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Friday, June 27th, 2003

Barr Trail part V: trekking gear list

This is part V of a series on hiking Barr Trail. Read part I, part II, part III, part IV.

To close out this series, I’ll summarize what we learned about gear and equipment needed for climbing a “fourteener.” We had three organizing principles:

How much pack space will you need? Our group used various packs ranging in size from 300 to 3000 cubic inches. My pack holds 1100 cubic inches and seems to have been an ideal size: I carried everything I needed, and had no wasted space.

Pack choices are determined by hydration solutions. Or in other words, the first question you should answer is whether you want to use a CamelBak (or similar bladder system). Always a renegade, I had decided early on that I didn’t want to wear a pack on my upper back. Instead I opted for a Mountainsmith Cairn lumbar pack.

There are two disadvantages to backpacks:

The advantages to backpacks are that they offer lots of space, many pockets, and are easy to take off and put on. The last of those brings up the one disadvantage of lumbar packs: when full, they are very tough to put on. On the trail I had to lean up against a tree or a rock to hold the pack in place while I connected and adjusted the waistbelt. Another disadvantage: my lumbar pack was tightly packed, making it difficult to quickly grab any specific item.

No matter what pack you use, you’ll appreciate having commonly-used items hanging on your belt, or in a pocket. Suggestions: lip balm; sun lotion; sunglasses (hang them around your neck); camera.

How much food will you need? I ate four food bars and a few ounces of nuts. Others in the group brought no solid food, but slurped down “energy gel” every 45 minutes. If you opt for the goo, try it out before your big hike. Some of the flavors are apparently disgusting.

Conspicuously absent from this document is any mention of trekking poles. Everyone in my group swears by them, so I’ll say that you should consider trying them. I have no relevant experience.

One final piece of advice: listen to your body. Don’t hike into a crisis, and don’t expect others to bail you out.

posted to channel: Travel
updated: 2004-02-22 22:49:16

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