Grand Prize Winner!

This year, when I decided to thru-hike the PCT, I mostly borrowed gear or obtained hand-me-downs, and some of it didn’t fit me well, caused me pain, was too heavy, didn’t work as well as it should, etc. I knew I had to go out there this year instead of waiting for next year when maybe I could acquire better gear, so I thought I’d make do with what I had as best as I could.

A week before my start date, I entered a raffle that was part of a charity fundraiser hosted by GearRat Outdoors, a backpacking gear swap page on Facebook. I never win anything, and I’m surprised I even chose to enter this raffle, so I was obviously incredibly taken aback to find out that, a week into my hike, I was announced as the grand prize winner and would be equipped with all brand new gear–some of the best, most ultralight, gear there is–and it’s 100% free for me to keep.

I made a video of my reaction and my gratitude when I first found out. You can see it here:

After it was mailed out to me, the organizer of the event asked me to make a video of me opening the box and revealing its contents. Here is that video:

And here is a photo of everything that I won!


I opted out of taking the sleeping bag as it was a men’s long, and besides, I already have one that (I hope) will serve me well.

Isn’t this the most amazing thing ever?! I’m the luckiest girl in the world.


About elinatravels

I’m Elina Oliferovskiy, a Russian-born 26-year-old restless soul who’s never really found a place to dig her roots in deep ever since I moved to the United States in 1998. I’ve lived in a 39-foot RV with 8 people and a Chihuahua and road-tripped around approximately 38 states for 1.5 months. I’ve packed my car and headed north without a destination and ended up in Big Sur, CA and lived there for a bit. I recently moved to Bend, OR without ever having been here prior (simply went off of the recommendations of others). And I just came back from a trip to France, Luxembourg, England, and Ireland and have many fun stories to share. My alter-ego is Free Spirit (my trail name on the PCT) and I am an aspiring solo female Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker, who’d hiked half of the trail in 3.5 months in 2016 and a did a one-month section hike in 2014. I started this blog to chronicle my attempt to get from Mexico to Canada on foot via the PCT. I have also hiked in England, Luxembourg, and hope to hike the Camino De Santiago (St. James’ Way) in Spain and the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, as well as many others. I love challenging myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, exploring and meeting new people who introduce me to their perspectives on life and allow me to be part of what they hold dearest to their hearts, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in order to try exciting new things, and seeing, tasting, smelling, experiencing all of what this wonderful world I live in has to offer. This is why I travel. This is also why I move frequently. I’ve been moving somewhere new nearly every year, and I absolutely love my lifestyle. Now, I am deciding between teaching English in Vietnam, working remotely from New Zealand, or moving back to CA and woodcarving for a season. We will see what happens in the fall/winter of 2017. For now, I plan to stay in Bend, OR another few months and absorb all I can from this wonderful little (though rapidly growing) town. Feel free to follow along my journey by reading and commenting on my blog, adding me on Facebook (search for Elina Oliferovskiy and write me a message telling me you are a follower of my blog), or emailing me at
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10 Responses to Grand Prize Winner!

  1. Joshua says:

    What a great moral boost for your PCT through hike. Now you definitely have take it with you and test it out! Congrats!! Bummer it wasn’t a woman’s bag but hey, no complaints for free gear right? Looking forward to more updates on your progress. Imo, when you get to Walker’s Pass and northbound, its going to be a whole new world 😊


  2. Patricia Shoupe says:

    I am so glad for you. You are really lucky to get all that stuff when you are on the PCT no less.
    If you don’t mind a question, where are you from? I was just wondering. I hope your leg and feet problems are better.


  3. Buddy says:

    Congrats on your win. Good luck on your PCT journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your video made me smile :). Congratulations and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Craig Rowe says:

    See how you have it all sorted on that blue tarp? Open up that TripTarp® for a much more organized way to do it. Have a great, life-changing hike and be safe out there. I’m in Truckee should you need some help along the trail as you reach the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • elinatravels says:

      This blue tarp photo was one Christian Millet sent me as a glimpse of what’s coming in the mail for me. Oh, just you wait and see all of my photos with the trip tarp! Stay tuned 🙂
      And thank you!


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