First off I should say that I cant stay away from the Enchantments Lakes Basin in Washington State. Each Fall, I have to go at least once. The first time I went, I carried way too much stuff and finished the through hike in 17 hours with bleeding feet and a strong desire to crawl back to my car. Two weeks later however, I wanted to go again. Since then, I have become a scientist of sorts figuring out how to lighten my load and make the whole experience more fun.
Last week, I headed up to get some fall color before I fly off to China for a work trip this week. I saw a lot of miserable people coming up the trail, carrying too much stuff. Actually it was usually one excited person and then the others they had talked into going. I recommend taking a hard look at your load and gear. My pack was a 45L Zpacks Arc Blast, which weighs less than a pound and carries beautifully. My bag was a 10 degree Zpacks 900 fill down bag which weighs 22 ounces. My tent is a Tarptent Contrail which weighs 27 ounces and has never let me down. I won’t soon forget seeing someone carrying a full-sized Costco tent, still in the box, bungee-corded to their pack. Or hikers carrying iron skillets. Ugh. And for the record, you don’t have to spend a lot to go light. Ebay, hiker gear for sale sites, craigslist and manufacturer’s website bargain bins are all great sources of discounted gear. I seldom if ever buy new and only as a last resort.
I saw people carrying gallon jugs of water. I carry one small bottle of gatorade and filter as i go with a Sawyer bag filter. I carry “gatorade” tablets to make more as i go along. Now the camera gear is where i splurge, since that is why I am going. I recently swtiched from Canon to Sony, which lightened my load a bit. I see people carrying Gitzo 4 series tripods. I would never do this. I carry my Gitzo 0540 and it feels excessive. Other times I have carried my Tamrac Zipshot hiking pole tripod which weighs 8oz.
I will expand on this topic as more thoughts come to mind. Thanks for listening. #ultralight #tarptent #zpacks #enchantments