A question I got today, and have gotten a few times in the past is along the lines of “what do you take with you when you walk in those temperatures?” or “what do you need to walk 116 miles?.
Only carry what you need
The first part of the answer is that I don’t need to pack/carry supplies for the full 116 mile walk. Since I will have refill stations approximately every 10 to 12 miles, I only need to carry enough to get me 12 miles or so, plus some margin.
Have a plan
Obviously for the entire 116 mile walk around Salton Sea, I need to do a lot of planning, but even when I do short practice walks of only 2 to 10 miles, planning is still needed. Any time I will be walking in temperatures over 95°F, even if only for a few miles, I need to know where I am going, and let someone know, I need to know where the emergency access or exits are, and what is at the other end of the walk (any place to cool down, more water, ect).
When walking along most of the eastern shoreline along Highway 111 for example, much of the shore is less than 1 mile from the highway and in many areas it’s only a few hundred yards. Nearby road access like this makes it easy for me to get to the road in an emergency or easy for rescue personnel to get to me. On the flip-side, if walking near an area like the Wister Unit or when walking the shore along the western/Highway 86 side, the nearest road can be miles away. At any point during the walk I need to know the nearest egress and how to get to it.
What to bring
This is what most people really want to know, so here is my current inventory.
- CamelBak Pursuit backpack
- Fold-up sun-hat
- Polarized sun glasses
- Wallet (cash, ID, necessary permits)
- 5.11 Tactical fanny pack (for carrying item not shown)
- Two 100 ounce water bladders
- 4-6 water bottles (16 Oz)
- Two 20 Oz Gatorade
- Hiking boots (for mud or barnacle areas) / Walking shoes for ‘easy’ areas
- Flip flops
- Fold-up towel/matt for sitting
- Cup for pouring salton sea water over head to cool down
- Hand-towel for wiping gross salton sea water off face
- Tympanic ear-thermometer to help monitor for heat stroke
- At least one extra pair of Wrightsock or Drymax socks
- Mophie Juice (battery) Pack
- 4-8 GU or CliffShot gel snacks
- NuuN tablets
- Salt Stick Caps
- Band aids / blister tape
- Walking stick with ski-pole cup installed
- Oil-free sunscreen (not shown; must be oil free!)
The inventory changes as I do more practice walks, but these are the basics. Everything packs up nicely into the CamelBak Pursuit and the grand total weight is around 20 pounds, the majority coming from the more than 2-gallons of fluids. It took me a while to get used to that amount of weight on my back, but now I almost feel naked without it.
Between now and The Big Event, the inventory will grow by at least a few items – for example I will also be carrying a fold-up emergency sun-shade tent which will add about 3.5 pounds to the load.
So there you go! Everything you need to walk 10 or 15 miles in temperatures as high as 120°F! (warning: Don’t try this at home)