11 June 2013 8:45 am0 commentsViews: 25

Your backpacking kit is secondary in determining your ability to complete a thru-hike.

Equipment-itis cripples the capacity for achieving backpacking goals in a tragic proportion of hikers.

Have you ever examined the dropout rate of thru-hikers? Lets look at the AT. Despite all the gear advancement in the past decades, the dropout rate of thru-hikers on the AT has held constant at more than 75% failing to complete the thru-hike they start.

Equipment-itis is the belief that the right selection of cutting edge stove, shoe, or sleeping bag is critical in determining your ability to complete a backpacking trip.

Let me fill you in: the value of the ideas in your mind supersede the value of gear you carry when you hit the trail.

In hearing from thru-hikers and learning from Warren Doyle at the Appalachian Trail Institute, I have realized that ideas are what get you to your destination.

Think of the equipment as icing and the ideas as a cake. Filling a pan with icing, won’t make it a cake. In the same way, a backpacking kit with all the “latest and greatest” gear plopped onto a stranger won’t make a long distance hiker.

On the other hand, a cake is a cake with or without the icing. Similarly, a backpacker is complete so long as the proper ideas and attitudes are in place (regardless of the cutting edge backpacking kit).

Good information about the mindset required to walk an entire long distance trail is the cure for equipment-itis.

The first step in acquiring this void information is to turn to the wisdom of actual long distance backpackers. Your first lesson is reading Warren Doyle’s 2-page AT Book. Further study is available at Doyle’s ATI.

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