I can't say enough in this post about Andrew and the people at Next Adventure! They have taken me from recreational walker to full on/ full scale through hiker. I meet Andrew about 2 months before I left on the walk while I was down in Portland. He gave me some great advice, not trying to sell me a particular product but seeing what works best for me to succeed.
Once on the road, I felt like my pack was just too heavy and I needed to find a way to get rid of the weight but keeping what I needed. I knew Andrew was the guy for the job! I headed to Next Adventure, where Andrew works, to get the "ShakeDown". It was so exciting to see him again and tell him about the last 180 miles. I brought in my pack and we analyzed every single thing from the sleeping bag to the floss. The one thing he said that stuck with me the most is "don't pack your fears". Example, I got a 0 degree sleeping bag because I was afraid I would get too cold at times. It weights 4 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot of weight but if I can get away with caring a 2 pound 20 degree bag instead that will last me 3 seasons but weight less, why not?
This was the process for everything I had. I got rid of extra clothes, miscellaneous items and decided to switch to a lighter pack.... as they say, "every ounce counts" and I'm learning that to be true.
Not only did Andrew take 2 hours of his work day to help me while assisting other customers, but he also helped me find ways to save on the cost of my gear.
Thank you Andrew for your invaluable information and for going above and beyond!