Gear is such a personal thing. Girls don’t talk a lot about their gear between one another, mostly because it’s not a very girly thing to do. We’re happy to talk about what we saw on a hike, but we don’t want to say we’re tired or that something broke or that we’re not sure about something. This is largely because there’s always a guy nearby ready to say I TOLD YOU SO, or, ARE YOU STUPID or any other number of flattering things they like to assume are OK to say because you’re a girl.
Because of this, I choose my gear without talking to people. I read, a lot. I read every review on something I can find and I try and go see it in a shop, play with it, see if it’s really what I want, and then if it is I buy it. I don’t regret my choice; I know I’ve made the right choice, that’s why I made that choice. If you’re not sure, find someone you’re comfortable talking to and talk until you’re happy with your choice.
I’ve used all my gear. I like it. That’s why I’m putting it here. If you’ve used it and didn’t like it, good for you. It works for me. Maybe you used it wrong 😛
Pack: the ULA CIRCUIT
Packs are hard. Everyone has a different body, so everyone looks for something different. I’m a girl, so my primary concern is weight. After that, I hike solo, so I need it to be big enough to fit in everything I need to carry. I read a lot on packs, I went and stared at them in stores, I thought about what I needed. I tried them on, I hated them, I looked some more. I never found anything I liked.
Eventually I found my pack, and I took a risk on it, as I couldn’t try it out or see it in person. I went for it because of the number of favourable female reviews, despite the fact the guy who I responded with at the company was a bit of a douche.
I cannot recommend this pack highly enough. Everyone I meet asks about it, and I let them have a play around with it, and everyone goes away wanting one. You DO need to be able to keep your weight down in it, but that’s easy enough.
I use the ULA Equipment Circuit, here: http://www.ula-equipment.com/product_p/circuit.htm
This is why I couldn’t try it. It’s made in America. Apparently its very common in America, you see it everywhere, blah blah blah. I’ve never seen another one in Australia. This pack only weighs 1kg. You read that right; 1kg. You’re not going to beat that with any pack I’ve found in aus. It’s smaller than Australian packs too, and this annoys me until I realise I cannot physically carry more weight than I can shove into it, so it limits me in the ways I need to be limited. You can also buy pouches to give yourself more space, which I’ve done, and attach them to the hip strap and shoulder straps. I like to keep maps, my compass, music player, etc in these pockets. And snacks. Soooo many snacks.
Bottom line? I’m a girl. I’m a strong girl, but I’m still limited in what I can carry. I needed a light pack, and one that could be customised to my body. This was it. If you’re a girl, trust me, THIS IS IT.
Tent: Sea to Summit Specialist DUO
Check it out here: http://www.wildearth.com.au/buy/sea-to-summit-specialist-duo-ultralight-hiking-ten/aspecDUO
I love Wild Earth, they are my favourite Australian based hiking store. They have great sales, fantastic service and are very, very fast.
I love this tent. Seriously, I just love and adore this tent. The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it’s single layer, so if it’s pouring rain you’re going to get wet. I have a second 4-season tent as a result, but this tent is by far my favourite. Because it’s smaller than my drinkbottle, and lighter too. Again, I’m a girl, my primary concern is weight and size. I need it to fit in my little pack, and I need to keep my gear light. Period.
Sleeping Mat: Thermorest NeoAir Ultralight Regular
This mat is great. It takes a couple of mins to blow up, doesn’t lose a lot of air overnight and only needs a puff or two to reinflate if it does, comes with a small repair kit just in case, and rolls into a case about the size of a small handbag umbrella. It’s super light, and super small, those two things I look for in all my equipment. And its super comfy. Bonus.
Sleeping Bag: Uh…
Honestly, I steal my partner’s winter graded military bag from when he was in the army. HAHHAHAAA. It’s warm, but it tapers at the end like all winter bags and I hate that. Usually I end up using my sleeping liner as my bag and just use the bag for a blanket. It has to be seriously cold for me to use the bag like a bag, I’m a hot sleeper.
Cooking Kit: 360degrees Furno stove and pot set
I don’t give my stove much thought. I love the tiny size of this, and hiking solo the pots are just the right size for me to make a meal and a hot cup of tea without any hassle. It wouldn’t be big enough for a family or anything, but it’s not for that. It all packs away neatly inside itself and I can usually shove a cleaning cloth and matches and what not in there as well. Again, it’s small and light. Just what a girl needs.
Boots: Asolo – Power Matic 400 GV Womens
Boots are one of those personal things like your pack. I had no experience with boots, but I really like these. I find my foot hurts in an odd spot, and I do get blisters, but usually from sweaty socks, and my feet hurt in strange places in normal runners so I suspect I’ve just got odd feet. But for the most part, these boots are amazing. They help me go from point A to point B. Can’t complain about that! They’re a little heavier than most girls like, but I like stomping and making noise to scare off snakes. Sure, I’m not going to be the next Elvish princess, probably more of a dwarf if we’re being honest, but I’m OK with that.
Clothes: Who cares?
Clothes are hilarious to me on the track. It doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as it’s comfortable and functional. People seem to forget that a lot. I wear tights. I love Lorna Jane tights; they’re warm, highly functional, quick drying and look great. I wear loose tshirts, usually cotton because I have horribly itchy skin and again my issue is comfort. As a result, I always have some thermals in a dry bag to sleep in. I also always have a down jacket in a dry bag, and several pairs of thick socks, and clean underwear. That’s it. You don’t need a change of clothes every day; you’re going to stink no matter what, get over it. Keep your bag light, wash at streams. I always take a pack of clean wipes, and wash off with those. It helps a lot.
First Aid Kit
I take a full kit, mostly because I’m paranoid and like to be prepared. The bare essentials that I cannot live without are some blister packs, bandaids, tape, scissors and a snake bandage or three. The rest is bonus, but I like to have it anyway. I also take sunscreen, insect repellent and deodorant. Seriously, these things are different for everyone. Take only what you can’t live without. And prevention is the best first aid kit. Be smart, and you’ll be ok. Be stupid, expect to use the kit.