Today was a glorious zero in Dubois! I was treated to a nice KING suite at a hotel by blog followers Corinna and Glenn. They picked the room specially for the oversized comfy chair I’d have to do my zero day blogging and chores. It was really wonderful and SO KIND of Corinna and Glenn! THANK YOU! 

I got my most recent resupply and want to thank Katy and Chad for the Mountain House and DORITOS, Frank for the Mountain House and Odwalla Bars, Edie and George for the Reeses, and Mule for the Odwalla Bars. So great to have everyone’s support!

I also got an extra special package from my aunt Linda….she found a bakery that makes Quarter Pounder Brownies and they were AWESOME!!! THANK YOU LINDA!!!

As with every zero, I feel very overwhelmed with all there is to do in such a short amount of time and it is almost 9pm now…I’m trying not to have a melt down with all there is to do and that won’t get done on this zero…I just keep telling myself that the important stuff is done and to breathe and let it go…one thing I wanted to do is that many people have been asking me to do a gear review and technology overview of how I do my blogging and keep things charged…well, this will be brief, but it’s the best I can do for now with little time. I’ll do a full gear review after the hike and my current gear list tab has all my details.

I’ll go over my main gear. My pack is the Gossamer Gear Mariposa Pack and it’s working great for me! I like all the pockets and the pack is the first one I’ve had that doesn’t hurt my shoulders or feel heavy when I leave with a full pack on a leg. The key though, is that I’ve lightened all my gear so that there isn’t too much weight in the pack. I say 25lbs is a good solid weight for that pack and probably not more than 30lbs. I also have to say that everyone’s body is different and everyone needs what works for their body and pack weight.

My sleeping bag is the ZPacks 10 degree bag and I LOVE it!!! It is sooo warm and light. It doesn’t have a hood and I worried about that, but I’ve found that I don’t need the hood. I use the hood on my down jacket on cold nights and also have my beanie and buff for extra warmth if needed. Also, I’m short enough to still cinch the bag around my head if needed. Just LOVE IT!!!!

My tent is one of those love/hate relationships. I am not a fan of how drafty it is, but many people enjoy that in a tent. It is intended to be meshy and let the air flow through. The pro of that is that it doesn’t get a lot of condensation. I have found that I’ve adjusted and that it’s growing on me. I am able to put my pack up by my head and block the draft on my face. Lately, I’ve had rain and thunderstorms and the tent has been SOLID! I give it props for that and it does matter how I set it up. There is a way to lower the pole on those rainy nights to make the mesh lower to the ground. I have never had a problem getting wet and it has been super sturdy in hail and high winds…but I have to say that set up is very key in this! I recommend this tent for the CDT and I think the weight saved on it is worth the draft and more technical setup.

For my water filter, I use the Sawyer Squeeze and it is also a love/hate product. The bags SUCK and they will break, so I recommend either Platypus bags or Evernew bladders, which you can find at Gossamer Gear. No bags will probably make it through a whole hike though. I found the Sawyer Squeeze to be frustrating when it is clogged and just dribbling out, but it can be backflushed in the field…I just recently found out that it wasn’t clogged, it was just that I was using a 2 liter bag to squeeze it through and a 1 liter bag pushed it through faster…ugh! Only took me about 1,600mi to figure that one out! I have lately been spoiled by grabbing water without filtering or treating. I also carry bleach so if I’m in a hurry and just want to grab and go, I put in two drops of bleach for every liter. Seriously, it can save a ton of time not to filter and I get annoyed with filtering when I could be making miles….but for most people, the Sawyer will be just fine for recreational backpacking…and it’s still the best option for having a small light filter on a thru hike.

As for my technology, I use an iPhone with Verizon…Verizon is KEY! It doesn’t get service everywhere, but it is still the best service you’ll get. In towns on the CDT, I use wifi as much as possible, but the wifi has been slow and not great. Sometimes, my Verizon service is even better than the wifi. I use a Sansa Clip for my music and it is great. Easy for loading audiobooks, has a slot for a mini sd cards, and gets the radio. I charge everything with the most awesome solar charger for the CDT. Since the CDT gets a lot of sun and is rarely in the trees, I use the Suntactics sCharger-5. I DO NOT recommend this unless you will be in the sun. It is like plugging things into the wall socket. I can put it on the hood of my pack and it charges things easily and quickly. It takes more to charge an iPhone, so only plug in the iPhone in full sunlight as it will actually drain the battery in broken bursts of light or overcast. I bounce my laptop to myself every 2-3 weeks and that is really helpful for getting things done. Pricey, but worth it.

Okay, that’s all I have for now. I’ll do a detailed gear review after the hike. Off to do a zillion more things on that never ending list!

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