Gear Check

The hard questions have been answered, so it’s time to go over my packlist and verify that everything I need is there. Clothes for the tour have been freshly washed, and I have forbidden myself to make changes to the list.

All of that has to go into the backpack or on my body. On top of that comes the bear canister, which I will rent at Kennedy Meadows and return after crossing the Southern Sierra Nevada.

A few of the bags in the picture as self made, e.g. the document bag at the front left and the food bag above it, the toiletry bag next to the sleeping mat or the camera bag. My material of choice for most of that was DCF, an incredibly light, thin and tear resistant lamitated fabric. I also replaced the original bag for my microspikes to save weight, and I struggled mightily with the slippery nylon fabric I used for that. My titanium pot is now safely nestled in a homemade pot cozy which I glued together from a silvery windshield cover and aluminium tape.

That saves gas when cooking and therefore weight. Not in the picture above is the bear hang kit. Further north where you don’t have to carry a bear canister, it’s still advisable to keep your edibles (and other scented items like toothpaste) outside the tent over the night, and instead hang it with a cord on a high branch a bit away from the tent site. This not only makes the tent site less attractive to bears, it also lessens the risk of rodents chewing through your tent’s mesh.

Not that bears are a serious danger for life and health. There’s always a small risk with wild animals, but I’m only going to encounter black bears along the Pacific Crest Trail, which are rather shy, feed mostly on plants and generally try to avoid physical confrontations. But they are opportunists, so if they have learned to associate tents with easy meals, they’ll likely get bolder, and they will damage tents and steal food, becoming “problem bears” which have to be either relocated or – wich unfortunately seems to happen more often – put down.

Here are a few images from my self made gear:

The next step is to stow that stuff in the backpack. At best in a way that carries well, but I’ll also need to make sure to have the things I often need through the day within easy reach. As this isn’t my first backpacking tour (albeit the first of such magnitude), I do have a basic idea, but gear changes with time, so it’s always a bit of a thrill.

I’ll post a detailed packing list at a later date.

T minus 8 days until my flight leaves.

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