Equipment List: Walk Across America

Making an equipment list for my walk across the US was a lot harder than making the one for walking the Erie Canal.  For one, I used a lot more gear (400+ miles vs 3000+ miles). And then what gear I had was always changing and adapting.  I’d enter different climates with different demands (winter gear for mountains) or I’d mail home gear I ended up not needing (extra clothes) or stuff that didn’t work out.

Here I’ve put together a basic list of all my gear. I’ve tried to put notes with gear that didn’t work out or stuff that I didn’t need until later. Hopefully this helps some people out while planning their own adventures. If you have any questions about gear, feel free to email or comment here.

Stroller (I had an older version of this stroller.)
Backpack
Clothes
– 1 pair of jeans (later thrown away)
– 1 pair of conversion pants
– 2 pair shorts (one for sleepwear, mailed other home in PA)
– 1 pair long cotton pants (sleepwear)
– 1 long sleeve shirt
– 2 t-shirts (1 cotton, 1 hiking)
– 2 tank tops
– 5 pairs of underwear
– 5 pairs of socks
– 2 bras (by Ohio I had only 1 for the rest of the trip)
Cold Weather Gear (gathered as I hit the Rockies)
Winter Jacket
Fleece Jacket
– Winter hat
– Winter gloves
– long underwear
– heavier winter socks (mostly to sleep in)
Shoes (New Balance trail runners)
Sun hat
Rain jacket + rain pants
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag
Tent
Odor-proof bags
Bear Vault (added in Colorado)
Cooler (given away in Colorado)
2 Nalgene bottles
Knife
Flashlight/emergency radio
Rope
Clothes pins
Journal + pens
First Aid Kit
Stove & Cookware (both added later, and only used a handful of times)
Toiletries
– quick-dry adventure towel
– toothbrush
– toothpaste
Noxzema wipe thingies (once the first pack was gone I didn’t buy more)
– face cloth
– contacts + solution
– glasses
soap
Electronics
cell phone
netbook
– mp3 player
– digital camera
– Kindle
Solar Charger

Anna’s Gear
Anna’s Pack
-dog food
-treats
-travel dog bowl
-poop bags
-vet papers
shoes (added in Utah)
-spare collar
sleeping pad (cut in half)
-blanket to sleep on

And that’s it. I think. I had other bits and bobs – hair ties, spare batteries, lip balm, sunscreen, etc – that I didn’t include, but that’s all the major stuff. Unless I’ve forgotten something, which is completely possible.

Oh, and I also had a small ziplock bag always within reach, which carried a small notebook, pen, a bunch of my business cards, and (as time went by) business cards and notes that people I met would give me along the way.

Like I said above, if you have any questions or want a more in depth review of something, feel free to comment here or email me at Ameranth (at) gmail .com

Advertisements

My tent:

 

So that’s my tent.   Plenty of room for Anna and myself, with room to spare. If I were to actually backpack anywhere I’d definitely want a smaller and lighter tent, but as I’m pushing my gear instead of carrying it, this tent is perfect.  Super easy to put up and take down, and has kept me nice and dry through numerous storms.

I figure if I’m still happy sleeping in there after five months of travel, it’s a pretty good tent.

Wish List

And here is a list of items I would love to have on my next adventure. Which is coming up real soon now. I’m thinking of leaving the start of May. (Exact dates and paths to be announced…when I figure them out.)

New Sleeping Bag Done and done!

This is actually the sleeping bag I wanted to get the first time, but it was too expensive. I really lucked out in November and found this sleeping bag at the employee store. It is squishy and comfy and I loves it.

(You might have noticed that a good chunk of my gear is from LL Bean. Let me take a minute here to explain how I get most of my awesome LL Bean gear. Basically, I work there. I get an employee discount, and then access to the employee store.

The employee store is all the stuff that people return for whatever reason, but that can’t go back out on the sales floor. You pay a very small fraction of the price on all items in the employee store, but it’s definitely “buyer beware” as far as condition of some items. I’ve been super lucky when it’s come to getting gear for my travels.

For my first walk I ended up finding my pack at the employee store just days before I left. In fact, most of my LL Bean gear comes from there.

Okay back to the stuff.)

A new phone with GPS/internet capabilities. Also done and done!

I recently found Amazon Wireless and went ahead and purchased a shiny new HTC Incredible. I bought it before attending PAX so we could keep up with all the PAX twitter accounts and up to date con info. It also came in super handy for the navigation feature, as we got a bit turned around on all the one way streets in Boston.

This is something that I’m really excited about. Sure it’ll be nice to be able to send photos to Twitter and Facebook and keep up with people, but what I’m really happy about is the Maps and Navigation features. I got so turned around sometimes on my last walk, and I had nothing to go on but calling someone and asking if they could look up what street I was on on Google Maps or something. It will be so nice to be able to have that information at my fingertips.

Solar Charger Done! And it is pretty cool, I must say.

This is on the super awesome wishlist, and it looks like it might actually be in the budget. It works with cell phones, GPS, mp3 players, and cameras/camcorders. It would really be perfect for what I need.

A Stroller Done! But ended up getting a used BOB stroller, which is even better!

Used to carry my pack and gear, so that I can walk farther each day. I got this idea from other long distance walkers, such as Matt here, who use a more flatbed cart and totes to carry their gear. Using totes in a flatbed type of stroller is clever because you can carry more, organize things a little better, have easier access in a lot of cases, and totes can be airtight and waterproof.

However, I’m paranoid. I want to be able to keep on going if something happens to the stroller. I am also on a budget and without the cleverness to build one myself, so I’m looking at getting the above linked-to jogging stroller. I plan to use the stroller to carry my pack – using the child seat as a place to buckle my pack in – and maybe strap a cooler to the footrest area.

The one above has a supposed weight limit of 50lbs, which is alright. I mean, starting off on my Erie Canal walk my pack weighed in at 52lbs I think. So it’d be awesome if I happen to find something in the same price range that can carry a bit more, but I don’t think I’m going to. I can make a few sacrifices to meet the weight limits, if it really comes to that.

A New Tent

This is something that I honestly don’t need, it’s just something I want. The tent linked to above is the same basic tenet I have, just with a side entrance instead of the tunnel-like entry. And that’s really the main problem with my current tent, and it’s not a problem exactly, just a preference. It seems like it would be easier to put gear in and out of the tent with a wider side entrance. And less of a claustrophobic feeling with the wide side door.

There is also the fact that Anna hates the tent. I’m thinking (hoping) that part of her hatred comes from the tunnel-like front entrance, and that maybe if we had a wider side entrance she might feel a little more comfortable entering the tent. This is probably wishful thinking, but I’m clinging to it.

Either way, it’s something that will wait for a later adventure, as the tent I have works awesomely and there is no actual need for a new tent.

a new camera or a camcorder

My camera is kind of crappy. It does alright, but I’d really like one that takes better pictures, has a better zoom, and decent videos – possibly even a camcorder. (I’d like to mix in video blogs with my regular written entries.) And hey, as long as we’re talking dreams here, I’d also like one with a remote so maybe I could get some pictures of myself with Anna. I think on my last adventure I ended up with countless Anna pictures and two with me in them.

Sadly, this is something that will have to stay on the Wish List. I’ve looked and looked but if I want to get the other things mentioned here I really can’t afford a new camera or a camcorder. Which saddens me, but I’ll make do with the one I’ve got.

Equipment Review: Erie Canal

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.

Clothes –

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.)

Equipment List: Erie Canal

Here is a list of everything I took on my walk along the Erie Canal. I’m working on a separate post to review the items I brought, going through what worked and what didn’t, and what I’d leave at home next time.

Backpack
  Clothes
    – 1 pair of jeans
    – 1 pair of conversion pants
    – 1 pair long underwear
    – 1 pair shorts
    – 1 long sleeve shirt
    – 2 tee-shirts (1 cotton, one hiking)
    – 2 tank tops
    – 5 pairs of underwear
    – 5 pairs of socks
    – 2 bras
  Rain jacket + rain pants
  Fleece jacket
  Hat
  Sleeping pad
  Sleeping bag
  Tent
  1 Nalgene bottle
  Walking Stick
  Knife
  Flashlight/emergency radio
  Toiletries
    – quick-dry adventure towel
    – toothbrush
    – toothpaste
    – Noxzema wipe thingies
    – contacts + solution
    – glasses
  Electronics
    – cell phone
    – laptop
    – mp3 player
    – digital camera

Anna’s Pack
  dogfood
  travel dog bowl
  poop bags
  vet papers
  sunscreen
  bag balm
 
 

And some miscellaneous stuff such as: ibuprofen, antihistamines, crossword book, pens and paper, wallet w/ money and ID and stuff.

Anna’s food was divided into about 8-10lbs each and kept in waterproof ziploc freezer bags. I kept the bulk of her food in my bag, with about 5lbs in two separate bags divided between her two saddle packs. This means the farther I walked, the more she ate and the lighter my pack became!

I used the ziploc bags for a lot of stuff – to keep things water proof, or to put my dirty laundry separate from the rest, or just keep things a little more organized within the pack. And I took a few extras with me.

I’m sure there’s one or two items I’ve forgotten to mention, but that’s pretty much everything I took with me.

Edit: D’oh. Yeah, and I also took along a First Aid Kit, with some added first aid stuff for Anna.

If you’re interested, head on over to read my Equipment Review post.