Gear List - a work in progress
Now that I’m a desert dweller, my gear list has (again!) evolved a bit. But the beauty of having a well-thought-out gear closet is that I can mix and match my equipment for the trip at hand. Yes, it’s more expensive than having just one of everything, but sheesh! who wants to live like that??!
But I digress.
I recently shared my story of how I saw the ultra-light (get it?!), and I had several folks reach out to ask what my current gear list looks like.
The best way to explain my gear list is to talk about systems. When you first start thinking about how to lighten your pack (without sacrificing comfort!), you start to put your equipment into categories: sleep system, kitchen, hydration, clothing/insulation, tools, luxuries.
It becomes really easy to tweak what you are going to bring when you use that classification system - because it helps you to actively choose what you are going to bring for each and every trip. One of the main reasons people bring too much stuff is that they just carry everything, all the time. I recently went to Big Bend with some good friends of mine (who I’d not gone backpacking with before) and one of the group had just put her ditty bag into her pack without even looking inside. It’s what she always carried - so that’s what she carried. But there was plenty in there that was inappropriate for the desert (ie large wood saw?). So it’s important to know what you have available to you, what you will need for your current trip, and make decisions based on that.
Anyway, my last trip was that 5-day backpacking trip in the backcountry of Big Bend National Park this past January.
Temperatures there are crazy - at altitude (yes, you climb to about 7500’), nighttime temps can be in the 20s, and daytime temperatures can be in the 80s. And sunny, with no shade at all once you are on the desert floor. This creates some complex clothing choices, but when you break it down into functional layers it’s not too bad.
Here is my gear list for that trip, broken down by system:
Katabatic Gear Helios 55L, cuben hybrid (larger, sturdier pack for the bulky/heavy water carries)
Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid, cuben fiber, no inner net (it was January, all the creepy/crawly stuff are still asleep!)
Tyvek ground sheet (normally I would use polycro since it’s lighter and smaller, but in the desert I really worry about punctures and the tyvek gives me SLIGHTLY better protection there)
Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt, 20*
Exped Downmat UL7 Short (I’m 67” tall, the pad is 60” long - PERFECT!)
Goosefeet gear down booties (literally the best investment I’ve ever made)
Goosefeet gear down pillow case
Big Sky International inflatable pillow
Trail Designs ti-tri caldera cone with 600mL Evernew short/wide pot, modified starlyte stove. 4 oz alcohol is perfect for a trip this short and with limited water supplies (which translates to minimal water heating)
Sawyer black water filter set up in line with a Platypus 1.8L bladder (yep, NOT the squeeze, NOT the mini…but the ultra-secret Sawyer Black! lighter, way faster, slightly bulkier but not by much!)
3 1.5L evernew bladders (when water is a rare find - like the desert - it’s best to have multiple containers for water in case of failure rather than putting ALL your water in 1-2 large containers)
cut off sawyer pouch to use as a dipper to get water out of streams/water holes
single folding spork
empty gatorade bottle (used for coffee in am, gatorade and/or lemonade mix for dinner)
Zpacks food sack
running shorts (built in liner)
Rail Riders Adventure shirt
Nike Pro sports bra
Balega short socks
Altra Lone Peak shoes
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Haglofs LIM down puffy
Westcomb Crest hoody
Blackrock puffy hat
Rab polartec gloves
Patagonia cap 4 hoody
Arcteryx phase 2 tights
Montbell dynamo wind pants
hydrocolloid bandages (2)
2 mini bic lighters
Big Dig potty trowel
Locus Gear LT3 trekking poles with GG grips
Euroschirm Swingflex reflective umbrella (best 8 oz you'll ever carry)
Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with 2 lenses
2 spare batteries
I did not hurt for comfort, I was not cold, I was not hot, I had plenty to eat and drink, and I was able to make the crazy climbs of Big Bend ahead of all of my friends (who were all about 15 years younger and 20 pounds lighter than me!). I didn't weigh it, because at this point I don't care; I've weighed enough of my packs to get an idea and to know when I'm bringing too much and when I've got what I need. This was a great trip - I didn't want for anything, and everything was used.
Did I forget anything??