What's the longest you've worn a single pair of socks? Maybe 24 hours if in winter you've worn a pair during the day and then kept them on over night to keep warm? Maybe 48 hours if you've forgotten to do your washing and been forced to wear the same pair for back to back days? Maybe 72 hours if you've out hiking or camping and you forgot to pack a spare pair?
During my last trip I wore a single pair of blue Wilderness Wear socks for almost every single kilometre I completed. That's 3,872km cycling, 943.5km running, 92 days, and almost 600 hours in a single pair of socks. Why? Because I had to.. sort of.
In the lead up to my Cape York to Wilson's Prom trip I started Day 0 with two pairs of socks to complete the cycle leg. The plan was to rotate through the two pairs, two days a time. Two days wearing, one day for washing, one day for drying. It seemed a little gross, but I was travelling self supported and every extra gram of weight was only going to slow me down. On Day One I completed 77 kilometers in a pair of black, short cut Wilderness Wear cycling socks. The next morning as I rushed to start cycling before the sun got too high I couldn't find one of those black socks in my bag so I broke my 'sock plan' and put on my other pair of Wilderness Wear socks, a pair of blue WW Velo's. At the end of Day two I still couldn't find the second black sock, so I wore my blue pair again on Day Three. I still couldn't find the sock on Day Four so on went the blue pair, and then the same again on Day Four.. and Five.. and Six....
Starting the trip in remote far north Queensland meant there were few opportunities to go sock shopping, and the first real opportunity I got was as I reached Port Douglas on Day 12. Now given that I'd already travelled almost 1,000km in the blue (well, still 'blue-ish') socks, I had begun to grown quite fond of them, and during the long days alone I had started to wonder just how long I could go in a single pair of socks.
I left Port Douglas in that pair of socks, and gave them their first proper wash in Cairns. I wore them through rain and storms near Towoomba, crossed the NSW-QLD border in them at Wallangarra, and cycled them all the way through city traffic and across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Arriving in Sydney meant the end of my cycle leg and time to put on my running shoes. It also meant a choice. In the bag I had waiting for me in Sydney were two fresh pairs of Wilderness Wear socks I had planned to complete the run leg in. After sticking my feet into cycling shoes for the past 40 days the brand new pairs felt like putting my feet inside clouds of pure luxury. Yet when the time came to leave Sydney and to start completing kilometers once more it was a pair of faded blue on my feet. Maybe the socks had become a part of the trip, and they were destined to carry me until they were thread bare. Maybe I was just enjoying being a dirty adventurer. Either way the socks went on, and so did the trip.
I sweat my down the coast to Wollongong, then hiked in the socks over the Great Dividing Range to Canberra. I ran back down the range and then along the beach near Merimbula. Once every so often I'd squeeze some sweat and dirt out of the socks, but they went more or less without a clean until my Mum arrived to visit in Nowa Nowa. After a digusting 20min process (...thank-you mum...) the socks turned from the grey they had become back to more of a greyish-blue. With the socks now feeling fresh and revitilised they became my pair to sleep in to keep warm during my troublesome swim and kayak stints on the Gippsland Lakes.
If you look at the photo's of me celebrating at Wilson's Prom you'll see a faint blue line near my ankles. In fact, if you go back through all of the photo's of the last trip you'll see that familiar blue strip, keeping my toes comfortable. What happened to that lost black sock way back near the top of Cape York I'll never know, but I'm kind of glad it disappeared.
On my trips, to be able to push my mind and body to it's maximum capabilities I need to be able to depend on my gear. If I can't fully trust what I'm using, then I can't focus on getting the best out of myself. When my pair of blue socks went on I was able to focus on the kilometers ahead, not on sore feet.
Wilderness Wear are proud of themselves for being 200% Australian (made and owned exclusively to/by Australian's). I talk about them as the company that made a singular pair of socks that I traveled literally from the northernmost point of Australia to the southernmost point of Australia in, all without a single blister.
For my next trip, and the one after that, I plan to get the best out of myself and to do so I'll be wearing Wilderness Wear. If you're planing on completing one kilometer or almost 5,000 kilometers, I suggest you wear Wilderness Wear too. (Maybe for the sake of smell buy a couple of pairs though..)
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