- Renee Miller and Tim Beissinger are hiking the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada.
- They carry packs that weigh less than 10 pounds (5kg) and hold everything they need for life on the trail.
- One of their necessities is a shovel, which they use to dig holes to poop in.
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A couple in the midst of a 3,000-mile (4,828km) hike told Insider a shovel is one of their necessities for life on the trail.
Renee Miller and Tim Beissinger are hiking the Continental Divide Trail throughout the summer of 2021, which is a 3,028-mile (4,873km) trail that runs from Mexico to Canada.
They are thru-hiking, so they sleep and eat on the trail, setting up camp each night wherever they end up after a day’s worth of walking.
Miller and Beissinger told Insider they were inspired to take the journey after hiking the similar Pacific Crest Trail, which is 2,650 miles (4,265km), in 2018. They started the hike on May 3, and they’re aiming to finish it by the end of September.
The couple are documenting their hike on TikTok, where they have over 1.4 million followers. They share intimate details of their life on the trail on the platform, making videos about everything from how they sleep to what they eat.
Miller and Beissinger told Insider they try to live as minimally as possible throughout their journey.
“We have very little stuff,” Beissinger told Insider. “Both of us have a pack weight of less than 10 pounds (5kg) before we add food and water.”
Everything Miller and Beissinger take with them on the road serves a specific purpose, if not multiple. For instance, they said they store their clothes in waterproof bags, which double as pillows each night.
They also told Insider they put their sleeping bags on top of sheets of Tyvek, which you’ve likely seen wrapped around homes during construction. They offer a cheaper alternative to weather-proof pads.
“Why spend a bunch of money on an inferior product when something from a construction dumpster works just as well?” Beissinger said.
The couple even dehydrated 100 dinners for themselves ahead of their journey so heavy food wouldn’t take up too much space in their bags.
One of their most important possessions is a simple shovel.
“We have a shovel that we use to dig holes to poop in,” Beissinger told Insider. “That’s how it works out here.”
The couple stops in towns to shower and buy food periodically, but they use nature as their bathroom for the majority of the journey.
“It’s a very lightweight shovel,” Beissinger said of the tool, so it doesn’t make their packs too heavy.
Although some might find the idea of sleeping outside or digging holes to go to the bathroom unappealing, it makes Miller and Beissinger happy.
“The simplicity of doing this hike is surprising and fulfilling,” Beissinger said.
“We are free to think about whatever comes to mind, and our only concern is where’s the next water source,” Miller said.
“Every day we feel like we accomplished our goal, and it’s a very fulfilling feeling to say, ‘OK, did we hike our miles today? Yes, we did. We’ve eaten. We can go to sleep,'” Beissinger added.