Pemi Loop Prep Part 2: Gear
We’re leaving for the Pemi Loop on Friday, so the biggest thing I’ve been thinking about lately is gear and what to pack! This is my first backpacking trip in eight years, so I was definitely in the weeds as far as gear went when I committed to it. I had what I thought was an acceptable pack and boots, but other than that I needed to fill in a lot of gaps. I was very fortunate that many friends were kind enough to offer to lend me a lot of what I needed, and I knew many of the things I had to buy would be useful in my life other than backpacking.
Today I finally finished packing everything I think I need for the trip. There’s a link to the spreadsheet that I used to track everything here, so I won’t go through item by item but it’s a lot of stuff! My goal was to have my base weight (without food and water) to be under 20 lbs. A lot of the things that I needed I’m going to be sharing with the other people going on the trip so that’s super helpful. This being said, there are many things that I want to have on me just in case.
As of now, base weight without food or water is 16lb 9.5 oz. My weight with food is 20lbs 5.2 oz., so roughly 27lbs with water. It doesn’t seem like a lot but when you’re climbing up mountains with it on your back it seems like more!
I ended up getting a new pack that fit better than the one that I used when I was a kid. Although I’m still kind of kid sized, my old one was built in the men’s style and had some fit issues. My new pack, the Osprey Kyte 46, fit me so well in the store that my uncle ended up getting it for my birthday! Thanks Phill! I tested it out this weekend with about 23 lbs of weight for a total of 15 miles spread out over two days and it was great! At times I felt a little bit top heavy and it threw off my balance a little bit, but I think that was more of an issue of how I packed it than the pack itself. I guess we’ll see how it fairs with more mileage this weekend.
Another issue that I’ve been trying to deal with is my boots. I previously had the Merrell Moab 2 boots with my custom orthotics, but a visit to my podiatrist made it clear that I needed to change. I ended up getting the Vasque Talus, which fit well with my orthotics but they’re a little big. This is good so my toes don’t hit the front when I’m descending, but last weekend I didn’t tie them tight enough so my heel was slipping with every step. By the time I got home from the 9 mile hike I had open blisters the size of quarters on the back of both heels. Ouch! They’re getting a little bit better now, but I’m hoping they’ll heal up a little bit more in the next couple days. I learned the important lesson that tying your boots really tight is very important!
So in the past month or so, I’ve accumulated everything that I need for the trip this weekend. I also weighed everything and kept track of it (I know I’m a little crazy about my pack weight but I’m trying to keep it light) and I’ve tried to slim down my pack as much as possible. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my uncle Phill, and also a big shoutout to my bosses, Kris and Carrie, for getting me an awesome ultralight sleeping pad! Everyone has been so supportive and it’s been so much fun getting ready! I can’t wait to leave Friday for this awesome, crazy adventure!