Wild movie: A look inside Cheryl Strayed’s monster pack (VIDEO).

Inside the Absurd Hiking Pack From Wild   

Inside the Absurd Hiking Pack From Wild   

Slate in motion.
Dec. 9 2014 6:21 PM

“Monster,” Unpacked 

Inside the absurd hiking pack in Wild


Were Wild author Cheryl Strayed to hit the Pacific Crest Trail again, the first thing she would do, in her words, is “take less stuff.”* And that would probably be the right call. A key character in Strayed’s best-selling memoir (and the Reese Witherspoon–starring film) was her at-times burdensome pack, aptly dubbed “Monster” because of its comical size and weight.

According to a recent interview with Outside, Strayed still has Monster, and it remains her “go-to” pack for long trips—a fact that came in handy once it came time to shoot the movie. When production moved up to Oregon, the props and design teams stopped by Strayed’s house. Upon seeing the beast, they realized the movie version needed to be authentic, and in turn, wrote the mountain product company, Gregory, requesting that identical copies of the now-vintage pack be made.

“They even packed Monster for the film the way I packed it,” Strayed told Outside. “They looked at pictures of me on the trail. When I see Reese walking beneath that pack, it seems so strange to me. It’s like, ‘That’s my pack. That’s my Monster!’ ”


In the video above—which comes courtesy of Fox Searchlight—you can see inside the now-famous pack, just as Strayed herself would lay it out. Packed, unpacked, Bob Marley T-shirt, sleeping bag, books: It’s Monster in all its glory.

Correction, Dec. 12, 2014: This post originally misidentified the Pacific Crest Trail as the Pacific Coast Trail.

A.J. McCarthy is a speechwriter for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and a former Slate writer and producer.

Andy Zhao is a Slate Video intern.