Packing the Pack

Now that I have my day-pack, I needed to learn what should go into it. To do this, I turned to my friend, Pinterest. There are several blogs I have pinned about packing a day-pack. From these, I started making a list.  At first, I wrote down everything on their lists, I crossed out the duplicates, and took off things that didn’t make sense to me.  I read my new list several times and decided to add a couple of things.  My list looks like this:

Sunscreen/lips too                      Bug spray                              Sunglasses

Knife/multi-tool                          Camera                                  Fire-starter

Flashlight/head lamp                Duct tape                               Band-Aids/first aid kit

Blister pads                                  Pain relievers                        Antiseptic

Guide book                                   Snacks – protein                  Water

Ace bandage                                Survival blanket                    Rain poncho

Garbage bag                                 Toilet paper                             Ziploc bags

Water filter/purification          Compass/map                        Whistle

Mirror                                            Para chord                                Binoculars

Hat                                                 Knee brace

Once comfortable with my list, I gathered what I had on hand making adjustments as necessary:

Sunscreen/lip balm                Hat                                           Sunglasses

Knife                                            Lighter                                    Flash light

Menstrual pad                         Band-Aids                             Ointment and antiseptic

Blister pads                             Ibuprofen                                 Guide book

Apple and orange                 Water in my hydration pack

Ace bandage with safety pins                                               Kleenex packet

Ziploc bags                              Whistle                                     Binoculars

Cell phone                              Cough drops                            Inhaler

I will eventually get the rest of the items on my list, but I feel good with my starter pack. Since the hike was to be the next day and because my son is in the Army, he felt he had to inspect my pack. I think that he has done this as pay back for all the times I checked his back pack for school.  He takes everything from my bag and comments on them.  He’s not impressed with the sunscreen because of the weight, but I am fair skinned. So, it stays.  He is happy about my impromptu first aid kit including the menstrual pad because it can have multiple uses.  He informs me that pain medicines like ibuprofen will dehydrate me if I use them, but I am not comfortable leaving them behind.  We talk about wants and needs when we get to the binoculars, but this is a want he approves of. I left the camera out since I will have my phone.

When we repack, he has removed nothing.  This makes me feel good about my choices.  I want to be prepared but also have a light pack.  The only items he suggested are the ones on my list that I didn’t have on hand.  The weight seemed appropriate for the hike, and I had no problems with it.  I didn’t need anything while on the hike, but having the bag along made me feel better and will help prepare me for increasing the weight over the next few years.

 

Finding a Pack

Standing in Walmart, rows and rows of similar packs hang on the wall in front of me. All the choices overwhelm me. What do I want? How does one decide? I don’t want to buy the cutest or one that is too big or too small.  But what is just right? Reading the labels, I can eliminate half the selection because they don’t have the water bags in them.  It is more beneficial to buy a pack with the hydration system in it.  Water is half of what I want to carry on my hikes. There are packs that only hold water, ones that have about double the space as the water bag, and ones as big as a school backpack.  The small ones are too small; I have a few things I want to take on the trail with me.  I know I can carry a heavier bag because I carry a book bag or two to school every day.  But, this will be for longer periods of carrying time. I eliminate the big bags on principle.  So I am down to two styles, and I choose based on the water capacity and the carrying space.  It is the middle most bag in size.  I can choose between red and blue.   The blue is bright so it will be seen but not stand out too much like the red.  I have an issue with my colors standing out too much, and looking at the red bag, I have visions of Katniss in the Hunger Games trying to camouflage her bright orange bag.

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At home, I spend several weeks worrying that I have purchased a bag that is too small for a properly stocked day-pack.  I haven’t packed it yet, but I still worry.  Will it hold all the important hiking paraphernalia?  Whatever that may be.  I have only hiked with my water bottles so far, but between needing to get used to packing a bag with me and for being prepared, I need to carry more.  Besides, having a hydration pack will certainly be better than having my hands full with my water bottles.

The night before my planned hike, I gather the items that I have and know I need and pack them into the bag.  I clean and fill the hydration pack breaking the mouthpiece open as directed.  The bag is heavy but not as heavy as my daily school bags. It also has room if I decide I need more items.  I just have to add my fruit, ID, and phone on my way out the door.  I don’t think I would be able to throw in a light jacket, but that is something I can hang off a strap or wrap around my waist.  At this point, I feel good about my choice in packs.

At the trail head, I slip on the day-pack and fasten the straps at my chest and waist.  Feeling the weight, I wonder how it will be in an hour or so.  At least the pack sits nicely in the middle of my back and is easy enough to slip on and off.  Taking a sip of water, I head out on my first lengthy hike.  Even returning to my car at the end of the hike, the pack feels comfortable, and drinking water was much more effective than the water bottles that I tend to spill on myself as I try to hike or have to stop to drink. I think I have made the right choice in a day-pack.