Our Two Month Scorecard: Gear Check

Sandy reviews the performance of our gear, two months into our journey.

We can’t believe that it has already been two months since we left on our Trekking the Planet journey. At this milestone we thought it might be interesting to take a look at what gear has made the grade and what has failed, and in some cases, already needed to be replaced.

What has Worked Well

We have been especially happy with our luggage. Our rolling duffels hold our trekking backpack, trekking supplies and clothes. The bags are heavy-duty and the wheels work well. For example, in Tasmania we had to walk about two miles from our overnight ferry to our hotel and the duffels were easy to pull, even weighing about 40 pounds / 18 kilograms each. Our daypacks have been great for carrying our laptops and other critical items.

On our first trek we had the opportunity to use our camping gear for a week in all types of weather. Our mattress pads have been fantastic. These lightweight, inflatable pads are so much better than foam and we slept well in comfort, whether in the hut or in our tent. The sleeping bags performed well. One night it was below 40F / 5C and we were a little cold in the tent, but adding more clothes solved that problem. The tent itself exceeded our expectations. It was easy to put up, provided plenty of room for us and our gear and held up well the night it rained – no leaks!

Our clothes have been great. So far it has been mostly hot, but during the trek we even used the down jackets and long underwear. Our rain jackets have been invaluable.

What has Not Worked Well

Unfortunately we have already had a few ‘malfunctions’ with some of our gear. Darren had a camera case begin to fall apart while we were trekking. We were able to purchase a new one in Hobart, Australia and that has worked well so far.

Darren also had issues with his trekking boats. When we were in American Samoa and hiked to the waterfall we both had to wade through a stream multiple times with our shoes on. It took several days to dry them out and in the process his insoles began to come apart. During the Overland Track, our shoes were continually wet for a week and this made the situation worse. When we arrived back in Sydney we visited the local Kathmandu store (think REI for those in the Western US) and purchased a new set of insoles. Darren is in the process of breaking these in to be ready for our next trek in Laos.

One major malfunction took place the night before the Overland Track. As we were performing our final packing in our hotel room, one of the cloth tote bags that we planned to lash to the front of our packs to hold our food actually tore apart right before our eyes! It was late in the evening, after all the stores had closed, so it took some major creativity to solve this problem. In the end, we devised a way to carry food in a pack-it cube inside a front backpack pocket. This turned out to provide better pack weight distribution so it worked out well in the end.

Looking Forward

As we visit our final destinations in Australia we have also been busy replenishing supplies. We have focused on things that are going to be more difficult to find in Asia, such as toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries. In some cases, we have purchased up to a three-month supply to take us into Europe.

We realize that we will continue to have challenges with gear throughout our journey. At this point in the trip we are very happy with how things have performed to date.

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8 thoughts on “Our Two Month Scorecard: Gear Check

  1. Allan Grey

    Hi Darren & Sandy, still following your great adventure. What about your Sony DSC HX9V camera, is that in the Working Well or Not Working So Well?

    I hope it’s the former as I have just ordered one from Amazon.

    Best Wishes
    Allan

    • Darren and Sandy Post author

      Hi Allan –

      The camera is still working great and we love it! Glad to hear you got one – let us know what you think of it!

  2. Byrd Elementary School

    We are 4th and 5th graders at Byrd Elementary School on a navy base in Negishi, Japan. We were wondering if you packed mosquito nets or mosquito repellant? Also, did you pack any sort of tools, such as a Swiss Army knife? Do you have any sort of item to help you learn the local’s language? Is your backpack heavy with your laptop inside? What do you put in your daypack? We are VERY curious!

    One of the students is from Germany and recommends bringing climbing gear because there are lots of pretty mountains.

    • Darren and Sandy Post author

      Hi – great to hear from your classroom! We have both mosquito nets that you can wear over your face and repellant. We have two Swiss Army knives that come in very handy. We have a fold-out card that contains a set of pictures that we can use to communicate if need be. We carry our laptops in our daypacks and they can get heavy. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      Thanks for the suggestion about Germany!

  3. Margo

    My son is a scout and he uses Seal Skinz Waterproof All Season Socks, they work great with a hiking boot. Your feet will stay dry!!! Our home school class is excited to follow you!!

    • Darren and Sandy Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Kalyan

    Is it really hard to find toothpaste and shampoo in Asia? I wonder what the kids following you have an impression about Asia.. needless to remind you that Japan, China & India are all part of Asia you can find these things there aplenty!

    • Darren and Sandy Post author

      Totally agree that in Japan, India and China it is easier to find toothpaste and shampoo. On this trip we are visiting remote places and therefore needed to buy these things when we could.

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