Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Preparing for Solo Backpacking

So the date is fast approaching for my planned 6-day solo in the Sierra, and I am both excited and nervous.

There are many reasons I desire to solo hike, including (but not limited to):

  • No distractions from really listening to myself
  • Going at my own pace
  • Cleaning my mind out
  • Challenging myself
  • And of course the solitude.
Solo hiking is drastically more challenging than group hiking I think, if only because you are the only motivator, the only set of helping hands, and the only one you can blame if things go south.

With that said, before a longer personal trip, I'm an obsessive planner. So, I'm writing up my gear list so I can comment on how well it worked later.

Here's the list in order of descending weight. You'll note that a lot of it isn't really backpacking gear...it's more like climbing gear that I'm bringing backpacking. But, it's the gear I have, and just a product of what my life has been so far:

___ Cilogear 60L Pack (68 oz)
___ Black Diamond HiLight Tent (50 oz)
___ REI Kilo Plus Sleeping Bag
and Outdoor Research Dry Stuff Sack (48 oz)

___ Garcia Machine Bear Canister (44 oz)
___ Emergency Kit (first aid kit, repair, survival) (22 oz)
___ MSR Reactor and lexan spoon (21 oz)
___ Wild Things EP Jacket (18 oz)
___ Insul-Mat (Pacific Outdoor) SL Mountain foam pad (14 oz)
___ Isis Whisper Down Jacket (14 oz)
___ Bear MACE and holster
(apparently good for more than bears) (13 oz)

___ Golite Gamut Jacket (13 oz)
___ Red Ledge Full Zip Rain Pants (10 oz)
___ Moonstone Cirrus Vest (9 oz)
___ Patagonia Capilene 4 Hoodie (8 oz)
___ SPOT Messenger
(You can join my Spot fan club if you want) (8 oz)
___ Camera and dry case (8 oz)
___ Nalgene bottle (also for hot drinks) (7 oz)
___ Princeton Tec EOS (4 oz)
___ Journal and Pencil (4 oz)
___ Warm Hat (3 oz)
___ Sunscreen (3 oz)
___ Bug Repellent (3 oz)
___ Platypus 1L flexible bottle (2 oz)
___ Liner Gloves (2 oz)
___ Custom Mytopo.com Map (2 oz)

Food and Fuel:
1.5 lbs per day x 6 days = 9 lbs (144 oz)
Two 4 oz isobutane canisters (8 oz)
Average of 1.5 liters of water carried (48 oz)

Grand Total: 591 oz or about 37 lbs (Ouch!)

Carried on Person: Pants, T-shirt, Sunhat, Sunglasses, Compass, Knife, Whistle, Socks, Boots, Trekking Poles with Whippet

There is a chance that I'll also have to bring snow gear, as it's snowing in the Sierra right now (yeah, global warming weirdness, right?), and the main pass on my planned trail is over 11,000' elevation. (That's 3300 meters, as I'm trying to learn to think in meters too.) In which case, add another pound and a half for aluminum crampons.

As for food, the breakdown goes something like this: To bring a total of 2400 calories per day for a weight-cost of 24 oz of weight, I do the following:
  1. Choose foods greater than 100 calories per ounce
  2. Pack 24 oz of whatever foods I want from that list
  3. I round down for everything (ex: a 120 calorie granola bar gets counted as 100 calories for easier math), so I end up with more like 2600 calories per day.
2600/day is still light on actual calories, but we did 2200/day for 14 days up in Washington a few years ago, and we were...okay. Which brings me to the following day breakdown (calories are approx):

___ 200 cal Breakfast
(Ex: Cream of Wheat, Hot Chocolate, Instant Miso Soup)
___ 100 cal drink mix
___ 200 cal dried fruit
___ 400 cal Probar (mmmm....fiber)
___ 300 cal 2 x Other Bars
(like Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Bar, yum)
___ 200 cal Clif Shot Bloks (they misspell everything, hee hee)
___ 300 cal Cheese
___ 200 cal Nuts
___ 100 cal Jerkey
___ 400 cal Dinner
(Ex: Instant mashed potatos w/dried veggies, ramen, etc)

And voila! Perhaps a little boring and uncreative, but compact, spread well for evenly distributed meal consumption through the day, and reasonably light.

I'm not sure why digging through stats about gear seems so comforting before a trip. Maybe it gives me some appearance of control. Or maybe I just like numbers (though I can never remember them accurately, for the life of me....)

Whatever the reason, wish me luck! One week and counting....

1 comment:

backpackingamerica said...

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