Probably our favorite and most useful items are our backpacks. I love mine. It is made by Arcteryx, and it has the perfect amount of pockets, that are extremely well-placed. It is also incredibly comfortable to carry, even when loaded with almost 40 pounds of gear. The hip belt swivels as you walk, reducing strain on your back. Also of note is the simple color and design, which is what attracted me to the backpack in the first place. It's really tough to find women's gear that's not lime green, beige or magenta. Just because I'm female doesn't mean I want to look like a flower or a leprechaun. Monica likes her backpack because it has a mesh back that creates an extra space between her back and the backpack for airflow, so her back never gets sweaty or uncomfortable. Hers is made by Osprey.
|Anne at the beginning of the Inca Trail hike with her cute Arcteryx backpack.|
|Rain jacket FTW!|
Our hiking boots have been great as well. Mine are made by Frye, and are light, comfortable and classic-looking. I haven't had any pain in my feet yet. And we've done a lot of walking and hiking. I did have to spend some time waterproofing them with some waxy substance I bought from Sports Basement. So far, I haven't worn them in the rain yet, so I can't really say if that stuff works or not. Monica bought Lowa boots, which came pre- waterproofed, and they've worked out great for her. She found them serendipitously through watching a video of a girl who hiked through Iceland alone. At the end of the video, there was a shot of her shoes. Monica paused the video, noted the brand and model, and purchased through Zappos. And since the video is really worth seeing, you guys should check it out.
Having the laptops has been handy as well (when they function properly). We both have Eee PCs, made by Asus. Unfortunately, Monica has had a lot of trouble with hers; I think it's because she bought it used. I would recommend buying a new computer if you can, the difference in price was less than $100.