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10 Essential Pieces
Update posted by Laura Jean Schneider On Mar 10

We’re over HALFWAY! Amazing, you guys!

At $3.13 per mile, that's 471 miles funded! Thank you all so very much.

Because I know I’ll be carrying a significant amount of water at certain points, and that the elevation will be constantly changing, I am being pretty careful about what weight I carry, and why.

But before I launch into all that, a few exciting updates: Aarn USA told me my pack is the only one of its kind in North America, yay! and are seeing what they can do to get me more info and some add-ons. High Country News reached out to see if I’m interested in writing something for them, around the trips or its themes, and I’m have a convo with an editor tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Ok, back to the specs on the lightweight gear you’ve purchased for me, to keep necessities pared down to minimum weight:

  • 1) UL Headlamp from Litesmith. Only 1.17 oz. and it is rechargeable through a USB port. The super lightweight elasticized cords are actually very comfortable.
  • 2) To charge said headlamp and my phone, I picked up a barely-used Anker PowerPort Solar Lite 21 Watt Charger on eBay for $51, saving close to a $100. It weighs about a pound, so it’s heavy, but so is a large battery bank…and solar is THE premier resource to harness in the desert. It unfolds into a series of small solar panels, has two USB ports, and you can hang it on your pack as you hike. I had it charging my phone in the sunny living room, and it seems to be a win. We’ll see!
  • 3) My Thumbprint toothbrush from Litesmith weighs just 6 grams with the cover. (I’m going to carry some kind of tooth powder instead of paste, but haven’t decided on exactly which kind yet.)
  • 4) Nail clippers. Wouldn’t have thought of this one, but read on Artemis’ blog about the importance of short toenails and it made all the sense. I went with these Swiss Army ones that weigh under 1 ounce.
  • 5) Cat holes will be a reality, and again, at Artemis’ suggestion I went with Tentlab,a US based company. (Had I known specific colors were made outside of the US, I would have chosen a US made one, but I ended up with the impossible-to-lose-color Lime). Weight is equal to 3 TBS of water.
  • 6) I’ve reached out to the local ladies at Kula Cloth (made here in WA), and am excited to try this. It’s basically a reusable square of toilet paper for pee. The sun and antimicrobial properties sanitize. Weighs half an ounce.
  • 7) I’m not going without taking some precut strips of KTape Pro. This has saved my wrists, elbows and knees so many times since I discovered it. I am also going to see how it holds up for two more purposes. The first is for making bandages, using the tape and nonstick pad cut to size. The second is for gear/tear repair for my down items, tent, who knows what else. I ordered the cheapest bright color and ended up with Solar Yellow. Perfect!
  • 8) Tent. Ultralight tents and shelters are very expensive, so I settled for a less- fancy brand, Eureka, that’s a little heavier for this trip. (Often the aforesaid tents utilize hiking poles, which I do not use. Or use yet.) The Spitfire 1 weighs 2.12 pounds, and sets up very quickly. I replaced the heavy shepherd hook style stakes that came with it with 6 of the Zpacks Sonic stakes, which puts stake weight at 1.3 ounces. After much deliberation, because of the specific size and shape of this tent, I went with the factory made footprint, which weighs 5 ounces.
  • 9) Ultralight viscose towel. For $1.95, it was worth it to have a 12x 21 towel that absorbs ten times its weight, and weighs less than a cotton bandana. Check out the list Litesmith put together on what all to use them for…some pretty creative ideas!
  • 10) I will be cold soaking my food, so I will make good use of the Light My Fire Titanium Spork donated by Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange.Weighs .7 of an ounce.

Next time, I’ll take you through apparel! And there’s the whole water system, which I am still ironing out, too.

Thanks so much for making this happen. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you all.

Oxoxo LJ

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