I upped my training pack weight to forty pounds, the maximum recommended weight for my ULA Catalyst, and I’ll do my practice hikes at that weight level until I leave. Unfortunately, where I live is flat, so the best I can do is carry more weight than I will every carry and go faster than I’ll ever hike to simulate going up hills.
At forty pounds, my pack did become quite uncomfortable, especially my shoulders, so I went to the ULA website and watched the fitting video again. At the maximum weight capacity, making sure the pack is properly fitted is critical. Every strap is important.
So, my normal nine mile hike consisted of me adjusting all the different straps seeing what felt best. I have a tendency to tighten the straps too tight.
Normally, I will leave a resupply point with twenty-eight pounds. That is roughly 15 pounds of base weight, two liters of water (five pounds), a fuel canister (1 pound) and four days of food (8 pounds). There are two areas where I will need to carry near the maximum capacity of my pack.
One area will be the 43 mile no water stretch. The good news is that most of what I will be carrying is water, and the weight will go down rather quickly. I will loose 2.5 pounds per five miles or so.
The second area is the stretch of passes in the Sierra Mountains. There water isn’t the problem. It is food. The PCTA recommends a one pass per day strategy. Depending on how you look at it, that means I will leave with 8 days of food, plus a bear canister, micro-spikes and some warmer clothes. I often wonder how my sisters and brothers will handle these sections with their light-weight gear. Eight days of food is 16 pounds.
That is a worry for another day. By then, I will be so much stronger. I will have plenty of time talking with others to figure out what I’m going to do when I get there.
Train, train, train. Wait, wait, wait.