Monday, March 12, 2012

Blissful's Gear Picks

I see that Backpacker Magazine has out in their March issue its picks for 2012. I thought I'd throw in a few of my own that have worked well for me in the past.

Backpack Choice - ULA Catalyst

Superior pack. Lots of room. Lightweight. Carries well. And a company that knows hikers' needs and cares about them. The most popular brand out on the trail.

Sleeping Bag Choice - MontBell Spiral Series

The MontBell bag is an excellent performer, especially with its elastic in the fabric which allows for much more freedom of movement. The down compresses well and the outer layer sheds water. It dries in a snap. You can also find it on sale at times, unlike the Western Mountaineering of which an outfitter plainly told me on the phone they do not allow anyone, no way, no how, to ever put their bags on sale. Nor do I find contact info on the WM web site anywhere for customer service and questions. Strange business ethics, imo. Which is fine. I'll stick to MontBell.

Sleeping pad liner - Thermarest Neoair series

I had been a huge Big Agnes insulated air core kind of user, being a side sleeper. But when Thermarest came out with their Neoair series, I was sold. I like the horizontal cushioning and the lightweight design. With care, I kept it going through most of my southbound Appalachian Trail hike (unlike BA that had to be replaced several times). Worth the money.
UPDATE - I just bought the new NeoAir Ultra Light version that just came out this year, so will let you know what I think.

Stove - Snowpeak LiteMax canister stove

The Litemax is a fine canister stove, though I had no problems at all with the MSR Pocket Rocket and also recommend it. The only reason I put this on here is because it is lighter weight than the pocket rocket. But it does the same thing and is a proven performer on the trail. If you want to save a few ounces, check it out.

Cookset - Snowpeak Trek Series - titanium is the way to go. Ultra light, holds up well, packs well. Need I say more?

Utensil - one simple lexan spork. Cheap, functional, no problems on long distances. Forget the Light My Fire spork. Dig into a jar of peanut butter and you'll see why you might curse it.

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