Rays 2010 AT Gear Video

Ray Explains the Gear used on Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail

Ray-Way Products


Ray & Jenny Jardine

Spend an evening with Ray in the Maine woods, watching him explain the use of the gear that he carried on his 2010 Thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

This video has a run time of 93 minutes, and comes in two parts: Day-1 and Day-2. Both parts are essentially the same; they are simply different takes, filmed on different days. Day-1 has a run time of 43 minutes, and Day-2: 50 minutes. They were filmed in different areas, so I could not edit between them. But I liked them both, so included both in this video.

Jenny and I filmed the first take the day after I completed my thru-hike. From Abol Bridge, we hiked in to the Hurd Brook Lean-to, and did our filming there. Then the next day we drove out into the country north of Millinocket, and filmed our second take.

What's the video about?

With Jenny holding the camera, I demonstrate how I make camp after a day of hiking, and then how I break camp the following morning.

What does this video cover?

* A bit of site selection

* Preening of a stealth-site.

* Pitching the tarp.

* Hanging the Spitfire under the tarp.

* Crawling in to the Spitfire (How I put it on like a garment.)

* Making a comfortable bed, with pulling out the quilt and foam-pad.

* How I make sure that I know where everything is in the dark.

* Packing my backpack the following morning, inside the Spitfire.

* Taking down the Spitfire and stowing.

* Taking down the tarp and stowing.

* Ready to hike.

Note: There is nothing Hollywood about the video. No fancy editing - no fancy sound system - and no fancy presentation. The presentation doesn't even have music. So we think that if a person is looking for entertainment, or expects a fancy show - they might be disappointed.

What's more, the presentation has plenty of holes. Se we think that if the viewer is the type of person that looks for faults, then he or she will find much to complain about. So please don't waste your money if you are looking for perfection.

On the other hand, for the person who wants to learn something about using Ray-Way gear, we think this video is an absolute gold mine of information.

We filmed the video the day after I completed my 2010 A.T. thru-hike, and the only thing that changed was I did my laundry the night before and took a shower. So in the video I'm wearing the same clothing that I wore for 3 months, and demonstrating the same gear.

Because I had not yet adjusted to life back in the city, the viewer gets the real - solo thru-hiking - me. And if you have ever met a thru-hiker in the wilds, you know that he or she is pretty tuned-in to the natural environment, and pretty tuned-out to the city style of behavior - ie: talking fast and non-stop. So don't expect a "talking head" in this video. I am merely demonstrating my gear and showing how I use it - and describing what I am doing verbally.

Of course, it doesn't take me 43 minutes to make and break camp. Nowhere near that long. I was simply taking my time for the sake of the demonstration. And for the first time in three months, I had to figure out how to explain the things that I normally just do automatically without thinking about them.

I show two camps, and both of them are pretty average. In the second one there was some wind and a bit of light rain, but not nearly enough to use the BatWing, although I show how I carry the BatWing in my tarp stowbag. Both camps feature a two-tree pitch, because for a hundred nights I had that arrangement about 95% of the time. I show my new knot to secure the ridgeline to a tree. You may be surprised at how simple this knot is to tie. As in: "Why didn't I think of that!"

In the video I'm using a Ray-Way backpack with a volume of 2,800 cubes. For the record, I used this for the first and last third of my hike, and a 2,600 cubes pack for the middle third. I also show my Ray-Way foam-pad arrangement, and detail how I use it.

In my book "Trail Life" I describe how to tie this Butterfly knot, to secure a tarp line to a stake. In the video I don't repeat the instruction, but I do show how quick and easy it is to tie this knot, and demonstrate how useful it is.

I'm certain there will be those who say that the video is poor quality and not worth the money. For after all, it looks like it was shot with an ordinary point-and-shoot camera with a video option. Yes, it was. And I carried that camera for over two thousand miles, twice.

But I also hope that a select few people will enjoy the video, not only for it's info, but also a chance to spend an evening with me in the Maine woods, far from the reaches of civilization.

* * * * *

A few things to say about some of the many comments received about my Gear Video.

To those who have said that they learned a lot, I thank you. You made my work on the video worthwhile. Thanks again!

To a few other people who think that I should have given more details, I think they might be missing the point. In case they missed my little message at the start of the video - I encourage everyone to think for him or her self.

"The gear I'm showing is intended for high-daily-mileage thru-hiking the A.T. in early season.
Please note that I'm not recommending anything.
I'm showing only what has worked best for me.
So . . . Think for yourself, hike your own hike.
And most of all . . . Have Fun!"

I should note also, that I'm showing everything I carried on my 2010 AT thru-hike except the camera, cell phone, and the contents of my clothing bag. My clothing bag was very small, so please don't ask me to pull out a frying pan, cooking pot, emergency medical or survival kits, and/or kitchen sink. They would not have fitted. And the reason I did not carry such things, is I don't need them. I also don't need trekking poles, hammock, and other such superfluous gear. None of these things would have enhanced my trip in any way. (See my note, about HDM hiking, below.)

But that's just me. And if someone else needs a kitchen sink to make their trip more enjoyable, I say whatever it takes. the bottom line - for me and I hope for many others - is enjoyment.

So It seems to me, that I can't think for anyone else. I can't tell them everything they need to carry on a hike or other type of trip, down to the last aspirin. People's needs vary widely, depending on the level of experience, physical conditioning, brainwashing by the commercial hype,   and so forth.

Only you can chose your gear, and hike your hike; and only you can figure out what meaning you have derived from the overall experience afterwards.

As for me, I have paired down my gear so that it doesn't get in my way. And simplified it so that it doesn't detract from my experience. This way I can see though my gear, and focus instead on the environment: the plants, trees, birds and animals - and the terrain and my place within it. And so that I can move through my environment with the least resistance.

Again, to those who enjoyed my video, thanks again!

Special note about the term "high-daily-mileage thru-hiking" (aka HDM hiking). I have coined the term to mean through-hiking a multi thousand mile trail, from one end to the other, while hiking over 25 miles each and every day - and taking the very occasional rest day thrown in for good measure. I enjoy this type of hiking the most, even though I also enjoy many other types of hiking and backpacking. But it seems to me that HDM hiking requires a lot of training beforehand, and a selection of only the very lightest weight gear and an absolute minimum of it. The gear that I show in the video reflects this philosophy. I don't expect everyone to hike this way, far from it! But that was my preferred style of hiking that year, and many others. And I think the video shows the basics, and that people can take these basics and go from there, adding things or substituting things as desired.

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