Back Pack. Backpacking. Pack Packing?

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It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Isn't that the cliche'? I could google it, but I don't want to, let's call it suspense.

Let me preface this post by saying that this is a two parter. This is part one. Part two will be the actual trip. Brace yo self.

Circa 2015. Hubs and I got a whim. Well, I guess I got a whim, and forced it on hubs [whaaat]. I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and got the biggest itch in the world. Wanna know what it was? I wanted to backpack... rufffff (I know) it in the wild with nothing but what was on our backs. Not only did I want to backpack, I wanted to complete a fairly [extremely] difficult loop, The 26.6 mile long Four Pass Loop in Colyrady to be exact. When the name of the loop is FOUR PASS, the pass doesn't stand for you'll pass four goats, it means YOU'LL PASS OVER FOUR MOUNTAINS, basically. Mind you, Jeff and I are coming from Texas. Yes there are hills here, but in no way are there large 12,000 ft summits. Also, we thought we were in shape to hike 8 strennnnnnnnnnuous switchbacky miles a day, we were #dumbledores. Also, we literally did mayyyyyybe one workout for this trip. Hilare. Nonetheless, we continued to plan to pass the passes.If you want to plan a backpacking adventure, and you aren't made of money, I'd recommend beginning your preparations at leastttttt 6 months in advance, iz spensive to gather ALL of the items one needs to be in the wild. Which seems like an oxymoron, but whatevs. On a positive note, once you have all yer gear, you can go on a trip whenever you get a wild hair! And it will be fo free (aside from your foods)!We started blindly [we collected assorted lists, so the blind thing might be a stretch] preparing for this adventure. Jeff had all of his backpacking gear already since he'd been on the Appalachian Trail before, so I got all the new stuff [shocker]. REI was our best friend. Also, when you walk into that store, you feel like you are literally going to set up camp. in. the. store. Like, remember when you were a kid and would go into Home Depot with your parents and play house in the made up kitchen and bathroom models. No? That was just me. Cool, carry on. I'll lay down a list at the end of this post of the items we carried into the wild, so if you choose to do a trip, you can easily be prepared! (We honestly compared like 1,000 lists before going, just to be sure, so take this list with a grain of salt [i don't actually understand what that means])First off, and most importantly, ya need a backpack. This is where all your pretty pennies will fall down the drain. But alas, it's not a drain because you'll be able to use it for years and years to come, yippee! You need to get a good one, and coming from this penny pinching scoundrel, that was a hard pill to swallow, because the good ones are spensiveeeeeee [think along the lines of the cost of a Quality Inn hotel stay all the way to a stay in a Four Seasons on an off season day (I've never actually stayed in one of those hotels before, I'm just assuming<you know what they say about assumers)- yes there may be those of you who are saying "ugh, then why wouldn't i just stay in a hotel- if that's you, fine, do whatchu want, aint no judgement. But keep reading anyways because... well just because] But anywhos, Osprey is my fave brand for backpacking essentials, but they tend to be more expensive, so I ended up getting an REI branded backpack, and it. is. glorious! You can literally live out of these things, and they make it seem like you aren't really carrying anything on your back [okay, this might be a bit of a stretch, because obvi you are carrying upwards of 30+ pounds back there, but you get my drift]. The backpacks have a spine of their own, and when cinched right, they take the mammoth-ey pressure off you and put it somewhere else, yo hips[ so ladies, lets thank the good lord that he gave us some hips that were made for walking... oh wait, the song is about boots that are made for walking... whatever].Buying a backpack gives you that giddy imaginative kiddo feeling again, because you can just imagine where you will put all of your belongings, and how organized you're going to be and and and it's like you're house shopping, but waaaaay less pressure[except on your back, more pressure on your back].(Sidenote, I noted in the book Wild, that she ruined her shoes while backpacking, and called REI and they shipped her a brand new pair of shoes. We inquired about this tidbit, and tis true! If you're a member [20 bucks fo life], you can return any used item that hasn't met your satisfaction up to a year. It used to be for life, which sounds legiter, but I won't be stingy. Super great customer service! You also get 10% of everything you spend back in the form of a check at the end of the year, say whaaaaa! They call it your dividend. Thoooo official.)Anywhos, once you've got a backpack, the real fun begins! You get to fill it with all the goodies! Thank gawsh I had hubs in my corner to help me prep for this trip, or else my pack would have likely been missing something [he's super...precise- love yew].Speaking of missing something, the tent! Holy kazoli. The equally mother of all expensive [again, I'm being dramatic here] is a lightweight backpacking tent. Unfortunately, you'll have to leave the 6 room dome tent behind, your pack and back will thank you later. Depending on the size of your party [single or dubs] will alter which size tent you should get. We went with a double so we could [kind of] snuggle next to each other, it was a post engagement trip after all! These tents typically come with all you'll need in case of a rain storm, and will open up nicely to give you a breeze, while keeping the skeeters out.The next most important thing i'd say would be a sleeping bag. Unfortunately, you don't get to bring your favorite Lisa Frank or Star Wars sleeping bags, leave those at home. You get to purchase your very own sarcophagus sleeping bag! Ew, that's gross. But literally, there is no wiggle room in these bad boys, and they will keep your tooters nice and warm in brrrriffic temps, which is mas importante' when you're considering that you are hiking up where the snow never melts. They are super adorbs, but don't allow for much snuggling aside from being able to fit two into a tent. I guess I'll let that slide since they'll keep me alive and warm [haauuuff]. These aren't that cheap, but they are cheaper than a backpack, so let's keep that in mind!Oh em gee, the boots! I almost forgot ze boots. I should probably move this section up, but this allows for more dramatic effect, so oh em gee!!!! DO NOT SKIMP HERE. I REPEAT. DO NOT SKIMP HERE. I skimped. I walked out on the fourth, final day of our trip with blisters the size of my fist. I walked through the pain of course, but I shouldn't have had to, had I only spent 20 more dollars! These shoes will get you through the highs and lows of your trip [ha, literally]. They will be your best friend, giving you relief when you take them off, and hopefully not making you hate yourself for buying them when you put them on. The shoes are the solace of the trip. They. will. get. you. to. the. end. Do not take this purchase lightly like me and my dumbo cheapskate [who came up with this compound word?] ways. When a company is known for cheapo things, don't get their boots. Gr.The most mind boggling thing that we had to purchase was a BearVault thingymajigger. Yah, you read that right. We bought this kinda last minute before the trip because we finally read the rules of the Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, and it's mandatory. Cool, bro. Cool. This thing costs more than it should, since it's just a really ginormously tough plastic piece of tupperware, but hey, we survived our trip so that's pretty nifty. If you aren't going somewhere that requires a bear proof container and also doesn't have a bear locker thingy at the campsite, you can just use rope [which should always be in your pack] and stuff your foods in a bag and throw it over a branch, keeping the string tied somewhere low. Hopefully no super genius bears [is this supposed to be bear? I swear it sounds like the plural of bear should be bear. Like moose. No? Jeff and I had a serious... discussion about this. Life changing really.] come wandering by and untie your brilliant hack. {Disclaimer, I am in no way a novice hiker, so please do not take anything I say as gold and run with it to your nearest multi day hike and then get injured or lure Smokey the Bear into your personal space because of my advice. I just word vomit. Come on meow}. Back to the bear proof container. They are huge, and take up [basically] the entire volume of your pack, so if you're not hiking with someone else, I wish you good luck [curtsy wave].I think that does it for the big stuff that is commentary worthy. Here is a list of items we stuffed into our packs. Keep an eye out for the mammoth post of our adventure. I have to find my journal [by journal i mean the printed out directions that I wrote memorable moments on the back of] from our trip. I highly recommend backpacking at least once in your life. Bucket list worthy, really. The Four Pass Loop trip was my favorite "vacation" to date. There's just something so accomplishing when you finish. Stay tuned, for that is only a taste of whats to come, gwahaha.

Backpackers Guide to Pack Packing

*** Only linking the items thet are still available that we used. I know my version of backpack and tentaroonie are no longer the same, so I'm not sure of the quality of the new version, therefore I shan't be linking you to those... Not that you'll be taking any of my advice... or even reading this... bueller...

At least I'm honest guyzzzz?!

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Boots- Def not linking you to those bad boys
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Headlamp- Important for your middle of the night potty breaks. Funny story on its way about this.
  • Mini flashlight
  • First aide kit- We made ours from scratch; bandaids, gauze, alchy wipes, all nestled in a ziploc
  • Life straw**** This is pretty important just in case you need to sip from a sketch body of water**** Last resortish
  • BearVault- If traveling to a park that mandates these
  • 2 refillable water jugs
  • Rain Jacket
  • Grub- We ate a granola mixture during the day, and Freeze Dried food at night. This combo is very light for weight purposes, and can be pretty tasty, especially after a long day of hiking
  • Camp stove
  • Water Pump- Important to pull water through this guy before it goes into your water jugs juuuuust in case a bear pooped up stream
  • Shovel for poop hole
  • Rope- you never know what you'll need it for
  • Knife- very handy, also just in case
  • Fire starter kit- Just in case you aren't a scout
  • Toilet paper- duh... i guess you could take your chances on poison ivy leaves
  • Chapsticky
  • Sunblock
  • Bug spray
  • CLOTHING- Remember, you're going to have to carry whatever you bring in, so pack lightly and smart... I brought a pair of hiking pants, exercise shorts, night night shorts, a couple shirts, two sports bras and undies

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