Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pacific Crest Trail - Backpacks and what works:

I am still working hard organizing and deciding on gear, so I will be ready for the Pacific Crest Trail in April of 2008. Backpacks are the subject of the week. And more than that, weight is a huge issue for me and many other hikers.

When I started hiking as a kid, external frame packs were the only way to go, and I have had an assortment of them. For the most part they have always worked well. Most were easy to pack with lots of room, durable, and that is all I have used for the past 25 years.

I have on occasion used rucksacks for my climbing gear, or just for day hike use, but I have never used them for serious backpacking. They are hard on the back and uncomfortable on any kind of long haul.

I have noticed that over the past five years that the internal frame packs have become the main stay of many serious hikers and that includes me. With the advances in waist belts and shoulder straps combined with an internal frame with more adequate padding and support, I personally feel that they are more comfortable than any external frame pack I have ever used.

Internal frame packs are more versatile, easily adjusted for all kinds of terrain. They are more compact, fitting snug against your body, which makes the pack bend and move easy with you instead of against your body movements. In this way the pack doesn’t sway as much or throw you off you balance, especially on rocky and or steep terrain where falling can be very serious.
Loading gear into internal frame packs can be tricky. Most of them have only one large pocket with maybe one external pocket. Some of the newer packs have three, like my Palisade Backpack.

Packing for me is fairly simple. The least used gear goes on the bottom and then I work my way up. Normally rain gear and food are at the top. In the external pocket if you have one, I pack my stove fuel, snacks, first aid kit, bug spray, bug netting, and just the stuff you don’t want to dig for.

Last year I used a Palisade Back Pack by Gregory, from rei It is a great pack, built to last and very comfortable. It is also outstanding for hauling heavy loads. I did three sections of the PCT using this pack. I love the Palisade Pack and would recommend it to anyone. But now the whole deal has changed.

I am doing the entire PCT and weight is the issue, and the Palisade Pack weighs 6 pounds. So, I had to make a decision, and I will be using the Catalyst Backpack made by ULA Equipment This ULA Backpack has gotten great reviews and weighs half of what my Palisade pack weighs. That is huge!

I ordered mine from Mt Rogers Outfitters in Damascus, VA. They are at Mount Rogers Equipment They had one left in a large, so I bought it. I could have waited until after December, but I really want to try it out. I hope to keep my weight down to between 30 and 40 pounds.

Any one out there that has this pack? I would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for reading!

Pacific Crest Trail – Southern California Wild Fires

The tragedy that is happening in my county of San Diego is terrible and overwhelming. I know parts of the PCT have been affected. My heart goes out to all those who are going through this, and to the many firefighters, police, volunteers and medical personnel. We went through this a few years back and with the climate changes, and drought and the Santa Ana’s this appears to have set up our area for what they are calling the perfect fire storm. This may go down as the worse fire in recorded history for our part of California. I hope we can learn something from this, so that we do not lose all of our beautiful wilderness areas, not to mention the horrible loss of life and property.

I know I will be out on the trail in different areas, as soon as it is possible. I want to get an idea of what I will be hiking through. After the last fire here; the Cedar Fire the entire area was like walking on another planet, a dead planet. Nature is amazing though, and I know things will grow back, but it is still very sad.

Again, thanks for reading and God Bless

1 comment:

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