Henry Thoreau said
“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
Easy for him to say. He just walked around Walden Pond. But I’m going on the El Camino – Le Chemin de St. Jacques in France – and I need a trekking pack.
Trekking can be thought of in between day hiking and backpacking. I need to bring everything but I’ll sleep in a hostel (gite) or a bed and breakfast. So I don’t need a tent, sleeping bag, … or cooking equipment.
I need all my clothes for several weeks, toilet articles, guide book, street shoes as well as hiking boots. And all my day hiking stuff. Weight is still a big consideration but so is a modicum of respectability. I’ll eat dinner in villages and buy lunches at local stores. And since Le Chemin de St. Jacques is a pilgrimage, I’m going to visit a lot of churches.
So weighting all these criteria, I took myself to Diamond Brand Outdoors south of Asheville and asked for a pack. I had looked for packs on the web but there was no way I was going to buy a trekking pack (or any pack) without trying it on, looking at all the pockets, zippers and planning where everything should go.
Chris, the handsome one as he calls himself, was a model of patience. I thought of bringing everything I was going to take on the trip but I didn’t feel like packing up my shorts, socks and underwear. So Chris put weight in the packs and I walked around the store.
I looked at every compartment. My passport goes here, the raincoat goes there, etc… Chris wasn’t in a hurry but I couldn’t be in a rush either. Finally I settled on a trekking pack, also used for short backpacks.
When I got home, I started stuffing the pack with all the gear I think I’d need. I made a list and kept substituting lighter equipment. With two quarts of water, it weighted over 20 lbs.
Next, I need boots – the right kind of boots for walking on trails, back roads, cobble stones…. Diamond Brand will help me figure it out.
No – I don’t get paid for writing this. If Diamond Brand was smart, they would outfit me for free and become internationally known. But no such luck, just good service.