The Value of Confidence
As I wait impatiently for my fabric and line for my new MYOG hammock to arrive in the mail, I have been going over all of my gear lists again in preparation for making my Christmas list and again I found myself second guessing all of my gear. There are so many choices and different ideas out there sometimes it can feel like you’ll never settle on a system that works best for you.
Something I have discovered over the last few months is the value of day hike testing. Today’s example: Clothes. This has particularly been a sore spot for me over the last few years and I am constantly changing my mind as to what I want. Every method has its merits and it’s very hard to know what works for you without actually going out and trying some different setups. Well, recently it has finally become cold enough to test some hiking garb and I applied my new testing method on a recent day hike.
One of my all time favorite blog writers Erik the Black has posted a well detailed and informative post on his clothing system. It is from this that I drew some ideas on how to cut down on my biggest weight, my clothes: carried and worn. Instead of carrying heavy pants and shorts like most hikers tend to, he lets his base layer do most of the job of normal pants and just pull lightweight active shorts over that. If it gets too cold, he adds in wind pants which block out any biting cold and are really efficient at holding heat in. If it’s too hot, ditch the base layer and just go with shorts.
Well after some time of trying traditional backpacking pant options and not really liking any of them, I was looking for something different. This system seemed like a great one for me since I always was either too hot or too cold while hiking, but I started to second guess myself because I was worried that it would be too cold and that not having that thicker layer that normal pants add. What I was failing to consider was how hot I could get while hiking. This is the lesson that my day hike test reminded me of. This system actually works perfectly for me. Base layer clothing are remarkably good at holding in heat when you stop as well as letting heat out when on the move, making them ideal for cool to cold weather hiking. Wind pants are equally good at holding heat in and keeping cold out while weighing almost nothing.
My day hike reminded me of the value of confidence in my skills, my gear and my gear choices. Knowing that next time I load up my pack, I have brought exactly what I need will let me have a worry free and fun time instead of being concerned that I left a vital piece at home. In many ways confidence is the most important piece of gear an Ultra-lighter can take on any trip, and it doesn’t even weigh a thing!