Sizing me up

With shoes ordered and on the way, it was time last night to order my backpack. I’ve had my eye on the ULA Catalyst since reading about the ULA brand in Wired’s blog. She envied the hikers who carried them on the PCT in 2011 and I was happy to see she’s got the ULA Circuit for her CDT hike.

When I clicked on the tab to order my pack I was faced with a number of options: torso size, hipbelt and shoulder strap curve shape. How do you measure your torso size? I Googled this question and watched a video from REI which told me the following:

  • Have a friend (or your mum and dad) locate the bony bump at the base of your neck, where the slope of your shoulder meets your neck. This is your 7th cervical (or C7) vertebra. Tilt your head forward to locate it more easily. This is the top of your torso length.
  • Place your hands on top of your hips. The location on your spine between the tops of your hip bones is the bottom of your torso length. With your hands comfortably on your hips, it is the location your thumbs point to.
  • Using a flexible tape measure, your friend should measure the distance between the C7 and an imaginary line drawn between your thumbs. You now should have your torso length.
Me torso measure

Mum and dad sizing up my torso length.

I discovered that my torso size is 19″ and my hipbelt size is 35.5″ which means I’m a medium size for both. The excitement of torso measuring soon spread throughout my family and everyone had a turn at discovering their torso length.

Kalya torso measure

My sister measured in a torso length of 20″ after discovering she has a pronounced C7 vertebra.

Then I was stumped by the shoulder strap – J curve or S curve? I realised I would have to do a bit more reading before making my selection.

Mystery shoe

I may have just purchased a pair of trail runners online… It’s probably the most ludicrous way to buy shoes for a 5 month hike but desperate times call for desperate measures and I NEED shoes for this weekend’s 3 day trek around Wilson’s Prom. There’s a 100 day money back guarantee with an entire page of fine print but I tell you what, I’m feeling confident about this one!

This is what the sexy mumma looks like…

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Saloman XR Crossmax Guidance

Nice eh?? Now as long as they arrive before the weekend and they fit then I’m in good shape! If I can successfully buy a shoe online then I’ll have less hesitation about ordering my pack and other gear the same way. Fingers crossed!!!

The Diva in me!

I’m happy to announce I have just made my first official PCT purchase today. My lack of equipment has started getting the better of me, and whilst I’m still debating purchasing most of my equipment in the US for half the price than in Oz, there’s a few items I would like to secure before I depart – shoes and a Diva Cup.

The delicate subject of menstruation whilst on the trail should not be overlooked, and if you’re a woman, it’s likely at the forefront of your personal hygiene planning.

Even though women from Yogi’s handbook might say they won’t get heavy periods or it might not visit at all, I know my body better. It’ll be there, rain, hail or walking over 4,000km – guaranteed.

So I’ve purchased a Diva Cup Model 1 – a silicone menstrual cup eliminating the need for pads and tampons along the trail. It’s advised to test these sorts of things before heading out on the trail, hence why I bit the bullet and finally purchased something I can’t refund this time!

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First test run

Well the shoe saga continues… I took my new Saloman’s for their first test drive around the streets of East Bentleigh today and the truth is I felt like I was wearing clown shoes. They’re about 2 sizes bigger than what I would normally wear, and although this is probably what I’ll need in the deserts, I think they’re just a bit TOO big. Ho hum. I’ve literally been to Kathmandu 4 times already just for shoes and considering they know me like their own permanent staff, it’s going to be difficult to go under the radar on this return. Part of me wants to hold on and walk them in a little more, but like many things, I need to listen to my gut instincts which are telling me to try on many more shoes until I find the perfect pair!

Shoe boo boo

I was a little overzealous with my first purchase for the PCT hike at the Kathmandu store on Smith St, Melbourne this week – my shoes. I figured shoes are the first item you need, 1. To wear in, and 2. To begin training.

Despite the hours I’ve poured over Yogi’s handbook, countless blogs and emails from my friend Sarah who completed the trail in 2004, I still managed to buy the wrong shoes.

I got them home, unwrapped them from the tissue paper and was glowing with pride until I re-read the handbook and Yogi’s advice which clearly states on page 121 “you don’t WANT anything waterproof.” “The only thing waterproof shoes do differently from other shoes is that the waterproof shoes will never dry out.”

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Salomon X-OVER W

Let that be a lesson! The other thing I learned is that Kathmandu only refund you with store credits, so guess where I’ll now be buying the bulk of my gear. I had bought the Salomon X Ultra GTX trail shoe, which under normal hiking circumstances I’m sure is a brilliant shoe and fit like a glove. What I need though is a trail shoe that isn’t waterproof, ultra lightweight with quick dry instead of Gore-Tex like the Salomon X-Over.

The only problem with this shoe is that Kathmandu only sells them in black, and guess what, Yogi says “you need the lightest weight, lightest coloured, most breathable shoe possible.” This is mainly for the desert sections in Southern California where your shoes get so hot you’ll burn your hand touching the bottom of them.

Soooooo…. I can either go to a Saloman store to get the grey version of the shoe and spend the $180 of Kathmandu store credit on other bits and bobs, or get the black version, test it out and use it in Oregon and Washington.