Your Equipment – It’s Not About the Gear

Before speaking of equipment let me push a bit of philosophy: back-packing in the Alaskan bush is NOT about the gear, it’s about immersion in wilderness and bonding with your mates. A fancy piece of specialized equipment will not alter the weather, lighten your load, or transform your experience. Gear helps you exist in the bush more comfortably, but it is not the reason we trek.; a good backpacking kit is only as good as the thinking that went into putting it together. As Carl Donohue of Alaskan Alpine Treks points out, “Everything is part of a SYSTEM, and learning how to manage that system (including carrying it) is integral to having a good kit.”

BOOTS – We are now less than 60 days from our summer departure and it is time to begin organizing your pack. If you do not yet own a pair of hiking boots PLEASE BUY A PAIR NOW! Your boots (and rain gear) will be your best friends in the Tongass so you need to get to know them well BEFORE you depart. You want a pair of boots that are broken-in, supple, and feel great on your feet; you should not wait until you depart to put on your hiking boots. If they are new, begin wearing them around the house or yard now. Rub some mink oil into them once or twice a week to help work the leather.

I have used Asolo leather boots for years and find them excellent for just about any outdoor expedition. They are tough, comfortable, and provide great support and stability for serious trekking. They are, however, fairly expensive (but hey, you get what you pay for, right?), so you may not wish to make such an investment if your feet are still growing.

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