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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trip Gear for South America

For South America we pretty much brought the same stuff we did for Europe in Part I and shoved everything into a single backpack. Being we were going straight into the Winter, we needed some additional gear.

For warm clothing we chose stuff to take that we could use in the mountains for snowboarding, treking, and trail running, but also wear around town. The problem is we spend time researching and trying out gear to ensure the item is right for us. Somehow each of us always finds something and the other buys the same thing in his/her own gender category.

So we each have a pair of Danskos for slogging through slush, mud to and from the mountains and for an evening out. We have Pearl Izumi Pro Series running tops which work extremely well. Although Nicolette is currently boycotting Pearl Izumi, which I guess I sort of am to being this is likely a family decision. The stitching came undone in three places and when she emailed PI about the issue, they, unlike Khul, said send it in and we will sew it for you and send the same shirt back. Sort of lame because we can sew this ourselves for free and not pay shipping. Regardless, these work really well.

We each have ski shells and pants form North Face and Patagonia (me - top Patagonia, bottom NF/Nicolette top - NF, bottom Patagonia). We each had a down puff, Montt Bell for me, and an old Patagonia model for Nicolette. These were incredibly handy because we nearly lived in these while in the Patagonia region. More Patagonia Capilene, and a decent supply of Smart Wool ski, running, and hiking socks. For the heck of it, not knowing what we would run into or how many mountain refugios we would stay in, I threw our little lightweight 40 degree La Fuma sleeping bags as well. I figured we would not being doing any mountaineering camping, but worst case we would be in a chilly refugio with a wood burning stove. It ends up we did not to use these, most of the places at least had a few extra wool blankets, and we were always able to sleep in our down puff coats as well.

Okay, for sweaters we each brought something that is multi-use and will keep us warm. Some time ago I bought a Patagonia Hoody R1, which is perfect for me. I can run in it, hang out, through it on for dinner, wear it in the mountains and use the hood to keep snow off my neck. I had it for six months and it was perfect. Then we ended up in Toronto for our flight to Santiago and I realized I left the hoody in Michigan. After a few failed shipment attempts to Canada (thanks Mom and Dad!), I was able to borrow an Ice Breaker hoody from Mark. This actually was really nice because it is full zip rather than the half zip of the R1, and is made of wool. So mean time between this stinks and I cannot not wear it any longer was greatly increase due to the fact the sweater is wool with natural antimicrobials rather than synthetic which just holds in the smell.

Nicolette bought a long Oakley sweater with a nice thick fuzzy hood. This has worked out well, but the fuzzy insulation is only on the hood and not the entire body, which severely cuts down on insulation. So for the coldest person in the world, this was not the best unit for SA ski season. Warm, but just not warm enough.

All of this plus running shoes was shoved into a large red North Face Base Camp duffle which we lugged around. Luckily the Base Camp has shoulder straps which can be used to wear the duffle as a bulky backpack.

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