Researching and planning can result in my suffocating any undertaking, if I allow it. For some reason the Camino was a goal I was able to maintain a focused. Why did the Camino survive this process?…. I don’t know.
Selecting a pack is an example of how I will spend endless cycles. Having looked at hundreds of specifications I finally looked at 10 serious packs. I tried them on, even purchased and brought one home…..only to return it to the store. Everything I looked at seemed to be designed for hiking the trails to Tobermory, or to carry supplies up the side of Everest. I had become obsessed with weight and pure Camino functionality . If weight on the Camino is one of the critical elements, shouldn’t the pack be as light and practical as possible? The packs I was initially considering came in at 1.5kg, or more, and have more pockets and compartments than a trans-Siberian train. (no, I don’t know where that came from) This may not seem heavy by most standards, but after a month of hauling this on my back for a month, I am sure I will come to resent any extra weight. Having narrowed down the candidate packs, and in one case paying and taking the pack home, I decided I still wasn’t satisfied with my choice. And so I returned the pack and reset my search.
So I started this research project once again…… I discovered a small cottage industry in Florida called ZPacks. These people make packs out of a remarkable material called hybrid Cuben. A group of very clever and obviously dedicated people had read my mind and produced exactly what I needed. This pack is custom made for my body size and weighs less than 0.5 kg. Best part of all…. (good deal alert) it costs roughly the same as an off-the-shelf pack. The company even sewed Canadian flag patches on the pack for me at no extra charge.
They delivered the pack and I can whole heartedly say it was worth every bit of research effort; it is an astounding product. I was so delighted with the build quality. They have even taped all the seams waterproof the pack. As the pack was custom manufactured I had pockets where I need them and all the features important to have. (Water bottle pockets, tie downs, loops on the shoulder straps for attaching items, hydration pack hanger and access hole for the drinking tube.
In a sea of competition ZPacks has really carved out a niche and a unique identity. I was happy to have found them.
This process was repeated many times over for almost all of my critical items. When I decided on the Arcteryx jacket, or the carbon fibre walking poles, & tooth brushing tablets…… I was faithful to my process. (the tablets are much lighter than a tube of toothpaste)
Now I am satisfied.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just go without researching a topic to death. Just go unprepared, experience, and allow chance to dictate the outcome. It is easy to see how attractive this can be to many people. So many wonderful and unexpected things can, and will, happen.
I am expecting these chance events to occur…..but I am interested to ensure I don’t miss something as well. “You were so close….should have seen…”. I really want to be aware and take full advantage of everything possible. Of course despite all of this preparation I will still miss something. I still imagine I will miss less as a result however.
So I continue in my own way……..