Sunday, March 03, 2013

Patagonia: Trekking gear

There's already tons of sites that describe recommended gear so I'll keep mine short by not mentioning the obvious and instead emphasizing on key important items you should be sure to bring and why. Gortex shell jacket, I've read this before but its fun to say: "Patagonia will make a Pancho its bitch", the unpredictable rain may at times be accompanied by winds that can knock your ass to the floor. If you go in the summer you might be very surprised at the hot temperatures during the day. A Gortex shell is light and even if its warm you'll be good with it in case of sporadic nefarious winds. You'd also be surprised how warm a shell can keep you even in the cold. If you're into skiing or snowboarding you could also end up using it for that.

Here was a Patagonia surprise for me: My bubble jacket turned out to be too warm for much use in the summer at Patagonia. I think its better to bring layers and a Gortex shell: Dry Fit workout shirts for the warmer temperatures and and one or two Smart Wool layers. My only brainfuck was trailrunning -- if you're going to do trail running though keep in mind that even if its raining and that even if you'll feel like an indestructible god with your Gortex Shell the sweat you generate by running will surely get you soaked all over. If it rains I'd simply avoid running to try to stay dry. I haven't figured out a decent solution, let me know if you have any advice, as trail running in the rain is ten times more fun.

Good comfortable Gortex boots, hiking socks and sock liners. At times the path itself may consist of a tiny river, other times you'll have to hop around mud. I was advised to only bother with boots if I had broken them in well. I didn't have any so I had no other option but to get new ones and a few days to break them in. I think I got very very lucky, I ended up getting a cross between trekking boots and trail running shoes as I figured I'd want to dash through the mountains every now and then. I never got a single blister and I even ran with these fuckers in the rain! Since I liked them so much I'll mention the exact brand and model, the XA 3D Ultra 2 by Salomon.

Cliff Bars. I bought a box and it lasted for my entire trip. Its the only bar I know will end up getting squished, be exposed to heat, and are still eadible without making a fucking mess. Fortunately the water around Patagonia comes from glaciers and its recommended you drink it, ugh, so good... Bring a CamelBak. I just got the bag and put it into my Osprey Porter bag, it had a slit for one. If you're getting a bag, make sure yours has something similar. Be sure to drink all the water before sleeping or pouring it out. As much as the container seems to work well, a simple tilt and squeeze to the hose may mean a good patch of water to wake you up. I ended up taking the bag off at nights and ensuring its empty.

Protein. Oi vei. I'm vegetarian and although Refugios offer veggie food, in my opinion those options suck hairy fuckballs. Although I could have brought my own food, it meant packing more and that's the last thing you want to do. I ended up succumbing to meat during this trip. I find vegetarianism is a luxury certain cities and cultures can afford and practice. I've tried hard to stick to vegetarianism when traveling and at times I've felt I almost starved, Barcelona, I'm looking at you. Given my level of activity I had to make sure to get good nutrition. I wasn't going to starve in Patagonia.

Don't worry about bringing your own tent. There are places to rent these. Do bring your own pad as the ones provided suck, I used an inflatable one. My sleeping bag was 0 degree C rated, more than enough and in some places too warm.

Trekking poles. It was my first time trekking, didn't know of these fuckers would help much but I got a really good set. I personally ended up only seeing much benefit for them while climbing steep areas or descending. Other than that they got in the way. I wish for an easy access pocket for them, to let me take them out only when needed as if they were lightsabers. That'd be fucking useful and cool. Something that lets me take them out and store them without taking my big bag off of my bag.
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