BootsnAll Travel Network

The Final Countdown

doo do doo doo, do do do do doooo….It’s the final countdown….

Well, here it is, only 5 days before I depart on my trip. Where did the time go? I’ve spent the last few weeks shopping for gear, catching up on sleep, finalizing my packing lists, and just chilling out. Lots of happy hours too, and catching up with friends before I leave. 

I’m the type of person who keeps lots of lists, worries about the details, and always feels like I have too much to do. So you can imagine what trying to plan and prepare for a 9 month trip must be like for me. But the whole purpose of this trip is to relax and have fun and try some new things. So the first new thing I have to try is to not worry about it so much. I keep telling myself to just throw some things in a bag and go. The rest will take care of itself. (It somehow always does.) Part of what makes this trip so exciting for me is the unknown.

That said, there were two important pieces of gear that I spent a lot of time shopping for: a good backpack and hiking boots. For the next 9 months I will be living out of a backpack, so it had better be up to the task. And I love to hike, not to mention I’ll be spending a week trekking up Kilimanjaro, so a quality pair of boots is important.

And the winners are…

The Moutainsmith Cross Country II pack. This is a pretty large internal frame pack, 5000 ci, but if you remove the detachable daypack and don’t expand the neck, it probably comes in closer to 3,500 – 4,000 ci. It’s a pretty heavy pack and weighs almost 6 lbs due to the heavy yet tough nylon fabric. The Cross Country doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does have the hydration pocket and good access to water bottle pockets on both sides. It’s also got a great U-shaped zipper on the front which allows me to dig into the pack like a duffel bag. And most importantly, the pack fits me well. One of the local stores had one in stock and I was able to load it up with about 30 lbs and walk around the store for a while. It felt really good and I think it will be comfortable over long periods. Best of all, I found the pack for 50% off at

The Lowa Kerano GTX hiking boots. These are great boots. I had been working with a local boot store, Baker’s Shoes and Clothing to try and get these since they are out of stock almost everywhere. These guys are great! They seem to specialize in hunting and work boots, but have a good selection of Lowa hikers as well. And their prices are consistently better than other places I checked. The Lowas are a good fitting boot, lightweight and comfortable, and have a Vibram sole and Goretex liner. And I realy liked the styling of the Kerano with the one-piece toe box. They’re easier to clean, and with a pair of jeans won’t look too out of place in a nice restaurant.

I also picked up a pair of Montrail Hardrock Trail Runners. I only plan on taking two pairs of shoes with me, and my main form of exercise while traveling will be hiking and running. These trail runners seemed like a good all purpose shoe and were rated Gear of The Year by Outside Magazine. I picked up the 2005 model for only $60!  

Anyway, the next couple of days will be spent doing some last minute shopping and preparations. On Saturday night my friends are throwing me a big bon voyage party, and Sunday will be family time. Monday I pack my bag, put whatever is left in storage, and Tuesday I’ll hop on the train. Let the countdown begin!

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One Response to “The Final Countdown”

  1. Laura Says:

    Enjoy your trip! You will have so much fun while I’m stuck at work dreaming about awesome hikes and beautiful scenery!!!

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