As always, I’ve made some slight changes in gear. I’m a lightweight backpacker, but by no means am I ultralight. I realize I could definitely go lighter, but I do have some luxury items that are worth carrying for me personally. Some of you may recall that at the end of the Great Divide Trail last year, I sent home much of my gear from Canada and accidentally had it left on the porch for 24hrs…when it was stolen. It wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely annoying to repurchase so many tiny items (brush, spoon, stakes, headlamp, mosquito head net, etc). I had kept many of the major big ticket items with me in case the package got lost, but it was over $1,000 in gear that I had to replace, and one of the items was my GPS, which was unintentionally put in the box. Very annoying and a lesson learned the hard way about shipping packages. Overall, with added gear for snow(ice axe & microspikes) and bears (bear canister), my base pack weight for the Sierra High Route is 16lbs 12oz. Check out my gear list for a full listing of my gear with links, prices and weights (we are still working to get all the links on there).

So fast forward to today. Since my slate was clean, I was able to buy many of those tiny items I normally wouldn’t have since I already had something that was sufficient. Here is a photo of the small items that are new to me. The rest have remained the same, but I just had to buy new ones.

We will be in the heart of mosquito season in both the Sierra High Route and the Wind River High Route. DEET is a horrible thing, so Sawyer makes amazing products that are not harmful to skin or gear and actually works! They have been a reliable product for years used by the US military and even majorly in combating the Zika Virus. Their Picaridin bug spray I mentioned above(short stock due to Zika), and they also have Permethrin, which is used to treat gear and clothing. I got all that done today and will be very happy when we hit peak mosquito season! Yes, you’ll notice I’m not in Portland. I’m visiting friends in Big Sur and will post more on that in my next post!

It has also been two full seasons that I’ve had the same tent (ZPacks Solplex), sleeping bag(ZPacks 10 degree), and down jacket(Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer). They have held up great since 2014. I took them on 6 trails, 4,300mi, (slept in the tent 200 nights). The trails I took them on were the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Great Divide Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Hayduke, and the Lost Coast Trail. I feel like all these items still have another season to eek out of them and I will still take them on some trips, but I was kindly offered new versions of each and they are great! A huge THANK YOU to David for this amazing gift!

Finally, I have two more items that were kindly shipped to me.

One is my reliable Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack. Man, I do love this pack! It has served me well since I started using it in 2013. Gossamer Gear made some improvement to the design a year ago to improve the arm straps that irritated some people and they are now super comfy. This year, they now have improved on the hip belt (more ergonomic), hipbelt pockets (more functional), and the stays in the back are now integrated into the hipbelt for ultimate load transfer and comfort(going to be awesome when scrambling on high routes).

The other item is that the WoolPro has kindly sent me items from their newest line of wool clothing. I now have the lightweight baselayer Skylark top (for pajamas and cold mornings under my hiking clothes) and the lightweight leggings are on the way. They are advertised as the lightest baselayer on the market and are just launching this whole new line that is ideal for lightweight backpackers or anyone that uses wool in an active lifestyle.

Of course, I want to be sure to thank those of you that have contributed to these items and the companies that have kindly sponsored me. Gossamer Gear, Sawyer, Dirty Girl Gaiters, StickPic, TrailDesigns, and WoolPro. All of these companies know that I’m not a walking commercial and appreciate that I only use gear that I truly use and stand behind.

So that’s the update for this coming year. On the next post, I’ll talk more about my personal anticipated excitement and challenges that lie ahead this summer.



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