I thought I would highlight a few pieces of gear I am reusing and what I am bringing in new this time around.
In preparation for hiking the AZT in March, I have made a couple of purchases, or am going to be making a few purchases to have the right gear and some added flexibility.
- Go Pro Hero 12 – One thing I wanted to do is take video on our hikes. Previously, I had used my cell phone to capture some footage, but I was always concerned about dropping it. I also didn’t necessarily want to bring it out in the rain and missed capturing some of the more challenging moments on the trail. I enjoy seeing videos from other hikers and I know my friends appreciate seeing the places we have been. With the Go Pro Hero 12, I am looking forward to getting video and sharing our experiences through another medium.
- Cotopaxi Hip Pack – Having quick access to supplies such as toiletries and Go Pro accessories was a priority for me this trip. After stressing about what the tuckamore would steal from my pack while hiking in Gros Morne National Park this summer, I didn’t want to have as many items tucked in my backpack’s side pockets, such as my toiletries bag. I also don’t want to leave anything of value in my backpack should we decide to go on a day hike and leave the remainder of our gear at our campsite. My only concern will be comfort when wearing the hip pack along with the waist belt of my backpack. I see an update coming in the future.
- Montem Trekking Poles – If you read our Gros Morne National Park trip reports, you would have read how I bent a trekking pole after sinking and falling into a muddy bog. We hunted around for replacement trekking poles for the trip and came across the Montem brand. My brand new white poles have already arrived and the company has sent customer service messages to let us know they will be responsive to any concerns. I think I already like them as a company, so I will be even happier if I like their trekking poles. After the hike, I will need to do a gear review on them.
- Gossamer Bottle Rocket (or Similar) – I am currently trying to track down an accessory for my backpack that will attach a 750ml water bottle to my shoulder strap. I am tired of turning in circles when attempting to slip my water bottle back into the backpack side pocket. I keep running into shipping issues where a $15-30 item will have taxes and shipping costs totaling around $25, bringing the total expense to around $50. That’s more than I want to pay for a little pouch that hangs off of my pack. Stay tuned for whatever I eventually find.
- Pillow – I decided to give a new pillow a try on this trail. When I track down the name of the new pillow, I’ll update this post. While my Trekology pillow was easy to inflate and never leaked on me, there was something about it’s shape and how it always slid off of my mattress throughout the night that I didn’t like. Also, the fabric on my face was not the most comfortable. I’m hoping my new choice of pillow will work better for my sleeping style and maybe will stay in place better.
- Shorts – For the first time, I will be packing shorts. There is no way I would not bring a pair of pants as cold mornings will mean cold legs, but knowing I will be hiking in the desert in hot temperatures during mid-day, I am definitely wearing shorts. I have never done a multi-day hike in shorts as we have always gone to the mountains or to Newfoundland where temperatures really aren’t ideal for those with exposed legs. I’m looking forward to the warmth.
- Saucony Peregrine 11 Trail Runners – The last time I used these was on the Pioneer Footpath, which I found was not the right shoe for Newfoundland and Labrador terrain since I needed the ankle support for the hidden uneven “trails”. I then used my Keen Hikers for our Gros Morne hike and found the ankle support gave me more confidence when stepping on the moss that deceptively made you believe the terrain was soft and even. The trail runners were great for our hike on the Great Divide Trail where the terrain was visible and rocky, so they are making a comeback for the AZT.
- Outdoor Research Puffy – I love my little green puffy. It keeps me warm when I need it most and is light to pack around. I also like to use it as an extension of my pillow when my Trekology pillow decides to go exploring in the middle of the night.
- Therm-a-Rest Neoair Xtherm and Synthetic/Down Hybrid TopQuilt – I run cold and I have found this combination of a sleep system works well for me. While we are going to add sleeping pads for more protection from pokey things on the ground, I am not going to change my sleep system. It kept me warm in Gros Morne and I am confident it will keep me warm on the AZT.
- Durston Drop 40L – While I do want to get a water bottle holder for my shoulder strap, this pack has been great for me now that I know how to adjust all the loaders and waist strap to suit my needs. I have beaten on this pack, dragging it along the rough surface of boulders as I slid down to tossing it into the back of vehicles. It remains in good shape and keeps everything dry. Even though we’ve never had a problem with moisture, we have still always put our clothes and other items in dry sacks. This time we are going with a pack liner and will just stuff everything in there so we don’t leave any spaces unfilled.
- The North Face Pants – I can’t tell you how much I love my North Face pants. These things are comfortable and durable. I have slid down so many surfaces while wearing these things and they are still in great shape. Sure the fabric is getting a little rough and pilly, but they are my favorite piece of clothing. They are definitely coming with us.
While I’m making some gear changes, almost everything is going to remain the same. I think I have my gear pretty dialed in and I like the way it operates. Comfort for me on the trail means using what is familiar and my trusty gear has performed well on our backcountry trips thus far. It is even making me feel almost comfortable enough to consider doing a solo hike. Don’t tell Oliver I said that.