My gear is my means of survival while on the trail, and each piece serves an important role in keeping me healthy, happy, and out of harm’s way. Walking Across America was the first long backpacking trip I had ever attempted, not to mention the first time I had been away from home for an extended period of time. Despite my extensive planning and preparation, there were some things I just had to learn while on the trail/road. Winter began to creep in, starting at night and gradually making each day colder, forcing me to carry more weight in clothes that were less mobile, and giving me less daylight in which to hike. In order to maintain decent daily mileage, I got a jogging stroller to push around my supplies, as I had seen fellow American Discovery Trail hikers do through their blogs (like John and Kate Seyal, and Nate Damm). It was a great relief to my hips and shoulders, but I realized very soon that off-roading was impractical if not impossible with my new set of wheels. It didn’t take long before I switched back to the backpack (despite being constantly sore again) so I could get off the pavement and back onto dirt trails. After descending out of the Rocky Mountains and into the desert, I tried using a wagon, which failed many times, then returned to a jogging stroller. This time, it worked perfectly on the long, flat stretches of broiling dry heat, where carrying 6 days worth of food and water would have been impossible otherwise. With the long days, I was doubling and sometimes tripling my daily mileage from back in winter, so when I finally reached the edge of the Sierra Nevada, I ditched the cart and booked it towards the coast. Those last days were my best and also my most efficient days of hiking- knowing that the end was nigh, I carried the absolute bare minimum amount of gear necessary to get me through. Ultimately what I learned, and am continuing to learn, is that comfort doesn’t have to be sacrificed by carrying less weight. At most, my backpack weighed 65 pounds, the cart weighing probably close to 100- usually though, I was carrying around 30-40 pounds at a time. Now that I have returned home, I have become obsessed with ultralight hiking, and plan to carry less than 15 pounds (not including food and water) when I hike the Pacific Crest Trail in April. Anyway, what you will see in this list is all of the gear I used while walking across America. Many thanks to the companies that gave me a sponsorship, pro-deal, or product donation.
Click on the logos to the right of my gear list to visit their websites!
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