While Drew was spending hours researching and plotting out all options for our trip, I was wringing my hands over what to squeeze into the 22L daypack I’d be carrying every day.
Because we’d mostly be spending our time moving quickly on the trail, comfort, recovery, and multi-day wearability topped my priority list. Hello, merino: extremely comfortable against the skin, breathable, non-chafing, ability to perform well even when soaked by the rain (or my sweat), and naturally antimicrobial (read low stink factor). Important because, again, I’d be wearing my clothes and socks over and over and over again, with just a few opportunities to do a half-assed handwash in a bathroom sink.
Key to my kit were four different styles of socks from Smartwool. I couldn’t afford to have foot issues with the number of miles we were logging each day. For time on the trail, I packed Smartwool PhD Hiking Socks and PhD Endurance socks designed with help of ultrarunning legend Rob Krar.
The perfect mix of lightweight cushion (and very cool design). Our relentless trail schedule meant that recovery each night was essential, so Smartwool’s Compression socks from their travel line was my go-to. Finally, for non-running excursions, I brought along the Non-Binding socks. It looked nice and the looser fit meant that my well-used feet and ankles were not being uncomfortably bound.
My overall packing philosophy: If I pack for my body to be comfortable, I have no distraction from the incredible experiences around me. In addition to my merino socks, my kit also included multiple pieces from Smartwool’s new Merino Sport apparel line, which is made from a merino-poly blend that features the benefits of merino with faster dry time, better stretch and recovery - a sports bra, shorts, leggings, tank top, long-sleeved top, and shell. The combination of these items, along with a tech t-shirt, dress, and pair of versatile hiking pants, provided me with every combination of layering and outfit style that I needed or wanted while moving from town to trail to city and back.