For many months, our livingroom/diningroom area was taken over by gear as we determined what to pack for this trip. Ultimately, the gear needs to be carried on our back or stored in our two trucks - the rolling supply stations. So many decisions to make! Do we take an Exped down-filled sleeping pad with a R-value of 5.9 (warmth rating) but weighs 22.2 ounces, or do we opt for Thermarest's Neo-Air XLite pad with with a R-value of 3.2 but only weighs 12 ounces? Do we wear SmartWool's long sleeve t-zip shirt because of merino wool's odor resistance, or do with go with a nylon, multi-pocketed, traditional-style hiking shirt from Ex-Officio because of its durability and places to store maps, lip balm, etc.? Keeping our backpack as light as possible, while being comfortable and safe, has been one of our highest priorities. Mike and I realized early on that one way to reduce the weight we will be carrying is to lose a few pounds! With the help of a smartphone app called LoseIt!, I lost 30 and Mike lost 20 pounds over a three month period.
Night of 3/22/2013
Mike and I tested our sleeping systems by sleeping in them in our frontyard during a March snowstorm. From the ground up the system consists of a extremely light ground cloth (plastic, really), an emergency blanket (think light aluminum foil), a bivy sack (a cocoon of thin waterproof material that encases the pad and sleeping bag), a pad for comfort and warmth, a sleeping bag and a tarp. The Duomid tarp, made by Mountain Laurel Designs, is constructed of cuban fiber and weighs just 14 ounces.
Thumbs up on everything but the pads - they were upgraded the next day!
Our trucks are our ever-advancing supply stations. Typically, long-distance trekers mail their gear to post offices near the route. Frequently, this requires hiking or hitchhiking into towns to fetch the supplies. Since the food and gear is packed and mailed ahead of time, oftentimes the hiker no longer likes the food choices or needs/wants the gear that was sent. We thought we would try it a different way.
To understand our plan, imagine the first day of our trip. We will drive the two trucks to the border of New Mexico and Mexico and leave the Infiniti. Then we will drive north about 15 miles and park the Toyota. We will get out of the truck and walk south to the Infiniti parked at the border, then drive the Infiniti north, leap-frogging to a spot about 17 miles north of the Toyota. Again, we will walk south - this time to the Toyota, pick up the truck and drive approximately 23 miles north of the Infiniti. And so it goes.....we will be driving north and hiking south.