This is a preview of a member exclusive premium article.

Conception to my first trail day took three weeks. I had spent a lot of time over the summer whittling away at my kit, which had been as high as thirty-five to forty pounds at the beginning of the year. However, I still needed to shed the weight of my two-person backpacking tent used on previous hikes with my wife and our two dogs. This solo trip wouldn't require enclosed shelter for dogs that weren't coming along. I had already decided that a tarp and bivy were my best bets, but retail options for a lightweight combination were over my budget. Access to a sewing machine and a wealth of knowledge on the Backpacking Light forums encouraged me to construct my own bivy and tarp. The money saved on a homemade tarp and bivy afforded me the opportunity to purchase a featherweight cat-can-style alcohol stove, a solo titanium pot, a windshirt, and a pair of BPL Stix, all lightly used and far below retail price. My pack was getting lighter and yet my wallet wasn't! Continuing my theme of budget hiking, I elected to buy trail mix and bars at a popular wholesale club and construct dinners out of health food store bulk bin items. This was cheaper than freeze-dried dinners and eliminated bulky packaging. I afforded myself one cooked dinner and a hot cup of tea for breakfast each day. The rest of my sustenance would come from trail mix, snack mix, and bars. I elected one flavor of trail mix and one flavor of snack mix, though I learned that seven days of the same mix pushed my tolerances a bit.


  • Thread and Thrift
  • A Plan Emerges
  • Day 1: The Honeymoon
  • Day 2: Hiding Out
  • Day 3: Against the Current
  • Sharing With the River
  • Day 4: Trail Blues
  • Bad Gets Worse
  • Day 5: Food and Shelter
  • Sunset
  • Day 6: Going Away Party
  • Day 7: A New Day
  • Up is Down
  • Reflection

# WORDS: 7310

--- End of free preview ---
Member Exclusive

A Premium or Unlimited Membership* is required to view the rest of this article.


* A Basic Membership is required to view Member Q&A events