New Pack for my new adventure

Trekking packHenry 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.

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