Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Backpack

MAGGIE SLEPIAN: Best Backpacking Packs of 2020

Maggie’s article includes my own current favourite, the Hyperlite 3400.

NEW to me is the Mountainsmith Zerk 40, Editors’ Choice Award 2020 from Backpacker Magazine.

It’s quite different. More pockets. More features. Yet astonishingly still weighs only 1 pound, 9 ounces if you remove some of the extras.

Looks ideal for trail runners and fast packers.

I’m intrigued. Having carried a frameless pack for most of my life, I’d mostly use the Zerk frameless and without the hip belt.

It was designed in consultation with thru hiker The Hiking Viking, Tom Gathman.

I’m not a fan of the look, however. And it’s not waterproof.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

West Coast Trail GEAR 2021

I did the WCT twice.

This is my final gear list after learning some hard lessons on the first week.

Note it’s very electronics heavy as one of my main goals was to make video tutorials for this very challenging adventure.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

PACK
Hyperlight 3400 Windrider
emergency whistle

SHELTER
MSR Hubba NX tent
MSR Hubba NX fly
MSR Hubba poles (no stakes)

SLEEP
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite WV SHORT Sleeping Pad (pillow and back-up mattress)
NeoAir XLite SHORT (pad)
Therm-a-rest patch kit
Therm-a-rest quilt

SHOES
Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe with inserts
… with
Wool socks
quick dry New Balance 1260s 4E 9.5 w inserts
… with Neoprene booties

DRY CLOTHES
Wool socks #2
light nylon pants
Soffe Running shorts #1 (as underwear)
wool t-shirt
Buff #1
mask (pandemic)

HIKING CLOTHES
Soffe Running shorts #2 (as underwear)
Running Room 7″ perforated run shorts
red Nike quick dry t-shirt
waterproof stuff sack
Buff #2
long brim ball cap
fingerless gloves

OUTER LAYERS
Columbia OutDry rain jacket
Helly Hansen puffy jacket Red L & 3L ultra-sil dry bag
Helly Hansen puffy jacket Blue M & 2L ultra-sil dry bag

TOILETRIES in dry bag
ASA and TUMs
vitamins
toilet paper TP (Coughlin x2)
& alcohol gel
sunscreen in ziplock
2 Imodium tablets

HIP PACK
1 credit card
CAN cash $500
tiny Swiss Army knife
hand Sanitizer – 1 oz bottle
prescriptions
bandaids
Leukotape (blisters)
duct tape
water purification tablets (Acquatabs)
toothbrush & toothpaste
sunglass clip-on, flip-up
toothpicks
Health Insurance card
chewing cloves
National Parks Pass
zip ties
lens cloth
pen & paper

COOKING
JetBoil Minimo
fuel
scrubby
lighter
spoon
water bottles (2 x litre soft drink empty)
Ursack AllMitey bear bag XL black

GUIDEBOOK
Blisters & Bliss 9th edition

ELECTRONICS

CAMERA
Sony ZV-1
2 extra SD cards
1 extra battery & charging case
charging cable
protective carrying case

CAMERA
iPhone X
OM 4 Gimbal
SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Go for iPhone

CAMERA
GoPro 7 Black 
3 extra batteries
charging case

EXTRA ELECTRONICS
iPhone SE 2020
Apple Watch and cable
Nitecore NU25 headlamp

POWER
Anker Power Bank PowerCore Essential 20000 (342gm)
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 ‎(576gm)

TRIPODS
Fotopro uFO 2 (0.5 pound)
Splat

How Hikers can FALL More Safely

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

The first time I hiked the West Coast Trail I fell 7 times in 7 days.

No injury.

June 2021 I fell only twice in 6 days. An improvement. But broke a camera on the first. And badly bruised my thigh on the second. 😕

About one in a hundred hikers are evacuated on the very challenging West Coast Trail.

MANY are carrying more weight than they can comfortably balance.

As a Gymnastics coach, I teach kids the safest ways to land and fall. In this video I’ve applied those same techniques for hikers. Absorb IMPACT FORCES over time and surface area.

BEST strategy is to pull in your arms (dropping poles). Take the first impact landing on your backpack.

Having things dangling can complicate. Keep your pack as compact as possible. Fragile equipment protected inside.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BEFORE you hike — practice falling deliberately on to your pack (filled with pillows).

When it happens for real on the trail, it’s often FEELS in slow motion. Do not flail. Pulling in your arms should be highest priority.

West Coast Trail YOYO Attempt

BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

UPDATE – I fell and suffered a bad thigh bruise on day 5 of my first week. Limped out. And had to reschedule my second week to start July 3rd out of Nitinat.

Here’s my original post from June 8th:

I’ll be mostly offline for the next couple of weeks.

After being closed for all of 2020, our #1 hike in the world opened to reservations on April 30, 2021 — for Canadians only.

The online reservations system worked well — but my credit card was twice declined for no reason. I repeated the process and was finally able to pay.

Since there is less demand this year than normal, I was able to book myself for:

June 10 starting SE from Bamfield.

June 15 starting NW from Port Renfrew.

I’ll make haste on the first 75 km (47 mi) hike.

Pick up my resupply in Port Renfrew. Have a hot shower. Some wine.

Then take it more leisurely on my YOYO return to Bamfield.

Click PLAY or check out my hiking gear on YouTube.

I’ve done the WCT four times in the past. It doesn’t intimidate me at all. I LOVE climbing ladders with a HEAVY pack. 😀

Wish me luck!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

These (hiking) Shoes Are Killing Me

Highest priority for hikers is foot care.

Know that your feet expand while hiking — especially in hot weather — so many of us buy walking shoes a size larger than what we wear in the city.

I loved Christopher Mcdougall’s book

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

That said, I’ve never hiked barefoot or with minimal shoes. Raised in cold Canada, my feet are wimpy.

If you have time, go back to the beginning. Listen to an audiocast about the history of footwear.

470. The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism Freakonomics Radio

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.
  1. 470. The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism
  2. 469. The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not
  3. 468. Nap Time for Everyone!
  4. How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Ep. 289 Rebroadcast)
  5. 467. Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean?