Initial Cook System: Talenti Jar (California)
So while I took a stove on the Colorado Trail and hated everything it was about, 1700 miles stoveless – from Mexico to Ashland, Oregon – taught me some things. I think what it taught me the most is that refried beans and rice as your main meal for 1700 miles is a terrible idea. Also that when you’re cold, a warm meal is a magical thing. Mostly the first thing, though. I honestly think I could’ve made it through the entire trek stoveless had I just done some more preparation re: meals – I think that buy-as-you-go is not the way to go if you want to go stoveless. There just aren’t enough options out there right now.
Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket (Oregon, Washington)
The Pocket Rocket is still a solid, straightforward, lightweight canister stove. I am entirely too clumsy to be trusted with an alcohol stove, and I have no desire to have decimated forests on my conscience, so a positive shutoff is nice. My technique on the PCT changed from actually cooking in my pot (which takes too damn long) to just rehydrating things like mac and cheese in my pot or a ziploc. The versatility, after 1700 miles of beans and rice, was well worth the weight.
Pot: Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cookset (Oregon, Washington)
Big enough for all the water necessary for a thruhiker meal, with enough space to squeeze in water for coffee. I kept the lid, but took the pan handle off, and it’s great, and super light. I really just wish it came with a rubber band big enough to fit around the whole thing to keep it all together.
Spoon: Optimus Titanium Long Spoon
A long-handled spoon, so my grubby little hands don’t get into my food. Not that I don’t wash before meals, but to paraphrase Ian Malcom, dirt “uhhh… finds a way.”
Bandanna: PCT Class of 2016 Bandanna
I carried this for the feels, to be honest – I probably should have sent it home, but it’s cool for an item I’m gonna put on display to have traveled 2100 miles with me. It does have “Hiker to Town” on one edge and “Hiker to Trail” on the other, but this year’s colors were not conducive to reading those things from more than five feet away. I ended up writing on my Tyvek with dry erase markers to use when hitching. I would’ve used it as kind of a camp towel – and I did, on occasion – but it’s not very absorbent. Mostly, it kept my stove, gas canister, and lighter from rattling around inside my pot and driving me crazy, and when my rubber band broke, I tied it around the outside to keep everything together.
Food Bag: …? (SoCal), Ursak (NorCal, Washington)
I picked this up in Hong Kong when I was teaching there, because it was orange plaid with a topographical overlay and also only $10 US, which is impressive for Hong Kong. Its color cheered me up and it managed to hold the shitload of food I carried no problem. The holes I put in it on the Colorado Trail got bigger, but never ripped-ripped. I sent it home when I picked up my bear can in Kennedy Meadows.
At Sonora Pass, I sent home my bear can and borrowed Hammer’s food bag that she couldn’t use yet – she’s Canadian, and couldn’t mail her bear can home from Kennedy Meadows North (US Shipping Only). I got it back to her at South Lake Tahoe, where I picked up Spesh’s old Ursak and carried that all the way to Canada.
Kitchen Extras: Mini Bic Lighter, Rubber Band keeping all the in-pot items together (which broke Q-Q), trash Ziploc
The Big Three • Sleep System • Weatherproofing • Accoutrements
Bonus: Worn or Carried