Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not Gear, But Passion

Thru hiker and best friend, Rainmaker always told me its not the gear that takes you to Kahtadin, you take the gear.

The best gear in the world doesn't make a through hiker, but a through hiker can make it with just about anything. Its the passion, an almost crazy obsession with finishing the complete trail in one calendar year, be it the 2, 178 mile Appalachian Trail, the 470 mile Colorado Trail, or the 2658 mile Pacific Crest Trail. A person has to want it so much they will endure the pain and loneliness a long distance hiker will inevitable face, especially if they are solo.

A thru hiker, or through hiker of the Appalachian Trail can sleep in shelters the entire distance and not even require a shelter. Tarps, hammocks, double wall dome tents are all found in successful long distance hiker's packs. Granny Gatewood hiked the AT using just a shower curtain for her shelter and tennis shoes. Ram bunny had a sun dress on last time I met her in Maine. Most of my gear was home made, second hand or Wal Mart .

I find simplicity and minimalism aid a long hike. Its not lack of expensive gear, or having all brand name gear that makes or breaks a long distance hike. Its passion, maintaining a basic level of health, and ability to withstand pain.

Its really interesting to see what people are carrying, what they're cooking on and with. Food as simple as oatmeal or as complicated as prepackaged. The debate over synthetic or down, sleeping bags or sleeping quilts, an inflatable pad, or closed cell, full length or shorty will probably never be over.

With all that in mind, the Alternative Gear page was written and will be updated periodically. The Gear Reviews listed on this blog site are more about designs and options than actually recommending a given item. The features incorporated into a piece of gear show how well a company understands its clients.

Check out the pages, and write me if me have anything to add or have suggestions. My gear lists and trail journals can be found on my homepage at

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