“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.”
One thing most backpackers have to concede – we’re gear junkies. We can’t imagine going on the (road) trail without a few of our favorite things. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fun to peruse the latest and greatest gear sites and catalogs, dreaming of how much better our next trip would be IF ONLY we had that piece of gear we’ve been drooling over. With that thought in mind I thought I might suggest a few things (based on my experiences) to might make your Christmas shopping (or catalog browsing) season brighter.
I have carried Granite gear packs for quite few years now. The company has a wonderful reputation and makes a darn comfortable piece of kit in the AC 60.
Granite Gear AC60
While I still highly recommend their packs for the lightweight crowd, I have most recently become a convert to ULA Equipment. I became the proud owner of a ULA Ohm 2.0, and can honestly say that it instantly became my favorite pack.
ULA Ohm 2.0
The Ohm 2.0 weighs in at half of what my AC 60 did, and is great if you are the type who has his or her gear kit dialed in. If you are looking for a lighter alternative to your current pack I recommend giving ULA a look.
I am a long time tarp user, and for years one of my favorites was the FlatTarp3 by Oware . Dave Olson has a reputation for making quality tarps, and it really shows in the details.
Oware FlatTarp 3
Since becoming a bonafide hammock hanger my choice has changed. I am a huge fan of the Hammock Gear Standard Cuben Tarp w/ Doors .
Hammock Gear Cuben Tarp with Doors
You’ll hear me gush whenever I mention Hammock Gear, and rightfully so. They’re quality and customer service is second to none.
If you are in the market for a hammock, in my honest opinion there is no better brand than Warbonnet. I currently use a Warbonnet Traveler , and their Blackbird is legendary among hangers for comfort, quality, and resale value.
Relaxing in my Warbonnet Traveler
There is nothing more important to me than a good nights sleep on the trail, and for years I have sung the praises of Mountain Hardwear Phantom series sleeping bags. I owned a Phantom 15 and a Phantom 45, and I considered these my most essential pieces of gear for years.
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15
Lately I have said good bye to my old friends and converted to the Hammock Gear Burrow line of top quilts. Now I get top of the line quality in an even lighter package.
Hammock Gear Burrow 20
My Burrow 20 comes in at 17.1 ounces – half of what my Phantom 15 weighed. Combined with my Hammock Gear Incubator 20 under quilt my whole insulation package comes in at the same weight as my old sleeping bag alone!
I’ve owned more than my fair share of cookware – titanium, aluminum and stainless. Of all my cookware the piece that gets the most use is my Evernew Titanium 550 ml cookpot.
Evernew 550 ml pot
This pot weighs in at 3 ounces even, including lid and stuffsack, and has the capacity I need for most freeze dried meals. On top of that it’s the perfect size to use as a mug.
I never (NEVER) go on a hike without my Black Rock Gear Down Beenie .
Black Rock Gear Down Beenie
There’s just no reason to leave it home! My BRG Down Beenie provides incredible warmth, whether in camp lounging or settling in for a night in the hammock, and weighs in at a scant 9/10’s of an ounce. Unfortunately the only thing it can’t do is make me look cool.
Another must have for me is my Smartwool Socks.
You’d think merlino wool would be a problem in the summer, but not these socks. My feet are cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and comfortable anytime I wear them. I have a few pair of Adrenelines from 8-10 years ago that are still wearing like iron. Smartwool socks are a little pricey up front, but you’ll get your money’s worth out of them.
‘Tis the season and Black Friday’s a comin’, so why not treat yourself to some of those goodies you’ve been drooling over? What’s on your wishlist?