Equipment for the Journey


Some backpackers are total gear-heads. They want the top-of-the-line, latest, most innovative equipment available. Until recently I hiked with an old, battered, clunky external frame and refused to carry a smartphone in the woods. I’ll take a $2 poncho over a $20 dollar pack cover any day. I don’t obsess over equipment. I am hardly a luddite or a miser. That said, taking the right gear is vital to a safe and enjoyable trip. The right gear varies for each individual.

For the curious, below is a comprehensive list and perhaps a dull description of the equipment we are to bring along. This list is sure to change as the trip progresses.

Matthew’s gear:

  • 1 backpack ((Deuter brand) All right, I’m already being a hypocrite. I upgraded my external frame a year ago to this internal frame bag. It sits more comfortably than my old Kelty although I argue it is far less accessible. I could retrieve water bottles and maps without taking my Kelty off, unlike the Deuter. That is until I modified it by adding a small mesh pouch to the hip belt.)
  • 1 two-person tent
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 pair of trekking poles (think collapsible ski poles)
  • 1 pair of hiking boots
  • 1 $20 pack cover (hypocrite x2! I got it for free!)
  • 1 headlamp
  • 1 water-filter
  • 1 three-liter water bladder
  • 1 single-liter water bottle
  • 1 backup water bladder (I get thirsty)
  • 1 food bag
  • 1 Tupperware container w/ spork (serves as a cup/bowl/plate)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3 pairs of wool socks
  • 1 t-shirt (synthetic)
  • 1 t-shirt (cotton)
  • 1 windbreaker/outershell
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 wool cap
  • sunglasses
  • hat
  • trowel
  • bathroom kit
  • bundle of cord
  • 1 pair of flip-flops
  • notebook
  • 2 pens
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 novel
  • 1 ipod (This little piece of technology is controversial for us. We will address it in a later post) w/ earbuds

Lisa’s gear is mostly identical to what’s listed above save for a few notable exceptions.

  • 1 Osprey brand backpack
  • 1 smartphone w/ earbuds
  • 1 pair of trailrunners (Heavy duty shoes lighter than boots but less durable)
  • 1 pair of foot inserts. (If this was 1941 Lisa wouldn’t be allowed in the Army)
  • 1 med kit
  • 1 pair of long pants/shorts with dettachable leggings
  • 2 bandanas
  • 1 winter jacket (as opposed to my windbreaker.)

Also, FOOD:


A Word or Two on Beginning

The adventure we are about to take on would not be possible without the continued support, both emotional and logistical, of family, friends and former coworkers. To take four to five months away from Life and hike across the country is a tremendous gift. We are lucky to be able to make this trek. That said, Lisa and I have put tremendous effort into saving and preparing for this journey. And hiking from Mexico to Canada ain’t exactly easy.