6 Days to Depature

We will be driving to Hiawassee, Georgia in less than a week. Much to do and yet we are on track.

My challenge today is to get my pack weight as close to 30 pounds as possible. I hike much more comfortably with that weight, no more. March is still fairly winterish and much of what I’m wanting to bring is clothing. No individual piece weighs much – together they add up.

I am also concerned about water – having enough, but not carrying too much. Can I get by with 1.5L? Should I go with 3L? I probably will hike with two 1.5L bladders – hopefully both won’t need to be full most days.

I weigh a moderately lean 136 lbs without any shoes. My Fitbit tells me I am in “very good to excellent shape” but the longest day hike I have ever done was 20 miles and I have only done two or three days out at once. No matter my physical readiness at this point: STUFF will not create more endurance nor more strength nor more stamina. Too much stuff is a liability.

Shoes: I tried Vasque and Solomon before settling on Keen. So far so good. We shall see. I have moleskin and Leukotape to treat potential hotspots.

Bag: the One Bag by North Face with a comfort range of 18-46F.

This bag is a solid choice for backpackers hiking in varying climates like the Lone Star state and this southern stretch of the AT in March. It’s basically a bag with a blanket that zips to provide options depending on the weather. It’s actually pretty easy to use even with all the zippers and I love hanging in camp with the blanket. It also comes with its own stuff sack that doubles as a pillow.

For the rest of my packing I’m relying quite a bit on the advice of my husband, Ken, who is an experienced backpacker/hiker and who has thru hiked the AT already. He’s also recommended Andrew Skurka’s gear lists, which have been super helpful.

After several hours of mostly mental gyrations and one load of laundry, I have reduced my life to 30 pounds… including ~6 days of food and many snack baggies of toiletries. Here’s the high level:

It’s not a true adventure if you’re comfortable the whole dang time!