Gear Review: Supplex Sweater

I had the pleasure of working in 20 degree and snowy Maine this past weekend as a Camera Operator for a Children’s TV Show Pilot and I was beyond excited to test out some of my gear from my Sponsor Wiggy’s.

The name of the Supplex Sweater is slightly misleading.  It is better than the image that a sweater presents in ones mind (wool ugly Christmas sweater, anyone?).  Really, this is by far, the best winter jacket I have ever owned.  EVER.  We are talking about someone that

Wiggy's Supplex Sweater

can only stand about 30 minutes in the cold before starting to feel like my insides are freezing over…..sorry, that might not be the best visual.  But in all seriousness, I was facing some extreme wind, sleet, snow and low temperatures and I felt like I was indoors the whole entire time. I was unbelievably comfortable.

Straight from the Sponsor’s website:

We call this a sweater since it replaces a sweater. It is extremely light in weight. The front zipper is backed by a draft baffel. The Lamilite insulation is the same as that used in the Overbag. The base of the garment is a nylon rib, as are the wristlets. The Raglan sleeve allows freedom of movement. It can be worn as is or under a variety of garments when layering. And is especially good as a foulweather liner

Not only that, but, it is completely machine washable and made in the United States.  These are all pluses, folks.  I now feel fully prepared to face whatever the mountains may throw at me next month and that is a huge weight off my mind.  If you get a chance, check out my sponsor’s page here: Wiggy’

Meanwhile, I leave you with a still I took during a second of downtime this weekend near White Cap Mountain in Maine:

How About Some Reading?

“We live in an accelerated culture, a world of jump cuts rather than long takes, montage rather than mise en scene.” – Robert Alden Rubin

For some reason, nearly every time I tell someone I am planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail they say, “Have you read A Walk in the Woods?” Oh, you mean the book about an unsuccessful thru-hike attempt? Yeah, I’ve read it, but, I’ve read better trail books.

For instance, my favorite at this time (granted someone I know just came out with a new book and based on their blog, I think I can anticipate the book being well written and entertaining – here’s to you GoodBadger!) is On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage.  Written by Robert Alden Rubin, the book really delves into a man who seems to have hit a mid-life crisis and decides to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

While Rubin only completes 2,160 miles of the trail, his writing seems more genuine in regards to his experience. He also has this underlying tone of respect for the trail and what it stands for. Besides being a kind of journal of his experience, he offers information about portions of the trail that you could find in some of the best guidebooks.

Another great book with more logistical details, is How To Hike the A.T.: The Nity-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek.  When I first decided to hike the trail, I picked up this book and read quickly from start to finish. It covers a brief history of the trail, physical conditioning, mail drops, weather, culture, pretty much anything you need to know about what you might be embarking on. It even offers a handy section on trail terminology. Such as, did you know what a nero is? Or how about Springer Fever? This is a very comprehensive book that should be read if you want more information on the trail, or plan on hiking a portion, if not all of it.

All my research has pretty much been completed at this point, and the prep for my trip still continues (dehydrating, packing, buying gear). I cannot wait to leave in less than a month and share this experience with you! Feel free to do a little reading before I go, and while I am gone so some of the terminology won’t take you by surprise 🙂


Much Needed Inspiration

There is certainly a great deal to prep for when one is getting ready to head out for almost six months.  I find that it is easy to lose sight of why you are doing something when there are a lot of other details thrown into the mix that need your immediate attention.

Thankfully, I took a little time today to pick up one of the best books I have ever read: Aron Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  Not only is his story truly inspirational, but, the best thing about the book is how he starts the chapters with famous quotes.

One that is really sticking with me today is:

“Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the tops of mountains, but to improve the man.” – Walter Bonatti, Italian Climber

Everyone has an opinion on who will finish the Appalachian Trail, or in broader terms, who will succeed in their chosen endeavors.  Is the final success really gauged by the achievement, or by the journey?

Should we all rush the time we must take to prepare ourselves for our journey, or savior the effort it takes to get there?  I firmly believe it is that effort that makes our character.  Without betterment, we are nothing but status updates, plaques, or deeds to a home.  Judgment should not be made on the material, but the improvement of self.

As I take this quote to heart and re-energize my preparations to depart on a journey that will truly change me, I hope that other people take this and apply it to what you are stressing about, suffering through, or dealing with.  I hope my shared moment of inspiration does for you today, what it did for me.

Pack Shakedown

Phew. I underwent a pack shakedown this past weekend….and already things feel lighter.

Special thanks to class of 2011 thru-hiker Eats for being a big guiding force/advice giver.  Through his knowledge I learned how to do my own pack shakedown, pretty simple really!  How to do this, you might ask? Gather all your gear, and separate it into these categories:

Clothing, Personal, Water, Misc., Cooking, Sleep System, First Aid and Tent.

Cut where things are unnecessary.  A good rule of thumb is if things don’t have more than one purpose, it probably isn’t worth the weight.  Of course, I didn’t have my other category available: cameras. Here is hoping I make it under 40 pounds! 🙂

Now, to leave you with a song that I not only love, by an artist I have been following around from her early career, but also a song that is oddly appropriate: