GEAR LISTS: Camping Equipment + Kitchen
Listed below is my gear list for the camping equipment I will use on my trek.
One thing that I have noticed about others who have taken a trek like this is that they are very willing to lug around some pretty heavy camping equipment, and their finished bike weight with all gear added together is pretty heavy! I am really not into any more punishment than I am already going to be taking. So where possible, I am going to be shaving off ounces left and right. At this point, I am unsure of the weight of my bike, so staying light, no matter what, can only be a good thing for me.
I found out last year on my PCT thru-hike attempt, that every pound I take with me on an adventure of this type, is a pound that I have to be accountable for in some way. In this case, that way will be through my legs. I will be riding the equivalent of almost fifty one hundred mile days (referred to as ‘centuries‘ in the biking community) in a 60 day span. In my first 43 years on this planet, I so far have accumulated exactly ZERO century rides. So less weight = increased chances of completing this ride without my body breaking down!
Enough with that stuff…here’s my list:
My shelter will be a tarp provided by Yama Mountain Gear. I used this tarp on my Pacific Crest Trail hike, and it was incredible. Enough shelter from rain, multiple pitching options, room to spare for gear in the even it’s raining, and the ability to keep fresh air coming in through the sides and back keep the condensation level just right. I like tarps better, as well, as you can easily see underneath the bottom edge to check your surroundings in a 360 degree view. If I use the cuban fiber shelter, I am at approximately 7 ounces. The silnylon tarp of the same style weighs 13.5 ounces. Add in the lightweight aluminum or titanium stakes of your choice, and you might be up to 15.5 ounces.
Sponsored by Yama Mountain Gear. This was one of the best pieces of gear I had with me on my PCT hike, and I’ll be excited to be using it once more on this journey. It is lightweight (just over 10 ounces) and is constructed of rugged but feathery light no-see-um netting. The craftsmanship on both the tarp and the bug tent are superb. I would often use just this Bug tent to sleep in when the weather was nice enough but the bugs were also over friendly. Gen Shimizu, who is the owner of Yama Adventure gear, will be on a trip down the Continental Divide Trail (Great Divide Route) on a unicycle (!?!) this summer to also aid in the fight against human trafficking. If you would like to jump over to his site, I highly encourage it!
Wow. This photo has not surfaced yet, and probably for good reason. But it’s one of the best photos I have of both my sleeping quilt and my bivy. First, about the goods: The sleeping quilt is made by Jacks’R’Better, and is their “Sierra Sniveller” model, weighing in at just 16 ounces. It is down filled, rated to 20 degrees, and as you can see has a ‘toe box’ that you can slide the lower parts of your legs into. it is actually constructed like a quilt, though, exactly like the one you might use on your bed. I don’t think I will err go back to using traditional ‘mummy bag’ sleeping bags. This thing was toasty, comfy, and made each night sleeping wonderful. So a very special thanks to Jack and Jack at JRB. The bivy (the black thing on the left side of the photo) is a lightweight bivy sack that a sleeping bag (or quilt) slides into. This bivy has a zippered mesh face screen to let the air in and keep the bugs out, and if it is super wide/misty/even rainy, a zippered cover that seals you completely inside. Just under 8 ounces, I like to use it when I just want to lay down on the ground and go to sleep in good weather, but too tired to do anything else.
(The story behind the photo: McIver’s Cabin near Walker Pass, CA., doing some laundry, letting the equipment air dry, and getting some housecleaning done at the same time. Why am I wearing a Patagonia ‘Houdini’ jacket around my waist? Well…my only pair of pants are drying just above my left ear in the photo. Hey…desperate times call for desperate measures. But at least I’m smiling, right?
The key for me to sleep REALLY well while camping is the air mattress I’m using. I found this out after 1,600 miles on the PCT last year. I had been using an assortment of foam pads the entire way, then tried the Therm-A-Rest ‘Neo Air.’ Wow. For maybe the very first night on the entire trail, I slept the entire night through without having to wake up and shift around to get comfortable. I’m a side sleeper, so this really helped take the pressure off of my hips and legs at night. It was incredible. I don’t want to toe out words superfluously…but I will totally use the adjective ‘incredible’ when speaking about this mat. Yes, the puncture issue is more prevalent with an inflatable, especially an inflatable like this that runs a little thinner material….but…WOW. Approximately 10-14 ounces, depending on size.
Tyvek is a perfect material for a ground sheet. Cut a section large enough to use as a footprint for your sleeping pad or tent bottom, and you are MUCH better off than buying an expense footprint. Very inexpensive, you can often find some for free at a construction site if you ask nicely. Super lightweight, super sturdy, it can act as your super fast and convenient throw down for a rest in a dirty spot, or a spontaneous rain cover for a surprise thunder shower. For a groundsheet measuring a luxuriously roomy 8′ by 3′, it will only cost you 4.97 ounces of weight. How strong is it? Try tearing one of the Tyvek envelopes you can find at the Post Office. Exactly.
I’ll use the JetBoil stove setup on the trip. Yes, there’s lighter, but I really like the fact that this stove worked amazingly well for me on my PCT hike and the fuel canister lasted FOREVER. Most of the food I will be eating if I’m camping will consist of a dehydrated meal, so I will not need to carry any other pans or cookware. Just the JetBoil. Really lives up to it’s name…boils water really fast, and is very quiet. If I’m stealth camping, there’s no danger of being spotted because of my cooking flames.
ZipLock plastic container. I used this as my primary ‘dish’ on my PCT hike, and it was fantastic. One of these will last me the entire trip, so I won’t be using oodles of plastic bags throughout my journey for rehydrating my hot meals in. Also works well if I want to go “cookless,” such as rehydrating Top Ramen or Oatmeal (in both cases, just add your water, drop it right side up in a safe spot and pedal for a while, then stop to eat. Or….keep pedaling and eat.
A spoon. That’s all I’ll need for an eating utensil. I’ll have a foldable knife as well, but that’s less for eating than it is for repairs and things of that nature.
Water bottles…One could go the expensive route and pay for costly Nalgene or specialty boutique bottle that you’ll be really bummed about when you lose them, or….go the path of plenty and free, and use soda/sport drink bottles. I loved either the Gatorade, or 1 liter soda bottles on my PCT hike. Nearly indestructible, and very easily replaceable, in addition to being MUCH more lightweight.
For water purification, I’ll be using the bandana filtration method combined with the bleach drops method. It worked flawlessly on the Pacific Crest Trail, and excited to use it again on this trip. Lightweight, and effective.