Brian Rueb: Project Iceland

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With the arrival of 2010, my book project scooted from being an event I referred to as occurring ‘next year’ to one happening THIS YEAR!  I’m only 3 months out.


I’ve been reading, preparing, researching, fretting, and doing everything possible to ensure my trek isn’t one I look back on as being ‘the one that broke me.’  It’s hard not to be a little overwhelmed.  This will either be the greatest thing I’ve done to date, or a nightmare that lasts 65 solid days.

It will be awesome.

I hope.

If you’re like me, it takes time to plan a trip, any trip … even one lasting only a weekend.

A 65-day expedition where ‘luggage’ is a backpack that carries not only your clothing, but also food, camera equipment, toiletries, bed, and home.

I say this is a task worth stressing … so, that’s exactly what I’ve done! I’ve spent the past months pushing pins in maps, making lists, drawing up projected routes, lifting various pieces of gear, squinting, looking at them inquisitively to ‘see if it’s light and will fit in my bag.  I don’t actually put it in my bag so this does me NO good  …but it makes me feel better … so I continue.

After I feel good about my ‘plan’ I discover new information which causes panic and the realization that my ‘plan’ is not feasible. Back to the drawing board.

The lists I create are almost comical. Placing things in lists ‘Essential’ vs. ‘Not Essential.’

Do I really need more than one pair of underwear?  Logic states yes … but camera batteries are more important right?  I say yes.   If my pack weight soars … what goes first?  While I say I need two pair of shoes … if I get grumpy … how quickly will I convince myself to leave the heavy pair in a trash bin?  Is staying dry a luxury I can do without, so my raingear gets left in a campground?  How much can I fit in my backpack?  That answer is, more than you think … if you get creative, smash things in, and use a lot of ties and clips on the outside.

While my route is still in limbo … and I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be sleeping most nights … I do know what will be in my backpack. For your entertainment … here’s my list.

  • Camera gear (body, 2 lenses, 10 batteries, filters, tripod, cables, data storage device, charger, and adaptor (Nearly 15 lbs of stuff)
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 long sleeve shirts
  • 2 pairs of pant/shorts (The legs zip off, which creates 4 pairs of lower garments)
  • 1 thermal-esque base layer for warmth
  • 1 water/wind PROOF (forget ‘resistant’ … dry is important) outer layer
  • 1 pair of waders (ultra lightweight for crossing rivers, and photographing in water)
  • 4 pairs of GOOD socks, yes I have more socks than any other piece of clothing … and if you’ve ever had cold, wet feet you understand. Yay, wigwams!
  • 3 pair of underwear (which will be replaced on an as-needed basis)
  • 1 stove
  • 1 set of utensils
  • 2 water bottles and purifier
  • Food for first 7 days hiking (I have a plan for the rest of the days)
  • Bug net for my face, I’m told I need it
  • 2 pairs of shoes (one specifically for water)
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Tent
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping bag liner (for cold nights)
  • Notebooks and pen
  • Sundries bag.  This bag will include, TP, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, superglue (to seal up wounds) chapstick, moleskin, etc)
  • iPod
  • Maps (I know I’m going to forget them because they are so vital … I ALWAYS do … but I’m telling myself I won’t)

This is a lot of “stuff” … but I’m going to figure it out step by step … and it will fit.  It will!  The pack will weigh close to 50 lbs … and I’m extremely confident that numerous times during that first week of hiking I will hate my pack, and everything inside it … I’m also predicting large periods of discomfort associated with this bag.

Hey, maybe I should pack a box of tissues to use when I start to cry …

For more information on Brian Rueb and how you can be a part of Project Iceland, visit his website,

Or you can follow him on Facebook!/pages/Redding-CA/Brian-Rueb-Photography/121928334886?ref=ts


Brian Rueb is a north state writer, photographer and educator. A large selection of his images is hanging in the HDR imaging gallery at 2531 Victor Ave (corner of Victor and Cypress)

Click here to see more of his photography.

is a north state writer, photographer and educator. A large selection of his images is hanging in the HDR imaging gallery at 2531 Victor Ave. (corner of Victor and Cypress).
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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Randy Head says:


    As a survivor of 5 1/2 months on the Appalachian Trail as a thru-hiker I offer you this bit of advise. Never, ever, ever in your wildest of delusional I-HATE-M-HEAVY-PACK moments take your rain gear or 100% DEET out of the pack, unless it's to ditch your long buried tooth brush & toothpaste, or worthless pillow. A sleeping bag stuff sack with a bit of clothing in it and a jacket/shirt as a "pillowcase" is just as good.

    Make certain you leave the mini roll of duct tape in the pack too now that I think of it, it works better for preventing blisters than mole skin.


  2. Avatar D Westerman Bowen says:

    Glad to see you are doing something awesome with your awesome talent in both photography and writing. Take waterproof matches. 50 pounds isn't bad if it's a quality pack. Agree with the guy up there. Duct Tape has many uses. You will be glad you took it along.

    Good luck!

  3. Avatar D Westerman Bowen says:

    Oh Oh!!! What about your spear? You will be carrying it in case of squirrels. right?

  4. Avatar Pol says:

    You know what I do, wrap some duct tape around the base of your water bottle. Might come in handy… (this is a tip I got from the Yeti)

  5. Avatar John Mueller says:

    I see you didn't mention deodorant which is good because the body should be self-cleansing.