Earlier, I posted an Equipment List and now I’m going to go through and review selected items. Not everything, because that would take forever. But random bits about what worked, what didn’t, what I could have done without, and a wish list for next time.
If there’s something that you’re curious about that I don’t go over here, feel free to comment and ask about it.
The Pack –
was wonderful. I love my pack. It took me that first week (okay, maybe even longer) to really figure out how to carry and adjust the pack so it wasn’t driving me insane and causing my shoulders a lot of pain, but once I figured it all out it was excellent. Lots of handy pockets for everything and plenty of space inside.
It has a nice little pouch along the back wall for a water bladder, which worked perfectly to store my laptop.
Anna’s Pack –
I loved it, but Anna absolutely hated it. By far the best feature of this pack is the ability to take off the saddle bags and leave the harness on. This was excellent for resting, but also means when Anna was really getting fed up I could easily unhook her pack and let her go run for a bit without having to wrestle the whole thing on and off.
Her pack also has water bladders in each saddle, but I couldn’t get them to work without leaking all over everything. Which was a pain since the only thing I didn’t put in a waterproof bag as her vet papers. I know, I have no idea what I was thinking.
The Tent –
Worked fine. It was light weight, super easy to set up and take down, and enough room for me, my dog, and our packs. But I do wish I could get one with a side entrance instead of the tunnel-like entrance. Like this one, which is basically the same tent, just with the side entrance.
Anna hated sleeping in the tent. I had to drag her in each night. But there was no way I felt comfortable letting her sleep outside. It’s just not an option. I have a feeling part of the problem was the entrance, which is part of the reason I’d like the side entrance. She doesn’t like enclosed spaces, and I think the tunnel-like quality just wasn’t making her that comfortable.
But really I can’t justify spending money on a new tent when I’ve got one that is perfectly fine.
Sleeping Bag –
It absolutely sucked. Hated it. It never kept me warm and it wasn’t comfortable. When I got back to Maine I went right to LL Bean and returned it, which they did with absolutely no fuss at all. One of the big reasons I love buying stuff from them.
Sleeping Pad –
This was just a personal preference thing, so I didn’t end up returning it or anything, but I do wish I had gone with a different kind. It did it’s job – keeping me off the cold ground that would have sucked out all my body heat – but it just wasn’t very comfortable.
And as silly as it sounds, I’d like to get some sort of small sleeping pad for Anna next time. This trip I brought along a small travel-section of her fleece blanket from home, but I don’t think that quite did the job. Each morning I’d wake up smooshed against the tent wall with Anna taking up most of the sleeping pad.
The jeans, while I did wear them, were bulky and heavy and took up too much space when not wearing. They were kind of nice to have, but I’ll probably leave them at home next time.
The conversion pants, while totally unflattering, were great. Lightweight, super quick to dry, comfortable, big pockets, and the when you unzip them to make shorts the shorts are a perfect length. (I have a problem with most ladies shorts being way too short and uncomfortable.)
They were perfect paired up with my long underwear on the colder days, and nice and lightweight on the hot days. And they dried off super fast after the couple of suprise!rainstorms I got stuck in.
They are one of the most unflattering pants ever, but because of all the other awesome features I’m thinking of getting a second pair for my next walk.
Things That Were Awesome –
One thing that I ended up getting at the last minute and was very thankful for was the Noxzema wipe thingies. I don’t know about you, but when I sleep in a tent I wake up feeling super grubby and have a hard time really feeling awake. The Noxzema wipes were the perfect small portable thing to just make me feel clean and fresh and help wake me up each morning. Seriously perfect.
My one cotton t-shirt. I had read in a book that it’s a good idea to take one set of comfy cotton clothes to change into when you make camp each night. Just something so you can change out of your stinky sweaty clothes you’ve been in all day and feel a little more relaxed. And oh my god they were so right. Such a small thing to do, but it made such a difference.
My walking stick. Oh my goodness, the walking stick. It was a birthday present from some friends, and I am so thankful for it. On some days, by the end of the day the only thing keeping me upright and moving was Anna on her leash and that wonderful wonderful walking stick.
I don’t know if I’ll be taking it on my next walk, since I plan to have a stroller/cart along with me, but I am definitely glad I had it with me along the Erie Canal.
Things I Didn’t Bring But Should Have
Shampoo and soap. Yeah yeah, I know. It’s a really silly thing not to bring with you, but I didn’t. And for the most part it was okay. I either stayed as a guest with strangers or in the occasional hotel, so there was shampoo and soap available. But there were a few times where there were showers or sinks available, but I would have had to supply my own soaps.
It wasn’t a huge deal, since I never went more than a week without staying somewhere with soap and shampoo and water for me to use, but just something I’ll bring with me next time.
Rope. It’s just handy to have and another thing I can’t believe I didn’t pack.
Okay, that’s all for now. I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of awesome and not so awesome things, but that’s all I’ve got for now. (And that, dear brain, is why you should have done this right away instead of eight months later.)