Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All packed!

Except food and water.  Lacking anything other than a bathroom scale to weigh it, I weighed myself without the pack, then put the packed up pack on, then added the fanny pack.  Got a base pack weight of 15.8 lbs, which sounds really pretty good, especially considering that I cut a lot of costs by not buying super expensive ultralight stuff, like a really lightweight, great tent, etc.

But the fanny pack was an additional 3.2 lbs.  Combined total base pack weight--and I think it's only fair to combine them--is 19.0 lbs.  Not exactly ultralight, but certainly lightweight compared to the crazy pack weights we used to haul around as teenagers.  I'm not unhappy.  I had estimated a total of 16.5 lbs, but I added a few minor items, and ended up using small bungee cords to hold the sleeping pad in place.  I could have cut off some paracord and saved some weight there, but it's not worth the effort.

I could also shave a little weight by getting rid of a few things--the fanny pack could be repackaged inside the backpack, saving the fanny pack weight.  I could ditch the SteriPEN and camera cases.  I could probably ditch the tarp.

But frankly, I think the fanny pack concept is too convenient.  So what if it adds a pound or so?  Totally worth it to have stuff readily and easily available without having to stop, take my pack off and dig through the side pockets.

The corner of my room looking a bit more organized...

Moment of truth

At least on weight.  Here's my pile of clothes and gear, waiting for me to pack it up.  Once it's done, I will weigh the total and see how far off I am on my estimate for base pack weight.

And I need to get going on my food quick!  This trip is right around the corner, and I haven't picked any of it up yet!

Tonight, I'll pack up everything in the base pack and weight the whole thing.  Plus, that way I won't have a big pile in my room anymore...

Monday, August 4, 2014


I don't know why I've been struggling with shoes lately.  For years--twenty five or so; maybe closer to 30--I've been consistently wearing size 10½, I've struggled with the last few pairs of shoes I've bought to get them that fit.

My plan was to hike in these Fila Trail Runners that I bought a few months ago.  But the 10½ shoes didn't fit well.  I bought some 11½, and although they're plenty long; I've got probably ¾ inch almost of toe room.  And yet, my feet still feel constricted in the shoes.  Its like they're exceptionally long and narrow compared to other shoes that I've bought before.  So, I'm thinking about buying a new pair of trail shoes with only a week to go before I start hiking well over 50 miles in less than two weeks.  Ugh.  (Luckily, I see some good New Balance, Skechers and Avia trail shoes on sale at JC Penny at a good price.  I'll probably end up picking them up, because I saved money vs. my budget on other aspects of the trip, particularly on hotel stays.  Thanks to my sister-in-law and her husband who moved just a few months ago to very near where I need to stage my hikes, so I can crash with them on either end of the excursion!)

Other than this, I've got most of my gear all piled up in a corner of my room.  I don't have my food yet, but I've got almost everything else, and over the next day or two I plan to to actually pack up my pack and then put it on the scale.  Time to see if my estimates for weight are worth anything or not!

I'll end up having two measurements, because I actually have two bags--my actual backpack, and then a "utility belt"; like a hunter's fanny pack, kind of.  Because that will naturally be on my hips, the weight of what's in that pack probably shouldn't truly be listed as part of my base pack weight, which will be shared between my hip belt and my shoulder straps.  Anyway, I'll have a true base pack weight, and then a combined base pack weight showing both weights together.  Even being pessimistic, I hope that my combined base pack weight comes in well below 20 lbs.  My estimated weight is only 16½ lbs.  Of course, true ultralighters won't look at that base weight and be thoroughly impressed, but for a "standard" backpacker, that's almost crazy light, and certainly much lighter than I did as a teenager.

I find as the date of my hike is really right on top of me that I'm both nervous and excited.  Excited for obvious reasons, but somewhat nervous too.  I haven't done this in quite a long time.  Although I'm confident in my knowledge and skills, I'm not sure how it's going to work, how in shape I'll find that I am--or rather, how out of shape I really am and how much that will end up holding me back.  I've also never done a solo excursion before, and... I dunno.  I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I do find myself just a bit nervous about the entire affair.

Naturally, once I'm home, I'll post lots of pictures and trip report type information here.