You have completed your ultralight set-up, now it’s time to hit the trail, but unless you have had your sights set on a particular long distance trail, where to go?
West Highland Way - 96 Miles, Scotland, UK
As the first officially designated long distance trail in Scotland, the West Highland Way was completed in 1980, but was a known travel route long before as the path follows many ancient roads through lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills into the high mountainous regions of the Scottish Highlands.
Four years ago the trail was recognized as part of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT). Geological evidence supports the existence of the supercontinent Pangaea, which until 100,000 million years ago connected the Appalachian mountain range in the U.S. to Western Europe and North Africa. The drifting of the continents separated the range, and today are united by efforts of the IAT.
Having lived in and around the high Sierra for much of his life, Bishop-based climber and hiker, Andrew Stevens, has hiked all over the mountains, but his 7 day and 9 hour thru-hike of the 210.4 mile John Muir Trail using the Flight 40 was his first long trail.
“I used to live in Yosemite, and I’ve done about 40% of the JMT before. It is one of the most awesome trails I’ve done,” Andrew commented. “I didn’t really want to take 2-3 weeks off; I’ve been doing long day hikes where i do 40-50 miles a day, and i thought “I could do this’...My fast packing doesn’t involve running, it involves just going out there; I call it Far-Packing.”
By keeping a 3-mile an hour pace, getting up as early as possible and hiking all day long, his goal of 30 mile days was very manageable.
“The Flight 40 was awesome; I don’t think i could have done it without it. I never had to stop, and I did everything while walking, including eating and drinking,” he said. Andrew’s base weight was 11lb, and his praise for the pack ranged from loving the two little pockets at the top of the harness where he kept his compass, sunscreen and lip balm, to the water bottle pockets where 500cc Fiji water bottles were the perfect fit, the roll top where he didn’t have to mess with zippers, and the pockets on the hipbelt where he kept his salty snacks on the left, sweet on the right.
Mountain Crossings is an oasis. An oasis not only for the fact that the outfitter and hostel was built literally on the Appalachian Trail (AT), but because it was built 30.7 miles from Springer Mountain, the Southern Terminus of the trail. For northbound hikers the first few, often grueling days, of rocks and roots and climbs that don’t know what a switchback is, all lead to Mountain Crossings. Hikers who have been laboring under massive packs walk around the store with a new-found respect for cuben fiber, titanium, and goose down. Throw in a hostel and ice cream, and we have one of the most popular stops on the southern AT.
Ron Moak and Brian Frankle’s collaborative efforts have launched two new pack series this year, the Fusion Series, and the Flight. Driven to simplify the goals of ultralight, the packs’ designs combine structure with ultralight principals in what will ultimately translate to a more enjoyable experience on the trail.
“Over the years we've carried lightweight packs over thousands of trail miles, talked to thousands of users and worked hard to go back to understanding the fundamentals of both pack design and use,” Ron said. “The idea was to take a look at the lightweight pack design to see if anything can be done to enhance them,” he explained. “A lot of people want to move down to a lightweight pack but are very concerned about how much weight the pack can carry.”
If you're an International customer and are looking for information on local dealer, calculating shipping cost or to what contries we do and don't ship. Check out the rest of this article.