Zach Davis tag

The Good Badger’s Final (?) Gear List

UPDATE: I have since successfully thru-hiked the AT!  Who would’ve thought? (see: not most people)  This is what I recommend for an Appalachian Trail Gear List

Today’s task: figure out how to get six months worth of stuff onto my back.

zd total gear

After months of trying to obtain sponsorship from companies, diligent research, pestering The Daily Camel on a near-daily basis, and hours of aimless meandering through REI, I’ve narrowed down my assortment of belongings. This is what it looks like.

I realize that to the untrained eye, the above photo likely looks like chaos. That’s because it is. Let’s break this chaos down a bit, shall we?.

Good Badger clothes image

  • Sock Liners (2 pair) – REI
  • Medium weight wool socks (2 pair) – Hi-Tec
  • Heavy weight wool socks – IceBreaker
  • Bandana (4) – Stolen from friends in college
  • Awesome John Candy hat – North Face
  • Medium weight glove liners – REI
  • Gaiters – REI
  • Short sleeve Capilene 2 Base Layer – Patagonia
  • Long sleeve Capilene 3 Zip-up – Patagonia
  • Zip-up Wool Camp Shirt – IceBreaker
  • Capiliene Boxer Brief (2 pair) – Patagonia
  • Convertible pants – Patagonia
  • Wool leggings – IceBreaker

This is all of the clothing I’m bringing (aside from jackets & footwear) for a 2,179 mile trek. Two pairs of underwear. TWO. I will smell like a swamp creature no less than 98% of time (my current rate is 93).

Socks: Sock liners are worn underneath the wool socks to wick moisture away. Medium-weight wool socks are help to protect your feet, they’re good at not retaining moisture, and take longer to retain a stank. The heavyweight wool socks are used exclusively at camp – something clean and dry to change into at the end of the day and keep your feet warm.

Zip-up: The IceBreaker zip-up will also be used exclusively at camp. Again changing into something dry and relatively clean will help minimize backpacking insanity.

Bandana: You’re probably wondering why if I’m bringing only 2 pairs of undies (yes, undies) why in the shit would I be bring FOUR bandanas? Other than staying fashionably sound on the trail (priority #1), bandanas serve multiple useful purposes including: filtering large chunks of crap out of stream water when filling your water bottle, cleaning dishes, drying tears out of eyes (for John), and probably a bunch of other stuff that I have already forgotten.

(Also you may notice the blue bag in the top part of the screen. It’s a bug net to be worn around my face. Although the Good Badger does not love bugs, bugs do love the Good Badger.)

good badger jackets

My jackets.

The rain jacket is ultra-light weight and will be used primarily during the warmer rainy days. The Hi Tec fleece/jacket combo is my cold weather jacket and will get a lot of use in the first couple months.

Good Badger Footwear

One piece of advice I’ve been offered repeatedly – take care of your feet. I am in extremely good hands (reverse pun?) having the help of Hi-Tec.

Although this is the footwear I will be starting with, it’s not what will be on my feet come hike’s end. AT hikers typically go through 3-4 pairs of boots/shoes throughout the course of the trail. I purposely wanted to start with something a little heavier in the beginning as it serves to keep my feet warmer during the colder months. I will likely be switching to something lighter somewhere near the start of Virginia.

Good Badger Sleep Stuff

I broke in the above items last night by camping out in my friends back patio (cement). I slept like a baby. Like a narcoleptic baby. The Casper bag rocks my world.

good badger tent

Assorted gear[/caption]

  • GoPro camera – so you guys have video evidence of how dumb we are
  • Headlamp
  • 3L CamelBak Bladder
  • 1L Bladder
  • 1L Nalgene (Considering how much shit I’ve gotten for this already, it might be swapped out for a Gatorade bottle)
  • Trowel (to dig poop holes in the dirt)
  • Hiking poles

  • Harmonica (duh)
  • Everyday toiletries (basically chamois cream, toothpaste and condoms)
  • First aid kit
  • Assorted electronic accessories (headphones/chargers)
  • Multi-use towel (Shamwow technology!)
  • Waterproof journal (my tears will roll right off)
  • Assorted cooking supplies (matches/spork)
  • Benchmade knife

  • Backpack – Gregory Z65 (w/ rain cover in blue sack)
  • Compass – Silva
  • (Semi-hidden) blue rope to hang food in trees and away from tent (so bears don’t eat you in your sleep)

The mess looks a lot less intimidating once the clothes are in their stuff sacs

And this is what 6 months of stuff looks like on my back (knife in hand of course).

I haven’t showered in a while. I’m not sorry.

Post Notes:

  • No – I don’t know how much my pack weighs. I need to find a scale. I will get back to you on this.
  • There are still some items that need to be divvied (i.e. mini-stove), some items that haven’t yet been added (i.e. food), and probably some items that I’m forgetting (this is where you can chime in).
  • If you’re an experienced backpacker, and see and glaring mistakes that I’ve made (nearly inevitable) please speak up. I’m looking for feedback.
  • I’m leaving for Georgia this Sunday.
  • Don’t tell John, but I hid a 5 lb. weight in the middle of his pack.

How to Eat Like a King on the Appalachian Trail

Nature will do all that it can to restrict your ability to eat like the rightful monarch that you are.  That’s why in this lengthy 35 second video not only do you learn how to eat like a king, but you learn what a beetle/dinosaur looks like in the process.

Just so you know eating like a king on the Appalachian Trail isn’t as easy as what’s demonstrated in this video.  This particular skill requires years of meditation and heightened beetle/dinosaur attracting skills.  I trained with a monk based out of Cincinnati, considered one of the top 4 beetle attractors in all of Western Ohio, and in that time I obtained the skills necessary for the advanced tactics you’ve just witnessed.  This video is not CGI and this beetle/dinosaur is not a paid actor, this is real life drama unfolding before your very eyes.  Some call it a miracle.  Others aren’t paying close enough attention.

I know what you’re saying to yourself: “but his beard is so rustic that it could drive a monster truck through the fiery gates of hell and not slow down as it plowed over rage infested demons.”  I agree with you.  Good point.

Point/Counter-Point: Anxiety vs. Adventure ft. The Dusty Camel

The Good Badger & The Dusty Camel | Anxiety versus Adventure
For those who read the Good Badger regularly, you’ve probably noticed that I deal a good amount of grief to my poor, poor, Jewish mother. On top of the constant state of near self-defecation I have placed upon her with my upcoming journey, I also take every opportunity I get to take jabs at her highly anxious nature (see: the first part of this very same sentence).

Well, a little known fact about coming from someone else’s insides, is you tend to take some of their DNA with you in the process (I was a biology professor in another lifetime).   As much as I try to deny it, I have acquired many of the same high-alert qualities from my poor, poor, Jewish mother.  My playful jabs at her are 1) my sick way of expressing love and 2) what Freud refers to as “projection”.

I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to dull the over-active flight or flight response portion of my brain.  If 2,200 miles of disease, bears, and snow/lightning storms doesn’t finally finish the job, there’s no hope for me.

That’s why I’m very excited to have my friend, Ian Mangiardi, help co-author this post.  Ian is the founder of The Dusty Camel (the Good Badger’s trail posts will be syndicated here), a website dedicated to all-things backpacking with an emphasis on gear reviews. Ian has also successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and is preparing for his 2011 trek up the Pacific Crest Trail.  Ian is a true adventurer.

For the last few weeks, Ian and I have been exchanging e-mails in where he is saddled with the task of repeatedly talking me off of AT ledge. Instead of hoarding all of his wisdom to myself, we agreed to make this discourse more public.

Read more

How to Prepare For Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Diet Plan [Video]

The Appalachian Trail Diet Plan

This week’s video takes us into my favorite room on earth (aside from my Erin Andrew’s shrine), the kitchen.

Apparently walking 2,200 miles while carrying the weight of a fat toddler on your back, up and down rocky terrain, burns a good amount of energy.  Currently I burn just slightly more than zero calories per day.

To adequately prepare my body for this increased load, I will spend the next seven weeks eating anything that is 1) edible and 2) in sight (I’m flexible with #1).  Although I haven’t read any sound advice as to why I should be doing this, my best instincts tell me to go for it.  Always go with your gut.

If this is your first stop to the “How to Prepare For Hiking the Appalachian Trail” video series, may I encourage you to check out the first two videos on physical endurance training and how to build a tent.  Also, if you want to get in on the fun of suggesting horrible things to do to the Good Badger in future videos (will make sense after watching this) I suggest to follow me on Twitter and/or join the Good Badger Facebook Page.


Technology Overdose: There’s an App for That

technology overdose

I talk a big game.

I tell you that you need to start a personal website.

I tell you to change careers (if you’re not working your passion, that is).

I tell you to get up and move to a vacation destination.

I tell you how you can achieve anything.

But why in Chuck Norris’ nunchucks should you listen to me?

Many of you don’t know much about me beyond my “about me“.  To many of you, I’m nothing more than a Badger-ish-Guy-thing who likes to tout cat media.

Although I am proud of my accomplishments to date, I haven’t built a multi-million dollar business, I haven’t spent a year in Africa volunteering for the Peace Corps, I haven’t written a best selling book.

I realize that whatever source of encouragement I attempt to instill in anyone, it will always be weighted relative to my own accomplishments.  And of course this is the the case.  I’m not taking surfing lessons from an Eskimo.  Prove to me that you have done what you’re telling me to do, and I will listen.  Everyone is talking, you have no choice but to be selective with your listening.

And because my greatest frustration in life is witnessing those I care about settle for an unfulfilling life – I want you to listen to me.  Your unhappiness genuinely pisses me off. Oftentimes I get more emotionally invested in your accomplishments than my own.  Maybe it’s a passing phase, maybe it’s my Dharma (or my Greg).

So what am I getting at?

In the last year of my life, one of my most prized accomplishments, having the luxury to pay the bills while working from the comforts of my underwear (self-employment, not a stripper), has also grown to be one of my greatest personal challenges.  My drive to continually start new projects, with new clients, with new software, with new media, with new goals, has me spread a tad too thin.

And unfortunately, the way my brain has me hardwired, unless a project is finished, thoroughly and successfully, I can’t allow myself the luxury of mentally checking out.  When my work took place inside of a baseball stadium and a restaurant, although my hours were roughly the same, the end of the day was exactly that, the end of the day.

Now, 7pm roles around, and although I’ve spent 10 consecutive hours slaving away on the screen, I can’t help but focus on about what hasn’t been finished.

My average day consists of 6-10 hours at “my office” (aka the coffee shop around the corner) back to my bedroom so I can lay down while I work.  On the days where I do allow myself to separate from the screen, I’m detached only in physical presence, but am still mentally invested, and therefore disconnected from those who I am with.

Additionally, these projects all take place in the same location: the screen (my laptop).  While the scenery may occasionally change from one cafe to the next, there’s still no escaping the screen.  More or less from the moment I wake up, until the moment I go to bed, with the exceptions for quick hikes, runs, or the increasingly rarer social excursion, I am bouncing from project to project behind the same computer screen for all waking hours of the day.

I’m not a doctor, but my internal sanity meter tells me this is not a healthy lifestyle.

My New Years Resolution

It’s only fair, that if the Good Badger is going to demand that you make 2011 your breakthrough year and achieve something necessary to your life, that he follow suit.

That’s why this year, Mr. Technology addiction himself, is going to thru-hike all 2,179 miles of the Appalachian Trail.  (Go big or go home, right?)

More details to come.

Stay posted.

I Love to Hate Love

The Good Badger

Let’s play a little word association, shall we?

When I say the word, “Titanic”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

If you used the words, “Celine Dion”, “nausea”, “miserable love story”, or any combination of the aforementioned terms, or their synonyms, then you’ll probably agree with what’s going to follow. Read more

A Really Good Bad Idea

So far my promise for more frequent updates has been about as successful as a promise to make US politics more transparent.

Regardless, my inspiration for any sort of well thought out, opinion based post, has been buried beneath a layer of anxiety, excitement, and mostly insanity.

This Sunday I will be attempting to run my first ever marathon. Read more