Excerpt from Step Three: Getting Ready

Just Call Me “Wickie”
I’m stepping out of, and leaving behind, most of what I own. I’m parting with familiar friends, like cotton tee shirts sporting rain forest insects and “Save the Earth” messages. I’m leaving at home my jeans, sweatshirts (also with messages), and comfy cotton underwear. Cotton may be great in the tropics, but “up latitude” it doesn’t retain body heat, dries very slowly, and gets mighty heavy when wet.

On a walk, creases are irrelevant, and wrinkles don’t matter—only comfortable and practical matter. Dry and safe also matter. This is why “normal clothing” won’t do.

So I’m setting off to hunt and gather in the commercial jungle—hoping I’ll bag some smart-looking game suitable for covering a trekker. I’ll be searching for hand-washable garments that breathe, wick moisture, dry fast (on a hanger or on me), won’t melt in a dryer, and will fit into a pack.

I’m stepping out in backcountry fashion—into outdoorsy and casual, durable and sensible. I want performance wear that is light to carry and, regrettably, rather expensive. Fortunately, I don’t expect to be buying very much of it, limited as I am by the volume and weight of my pack.

I’m starting on the outside and will be working inward until I reach the final and best layer, the perfect layer: my skin. It breathes, it wicks, it’s washable, and, best of all, it fits. Remember—wrinkles don’t matter.



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