My name is Brenna Bozanic and I love backpacking. I'm a bit of a nerd, so when I'm not outdoors I read a lot, make chainmail jewelry and armor, and make costumes. I've been working at the coop for 2 years.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BACKPACKING?
My first backpacking trip was when I was 14, which means I've been backpacking for 14 years.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU BACKPACK?
Not often enough! I don't have a winter kit, so I go only in the late summer (July-September) when the bugs aren't as bad. I take anywhere from 1 to 4 trips a season, ranging from 3 to 8 days each.
HOW DID YOU LEARN?
I learned backpacking from my parents, especially my dad. Everyone in my family did scouting as kids and this really helped contribute to my brother and I growing up loving the outdoors. Family camping trips evolved into family backpacking trips. Besides having great mentors, it's a lot of trial and error.
WHY DO YOU LOVE TO BACKPACK?
I love backpacking because it's a great escape. You forget what day of the week it is because it doesn't matter. You can hear the great silence of the wilderness (which isn't silent at all). I've found places out there that just don't compare to anything else.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
I've been trying to get more into ultralight, but that's difficult because I take most of my trips in the Sierra's where bear canisters are required. I've still been able to bring my base weight down a bit, but it's a work in progress. Eventually, I'd love to fastpack and trailrun. The Triple Crown of Hiking is something I'd like to accomplish one day.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO BAKCPAKCING?
Tuolumne Meadows is a great place. There are a lot of easier trails in that area, and I find myself going every year soon after my longest trip of the season. Plus, it's a slightly less popular/crowded part of Yosemite National Park. Very different scenery, but just as beautiful.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM PLACE TO DO A BACKPACKING TRIP?
I'd love to backpack all over the country. There are a lot of thru-hikes that are on my list, and all of them go through multiple states.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AS A BACKPACKER?
Proudest moments and scariest moments usually go hand in hand with backpacking. I suppose my proudest moment would be learning my limits and when to bail. Backpacking carries risks and not all of them are external like exposure, falls, and animal attacks. Some of them are internal, or mental. Sometimes it is best to turn around and call it day, or to abandon the trip. That takes knowing yourself and your limits, which can be difficult, especially when you are in sight of your goal and the instinct is to think "I can make it." That's not always the best choice.
ANY SCARY MOMENTS ON THE TRAIL?
Being eaten by a rock monster.
Seriously though, probably looking over the edge at Forester Pass (13,200'). Most passes I've been over have a good-sized saddle or bowl area to eat lunch at. Forester Pass is tiny and features a huge drop off just a foot behind the sign. I took one look over that edge and almost passed out. I've looked over plenty of edges at bigger drops before but something about this one got to me.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
my 5 must-haves
LA SPORTIVA FC ECO 3.0 GTX HIKING BOOTSThese boots are so comfortable, I didn't even break them in (which is usually a bad idea). They have medium ankle support; the ankle is supported, but not immobilized. They are easy to over-tighten but once I got used to the idea that they form to my feet instead of needing to be strapped on, I had no problems.
SMARTWOOL PhD OUTDOOR MEDIUM CREW SOCKI switched to not using a liner sock when I got my new boots. The boots are very well fit and there's no room for over bulky socks, let alone a second layer. These socks have varying levels of padding based on where it's needed. This eliminates the need for a liner and still leaves your feet dry and blister-fere at the end of the day.
BIG AGNES FLY CREEK PLATINUM 1 PERSON TENTMy solo tent. Just over 2lb (including footprint) with enough room to sit up inside. I often camp above the treeline so ultralight hammocks are out of the question. I like my shelter to be a comfort, which is why I went for a free-standing tent, as opposed to a tarp tent or a bivy. It set up easily, even in high winds.
MARMOT MINIMALIST JACKETUltralight 6oz shell. This replaced my old shell which weighed over a pound! It works great and doesn't overheat you when hiking in the rain. Small enough to stash in my pack's lid so it's easily accessible.
OUTDOOR RESEARCH FILAMENT JACKETMy latest piece, I'll be trail testing this in a few days! 6oz down-insulated mid-layer. I get cold easily and fleece jackets just weren't doing enough. Being comfortable on the trail and at camp makes backpacking more enjoyable.