Selecting the perfect equipment for a long and complex trip is not easy. Many factors should be taken into consideration before packing for a trip from Mexico to Alaska and, believe me, the weather is one of the last.
First, for a backpacking trip during which you will be using only sustainable transports, there is one important rule: to pack light and minimal. During the 40 days, we will be staying in the same city not more than 3 days. This requires a lot of planning to always know when to use the laundry. The ideal would be to carry maximum 15 kg and to divide them into two backpacks, in order to leave the not necessary weight in the hostel/hotel/camping and take around only the useful stuff.
Despite all the equipment guides that usually are posted before a trip, this time, I decided to write this guide during the first half of the journey in order to understand if the equipment that I selected, before the departure, has been a good choice or if I had to make some changes and adapt them to the possible situations. This is a short guide that will explain the elements of my ultimate 2019 travel equipment and why I selected them. Why ultimate? Because it covers a great variety of climates. The guide will be divided into 3 categories:
The selection of the backpacks hasn’t been easy, in fact, I had to decide if to go full minimal with only a carry-on bag or to take two, a bigger one to check and a smaller second one, to use as a daily backpack during the tour. I took the second option, so I decided on two backpacks because I had to carry with me a sleeping bag and a tent that couldn’t fit in a carry on only.
So, the decision has been to take to two complimentary backpacks, a big one to store larger and more space requiring items such as shoes, tent, sleeping bag and jacket and a smaller one to use for my smaller gears and all the tech gears.
A backpack designed for long mountain trekking, with plenty of capacity and the possibility to reduce its dimension if empty or expand up to 60L if full. I have chosen this specific backpack because it is well padded, and the weight is perfectly balanced once full. Moreover, it has also a good price for its quality, being sold for 140€.
A super versatile and good looking 25 litres backpack that has a researched design that allows to use it as a trekking backpack but at the same time, it makes it ideal for travelling and daily use. I have chosen the Salewa Firepad as my daily bag during the trip. Internally it does not provide many pockets but has a minimal organization, with a laptop pocket, some small organizers and a big compartment where is possible to store larger items, in my case camera gears, lenses and some clothes.
As an alternative to this combination, if you do not want to carry with you a double backpack system I do suggest the Alp Trainer 35+3; a lightweight trekking backpack that could be easily used for backpacking and that will have an extremely reduced impact on your back and your shoulders thanks to its professional configuration.
As said in the intro, I tried to be as minimal as possible for what concerns the clothing and the technical equipment to avoid carrying a massive weight for 10.000 km and ruin the journey.
At the same time, during the selection process, I also tried to focus on quality and sustainability, focusing on few and quality technical equipment and on a selection of clothes that have been made with organic cotton or pieces that are respecting the environment.
- 8 Organic Cotton basic t-shirt
You can find those on many retailers, I selected a combination of dark and bright colours.
- 1 Basic Long Jeans + 1 Basic Short Jeans
A wool hoodie made using a centenary traditional alpine technique, the Sarner knit, with a hybrid wool mix. The best feature of this hoodie, after the sustainably sourced and fair production, is the versatile design that makes it perfect for the everyday wear but also more extreme adventures thanks to the wind and water repellency. Entirely made in Italy with 70% recycled wool, the Sarner Wool hoodie has been the revelation of this tour so far, in fact, it helps your body breath and not sweet and it is perfect also while walking around because it keeps you warm and cool at the same time. From now on, I believe it will always travel with me, especially in the autumn-winter season!
If you want a more compact alternative, the suggestion is the Puez melange polarity hoodie that is easier to pack and to carry in your everyday backpack.
A sustainable, foldable and packable jacket that weighs about 150 grams and it is the perfect jacket to keep always in your backpack. To be honest, I did not use it a lot in the first half of the trip, but I am sure it will be fundamental to survive 20 days in northern Canada and Alaska, I will let you know at the end of the tour!
- Basic Organic Cotton Swimsuit
- Puez dry Technical Shorts
I must admit, the first time that I wore these shorts I was a bit reluctant to go around the cities with them because they have a more technical oriented style and a less urban-city design. But once you get over that, you will fall in love with these shorts. They are extremely light, breathing, comfortable and plenty of pockets to store the smartphone, wallet, and other objects you may need to have with you during a 20km walk in a city or a hike on top of a waterfall. The building quality is super.
Elastic, soft and functional. The Puez Orval 2 Durastretch is almost the perfect pants for travelling. They keep you fresh and warm at the same time. Like the shorts, they are a technical high-end product with extremely high construction quality. Moreover, if well rolled they can pack light and take almost no space into your backpack.
The perfect trekking shoes. During the first half of the tour, I had the opportunity to test them in different environments and I can’t be more than happy of my initial choice. This is a confirmation of the notorious Salewa building quality in terms of shoes. The Wild Hiker Goretex are perfect for their grip in all the kind of hikes from the rocks to the sand.
I reviewed the Tropicfeel Monson shoes a few months ago, and they still have their place inside my travel kit, waiting for the new model to come out. They do not have the same grip of the Salewa Wild Hiker, but for a city exploration, they may be the perfect solution in terms of weight, comfort and minimal look.
- 7 pairs of underwear & 7 pairs of socks
It is the perfect number of elements to carry with you, especially if you know that you can access a laundry every week. Doing so, you will be able to have more space available in your backpack for other elements that could be more useful.
I do no carry often with me a camping set, and so far, I didn’t feel the necessity of investing in professional camping equipment for the trips I had. But as we decided to spend quite a few nights camping in the national parks of USA, Canada and Alaska I decided to step up the game and take with me what can be defined as a serious camping equipment, of course also in this case keeping a eye to sustainability and looking for brands that are respecting the nature, so once again, I decided to commit to Salewa also for my Camping Kit. Why? You will find it out.
This ultra-modern, and super technical sleeping bag is entirely produced by using recycled materials, form the external shield to the internal dawn, obtained recycling the dawn of the jackets. The ECO -1 is a perfect sleeping bag, that could resist to a low temperature of up to
-1 but that, at the same time, is easy to store and to pack thanks to its modern compression system. Even without a soft mattress, you will be able to sleep in a comfortable way inside this sleeping bag, in any condition from 20 °C to 2-3 °C. So far, we did not experience extreme cold, but we slept at 3.000 meters with a low temperature of 7°C with only short and t-shirt inside the sleeping bag. Alaska will be the ultimate test for the sleeping bag, but so far it has been a great choice!
A professional tent is important when the camping environments may be different, as in our case, from the Rocky Mountains of California to the green forests of Alaska. But at the same time, as I had to carry the tent inside my Camino 50 backpack I was looking for a tent that could be as lightweight and compact as possible to have it always with me for all the 10.000 km of the journey. The Litetrek seemed to be the perfect solution, as it is matching all those characteristics. Moreover, thanks to the low profile they seems to be also more wind resistant of others. During our stay in California, we had some strong wind and when many of the other tend started flying away, the Litetrek stood firmly on the ground.
So far so good!
As said before, I am writing this guide during the journey. I have been travelling for about 20 days now with only this equipment and so far, I did not feel the need of getting any extra. Most likely, I will write another post at the end of the tour, to write a final review of the products I choose and to see how they arrived at the final destination and if they hold up well during the more than 10.000 km along north America.