the cleaning, and leaking parts. that being said i may still carry one. you do know that it will be easier to drink if you have the valve on the bottom right?

    Good Luck!!

  4. Lindsey - Hope you have a wonderful birthday! We are looking forward to reading your blog and seeing the trail from your eyes. Keep safe.
    Aunt Judy & Uncle Tim

  5. Lindsey,

    Just wanted to say have a good time and enjoy every minute of it. I have to finish this semester of school, so I will be about two months behind you.

    Just Keep Livin

    Carl Chaney