Monday, February 28, 2011

Internal Battle Over Electronics

My inner geek has been struggling with my inner curmudgeon over my desire to carry electronic devices during our Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I thought it would be nice to have some ability to take pictures, send email, update blogs, read ebooks, refer to scanned pdf files, upload pics, listen to music, find my way when lost, and find the occasional geocache ... Humping a separate camera, GPS, iPod, smartphone, and all the batteries and chargers seemed like a lot of weight, and a smartphone could do it all, if not as well as the stand-alone devices.

I'm a photographer, and I can not imagine settling for any camera in a smart phone. My Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 is an excellent, if not eggsactly an ultra-lightweight camera, with a great wide-range lens. If I didn't already have it, I'd get their DMC-LX5 which is a few ozs lighter and allows RAW capture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Outfitting for the AT - Rain Gear

To stay dry, warm and safe while keeping pack weight down, I looked for rain gear that will serve both in the rain, and on cold, windy days. To me, that means light, waterproof, breathable and comfortable enough to wear as a wind shell. Conventional wisdom is that one has to shell out something north of 200 clams to get into a well-constructed Gore Tex or eVent jacket. However, new, even more breathable fabrics are coming out, and those "old school" jackets made with Gore PacLite and even eVent are available at big discounts.

We found a 13.5 oz women's REI Kimtah in eVent at REI marked down from 229 to 159. They didn't have a comparable men's version, so I turned to the intertubes. There I found an 8oz Marmot Nano in Gore PacLite at, marked down from 250 to 163.

We both found relatively inexpensive / somewhat breathable rain pants we'll carry during shoulder seasons.

'Course, new jackets will replace them in their former price points. Will I wish I had the new, state-of-the-art stuff? Sure, but I'll live with the "old" state-of-the-art stuff at 30-40% off ... That's a lotta pizza money!

"Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass,  it's about learning to dance in the rain."
- Vivian Green