Day 63 – Gearing Up


Pine Cone Resort

Pine Cone Resort

Today is a day to resupply and hide from the rain. We death-walk the highway to a breakfast place that turns out not to exist. Instead we grab a quick java at a coffee bar, then hike a trail back to Stateline. We skip the Nevada casino buffets and walk to a breakfast place in California, where the special is cream cheese stuffed French toast with fresh strawberries. We resupply at a dollar store and Safeway, do laundry and plan our next week.

Because it is a zero day, I figure this is a good time to share my gear and typical packing process, for those with interest in such topics.

I wake in my Z-pack 10 degree sleeping quilt. Because of mosquitoes, I am in my Protail Tarptent rather than cowboy camping. I pull my hiking pants and shirt from my cuben fiber sleeping quilt stuff sack, which I used as a pillow.  I change from my sleeping base layer into pants and shirt, and put on my Darn Tuff socks and Brooks Cascadia shoes. I crush the quilt into the stuff sack. I let the air out of my NeoAir xlite sleeping pad and roll it up. I stuff the clothes I am not wearing (base layers, socks, sock liners, underwear, gloves) into a yellow stuff sack. My toiletries go in the light blue stuff sack – toothbrush, tooth paste, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toe nail clippers, tiny pocket knife, Imodium, Band-Aids, etc. In my bright blue stuff sack go the electronics, extra batteries, cables, plugs, external batteries, etc. I push everything to the front of the tent and climb out.

After breakfast I pack up. I stuff my shirt pockets with today’s snacks. First into the backpack is my BearVault canister, standing upright. It is filled with all my remaining dinners, snacks, and breakfast. Next to it I tuck my empty Ursack, which I use to protect food and trash from rodents and bears. Also stuffed next to the canister is my Pocket Rocket stove, my Neoair sleeping pad, and my mess kit. The mess kit is a titanium pot in a homemade cozy, inside that is a titanium mug in another cozy and a tiny sponge. That makes layer 1.

For layer 2 I insert a trash compactor bag, and fill it with the things I do not want to get wet. Sleeping quilt, toiletries bag, electronics bag, down jacket, rain jacket and clothes bag. I tie the bag shut with a red wire tie. The pack cover clips shut.

In the side pouches I put my IsoPro fuel canister and SmartWater liter water bottles. The back mesh pocket contains my Sawyer Squeeze water filter, Instaflator air pump for sleeping pad, SeaToSummit long handled titanium spoon, tiny towel, and various items like drying socks.

I brush out the tent, then remove the trekking poles which double as tent poles. They need to be resized back to 120cm, my preferred trekking pole length. I remove the stakes and stuff the tent into its stuff sack. The tent gets wrapped up in a small closed cell pad and strapped to the top of my pack. I shake off and fold up my Tyvek ground cloth. It is attached to the back of the pack with bungee cords built into the pack.

In the right pack belt pocket I have my smartphone, in the left is my headlamp, iPod nano and digital recorder which I never seem to use. My fanny pack has my video camera, batteries and extra SD cards. Around my neck hangs sunglasses and reading glasses. The entire ensemble is topped off with a ridiculously large sun hat.

I am probably missing a few items, but you get the general idea. It turns out you can survive for 5 months with a lot less stuff than you think.

And, oh yes. In my pants pocket is a plastic ziplock bag, containing my homemade Tyvek wallet, credit cards and cash. This last item seems to resolve everything else.