The beginning of the year, for me, became the time to evaluate my backpacking gear list. What did work, what didn’t and what am I just simply tired of. This time I shared my gear list on www.lighterpack.com and the final weight including, what I call, the foreigner special (Passport) comes out to be sub-8-pounds.
Go and check it out right now or keep reading, for my thoughts on altering this setup for special occasions like muggy summer weather.
Since the Arizona trail (March 2017) I carry a 10˚F/-12˚C down quilt. A 32˚F/0˚C down sleeping bag on the PCT was just fine for most nights but as a cold sleeper and a tiny woman with frosty feet, I rather carry those few ounces more for the night time warmth. For a muggy hike like the Appalachian trail in the summer, I’d consider swapping out the warm quilt for a 50˚F/10˚C synthetic quilt like the Enlightened Equipment Apex.
By using a quilt you definitely will save some weight but consider bringing a beanie to cover your head when it’s cold. Furthermore, I totally believe in sleep clothes or a liner to protect my sleeping bag. Such an expensive item is something you want to make last. The dirt and stink of sleeping in hiking clothes will just destroy it. Worth the weight for me.
I only carry a ⅛ of an inch foam pad which is not very common for female hikers and one of the things I hear girls say they couldn’t do when they see such a thing in a typical gear list by a male ultralight hiker.
In fact though, girls, you’re body can get used to a lot if you want to. And not only this, the trick here is to find the right campsite. A ground covered in pine needles or leaves is soft and furthermore works as additional, natural insulation. Over the time you can train yourself to sleep on your back or on your belly too, it might take a week or two, but it is not impossible. If that is at all not an option for you, the probably most luxurious, yet light outdoor bed you can find is an air mattress like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir or the Exped Hyperlight Syn-mat.
Cooking vs. not cooking
Actually, I’ve always been way too lazy to cook and especially to do dishes. Cold soaking does at least cut out the cooking, not so much doing the dishes. Not only can I save the weight of a stove and the gas here, besides not having to search for gas in town, it also made me eat healthier. My most favorite cold soaking recipes, tips & tricks coming soon in a separate blog post – easy to adjust for Vegans. ?
I have a 5000mAh Anker battery on my list which treated me just fine on the Arizona Trail and the Appalachian trail section I did in 2017. I would consider getting a higher capacity battery though for future hikes, especially in more rural areas, due to security reasons (malfunctioning apps can drain the phone battery immensely).
The umbrella always is a hot topic in the ultralight community. I didn’t have one in the desert section of the PCT but was pretty happy about it in Northern California where it was brutally hot and in Washington where it just didn’t stop raining. Even if it is just to sit down and take a break. With the tarp, it also comes in handy to close off one side (a-frame) if the weather turns bad.
Unfortunately for me, at least, in the US, next to my wallet with credit card and stuff I also have to carry a heavy passport with me at all times.
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