Nearly four months and over one thousand kilometers on the trail, we can tell you the good (our packs), the bad (Steripen), and the ugly (Sarah's t-shirt) with regard to our gear. We could write a short book on the pros, cons, modifications, and I-wish-it-could-do-this-ideas for our gear. For now, we'll stick to what we've left behind, added along the way, what's wearing out the fastest, and a few of our favorite items. For more detail (you gearheads), check out the redlined gear lists on our edited gear page.
- Steripen - We got a lemon. We tried every trick in the book and whispered sweet nothings to it but it never was reliable.
- Mate cup and bombilla - We still like mate but don't heat up water for it on the trail
- Shelley's knee brace - Didn't end up wearing it
- Sarah's Samsung Galaxy Tablet - Battery life is too short, replaced with a Kindle
- Trinity's trekking pole - Didn't use it enough
- Tent floor (temporarily during drier climate)
- Puffy pants (temporarily during warm weather)
- Fleece vest (temporarily during warm weather)
Added Along The Way
- Aqua Mira Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment (in lieu of Steripen)
- Razor - um yea, couldn't do without... I hope this doesn't mean we aren't true lightweight backpackers
- Lotion - the river bathing and heat has dried us out, also helps Sarah's eczema
- Q-tips - dust storms
- Deodorant - how else would we make friends?
- Nearly five dogs and three cats
What has worn out the fastest?
- Socks - Friction holes and a freak Sarah-related fire on the hostel's heater, we have each already gone through several pairs
- Shoes - General wear and tear, a dog stole one of Trinity's, Shelley lost a tread
- Gaiter stirrups - Wear out mad fast! We always carry extra cordage!
- Sarah's stuff - Enough said
- Beanies - Shrinkage in wash, all three of us are in the market for new ones
- T-shirts - General wear and tear
- Longsleeve shirts - General wear and tear
- Trinity's fleece pants have multiple holes in the bum and seem to grow new ones daily (stitched with bright green thread... pix to come soon)
- Tent - We constantly repair the tent to keep small repair jobs from being big ones. From pin-sized holes to loose stitching, we use sil-net seam grip like kindergartners with finger paint. Two nights ago the zipper broke (thank goodness it didn't rain) so the tent is in repair here in San Martin de Los Andes - does this mean we're homeless? Let's hope he does a good job...
- Blister Band Aids - Blister dressings (of all kinds) are very difficult to come by down here. We've only had success resupplying at the NOLS Patagonia headquarters (which is supplied via the USA) and most recently through Lee White (Trinity's old boss vacationing in the area).
- Codeine - Miracle drug for easing the pain of stomach sickness
Tres Chicas' Favs:
- Backpack + Sleeping Pad Combo (Gossamer Gear Ultralight Mariposa Pack and Therm-A-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite Sleeping Pad) - This is the cornerstone of our lightweight system - we can't imagine having a traditional backpack at this point. We pull out the easy-access sleeping pad every stop to use as a sit pad which feels luxurious.
- Popcan stove - It's cheap and easy for us to find rubbing alcohol (which we use as fuel) at drugstores.
- Titanium cup - Cleans easily, no residual flavors from previous meals, durable, and we can put directly on a gaucho's (cowboy) wood-fired stove to warm mint tea.
- Kindle - Our Kindles are lightweight, have a battery life of 30-40 hours, and carry more than just books: Lonely Planet South America Travel Guide, Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills, Medicine for Mountaineering, NOLS Cookery, games (Sudoku, crosswords), pdf or jpeg maps provided by Peter. A huge perk is that Trinity's 3G version taps into South America's 3G network FOR FREE (no SIM card purchase necessary) around towns which allows her to check email. Sarah and Shelley can browse the internet via WiFi at cafes. Are you sold??
|Demonstrating the popcan stove to guide friends in El Chalten|
|Our sole pot and lid (with strainer in the lid) cooking over our popcan stove|
|Sarah and Trinity reading. Sarah on her tablet (sent back in exchange for a Kindle) and Trinity on her Kindle.|
|Pebble removal from where Shelley lost a tread. See the pebble in Shelley's hand?|
|Can opener/ wine opener support broke off of our multi-tool. We think it's from excessive wine bottle opening.|
|Thanks Nate for a steller stitch job on Sarah's backpack!|
|Trinity's mesh repair on bottom of pack - hole likely from pokey bushes and bushwhacking.|
|Sarah patched a hole when her strap security tore off.|
|Stuff gets dirty! This is one of our "Shelley" bags post dust storm (sewn by Shelley with fabric purchased from www.rayjardine.com)|
|This picture of Sarah's shirt was taken two months prior to its retirement...|
|Sarah's very dirty and holey shirt|
|Trinity putting shoes and socks back on after a glacial river crossing in wet snow|
|Sarah's new shoe vs. old shoe|
|Titanium cups on wood-burning stove at Don Rial's house three days via horseback from any town. Sarah is also rocking her puffy pants.|
|Shelley and Trinity tucked into bug headnets and sleeping bags.|
|Sarah's clothing drying outside her pack.|
|Big pack vs.little pack, as compared to a backpacker in Torres del Paine|
|Our home. Trinity marking our location on the GPS.|
|Setting up the tent. We stake it out first and then insert Sarah's trekking poles (using Black Diamond's trekking pole-to-tent pole converter to make it taller) to stand it up.|
|Micro holes in the tent repaired with McNett Silnet|
|Trinity marking a 2,000 year-old alerce tree grove with our Garmin GPS|
|Shelley crossing a river with gaiters as added splash protection|
|Dirty, smelly gear|
|And, on laundry day, we can clean up pretty well in our dresses|