Sometimes Little Things Make a Big Difference
A few weeks ago I got some of the smaller things I’ve been wanting to get before my JMT hike this fall and thought I’d do a little first look post about two of the things I’ve picked up!
The first thing I picked up was a couple of Aqua Clips. First thing I’d like to say about it is that despite rising shipping costs, they send out these $3 clips with no shipping added. I don’t know if they’ve figured that into the final $3 purchase price or not, but it was really nice to see my bill was only the $6 dollars that the list price said two would cost. I’ve been avoiding getting a few of the smaller things because of the shipping costs of getting $10 worth of stuff to my house can end up being $15 or more, so that was a nice surprise right off the bat. I wanted to try them because I’ve been thinking about my water system and how I might make it work better for me. When we started out, we used bladders, but I like to add a little bit of flavoring and electrolytes to my water to make it a bit more palatable and to make sure I am staying hydrated. These kinds of things just don’t do well in the bladder tubes so I started carrying bottles in the side pockets of my pack. I quickly discovered that this didn’t really work for me either because my arms are too short to bend back and get the water or put it back. I tried to attach the bottles to my shoulder straps, but that did not last long. I do not like feeling weight on my shoulders, so that definitely didn’t work. Then I found out about the Aqua Clip and I had an idea, a brilliantly perfect idea. I could use them to attach two .5 liter bottles to my hip belt and let all of that weight ride on my hips, but still have good access and not have to worry about my drink mixes clogging up a tube. I’ve been using these with two smaller Smart Water bottles and my Flash 18 on my training day hikes and so far I’m finally pleased with the water carrying method that I’m using. These little things got to me so fast, my head was almost spinning. I think I put the order in on a Friday night and they were at my door on Monday morning. The really impressive thing about that is I live in a rural area and you can pretty much guarantee an extra day of shipping than if it were a big city. When they got here, I was surprised to find there were three instead of the two and a letter explaining the third was a gift for posting about the clips on my blog’s Facebook page! Between the high level of customer service and the fact that these little clips solve a big problem for me, I have to say I am one happy camper.
The second thing I picked up was a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters. Here in the desert, I need breathable gaiters that still do a great job at keeping out dirt and debris from my socks and shoes and I was told that no one does a better job than Dirty Girl’s. I’ve got to say, they were right! I ordered the Spacin’ Out pattern because, aside from being bright, they look really cool and just like a picture of a nebula. I’m a total space nerd and love that these are not only functional but really show off my personality and passions. So far in my testing they have done a superb job at keeping my shoes dirt free. There have even been times where I can feel my feel kicking up loose dirt and it hits the back of my heels, but stays out of my shoes. The elastic bands at the top had me skeptical at first. From pictures, they look like they might squeeze your leg. When I got them on and realized that they didn’t feel tight at all, I was worried that they wouldn’t stay up. I was pleased to find that after my 6 mile day hike, not only were my legs still un-bothered by their presence, but they were right where they were when I started my hike. I’ve used them on several hikes now and they are still holding up to their reputation.
I’m really happy that it looks like I’ve solved two of my most frustrating hiking problems and I’m excited to see how they perform on my shakedown trip, but the real test will be in September… 🙂