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.

Giant BANANA SLUG in my Tent

On finishing my first West Coast Trail hike 1999 I threw my backpack into the trunk. Drove directly to my parents home hours away.

Two days later I unpacked. Found 2 banana slugs inside.

I’m more careful now to keep pot, mug and cutlery clean and packed away at night.

My tent zipped.

Yet I still had a banana slug in my tent this year. 😐

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Dientes de Navarino, Chilean Patagonia

One of the #BestHikes in the world.

Suzie Dundas posted a terrific trip report for Outside magazine:

Dientes de Navarino is a trek of superlatives.

It starts from the southernmost town in the world—Puerto Williams, on the 55th parallel. …

Our upcoming trek would cover anywhere from 35 to 45 miles, depending on what route we chose and how accurately our trackers would monitor our steps through mud and snow.

First trekked in the late 1990s but only officially (and partially) marked in 2016, around 200 people attempted the trail annually before its blazing. Since then, the number has gone up to between 1,000 and 1,500 per year. …

A Trek to the Edge of the World

How to tackle Chilean Patagonia’s Dientes de Navarino, considered the most unpredictable trek in the world

related – our failed attempt at Dientes de Navarino

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.