I am sitting here doing last-minute tasks for my section hike of the Florida Trail. So much is going through my mind. Do I have enough food? Do I have enough water? Do I have the right gear? What does one do if they have to poop and they are walking through waist-high water with no dry land? How can I effectively pee in my tent at night to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes? Will the Swamp Puppies accept me as one of their own and allow me to give them belly rubs? These are some of the questions that have been keeping me up at night. OK, well not so much the last question. Gotta love the swamp puppies! So gear! Beautiful gear!
This trip I decided to go with a Zpacks Arc Air ROBIC 50-liter backpack. As I will be hiking the Florida trail, orange (blaze color for the FT) was the obvious choice. When I picked up the box it was sent in, I honestly believed they forgot to actually send anything. It’s that light. Sadly, at first, I felt like I had made a HUGE mistake getting this backpack. My Osprey had so many pockets to put things in that packing this was challenging. Then it didn’t ride on my back very comfortably. Finally, after watching some videos and talking with customer service, I got the pack tweaked to ride comfortably. Foldable Wagon Carts
For my sleeping bag, I decided against getting anything new and will be taking my Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 600 2-season sleeping bag that I bought way back in 2014! Its lower temp is 27°, and the down is the duck Dri-down, and it’s orange! LOL. This sleeping bag has been with me on short overnights on the PCT and Jeep camping/living, and helped me not freeze to death while I was living full-time in my van. With the damp conditions of Florida, it may be its last trip. We shall see.
The tent! I again decided against getting anything new and will have my REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 three-season tent. I love this tent! It is my fortress of safety on trail, and I believe nothing can get to me while I am inside. At least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep easy. It’s heavy at three pounds, five ounces to carry compared to other tents, but I like that it’s freestanding, and I can put it up basically anywhere. I also like having all my possessions inside the tent with me. Everyone keeps asking me what my base weight is so here goes…
My pack, with no water or food but with everything else in it including electronics, clothing, etc., is 20 pounds.
With food and water, it’s 35 pounds. That 15 pounds of food and water! Is that normal? Is that to much? I will be carrying 2L of water with a smaller 700cc of water with electrolytes in it. I like the Liquid IV powders. They also help with the HORRIBLE taste of the Florida water that I will need to filter and drink! It looks and taste like ass. We have the best trail angels here in Florida and will be hiking close to towns, so I have it on good authority that I can resupply frequently. Dollar store for the win! If I do this, I can hope to reduce my weight by removing some food. Just saying that makes me nervous! This will be my first long time (over four nights) on a trail. For this part, I will be out about a month.
OK, that is it for now! My pick-up is today (1/1/2023) and then we head south to the kick-off that is so kindly put on by former thru-hikers of the FT and other trails. Provided I do not get eaten alive by the bugs (yes, I am more afraid of the bugs than the big animals), I will keep sending updates!
So here is to making new poop stories in 2023!
Go hug a Swamp Puppy!
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Long time travel RN - went from van life to set up my permanent basecamp right outside of Jacksonville FL. Set to section hike the Florida Trail in 2023! Everyone needs to come hike with dinosaurs!
A solution to nighttime pee needs is a She-funnel (or similar brand) and a collapsible Nalgene. This combo works well (does take some practice, a shower is a good place) and is used by alpine climber and mountaineers. While a 1-liter collapsible nalgene will work, I’d recommend the 1.5 liter to reduce the accidental spill risk. Combine that with a Kula cloth and you are all set. Good luck.
Large Travel Backpack Spam, it was a surprise to see your post tonight after having just met you this afternoon at the group camp near the trail. Good luck and have fun on your hike!