So what have I been up to in the last year then? Well 2 things mainly: researching and buying gear and putting some miles under my boots, both of which are significantly more time consuming than you can imagine. I can spend an entire day on the internet on one web search, currently, squared shaped down sleeping bags is the most searched for thing on my internet history (FYI no one makes them!!), closely followed by best pooping in the woods technique. Last year I followed a lot of hiker’s blogs and am currently re reading them less for pleasure and more to extract useful information out of them. Most importantly their gear charts and the big question “how much does it weigh?” it has been a challenge being in the UK and acquiring gear, we are way behind in the ultra-light back packing stuff, I went to a well know outdoor shop and laughed in the sales assistants face when he told me his lightest tent was 2.2kg (oh yeah and not to mention every company uses a different measurement of weight!!!) I have been very lucky though and after shooting off a few emails I received discounts from major outdoor shops Mountain Warehouse and Cotswold Outdoor, which has really made a difference, I think from sending a few emails and spending several days (ahem weeks) researching I have saved at least £500. Some things are just considerably cheaper in the USA, like stoves and water filtration equipment so im taking a risk on leaving it until a week before my trip before buying them once I land stateside, it doesn’t give much time to learn how to use them but will save me money. Oh yeah and can someone give AWOL a nudge, I cant seem to get the guidebook shipped to the UK, I’ll have a lot of studying to do on my trip down to Atlanta. For the most current update of my gear buying saga, please see my Gear section. You will see I have a fair few things still to get, I’m a chronic over packer so im going to need some serious elimination help!