We’re heading out to the Wind River Range for a figure-8 traverse of the High Routes, putting together a combination of Andrew Skurka’s 100-mile route, and Advanture Alan’s 70-mile route. It’s gonna be unreal and probably a bit snowy still… here’s what’s going to keep me alive:
PACK - Northern Ultralight Sundown (22oz)
I’ve been a diehard for my HMG Southwest, which I’ve showed 4 years of hiking love. But I’m ready to switch it up and try something new. The transition to the Sundown should be fairly smooth, it still has removable aluminum stays, but comes in a bit lighter. I’m digging the multiple pocket options and overall versatility of this pack. I’m excited to get moving in this. (* Full disclosure: NUL donated this pack for purposes of an upcoming Gear Review).
SHELTER - Six Moon Designs Deschutes Tarp (16oz with stakes & groundsheet)
This will be the first trip I really get to put the Deschutes Tarp to the test. Up until now, I’ve only used during PCT section-hikes in SoCal with is pretty gentle outside of windy nights. It’s nice and light, easy to set up and super roomy on space for me and Luna both. In case it’s mosquito hell out there, I’ll also have my Nemo Hornet 2 in the car if I want to change it up after the first half of our loop. (* Full disclosure: SMD donated this tarp for purposes of an upcoming Gear Review).
QUILT - Enlightened Equipment Enigma 30 (13oz)
Call me crazy but a 30 degree quilt should be plenty for this trip, although it could still get below freezing at night. We’ll see how she goes… but overall I like this quilt in mild temps and at 5ft tall, it’s nice not to carry around the extra weight and space of a regular-sized quilt or bag with the custom dimensions of the Enigma. I recently did a full review of Enigma for The Trek, which you can find here.
SLEEPING PAD - Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite Women’s (12oz)
I upgraded! But not for the weight savings. My short size X-Lite has been with me since before the AT, and has survived a few patch jobs since then, but there’s some serious mold growing inside now which was the perfect excuse to replace it. Since I bought mine in 2014, Therm-a-Rest has come out with a Women’s version that has a slightly higher R-value (3.9 vs 3.2), added length (66 vs 47 inches) and is only 4oz heavier than the Small. Maybe I’ve gotten soft the more I hike, but I’m looking forward
SIT PAD - 3 Folds Thermarest Z-lite (3oz)
On the short list of must-haves. Also doubles as Luna’s bed.
CLOTHES I’M HAULING (24oz)
SOCKS - Two extra pairs of Darn Tough Micro Crews. I try to keep one clean pair for sleeping in but that usually goes to shit.
JACKET - With exposed ridgelines and unforgiving scrambles, I think the Outdoor Research Hooded Ferrosi should be a solid replacement for my lighter, but much less breathable and not-at-all-warm GoLite Windbreaker. The Ferrosi is a more favorable layering prospect with added durability. I’m thinking I’ll have my Marmot PreCip packed in the car so I can make a game time decision based on the forecast, whether I’ll need something that is more substantial for wet weather. And yes, you read that right… I’m not bringing a puffy…because I think my Patagonia Nano got lost during my recent move from Maine to California and the other one I’ve got is definitely overkill for this trip. (* Full disclosure: OR donated this jacket for purposes of an upcoming Gear Review).
COOKING, OR LACK OF (6oz)
FILTRATION - The most reliable filtration method I’ve ever used is the Sawyer Squeeze. I’ve watched cows shit into the water I’m drinking and never gotten sick using this. I’ll have two Smartwater bottles and a 2L water carrying capacity.
BOWL - This will be my first time ever doing a complete trail by, um… cold soaking. Hence the Talenti Jar. With the long-ass food carry and need for better nutrition (we’re talking a stupid amount of elevation change here), I’m putting aside my tortillas and cheese for some yummy meals I dehydrated beforehand since now I’m now a house-renter rather than complete hiking dirtbag. We’ll see how I feel about it afterwards.
FOOD BAG - I like the Loksak Opsacks for odor-proof bags.
RANDOM CRAP (5oz)
HEADLAMP - The Petzel Actik is my go-to these days. It’s got great burn time, red light features, a bright 300 lumens and is super simple to use (even if you’re like me and never read the directions).
KNIFE - Mostly for blocks of cheese, and anything else that might need to be manhandled.
FLOWFOLD WALLET - Just the essentials: license, credit cards and some cash.
OTHER RANDOM CRAP - Sunscreen stick & chapstick, live in my hip belt pocket.
HYGIENE IS IMPORTANT (4oz)
FIRST AID - I only carry a few items here. Benadryl for itchy bites, swollen feet or good nights sleep. Advil for various aches and pains. Pepto just in case. Small thing of CBD salve.
TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE - My teeth are usually cleaner than my hands.
TP & HAND SANITIZER- Ya know.
CAMERA - The Winds are epic so I know I’ll want a proper point & shoot for this trip. I’ve got a Cannon Powershot G7 an extra battery. It lives in a small Osprey Ultralight Camera Case.
BATTERY - I’ve got the GoalZero Flip 20 to get me an extra 2 phone charges.
WAIT, WHAT… SNOW! (23oz)
TRACTION: For at least some of this route, I’ll probably need Kathoola Microspikes to avoid death on some of the snowy passes & glacier traverses (not really but these short legs can be painfully slow on snowy passes). (11oz)
ICE AXE?: Still not sure if I’ll bring this yet, but it looks like the northern portion of Skurka’s route that traverses some serious glaciers above 12,000ft. might require some proper snow skills in a high snow year. I use a Black Diamond Raven, which weighs in at 12oz. Hopefully I can get a snow conditions report from some friends who will go through soon before me.
ON MY BODY ALL THE TIME ITEMS
SHOES - Switching to the Salomon Odyssey Pros for this hike. I’ve been running in the the Altra Superiors all summer, but I’m going to diverge from that because I haven’t been super happy with how the Altras do on really rocky terrain. Last summer I had a pair of Lone Peaks that’s tread was shot after 200 miles in the Whites. The Odyssey Pros have a stiffer tread and midsole… and thru-hikers seem to get closer to 800 miles out of a pair. So I’m giving it a try.
SHORTS - Since the AT in 2015, I’ve been repping the Patagonia Strider Shorts. I’m REALLY picky about bottoms and these are literally the only ones I’ve found to be comfortable enough for long hikes and runs. Since I have a big girl job now, I bought myself a few new pairs this spring to replace the shredding ones so these are FRESH.
SHIRT - My body might not be ready for the elevations of the High Route (11-13,000ft), but my Outdoor Research Wayward Sunshirt will at least keep me from burning to a crisp from the sun exposure. I wore an Exofficio sunshirt that lasted through the PCT & CDT, but I really like the stretch material of this OR one, so I’m excited to see how it compares. (* Full disclosure: OR donated this shirt for purposes of an upcoming Gear Review).
BRA - I’m sticking with the Patagonia Active Mesh Sports Bra again for this hike. It’s supportive enough, lightweight and low profile.
SOCKS - Again, I like to hike in the Darn Tough Micro Crew. They are by far my favorite hiking sock and Darn Tough will replace them once they wear out which is the most amazing thing ever when you beat the crap out of socks over and over.
HAT - One of The Trek’s sexy numbers ofcourse. The Goat Rocks Hat.
TREKKING POLES - Last summer I switched back to Leki poles after using BDs for a while. I’ve got the Micro Vario Carbon Lady trekking poles, which have worked really well on technical terrain. They’re super light (14oz) and break down quickly into 3 parts, which is cool so I can use them trail running too. For carbon poles, I’m surprised how strong they are given the weight. My only critique is that these poles at their lowest setting are just barely the correct height for my 5ft frame, so I wish there was a little more adjustability so I could shorten them for steep climbs.
*Not pictured: all the maps to get me through this*