As of today there are a couple short weeks until I leave for my section hike on the AT. I’m in the process of shaking down my gear and set up looking for ways to shave weight and making certain I have what I need as well as what I want. This is a process. A process only someone as OCD as I could enjoy. Or is that CDO, which is the same thing only the letters are in the proper alphabetic order….as they should be. See what I mean?
Having just purchased another smaller lighter pack with the thought process in play of using it on the hike, I got the chance to do a test pack this evening. After just a little time in on that process I knew I would need to stick with the larger pack I was already using. This because I’m flying and will have to pack everything, including my hiking poles, in the pack as checked luggage and so I needed the space on the front end.
So here’s where the “success?” part comes in. The final pack weight came in at just 22 lbs.all in with everything except water. This is everything; shelter, insulation, clothing, incidentals, a couple “luxury” items and food for 4 1/2 days on the AT. It isn’t what most folks would classify as ultra light but it’s a whole lot better than what I thought it would be.
Now understand this was just a test. There are some things in there that are in larger quantities than I’ll actually carry, so this will reduce the weight. There are others that I still need to add so bottom line is I got a better than average chance to finalize this setup at or below this test weight. That’s a truly good thing.
You hear horror stories all the time of people hiking into the wilderness with 50 or 60 lb packs. Carrying everything they have including the cast iron skillets and habachi grills. I’ve seen a few horror stories in my time. Let’s be honest here, I’m no spring chicken. I’m old enough to know better but still young enough to be willing to jump out there and do something fun, read as stupid, but pack weight is a big deal. Too light and I may not have the all the equipment needed to survive on my own much less enjoy the hike. Too heavy and I could be miserable not to mention cause myself serious injury. At 22 lbs. I should be in the wheel house to have the best of both worlds. All the right equipment to survive, yea even thrive in the woods, some “luxury” items but everything paired down to the lightest option or barest necessities.
Confidence level for the hike is a little higher now. I feel very good about the pack and contents set up. Here’s hoping “success?” will turn to SUCCESS!!