I’m walking 640km across Jordan, and the days are counting down remarkably fast. The point of the trek is not only to challenge myself but to raise funds for @MSF_UK as I’ve written about extensively, start at number one and work on through to ten. If you believe in MSF’s work around the world or simply like my blog please head over to my just giving page and donate a few Pounds, Euro, Shillings or dollars to the cause.
I am notorious for over-packing clothes. I just like my comforts, like clean socks and underwear. I also have a fear of getting cold. I am hypersensitive to cold, I’ll be in long sleeves and a hat when others are wearing shorts and t-shirt. But clean and warm clothes weigh a lot and I can’t carry a lot so I have to be stricter.
From the bottom up:
Shoes – obviously. I have a pair of Brooks Cascade trail running shoes. apparently popular on the big USA trails, but I bought them because they were the only comfy fit in the best running store in Cape Town.
I’ll probably take a back up pair of Nike runners to leave in Amman base just in case I lose/break/simply can’t walk another step in them.
Socks – the same running shop gave me a pair of trail socks, basically the pair I wore to try on shoes, but they are so dam comfy I had to go buy more and my feet love me for it on my training runs. I never even knew there was such a difference in socks, other than long vs short, but it is a whole new rabbit hole to fall down. A perk of wearing trail shoes over boots is being able to wear low-cut socks and save a few grams weight.
Gaiters – I’ve never worn gaiters, but everyone who knows more than me has told me they are essential and it makes sense. Sand will rip up your feet super fast, just think walking with sandpaper in your socks for 20km a day! I now own a pair on Montane trail series gaiters
Trousers -Hiking Jordan in April will be hot during the day, over 30ºC, and I burn like dry kindling. I’ll be keeping long pants on to avoid copious sunscreen and risk of sunburn. I’m thinking to wear my current REI pants which are getting on the old side and chucking them away at the halfway point and packing a new pair in my resupply box.
Undies – regular undies, no commando to save weight here
Light weight T-shirts with a long sleeved option if I want to cover up for villages. It’s a coincidence that all my T-shirts are North Face shirts. I bought them separately at different times but turns out they are the lightest, fastest drying items I own.
Bra – standard solid sports bra to stick my valuables down for easy access
Head – UV protective Buff to avoid burning my scalp which I do regularly. Buff can also be worn as a hair and neck covering when needed for approaching Bedouin camps or visiting mosques.
Now for the hard part – what to carry?
I may have mentioned that I am always cold, this makes packing tricky for a desert where it’s going to be cold at night, but not Ethiopia cold, where it was below zero with frost. I’ve been googling “what to pack for Wadi Rum” and have so far learnt to “pack hiking boots for rock climbing” (maybe not), “pack for all conditions” (no, I can’t carry that much!). So not much help there!
So going with my usual set up – base layer, fleece, jacket, buff so I can mix and match what I need to regulate my temperature while putting up camp, sitting cooking and late night star gazing.
In addition – I simply have to have camp shoes. Most people laugh and stoutly disavow the luxury, but I know from experience I will not want to slouch around camp in the same shoes I have worn all day. My feet are my transport and I have to let them breath and treat them well or I wont be going anywhere.
Shorts – To wear while washing, swimming or during day camps if I decide to walk at night to avoid the heat of the day
The problem – this is the heaviest part of my set up, even after shaving over 200g from my coat…
Other items – Towel, for 102 reasons and disposable ponchos 34g each.
Spares – this is the category I was most hung up on – who takes spare T-shirts on a thru hike? well after weighing everything and realizing they were not the main problem I’m letting myself of and taking them anyway. It is going to be dusty and I really want to look after my feet. It’s going to be stinking hot and I want to be able to put on a spare 60g T-shirt which isn’t crunchy with salty sweat!