Friday, April 11, 2014

As light as it is going to get

I started to organize my pack so that I could find what I wanted without digging through multiple stuff sacks to get the job done. I like to be able to sort things so that I know just what sack to reach for to get what I need. The photo to the right shows all that I will be bringing with me (see pack list). Everything goes into the 4 uberlight Granite Gear dry sacks, shown at the bottom of the photo, plus one stuff sack (non waterproof) for all my rain gear. I made one compromise to my original pack list and that was to replace the silk sleep sack with a Montbell down Thermal Sheet. It weighs 15 ounces (425 grams), and unzips so it lays flat. Later in the trip, when it is warmer, it will probably just get used as a sheet rather than a blanket or sleeping bag. The clear zip lock bags contain toiletries, first aid kit, daily foot care items (wool, tape, Nok cream), and a partial roll of toilet paper. I have kept clothing items to the minimum. I am carrying 2 Icebreaker short sleeve t shirts, 1 Icebreaker long sleeve (150 weight) 1/4 zip shirt for daily walking, and 1 long sleeve t shirt for the end of the day. I will wear merino wool runners tights under my rain pants for cold wet days, Patagonia Rock Craft hiking pants or Columbia Silver Ridge hiking shorts depending on the weather. Whatever I wear during the day I will wear the other at night. I can always wear the runners tights under my hiking shorts, at day's end, if need be. My Montbell Versalite rain jacket will suffice for a windbreaker when necessary, same goes for the Versalite rain pants. I have included a Montbell Thermawrap synthetic insulated vest for chilly mornings or evenings, and a Montbell Plasma 1000 down jacket as a cold weather layering piece. I also have switched my outer socks to Icebreaker mid weight hiking socks as opposed to Smartwool that I think will be just a bit too warm for the expected hot weather. I will still use the Injinji toe socks as liners. Due to the expected mud on the Le Puy route Robin and I will both be using a very light weight gaiter made by Mountain Laurel Designs.

This is what it all looks like when stowed away.

Zpack Arc Blast 45 L backpack
The only thing I haven't shown is the Golite Chrome Dome trekking umbrella. It will stow underneath the compression straps and sit in the side pouch shown in the pack photo above. All our documents, cash, iPad, camera, and guidebook will be carried in a waterproof chest pouch (shown propping up the pack, bottom left). Robin and I have opted not to use ponchos as rain gear and a pack cover for this trip as the back pack material is waterproof (and seam taped), and everything inside will be in in dry sacks. The Cuben fiber back pack material does not absorb water so the straps and rigging will not pick up any additional water weight. In warmer wet weather we will break out the umbrellas and not put on the rain gear. Also I have the Zpack rain kilt that I can through on if I need something more than just the umbrella. I am actually looking forward to trying out some of these wet weather combinations to see what works best, under exertion, during periods of varying temperatures and wind strength. More on that later from the "chemin."


  1. Nice to see you finally taking my advice about wool instead of won't regret it! You can wear the stuff for weeks and not have to wash it. And I'm glad you're taking advantage of the Montbell store in town're just about ready to be an UL Backpacker when you get back if you want! :) Buen Camino!

    1. Thanks, Heather. Robin and I are comfortable with our gear selection, now we just have to start walking, and put it to use. This is going to be an interesting journey. Stay tuned. We depart Le Puy on Saturday. April, 26th.