Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hello Big Four

Every thru-hiker has what's known as the Big 4: shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack.  Here's a look at ours.  

Shelter: Being that we're in love and all, we get to share one shelter. Which is awesome. One of us will carry the tent, one of us will carry the cook system. Divide and conquer.  After researching pros and cons of both tarps and tents, we decided to go with a Tarptent.  Tarptent is a great company out of Santa Cruz that has been supporting thru-hikers for years. Their simple and ultralight designs, plus tons of positive reviews, made it an easy choice. Our is the Squall 2 coming in at 35.25 ounces. 

Sleeping Bags: I will be carrying a Mountain Hardware Women's Phantom 15. It's the first 'Women's Specific' bag I've ever had, and basically, I'm obsessed. I used to think that Women's Specific gear was just a marketing ploy, but for the first time in my life I have a bag that is the right length and shape. It makes a world of a difference for me, warmth wise.  It is also two tone: brown and neon green, making me look like an old school GloWorm!  It weighs 32.875 ounces. Trav will be snugglin' up in a Marmot Men's Helium.  The Helium is a much loved thru-hiker bag and comes in at 34.75 ounces.  

Sleeping Pad: We are both using Therm-A-Rest ZLites.  We carried inflatable pads in South America and though they are significantly more comfortable, we ended up having to do a good bit of patching and repair. We have no interest in dealing with that bologna on the trail, so ZLites it is. Other upsides are that we don't have to exert the energy to blow them up each night and we can pull them off our packs at breaks, sit on them and not worry about puncture. Breezy. As you can see in the above photo, mine is seriously old and beaten up worn in. I cut it down from it's original size and it weighs 9.875 ounces. Trav's is very shiny and pretty. It's the short length (51 inches) and weighs 9.625 ounces. 

Backpacks:  After meeting a really rad older couple in Cochamo, Trav was impressed by the options and design of their packs.  They've been ultralight biking and hiking for years and couldn't say enough about their ULA Catalyst packs.  The pack Trav had been using didn't really work on his slim frame so upon return home, he sold the ill fitting one and ordered a Catalyst. ULA gives you a hip belt size option as well as torso length option. He's sitting pretty in his new pack which weighs 42 ounces. I will be using my old tried and true Granite Gear Vapor Ki which weighs 39.375 ounces. 

So there you have it, our Big 4! We're pretty jazzed to get this stuff out there in a few weeks. 

A. There are 16 ounces in a pound and (for our (maybe 2?) non-American readers) 35.3 ounces in a kilogram.  
B. Why yes I did feel silly taking Glamour Shots of gear.

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