May 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm #1273617
Companion forum thread to:May 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm #1735131
Another very enjoyable account of your journey. I have a Mountainsmith Ghost myself and am wondering which size or sizes of the Gossamer Gear hip belt pockets you added to your Ghost? Were these the largest that would fit? Thanks, JohnMay 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm #1735261
@elf773Locale: Vancouver, BC
Great articles. You guys are doing a valuable service, a big thanks.
Your travels are right up my alley insofar as what "I'd like to do" in the near future. It's a bonus that I inadvertently have some of the same gear you guys are using: Tarptent DB, Golite Jam 2, REI adventure pants Montbell Pillow and have the same concerns about versatile clothes.
So have you ditched the inflatable pad and gone with just a CCF pad?
I like the REI Adventure Pants (they look good) but did you find them a little too thick for summer hiking (fading and lint are problematic too)?
I'm thinking/looking for zip off pants that fit the bill but not much success. The new Mountain Hardwear Mesa convertibles (w/its canyon cloth) are close, maybe Prana, but may have to admit that zip-offs don't look that good ever.
Your Panasonic DMC-TS1 takes great photos. So it has an excellent battery life? Does it have a built in panoramic feature? I have the Pentax waterproof version but I think the photo quality on the Panasonic is better and it has a much better battery life.
I was looking at a High Gear Altimeter watch as well, solely for its ability to be a navigational aide. Looks like you've confirmed it's something that I "need".
How do you deal with shoe stink, especially after a downpour and then getting onto public transportation? I was only gone 2 weeks and broke down and bought shoe powder in Chile. Or maybe it's just a personal problem.
Keep up the good work.May 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm #1735466
Danny and Kristen thanks for the excellent articles. A lot of us will never have the opportunity or will power to do what you did, so it is gratifying to read about your trials and tribulations. That is quite an achievement. I'm sure you will count your blessings and cherish the memories of your trip. Wow, 104 degrees and 100% humidity. It sometimes gets up to 104 where I live, and more, but not with 100% humidity. That's gnarly.May 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm #1735484
I can't thank you enough for the opportunity you've given to our trip planning. The gear lists, gear tests, the notes and trail maps are an unexpected boon and has taken a huge research anxiety load of our backs. Shy of everything North of Ecuador (and a slightly different time of year) we are traveling along the same highways and, now, the same treks.
Thanks again. Bless you both on your journey.
OK, onto the gear and logistics:
– I didn't notice any rain shell pants. I was thinking of some Dryducks for backup, but maybe the bush will shred those.
– You guys share the same eating patterns and expectations as we do to eat fresh and healthy AND cut costs. But what about some of the backpacking dry/dehydrated goods?
– I'm bringing a modified Shangri-La 3 with a floor and netting. I'll probably get dusted out, and have single-wall mist, but I'm worried about the high profile in high winds. Then again, that's just a small portion of the Year, so it's really going anyway.
To replace my Jam2 for more load support, I pickup a Nimbus Meridian with the front zipper (not quite the full panel of the Ghost) and I'm really glad for it. We also have different clothing and gear needs toward the WWOOF'ing work, so there's a few extras and heavier items (work gloves, work pants, etc) and I'll be grateful for the heavier structure for the heavier load. Plus there's some different ideals and sensibilities: her lbs of tumeric and herbs and my… well, I just like my Pendelton at night and my Blunnies for ranch work.
oh yeah, how did you get to Machu Picchu?May 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm #1735508
Hi John – I have the size small GG hipbelt pockets and they are plenty big! I could fit 5-6 clif bars in each pocket. The larger size pockets would also fit, but I don't see the need for that extra capacity. The straps on the Ghost align really nicely to give a very secure fit for the hipbelt pockets too. I can't say other brand pockets would have fit as well.May 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm #1735517
Hi Scott – thanks for the comments and questions. Hopefully my answers are helpful. I'm sure some other readers can chime in with their own advice.
>>Great articles. You guys are doing a valuable service, a big thanks.
We are just happy that BPL has given us this opportunity to write about our adventures. It is very heartening to see how well the BPL community has received the articles.
>>Your travels are right up my alley insofar as what "I'd like to do" in the near future. It's a bonus that I inadvertently have some of the same gear you guys are using: Tarptent DB, Golite Jam 2, REI adventure pants Montbell Pillow and have the same concerns about versatile clothes.
>>So have you ditched the inflatable pad and gone with just a CCF pad?
A foam pad is great for simplicity, cost, weight, and durability. We weren't so concerned about comfort as much as size, and that's why we went with the inflatable pads. Our mistake was not in the pads, but rather in not having a good ground protection. If we were to do this over again, I think we'd still bring the same pads, but have a tyvec (not sil-nylon) ground cloth. We made this change for the second half of our journey (to be published in BPL very soon), and have been very happy with our decision.
>>I like the REI Adventure Pants (they look good) but did you find them a little too thick for summer hiking (fading and lint are problematic too)?
I liked the hidden pockets on the REI Adventure Pants. However, they are too baggy for me, and too thick, as you pointed out. I have since switched to a pair of lighter Patagonia pants (don't know the name off-hand), which I am extremely happy with as the fit is great, they are quicker to dry, and they weigh less. If you plan on wearing one pair of pants every day for months (or years!) on end, then make sure you love them.
>>I'm thinking/looking for zip off pants that fit the bill but not much success. The new Mountain Hardwear Mesa convertibles (w/its canyon cloth) are close, maybe Prana, but may have to admit that zip-offs don't look that good ever.
Agreed. I have drifted away from the utilitarian zip off pants for traveling, to the thin pair of synthetic "slacks" and a pair of running shorts. The pants are light enough for hiking and look normal in urban environments. The shorts are also good for hiking, running (of course) and swimming.
>>Your Panasonic DMC-TS1 takes great photos. So it has an excellent battery life? Does it have a built in panoramic feature? I have the Pentax waterproof version but I think the photo quality on the Panasonic is better and it has a much better battery life.
The TS1 has a very long battery life. I regularly take 500+ shots on one battery. I bought a second battery, which has proved useful but isn't usually necessary. Panasonic has since come out with a second generation version, and maybe even a third.
>>I was looking at a High Gear Altimeter watch as well, solely for its ability to be a navigational aide. Looks like you've confirmed it's something that I "need".
The watch won't be so necessary in flat places like Uruguay and Brazil, but when you get to hiking between 3000-5000 meters in elevation, it is an extremely useful tool! I find that my watch works just as well as the 2-3x pricier Suunto ones.
>>How do you deal with shoe stink, especially after a downpour and then getting onto public transportation? I was only gone 2 weeks and broke down and bought shoe powder in Chile. Or maybe it's just a personal problem.
No, I had issues too. I wasn't always able to keep it at bay. But, I have found a few things that help. I wore highly breathable trail runners. I had very thin, synthetic and wool cycling socks that I washed every night. When hiking, I took off my socks and shoes at lunch to let them air out and dry out. I wore flip flops or crocs as often as possible when not hiking. At times, I also used an anti-fungal cream twice a day.
Keep up the good work.May 11, 2011 at 4:01 pm #1735518
Hi John – Thanks for the wonderful note. When I look back at some of the difficult, uncomfortable, and plain ugly situations that we've been in, I think we'll enjoy this trip more when it is in the past (if that makes sense). We're extremely appreciative of all of the help that we've received, and everything that we have learned, along the way. It's been a looooon trip. And it's not done yet!May 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm #1735529
Thanks for the note.
Unless your plans are already set, I would highly recommend Colombia. Certainly there are precautions to be taken there, but it is a beautiful country with very warm, welcoming people. And it is safer than it has been in decades. Some might even say it's safer than Ecuador.
No rain shell pants. We haven't felt the need for them. Our legs generally stayed warm enough. For the weight, I would consider bringing a 3oz pair of wind pants w/ DWR.
For food, we didn't bring any of the freeze dried packaged meals. We were able to find enough backpacking-appropriate ingredients in the super markets. We didn't have the variety that we're used to in the US, but it was sufficient. For instance, we would often make a dinner w/ 250g of whole wheat pasta, a handful of walnut or almonds, a packet of dry pesto sauce, a little butter, and maybe a vegetable (spinach, broccoli, etc). Healthy snacks were difficult to find. If we had friends visit us, we made sure that they brought some Clif Builder Bars, which have 20g of protein (important for us vegetarians!). Nowadays, we are more likely to make our own (vegan) snacks.
Shanri-La 3 should be great for most places. If you set up your tent well, the wind shouldn't cause any structural problems. Southern Patagonia has crazy winds, and like you said, will likely blow dust into your tent. That happened to us often enough with our Double Rainbow. It was annoying, but not dangerous.
Sounds like the Meridian will work well for you. Still simple and light, but a little larger and more comfortable with a heavier load.
And Machu Picchu. Of all the places to backpack in South America, this could be one of the most beautiful and historically fascinating. But, it's the most regulated and expensive place on the continent. You need a guide to hike any sections of the Inca Trail, and that'll put you back $350+ per person for a two day trek and one day at Machu Picchu. There are alternative routes that are slightly cheaper and less crowded, if you so desire.
However, no other option was attractive to us, so we did the standard independent single-day tour of taking the bus from Cusco to where to catch the train to Machu Picchu. It was still super expensive for the train and park entrance. You have to buy your train tickets well in advance to get convenient train times. We didn't, so our train and bus setup returned us to Cusco at 2am. If you can't get their early for sunrise, then seriously consider staying till about 4pm, when all of the other tourists leave the park. The place becomes empty, except for the alpacas which are let back in to graze.
Hope this info helps! We're happy to answer other questions as you plan your trip. Good luck!!May 12, 2011 at 1:35 am #1735683
May I ask, is the list of cloths complete? Is this really ALL you carried? Or is it just the "backpacking-related" clothing you carried?
I get the idea that the concept you went for is to have 1 day that you are wearing and a backup of underwear/cloths for 2 days… so you'd have to wash every 3rd day…. how well did that work out? How well did all that wool dry in the tropics/high humidity?
ClaudioMay 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm #1736603
Yes, this list is everything that we had. We usually left several items at a hostel when we went backpacking in the wilderness.
The only items we had multiples of were underwear and socks. Other than that, we wore the same clothing every day.
Our wool clothing was thin enough that it dried relatively quickly. Not as fast as synthetics for sure, so that's why we tried to mix it up with some synthetics and some wool.May 16, 2011 at 7:31 am #1737118
Inspiring stuff Danny and Kristin…
You have made a few comments/positives and negatives re the double rainbow. I'm considering a South America trip and wondering if you think there are better options re tent that may be available? Look forward to following your great reflective journey..
ThanksMay 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm #1737387
Thanks for the note. Overall, we were really happy with the Double Rainbow. It was the best all-conditions tent, but not necessarily the best tent for every single condition. It was roomy enough to live in, breathable enough for the most humid weather, and weather proof enough for almost everything we faced. It doesn't do as well in strong wind, so if you plan to spend a lot of time in Patagonia, you could consider going with something else (sorry, can't make any recommendations here).
Bring lots of guyline to pitch it securely, and learn to use your trekking poles to add support to the apex. We should have seam-sealed it from the get go. And wash the tent occasionally. Our zippers got jammed, and by the time we hit Siberia, we had several problems closing the zippers on the vestibules and doors. You can read about some of our mishaps in our next article . . .
Where are you going in South America? For how long? Post your ideas up here. We'd be happy to advise, as would several other BPL members who have a great collective experience base.Jun 17, 2011 at 6:42 am #1750301
Not sure when yet.. or where exactly… or for how long! Have to work out leave from work etc and also hoping to visit the States and Canada too while I'm in that part of the world. Will post up when I have more details in the future.
Thanks again mate
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