I’ve already purchased the most important parts of my gear for my upcoming trip to Iceland…hiking boots, socks, and my geologic field book. I’ll wear the boots every day, hiking around volcanos, geothermal pools, and fault lines. The socks are also key. I got the best, warm socks with no seams which are knit to conform to your foot. The notebook was prescribed…a waterproof, bound book with geologic references in the back. Next up? Layers.
I bought my boots at REI. I don’t know what it is about them that drew me there, but I couldn’t even think of another place to go. Once there, I was surprised to learn that they are a co-op and that membership of $20 (which goes to local trails) gives you entrée to discounts and more. In my first trip, I got my boots, socks, and water shoes. The water shoes will be nice for the hostel shower, but I really bought them for fording streams (don’t you just love the adventure in those words?).
My second trip, I was in search of rain gear…my outer layer. The weather will be between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I will need to go out for the day with clothing that protects me from rain and snow and sun. I could head out in a snow squall, spend hours making observations in the rain, and then find myself at a geothermal pool ready to swim. The sun will be up for 20 hours and in twilight-mode for the other four hours. What to wear, what to wear!
The helpful folks at REI helped me find a rain jacket and rain pants. For some reason, the woman helping me thought I was going to Iceland with my husband, despite my correcting her multiple times. I told her I was traveling there with a class. Finally, she got it and apologized. Then she told the next associate that “the teacher” needed help finding a waterproof pen. I let that one slide. Yes, I am a 52 year old student…being mistaken for a teacher is an honor!
In the end, I chose the low-end products for my outer layer. You can spend a fortune on this stuff, but I’ll only need it for a couple of weeks. I need to buy bigger sizes so that I can wear a light jacket and pants over at least two other layers for warmth. When the associates tried to get me to buy other layers, I demurred. I have tons of running gear and I’m pretty sure that I can fill my suitcase with my winter running tights, running jackets and long-sleeved T’s. I don’t need backpacking-specific clothes when I already have similar gear for running.
I did succumb to something called a “Buff”. This turned out to be $20 for $5 dollar worth of fabric. I bought into the concept of a lightweight loop of fabric that I could wear around my neck and use to warm my neck, face, and/or head just by shifting the fabric.
In the end, it’s not about fashion. It’s about flexibility. I’m not ready to pack yet, but I am thinking ahead to when I will. I need a few new things…hopefully things I can continue to use after my trip. In the meantime…
Find the Joy in the Journey…and remember, you can’t go wrong with layers!