I Am My Gear
How often have you heard phrases that start with, “there are two types of people in this world,” and felt that whatever assertion followed could not be further from the truth? Well, I am here to tell you that there are two types of people in this world. One who obsessively prepares far in advance, and the other who waits and takes what comes to them in a given moment. I am, by far, the former. My intention is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), southbound, starting in June of 2023. I have been preparing for this specific event in one way or another since around the Spring of 2020. Preparing for the AT has set me on a course of purchasing globs of equipment (wasting some money in the process), trying to get out in the world to test said equipment, physically pushing myself while hiking, and saving as much money as I can. I am writing this in September of 2022, so there are still eight months between now and making my way up to Maine. That means I have eight more months to question my physical and mental readiness and obsess over my gear choices.
Speaking of gear choices, that’s what I’m going to begin this trek with. I strongly considered writing an introduction for myself and explaining why I intend to complete this hike for my first post here. While I have many reasons why I believe I’m doing it, I ultimately feel that the clarity of what is driving me will rear its hopefully not-so-ugly head while out there. Besides, I tend to believe that your choice of gear says a lot about your mental state going into a thru-hike (not that I’ve ever done one). The items you choose to bring, whether necessary or for comfort, could express a sense of self-confidence, fear, or perhaps expectations of what lies ahead.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.