|Pushed my nephew in this sweet off road stroller.|
I have been going to the Red River, New Mexico area to hike for close to 20 years. My grandparents took my parents, and my parents took my siblings and I. We have hiked a lot of trails in that time! However, I had never camped out over night. This year, my wife and I were going to hike to Lost Lake, make camp and spend the day at the lake just relaxing. The following morning we would summit Wheeler Peak, come back to Lost Lake, break camp and then be on our way back by late afternoon. I wanted to use this opportunity to work on skills that I do not normally get to put into practice, such as making a fire, setting up camp, loading my pack correctly, reading the topo map and compass settings, etc.
Well, unfortunately, that did not happen. We only had 3 full days total and there was Larry Joe Taylor's Cool Mountain Nights, Hot Chili Days events that we were going to try and attend as well. We simply bit off more than we could chew. We only were able to do one all morning hike up the Old Pass Trail to the signage noting the elevation at 9854 ft. I decided to still back pack with the same load that I would have carried to Lost Lake to get a feel for it. Prior, I had only hiked Kansas terrain with it. Not exactly the same as the mountains!
I have to say that I am glad I did this "test run" with the pack in mountainous terrain. The first thing I noticed was that my pace was definitely slower! I was not used to carrying the extra equipment for an over night stay. Not that it was incredibly heavy, but it did make a difference. I believe my pack weighed about 30 pounds. I also noticed that my ITB band was starting to act up like it did last time I hiked Wheeler. I need to start stretching more and foam rolling. My endurance and strength were good otherwise.
I was validated in my pack choice, the Kelty Redwing 50. This pack is so comfortable for the amount of weight you can haul. I had never had a pack with load lifters or a really good waist belt and those two features alone made a world of difference. With the belt, my hips actually felt like they were helping support the weight. The load lifters on the top of the shoulder straps helped get the pack off my shoulders a bit and definitely left them less fatigued. I had read a lot of reviews that praised this pack and I can now see why.
So, I suppose the takeaway from this post for you, Dear Reader, is to give your gear a test spin before embarking on a grander adventure. You may save yourself some headache or bodyache and you will be able to revise your selection accordingly.
Do you have any anecdotes or lessons learned from gear that did not quite live up to what you expected? What about skills that you may not have anticipated needing to know on your trip? Any pointers that you would like to share with other readers or myself?