Gear: Failures and Successes


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The first day of this trek made me a believer in using a Buff. I have made fun of buffs ever since I sold them during university working at Black’s gear shop in Oxford. Total reversal of opinion, just like how the PCT made me a believer and dependent on what I had once referred to as “wussie sticks.” Now I wouldn’t do a long trek without my hiking poles. I will never walk a road again without a face covering, and the Buff is so much quicker and more comfortable than knotting a bandanna.

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A little Buff & Walking Sticks

 

Before I go into gear issues, I need to own my piece. Some of the greatest gear failures have been my own doing. Such as ripping the butt open on my Outdoor Research pants  by glissading on the second day on the trail. Or forgetting a pair of my socks that were drying in a refugio on Tierra del Fuego.

Other aspects, though, come down to the gear makers.

I am disappointed to report that my Feathered Friends bag began to come apart on the 4th night of use. I woke to find one side of the elastic cinch which mummies the bag had come detached from the inside. Perhaps in my sleep I had jostled it too hard. The next night I was trying to use the other side carefully but still tighten it to preserve my body heat and it quickly popped lose. Distressing and chilly making. Difficult to stomach when it was such an expensive piece of gear.

During a snow storm on the 3rd week, my entire backside became drenched. Finally more so than I could justify for the precipitation falling from the sky. My backpack began to feel surprisingly light. The brand new Platypus bladder had burst at the seam in a way beyond capacity of fixing.

This created space for my greatest idea yet, attaching the hose to an empty 1.5 L soda bottle. I carry this in my ‘back-porch,’ the large outside pocket on the back of my pack. This allows me to monitor my water intake and refill more easily anyway so, while I am disappointed by Platypus’ performance, I am actually quite pleased with the change.

That episode (as well as falling in chest-deep water off a beaver dam a week earlier) also made me grateful that that all my gear was in waterproof Hyperlite Mountain Gear sacks.

The backpacks have stood up to insane amounts of bushwhacking. Pushing through trees so dense that all I could do was make sure no lose gear was on the outside of our packs, lower our heads, and charge through the brush, thorns, and trees.

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The Delorme InReach has been quite handy for communication and tracking. Paring it to the Earthmate app on my cell phone has been very helpful with navigation, giving us multiple sources of information and topography when cross-country navigating. Its battery life is impressive too. I have enjoyed showing to to the various guides and companies down here who are all fascinated with it and happy to find a system more accurate and reliable than the Spot, particularly in these southern regions.

All in all, I am happy with our kit and, where it comes up short, creates a chance to creative problem solve. There is not much in life that can´t be solved by Duct Tape. Which I carry wrapped around one of my trekking poles.

 

Equipamiento: fracasos y exitos

Traduccion por Henry Tovar

El primer día de este viaje me hizo un creyente en el uso del buff (Bufanda). Me he burlado de los Buff desde que los vendí durante el trabajo en la universidad en la tienda de Black´s gear en Oxford. Reversión total de opinión, al igual que cómo PCT yo sea fiel y dependientemente de lo que vez había referido como hizo ´´palos wussie´´. Ahora yo no haría un largo viaje sin mis bastones de senderismo. Nunca andaré un camino nuevo sin cubierta en la cara y la piel de antes es mucho más rápido y más cómodo que anudar un pañuelo.

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Antes de entrar en cuestiones de equipamiento, necesito tener mi pieza, alguno de los mayores fracasos de el equipamiento han sido mi propia culpa, tal como rasgar la parte trasera de mis pantalones de investigación exterior deslizandome en la nieve el segundo día de camino u olvidar un par de calcetines que se estaban secando en un refugio en la Tierra del Fuego.

Otros aspectos, sin embargo, se reducen a los fabricantes de equipos.
Estoy decepcionada de informar que mi bolso emplumado comenzó a separarse en la cuarta noche de uso. Me desperté para encontrar un lado de la cinta elástica que cierra la bolsa desatado desde el interior. Tal vez en mi sueño lo habría empujado muy fuerte. La noche siguiente estaba tratando de usar el otro lado con cuidado. Pero todavía apretarlo para preserverar calor de mi cuerpo y rápidamente se perdió. La toma de angustioso y frío. Dificil de digerir cuando era una pieza de equipo tan cara.

Durante una tormenta en la 3era semana, toda mi espalda quedó empapado. Finalmente más de lo que yo podría justificar para la precipitación que cae del cielo. Mi mochila empezó a sentirse sorprendentemente ligero. La nueva vejiga Platyplus había irrumpido en la costura de una manera más alla de la capacidad de reparación.

Esto crea espacio para mi mejor idea, sin embargo, de conectar una manguera a una botella de refresco de 1.5 L vacía. Llevo esto en mi ´´umbral posterior´´´, en el gran bolsillo exterior de la mochila. Esto me permite monitoriear el consumo de agua y la puedo volver a llenar facilmente de todos modos, mientras estoy decepcionada del desempeño de mi Platypus, estoy realmente contenta con el cambio.

Ese episodio ( al igual que caer en agua a profundidad del pecho desde un dique de castores la semana anterior) también me hizo agradecer de que todo mi equipo estaban en sacos Hiperlite Mountain impermeables.

Las mochilas se han enfrenado a enormes cantidades de campo traviesa, empujando a través de los árboles tan densos que lo único que podía hacer era asegurarse de que no pierder el equipo que estaba en el exterior de las mochilas, bajar nuestras cabezas, y cargar a través de arbustos, espinas y árboles.

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La Delorme InReach ha sido muy útil para la comunicación y el seguimiento. Sincronizarlo con la aplicación Earthmate en mi teléfono celular ha sido de gran ayuda a la navegación, que nos da múltiples fuentes de información y la topografía cuando se navega a través del país. La duración de su batería es impresionante también. He disfrutado mostrando que a las divesas guías y empresas de aquí abajo que están fascinados con él y feliz de encontrar un sistema más preciso y fiableque el comer, sobre todo en entas regiones del sur.

En general, estoy satisfecho con nuestro kit y donde se queda corto, crea una oportunidad de resolver problemas de manera creativa. No hay mucho en la vida que no puede ser resuelto por la cinta aislante. Que llevo envuelto alrededor de mis bastones de trekking.

11 thoughts on “Gear: Failures and Successes

  1. Bee Lanning says:

    Find reading your journal interesting. I wish you well. About gear – what is a buff????? How do you charge your cell phone?????

    • Fidgit says:

      Hi Bee! This is Emily responding. This is a buff:

      The cell phone can be charged from the same solar charger that is charging the Delorme and GPS. Cool, huh?

  2. will k says:

    i just hope that the failed gear isn’t anything you are endorsing because it was gifted? that would be horrible. but i like your positive twist on the failures, in that you made lemonade out of a lemon for the platypus thing….good grief!

    carry on sister. i am with you in spirit all the way!

  3. Clifford B. Rawley says:

    Dear Bethany, Thanks for sharing your trials and triumphs of the journey. I do not know what a Buff might be. The GPS system you have sounds like a great dependable aid.
    The walking stick looks like a valuable tool for many reasons of safety and balance.
    blessings on your epic walk,
    Cliff and Martha Rawley

  4. Mike Armstrong says:

    What shoes/boots do you wear on this kind of trek, especially considering the varied terrain you must surely be encountering?

    • Fidgit says:

      This is Bethany, I have already gone through 3 pair of shoes. Started with La Sportiva approach shoes which made my feet bleed on roadwalks. Then a pair of Salomon which were good but a bit narrow. Now in a pair of Brooks Cascadia 10 which are tearing through after 2 weeks.
      Trail running shoes seem best for the mix of trail and road we encounter.

      • Mike Armstrong says:

        Never heard of those brands but will be sure to avoid them should I encounter them. Be safe out there and relax with your travel uke now and then! Enjoy the journey!!

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