OK, it's time to start thinking about packing; waterproof jacket and pants, yes, it's going to rain (but this time of year will surely be very green!)
North Face gortex jacket, waterproof pants.
***This year I invested in a Marmot and I love this rain jacket!!! It is lightweight with pitzips, inner mesh pockets, gasket covered zippers and a bill on the hood that extends out over your face a bit, love that!
Water proof hiking boots; I've chosen Merrell, low profile, waterproof hiking boots. I tried on so many Trail shoes, Cross Trainers and hiking shoes but when I put these babies on they felt like they were made for my feet! In the shape of my feet! It was an amazing difference from anything I tried and I knew at once these were the ones for me. A lot of people might choose a higher shoe and one that supports your ankle. I have high top hiking boots and I wanted to go with lower ones for more flexibility. We'll see if I made the right choice but they are definitely comfy! Of course, I've broken them in first and they feel just great.
Socks - very important! For years I've used Smartwool that my husband turned me on to. They are amazingly warm, non scratchy wool socks that really hold up but they are pricey! Got some for Christmas, perfect! also purchased some Thorlo hiking socks. Just make sure you have one pair for each day. your feet will love the fresh, new socks each day!
Loose fitting hiking pants, wicking shirts, T-shirts, fleece, hat and gloves, long underwear to sleep in or something warm, plenty of underwear and of course, sunglasses. Oh, and don't forget a water bottle or two.
The next thing to concentrate on is my DOPP kit or survival kit or whatever you want to call it with all of the necessary things you'll need for basic bodily comfort and care.
I've included a picture below of most things I'll bring. A bit about what I chose and why;
After many years of hiking and camping I always bring along Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. That's what it's called! I'm a huge fan and have been using this stuff since I was in my 20's. It's Pure Castile biodegradable soap made with organic oils and 100% vegan. My favorite flavor is Hemp Peppermint (it makes your skin tingle!) but it also comes in Lavender, Almond and a few others. Any hiker/camper worth his conservation minded salt knows about Dr. B's. You can even brush your teeth with it although I've never tried but I do wash my hair with it and even the camp dishes. It's concentrated, a little goes a long way!
Sunscreen - Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion - Sensitive Skin lotion. This stuff is great! I spent a week in the Galapagos, outside all day and never got burned! The Sensitive brand doesn't give you bumps or irritation and is kind to your face. I highly recommend it!
Bug spray - I'm not a big fan of Deet. I like Natrapel made with Picaridin. I live in Florida and in the summer in my backyard I feel like the main course in a West Nile buffet line! This stuff works for me and doesn't smell too bad either.
Wipes and hand sanitizer - any kind of towelettes or wipes you can bring will work in this category and then follow with hand sanitizer.
Here's where the headlamp comes in - ever try to use the restroom with a flashlight? think about it! plus, you'll have hands free around the camp when the sun goes down.
Then the usual suspects -
Toothpaste (I like Tom's of Maine).
Sunscreen for your lips; I like Coppertone Water BABIES sunscreen stick 55 SPF. I use it all year when I'm outside.
Q-tips, band-aids, vitamins, aspirin, Imodium, CIPRO?
Deodorant,... or not. You are gonna sweat and then likely land at the campsite and be wet. There are hot water "Catwash" bowls put out for each individual hiker before each meal by the porters along with some biodegradable soap to wash up. Those wicking shirts for sports/running are great for hiking.
***Some may consider water purifying tablets but you will not need them. The porters boil glacial melt water from nearby streams and purify the water with tablets. It tastes really good and is very safe, not to worry.
Notice the turquoise towel underneath the products? That's a PACK TOWL made by ThermaRest (they make inflatable camping mats). You always need a towel but who wants to carry a heavy wet towel after clean up? And you don't have time to let it dry. This will be one of your best purchases for camping, backpacking or hiking. This thing can absorb an amazing amount of water. Then just wring it out and it keeps going! And dries in no time hanging it on your tent or your pack.
I'm sure I've forgotten something but I have few days to think about it. Remember to bring plenty of zip-lock plastic bags and enough for your trash. You know the credo, "Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints".