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A Sample Gear List

The first six articles in this series have looked at the wide range of backpacking gear that is available and discussed the pros and cons of much of it. To close out this series I want to detail out a gear list. This is what I am currently planning on using for multiday trips in the Olympics as well as this year’s PCT section hike through Oregon, but is subject to some change yet. It is a moderately lightweight gear list.

What To Carry Your Stuff In

Determine what is important to you in a pack. Do you want light and simple, heavy load carrying capability, the ability to get to everything easily, lots of attachment points, super rugged construction, etc. Packs are generally not cheap, so ask around, read a Backpacker gear guide, borrow a friend’s pack, make sure the store you buy from has a good return policy. You will spend a lot of time strapped into your pack so make sure it will work for you, the way you hike. The trail is much better when your pack is a good friend rather than an evil necessity.

Five Finger Running

I have been running for about 5 years now, going through a couple pair of shoes a year. But a little over a year ago I tried out a pair of Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) and really like them, kind of. They were so lightweight that it felt almost like I was floating. It only took a block or so before I was convinced that this was the shoe for me.

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All the Other Stuff We Like To Pack

So you’ve got a shelter, can stay warm at night, well fed, and dressed; so what’s left? Well you don’t have to read too many issues of Backpacker or look at the REI web site to realize that there are an endless number of other treasures that you just have to have if you are going to be able to conquer the wilderness. And while some of them are indeed useful, many of them do little beyond add weight to your pack.

Raccoons & Squirrels & Deer, Oh My!

I live in a residential part of town but have a fairly large backyard. It has not been uncommon over the years to see deer and raccoon foraging in the backyard, and more recently squirrels. There was a time when I was excited to see these animals come and pay my yard a visit. But more and more they are being relegated to the role of pest.

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Dressing Appropriately

The first time I took off to spend a few nights in the backcountry I figured that it would be good enough just to wear some warm outdoor clothes topped off by a set of rain gear just in case. I wore jeans and a flannel shirt along with a spare set, a change of underwear and socks for every day, an old warm coat and a new set of rain gear from the local department store. It’s actually a wonder that I ever went out again. Of course it rained pretty much the whole time I was out. Four days in the back country and I was dry for about the first 10 minutes.

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How Much for Gas?

I would like to offer up an alternative suggestion; one going in the opposite direction. Let the government add an excise to the price of gas, starting at $1.00 per gallon and upping it a dollar per gallon each year until it hits $5.00. All of this excise should be put into a pot that could only be used for funding transportation solutions.

Fueling the Furnace

One of the joys of being out on a long trip is that you can eat just about anything you want. But this can also be a challenge; trying to carry enough food to fuel your motor can be a difficult task if you will be out very long. And it is really more that just being able to eat what you want. You do need to eat more than you normally would in order to have the energy to put in the miles under load that are typical on the trail. How much more is dependent on the person, the load they are carrying, the terrain as well as the number of miles they travel in a day.

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Pooh Bear for President

I would like to suggest an alternative candidate for our upcoming elections. I know it is kind of late in the cycle to draft a new candidate, but if he runs as an independent, missing out on the primaries should not be an insurmountable obstacle. And so, without further ado, I would like to issue a call to Winnie the Pooh to run for president of the United States.