Monday, November 23, 2015

Gear (including new items)

Now that I'm nearly 6 months removed from my last backpacking trip (and at least six months from my next one, maybe more) it's time to review my gear.  I tried a few things, largely related to trying to get my son also outfitted without spending a ton of money, and some of them didn't work as well as I'd have liked, which means that they need to be re-thought.  Here's what I've got now:

Primary Gear

  • Cabela's XPG GORE-TEX Mid Hikers - I really liked these shoes.  They're good for at least several more years worth of hiking, at which point I'll want to replace them with something very similar.
  • Wenzel Escape 50L Pack - I really like this pack, too.  Last year, my son used it while I used one I got from a friend, who gave it to me for free after it didn't sell at his garage sale.  It ended up not working well; it was really uncomfortable and parts of it broke.  This was actually one of the main reasons I "gave up" early on my trip.  I really need another Escape 50.  Given that I've got most of the rest of what I need, even if I bring my son along again, I think I'll just buy a second Wenzel.  If I go solo, I'll just take the one I have.
  • Waistpack - I might want another one.  I have several very small ones, and one larger one that got DEET spilled all over it and kinda sorta dissolved parts of it.
Camping Gear
  • Outdoor Products All Purpose Tarp - I'm wondering how much I really need a tarp, honestly.  Camping here in Michigan in the rain, I think it might have actually contributed to more water issues than it prevented.  I'm tempted to toss the tarp and be done with it.
  • Ozark Trail egg-shell sleeping pad.  No issues.  I might by a second Thermarest from Wal-Mart.
  • Suisse Sport Adventurer Mummy Bag - I need to buy a second one.  I replaced the little light bag I had the year before, but then ended up using it again anyway so my son could have the warmer bag.  And then I was cold again.  Blegh.
  • Campmor 2 person dome tent - I'd love to get the Cabela's XPG Ultralight 2 person tent, but it costs $300.  I bought this for a tenth of the price, and it works fine.
  • Coleman inflatable pillow - I liked adding this to my line up.  It's pretty lightweight, but it made a big difference in comfort at night.
Clothing You Wear
  • Cabela's boonie hat - I might replace this with a regular baseball cap with a bandana clipped or sown in to cover my neck.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.
  • Fleece jacket - I've got several to choose from.  I'd like to add a lightweight puffer jacket to this, to keep me even warmer (especially at night) but I've been happy with the performance of my fleeces.
  • Long-sleeved nylon t-shirt - I've got several of these too.
  • Cabela's Lookout Peak Trail pants - although I've burned through one pair, I still have two more.  Not bad.  For the price, you can't beat 'em.
  • Midweight merino wool boot socks - again; I've got lots of pair.  I could pick up more if needed, since I use them day to day even when not hiking.
Clothing You Carry
  • Extra socks - see above
  • Manzella gloves - I might pass. I haven't really used them at all the last two years.
  • C9 packable rain jacket - I've also got a Frogg Toggs rain suit.  Either one would work fine.  You aren't like to wear either anyway, unless the rain sticks around for a while.
  • Beanie - the one I have is by Columbia, but any would do. 
  • Ozark Trail sandals - for stream crossings.  It's a pain to change your shoes out to cross rivers, but not as bad a pain as hiking for a long time with wet shoes.
  • Base Layers - I'll continue to use the ones I have; I bought them at Wal-Mart on an end of season clearance in January.
Cooking/Eating Gear
  • I need a new pocketknife.  After I got back from my trip the year before, I couldn't find the one I had brought anymore.  I don't know what happened to it, and I did actually use it the year before.  I don't really want to not have one.  But small, lightweight pocketknives cost less than $5 and are readily available all over the place.  No big deal.
  • Lightweight camp spoon and fork.
  • Elektek portable camp stove - a very small backpacking stove.  Works fine.
  • Stanley Camp cookset - fairly small, lightweight, and the stove packs inside.  Not room for the fuel canister, though.
Water/Drinking Equipment
  • Camelbak bladder
  • Power-ade bottle, rinsed out.
  • SteriPEN water purifier - no changes to any of this equipment.  I'd probably add a few portable drink mixes, though.  River water, even in the mountains, starts to taste blegh after a few days.
  • Camera - I really need my own.  Haven't decided yet which one to get, but for $100-$200 there's lots of choices.
  • Compass
  • First Aid Kit
  • Headlamp - I have a slightly heavier Coleman one, and a very small, lightweight one.  The very small one isn't really as bright as I like.  I might get a second bigger one if we go in groups of two again.
  • Insect treatment (permethrin) plus insect repellant - lots of mosquitos last year, but I didn't get a single bite.  I'm sold.
  • Map
  • Wipes.
Other than adding a second to some of the gear that I liked, but only have one of and therefore if I bring my son with me we can't both have one, the only thing that I'd really like to buy is a puffer jacket.  Here's a good deal on one:

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