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I’m a Porsche with No Brakes

Working Out the Kinks

My work has been closed for a two-week holiday break. Mandatory vacation for me and I am certainly not complaining! Spent Christmas in bed and the first week of my vacation super sick.  Took a Covid test five times to be sure, but it was just a nasty flu.  Been a while since I have had my ass kicked by a virus, and kick my ass it did! Just about fully mended now and taking full advantage of my days off by testing out my gear and messing around with my packing skills!

Bear Canister or Bag?

First problem solved.  I struggled with deciding to take a bear canister for my food or use a bag hang system. A bear canister is made out of a very hard smell-proof plastic (almost bear-proof), and a bear food bag can come in a variety of types and qualities (from smell and tear-resistant to a regular drybag) but will need to be hung from a tree or designed system at campsites.  I do not have any experience with either and decided to take the option recommended by the ATC, a bear canister.  To be honest, I have been regretting my decision up until a couple days ago.

First of all, I was unable to purchase the one that I wanted in Europe (Bearvault500), so had a friend mail me one from the US but still got taxed in customs.  So I paid about triple what the Bearvalt is worth (which was not inexpensive to start with). So now I have this very expensive awkward plastic vault for all my food, cook system, and other smellables (toothpaste, sunscreen, bug spray, chapstick, etc.).

Continue reading more details on Margaret Blauvelt's gear list here.


January 10, 2023

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Margaret Blauvelt

The Trek


While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere


SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team