By: Marian Van Vlack, Lifetime Girl Scout from Whitesville, NY
My big adventure starts in just four short weeks. Right now I’m mostly focused on gear. One of the first questions most people ask me when I say I’m hiking for 10 weeks is how are you going to carry everything? As I learned many years ago when I went on my first hiking trip, less is more and weight is everything.
The first time I went on a backpacking trip I brought down a bag full of what I thought I would need. My mom took one look at it and said I was insane if I thought I was going to carry all of that. She helped me to sort out what I actually needed and after some tough choices and a lot of resistance I ended up with about a third of what I started with.
So far I have my pack from Outdoor Products, which I’ve had for several years. It’s a pretty small pack, but has enough room for everything I need. My sleeping bag came in last week. I got an REI Lyra women’s bag, which only weighs 3lbs, 1oz and will protect me down to 24 degrees Fahrenheit. I will be using a therm-a-rest sleeping pad for additional insulation. I also have my camp stove and water purifier. To cut down on weight, I am only bringing a small cup to eat and drink out of, and I have a fancy utensil with a fork on one end and a spoon on the other. My most exciting, and, in my opinion, most important piece of equipment will be my hiking boots. I have been breaking in my L.L. Bean Gore-Tex Cresta Hikers for the past few months and I am in love with them. Finding the right boots was a challenge for me, but after visiting several stores to try on different brands then ordering a few pairs online to compare, I found the right boots for me.
I still have a lot of gear to get. Right now I am in search for the perfect tent. I will also be going clothes shopping and start to collect my non-perishable food. The battle to keep my pack weight down will continue, but I am on my way to achieving my goal, which is under 30 pounds.
Editors Note: We will continue to follow Marian’s hiking adventure all summer long so stay tuned!