Hiking gear : how to choose ?

A question that we're regularly asked is about what we'll bring with us. And that's a good question, indeed.
We decided that we want to carry a backpack that would be as light as possible. We aim at carrying less than 9 kg each (without water and food). To achieve this, we need reliable, light, adapted hiking gear.
On Tuesday, we went to our sponsor's shop (Seeonee - have a look at sponsor page if you want to know more about them) and we spent nearly 5 hours there. Augustin, one of the shop owners, helped us in a friendly and efficient way. He explained us the technical differences between the different products and assisted in selecting the most adapted gear. We'll test it in the next few weeks before coming back for the remaining stuff needed (some had to be ordered).

So, what did we choose ?

For the shoes, Marie-Laure decided to go for a pair of Aku Slope GTX while I choosed the Millet Friction. I usually use shoes that protect my ankles, but taking into consideration the mud and the wetness of Te Araroa Trail, I consider it worth to try highly breathable shoes (without Gore-tex). My Millet Friction have a very good outsole as well as toe and heel cap that will protect my feets while hiking in the mountains. Anyway, I'll be hiking with them in the Julian Alps the next 10 days, so we'll see how it dries.

Icebreaker Merino Wool underwear is also a try. We noticed that the Merino Wool socks last many days before they smell. It would be great to be able to use or underwear more than 1 day before we have to wash it. We will carry only 3 underwear and 3 pair of socks during our travel.

Talking about merino, we'll also wear a long sleeves t-shirt made with this wool. I hope that the friction with the backpack won't damage the t-shirt too rapidly.  If the test is positive, we'll buy another one, so that we can hike with 2 long sleeves t-shirts (we always need 2, so that we can wash and dry one while we wear the other).

We also bought Teva terra fi lite sandals, that are water friendly and with good outsole. It's the shoes we'll use in the evening or in case something bad happens to our hiking boots (like seeing them falling down somewhere we can't reach).

Interested in knowing more about the materials ? More will be published in the next weeks on that topic !

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Our 3000 km hike supports Ti Sourire en Ha├»ti, that provides everyday a lunch (sometimes the only meal of the day!) to the kids of a school. Everyone in this project is volunteer, including the mothers that cook everyday. With 30€, a kid can eat during 1 month. Do you want to help us to reach 3000€ ? Please make a donation (even a few euros can help !) to the association. THANKS


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