Darren writes about the state of our clothing and gear now that we are nearing the end of our journey.
We spent a great deal of time researching clothing and gear that would both be practical for our limited space requirements and last for the entire 14 month journey. Special attention was paid to durability, as having to spend time and money to replace many things was not in our plans. So how has our ‘stuff’ done now that we are reaching the end of our journey?
Some things wore out sooner than later during the trip. Clothes seemed to go first. There are several items that are just worn out just because we have used them so long and often.
Besides a pair of jeans that I wore once in a while, I only had two other pairs of zip-off pants. In the past few months they have both been torn. Since one of times these pants came apart was when we were trekking in Chile, I had to spend some time sewing them together at the refugio later that same day.
One pair came apart at the rear seam. I sewed it up twice and that helped for a while. However, when we were cruising through the Chilean fjords, they began to come apart again. This time I decided to throw them away, since we only had a few weeks left in the trip.
While trekking in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, A gust of wind literally blew me over. I fell on a bush and tore my other pair of pants at the top back of one of the legs. After we returned from the trek I sewed these up and used some super glue for good measure. I am still using these pants at this point since I am down to this and one other pair.
Sandy did a little bit better in the pants category but still had a pair that was stained and slightly torn by the time we finished our last trek in Chile. She threw them away as soon as the trek was over.
I had a shirt that needed to be mended several times. My other shirts held up well. Sandy had two shirts that felt apart fairly quickly. When we met our daughters in August they brought some replacement clothes that she ordered on-line.
With all the trekking that we did, it is no surprise that socks wore out. Sandy bought new socks in Bangkok, but I just stayed with the same ones.
Shoes were an interesting case. We spent days researching options before we left, knowing that we really wanted our hiking boots to last for the entire trip. They both did, but not without some adjustments here and there. The insoles of my boots began falling apart soon after we left. When we were in Sydney, Australia, I bought a pair of SuperFeet and these have lasted the entire trip.
The tops of my boots developed holes so I tried to patch them. I used super glue but it just made the fabric bubble. It wasn’t until I found this great patch material (it reminded me of Shoe Gu) at a store at the start of the Kungsleden trail in Sweden that the fixes held.
The bottoms of my boots are completely worn out after almost 500 miles of trekking and countless miles walking around town or day hiking. Because I had less traction on my boots, the trails became more treacherous to hike during the final few treks.
Sandy’s boots also had some wear and tear but held up better than mine did. Note the worn inside portions of the soles.
While hiking in Chile, the back heel of one of her boots began to come loose. Good thing it was the final trek!
While our gear held up better than our clothes for the most part, we did still have some issues. One of my backpack seams that connect it to the hip belt began to tear, so I stitched it up, using some super glue to hold it into place.
Sandy and I bought identical day packs. Mine is still in great shape but Sandy’s began to fall apart back in June. At that time we were in a chaotic security line to get on the train in Lhasa, Tibet. As Sandy put her day pack through the security scanner and went to grab it out the other side, one of the plastic clasps disintegrated. I was able to use knots and safety pins to put it back together. In August, while getting off a bus in Hungary, the other clasp broke and I used the same method to fix it. The combination of knots and safety pins has held up through the journey.
Finally, there are our rolling duffel bags. We figured we pulled them about 100 miles (161 kilometers) along dirt, mud, roads and cobblestones.
They have been great through all of this, but Sandy’s bag finally began to tear on one seam about two weeks ago. Again, stitching and super glue has solved this problem.
Overall, the hours of research that we spent on our clothing and gear seems to have paid off. We had very few things totally fall apart and dealt successfully with those items that had tears and holes here and there.