Back in Minnesota after almost four months of travel and adventure in Central and South America. I love long days and it was such a pleasure to be in Futaleufu, Patagonia on New Year’s Eve and watch the sun finally go down at 9:30 pm.
A big objective of my travels was to put together some commercial trip options for the winter of 2018-19 so that my blog readers, friends, and past crews can join me on some most remarkable adventures. My mind is now full of great ideas and a few warnings. I met some terrific outfitters that I will recommend in future blogs. Outfitters with whom my involvement would not help you, and you would be better to just cut me out of the equation. I did some other trips that were just not exciting enough, safe enough or reasonably priced enough for me to have anything further to do with. I might issue a few warnings on my blog about opportunities that I did not care for, but I am a bit loathe to do that. My experience may be different from your experience and I would prefer not to mention places and trips that were duds for me, or the ones that I felt were so hairy that I had to pinch myself to be certain I survived. I did discover some astonishing opportunities and I am working together with some partners, great people, and right now I plan to offer three trips in Latin America next winter. I will accompany you on all these trips. Why? Well, of course, to keep you safe and help smooth out the details. But those of you who know me well will also know the biggest reason. It’s because I want to go back!
On this blog post, as I am a bit of a gearhead, I would like to pay homage to a piece of gear that was my stalwart companion for the last four months and my faithful servant for just over a decade. It is the tenth anniversary of my pairing up with the Cooke Custom Sewing (CCS) http://www.cookecustomsewing.com Rucksack. Possibly the best piece of gear I have ever owned. It’s been my hiking pack, my carry-on travel bag, my canoe day bag, even my business briefcase. It’s been to six continents, down countless rivers, to the summits of several peaks – all without a single failure or repair.
If you already own a CCS Rucksack here are some tips. For use as your international travel bag: Copy your passport and both sides of your credit cards and insurance cards on a sheet of paper, laminate the paper sheet in plastic. Put a new unblemished, unmarked, USD 100 and two unblemished USD 10 bills in a thin envelope and tape the envelope to the laminated sheet. Cover the envelope with clear packing tape, so it is watertight. Put the sheet beneath the back thin foam pad in your rucksack, totally hidden. I had Dan Cooke add a few cool features to my rucksack including a hidden passport pocket, but I recommend for most travel situations you carry your wallet (front pant’s pocket) and passport (https://loksak.com/opsak/) plastic sleeve on your body. In the event of trouble, you will have redundancy with the duplicate documents hidden in the rucksack. Keep your headlamp, sunglasses, eyeglasses, ballpoint pen, note pad, and Kindle or iPad in the top pocket, water bottle on the side and you are good to go. At night you can place the rucksack under your feet if you are using a 3/4 pad or use the rucksack as a pillow in sketchy areas. For canoeing, line your rucksack with a drybag. Don’t ask Dan and Karen (CCS owners) for a multicolor version like mine seen in the pictures belo. My color choice was a special order and no longer available. Mine is pictured here in Patagonia, the Ozarks, Dominican Republic and Western Australia but that pack has been to Asia, Iceland, and was my go to pack on the Serengeti, the far North of Canada, Arctic Alaska even New York City. It’s been around.
For three months of travel If you cannot fit what you need in a CCS Rucksack, you are bringing too much stuff.
Western Australia, Indian Ocean 2015
Dominican Republic with my daughter Lara 2010
Eleven Point River 2012
Guide Service Anywhere