Backpacking equipment 2018


This is my current gear list. I choose different items to build my ‘kit’ depending on my destination, length of trip, anticipated weather, and whether I am hiking solo.




Description and Comments

OUNCES (my measurements)

New for 2018




Dream Hammock Sparrow

In 2018 I experimented with hammock camping. Dream Hammock made me a custom made, lightweight hammock. Jury is still out for me. Although in good weather I sleep like a baby in a hammock, in colder weather (below 40) I have a hard time getting everything adjusted and warm, even with a custom down underquilt. Can’t say enough good things about the folks at Dream Hammock. Wonderful to work with.


Hammock Gear Dyneema Tarp w/doors

Dyneema Fiber Standard Tarp with Doors

Uber light tarp to cover the hammock




Enlightened Equipment Revolt hammock underquilt

Down underquilt. If you are serious about hammock camping, getting an underquilt is the way to go.






New for 2017





ZPacks Arc Haul

Although I REALLY like my ULA Circuit, I’m ready to try something new. 10 oz lighter than the Circuit. Has great reviews… significant weight savings. I hope I like it!


2018 update

I prefer the ULA Circuit. No real reason, the Circuit just rides more comfortably on me.

26 oz


ZPacks Duplex

I have been looking for a roomier, free standing tent. Looked at some of the commercial options… Finally bit the bullet and sprung for the Zpacks Duplex. I chose the Camo material to darken the tent walls. Crazy light for a 2 person tent. I went ahead and also upgraded to the ‘Flex’ option. Has poles to make it free-standing, but adds 10oz to the weight. Even with that, 32 oz is amazing. Not sure I will actually use the poles, but I wanted the choice.


2018 update: This is my #1 favorite tent of all time. Roomy, light, waterproof, tent nirvana.

22 oz

Enlightened Equipment Convert Quilt

Going to try a quilt again. This time I purchased a wide, long Enlightened Equipment Convert quilt. It can be zipped up if needed in case it gets cold (so really a bag/quilt hybrid). When I tried a quilt before, I just couldn’t eliminate drafts when it got cold. This quilt is rated to 20 degrees

·         Size: Long (84”) Wide (64”)

·         Fill: 950 Goose Down (Downtek treated, ethically sourced)

·         Loft: 2.5”

·         Total Weight: 25oz

·         Fill weight: 15.36

·         Stuffed size: 9x16

 2018 update: So far really like it. Getting the wide made all the difference in keeping drafts out.

25 oz

Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka

Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, it is overpriced.

However, being fortunate enough to have the Montbell store local, I was able to compare all of the 2017 models, and also compare to my Montbell UL Inner.

I was looking for an insulation layer that was a BIT warmer than my UL Inner. The UL Inner had 2.5 oz 800 down at 9.9 oz total (Ex Lg)

The UL Inner was good down to mid 30’s in camp (for me). (with layers) Some of my shoulder season hikes I see temps in the high 20’s so I wanted something a bit warmer.

The Plasma 1000 has 3.4 1000 down at the exact same 9.9 oz total. (Ex Large)

Much more loft for the same weight. No other model had the right balance of features that met my needs…. Yes I am a Montbell fanboy.

9.9 oz

Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants

Have tried DriDucks (ripped every time), and Tyvek (too flimsy)

I mainly need wind protection and an additional layer for warmth in camp, as well as mosquito protection.

These should be more durable, offer some rain protection and are super light.

2018 Update: So far really like these. More durable than the DriDucks or Tyvek pants and still really light.

2.6 oz

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

Super light filter. Paired with the SEEKER 2L bottle

Together a 4 oz system. Awesome.


2018 Update: My go-to filter now. Good flow rate, easy to backflush, paired with the Hydrapak this is awesome. Ditch the 1 liter bag that comes with the filter.

1.3 oz

Hydrapak Seeker 2L Water Storage Bag

Seeker Water bag to attach to the BeFree filter


Perfect. Collapsible, enough capacity to limit trips to the water source when camped.

2.7 oz



My current active gear list

OUNCES (my measurements)

ULA Circuit

Really love this pack


For lightweight loads. < 35 lbs

3800 cu in


Used for my 2010 and 2011 JMT hike, 2012 HST and CT hikes.



New gear for 2010 for me. Fantastic reviews at BPL and other sites.

Another cottage industry item. ULA has earned a loyal following with their quality and customer service.

I can get my Bearikade Weekender in horizontally (barely, and only in the top of the pack). I love the hip belt pockets, the fit and how comfortable it is. It seems durable. The side pockets are angled so I can get my water bottle out without taking the pack off. 


ZPacks Cuben Fiber pack cover

Super lightweight water proof pack cover. Weight includes cuben fiber stuff sack.


Tarptent Notch

I used the Tarptent Moment on my 2011 John Muir Trail thru hike. I really liked it, especially how ridiculously easy it was to setup. Unfortunately (for my wallet), Tarptent keeps cranking out new designs. For 2012 I am going to try the Notch. Benefits over the Moment are dual vestibules, lower weight and better ventilation. Cons? A little harder to setup, with 4 stakes. My first setup took about 2.5 minutes, so still very easy to setup. Advertised weight was 26 oz. My actual weight, after seam sealing, including the stuff sack AND stakes is 26 oz. Sweet!


I really liked this tent, and used it exclusively in 2012. However… I did have a couple of nights with campsitres on granite, and with winds. Staking using rocks worked, but there was no way to get a tight pitch on rocks.




Gossamer Gear Spinnsheet Ground Cloth

2011 - I have been using this as my ground sheet. I have tried lighter alternatives, but keep coming back to this. It is a tough material, easy to work with, and I cut it to fit my Tarptent Moment so there is no excess material.


Thought I had lost this but then found it again. No longer carried by GG.


MSR GroundHog Stake

I have used several varieties of tent stakes, Easton, MSR Ground Hog, Ti stakes, etc. I do NOT recommend the Easton stakes. I had a head pull off the second day out on a 3 day tip. The MSR Ground Hog is a great stake. Holds extremely well, fairly light, held up to pounding in rocky soil…

.41 each

montbell bag.jpg

Montbell U.L.SS.Down Hugger #3



Replaced by



30 degree rating,

800 fill down,

Max User Height: 5ft. 10in.

Inside Shoulder Girth: 53.2” – 70.9”  (that is the STRETCH factor!)

Inside Knee Girth: 42.8” – 57.1”

Stuffed Size: 5.4” x 10.7”

Amazing bag. Lightweight, stretches so I don’t feel claustrophobic. I have used it in temps in the low 30’s and was completely comfortable. Temp rating seems spot on. If  I expect temps to go below 30 I use the Montbell #1

Packs small. I love this bag. 5 out of 5 stars!


U.L.Super Spiral Down Hugger #1

I love my Montbell #3 bag, but need something just a bit warmer for the shoulder seasons. I had temps down into the mid 20’s on my 2010 JMT trip and got a bit cold. The #1 is rated to 15 degrees. I used it on my 2011 JMT thru hike where the low temps were in the high 20’s. Stayed toasty warm…

These bags stretch when I move so they don’t make me feel claustrophobic, which helps me get a great night’s sleep!

·  800 Fill Power Goose Down

·  Max User Height 6’

·  Shoulder Girth 53”~75”

·  Knee Girth 44”~62”

·  Stuffed Size 7.1” x 14”

·  Weight 2 lbs. 5 oz.


Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Pad


New for 2011. Used it on my JMT thru hike and 2012 HST hike. Temps down to high 20’s

 I sleep extremely comfortably on this air pad. I have used the NeoAir, Big Agnes BAIC, Kookabay (custom) but the Exped UL7 is my favorite air pad so far.


16.2 oz


Packed size   9 x 3.3 / 9 x 3.5 inches

5 out of 5 stars!


Gossamer Gear ThinLight™ Insulation Pad

1/8” thick. When I expect colder temps, this provides an extra insulation layer under my air mattress for very little weight. I tried to use this as an insulation layer for my dog to sleep on, but it is too light and gets wadded up.


Bearikade Weekender

A Bear canister is required on many of the areas I love to hike, so rather than renting each time, I went ahead and picked up a Bearikade. Cost is significantly higher than a Garcia, but the weight difference was too much to ignore.


MSR Pocket Rocket.jpg

MSR Pocket Rocket stove

I just keep coming back to canister stoves. So simple, bomb proof and light.

3 stove

8 fuel

12 fuel

Trail Designs Sidewinder TriTi

 My main concern with the Caldera Cone that I retired was the metal was sharp. This stove uses titanium and is flexible and has smoother edges.


I also opted for the Zelph modified Starlyte alcohol stove. Fuel can stay in the stove and you just put the cap on in-between uses. Eliminates the hassle of trying to get any unused alcohol back into the main container.


For shorter trips. This does eliminate some weight, since I can take only the exact fuel I need, rather than an entire fuel canister.

TriTi screen  with Tyvek sleeve 1.3


Zelph stove .06


Total 1.9

REI Spoon

It’s a spoon. Only utensil I bring…



Keeps my food hot, but more importantly it is part of my freezer bag cooking system. Food re-hydrates much better if allowed to soak in hot water for a longer time. This Cozy is handmade and can be purchased at


EasyMac Cups

I use these for both a coffee mug and bowl. Insulated, and light! I carry a piece of foil to use as a lid. If you are looking for a more rugged insulated mug, try the insulated Soup Bowls (Progresso, etc.). 1.4 oz including a lid.


(including foil lid)

Nalgene 96 oz Wide Mouth Canteen

Fill up at camp and have enough water for dinner and breakfast.


Water Bottle

I moved to using Smart Water  bottles to carry my water. Very lightweight, and sturdy enough for the job.  Much lighter than a Nalgene equivalent.


Sawyer Mini water filter

Trying the Sawyer Mini water filter this year. I plan to use both this and AquaMira.

2.2 (includes straw)


I had read about so may PCT hikers who only carried these water treatment drops that I finally broke down and ordered it. I used the Katadyn tablets and really hated the way it makes the water taste. Fine for a backup, but no way I was going to ruin the clear, fresh taste of Sierra water unless it was truly needed.


I tried the Aquamira at home on my tap water. What a surprise. Totally different than the Katadyn tablets. I am not sure why since both are chlorine dioxide based. I actually thought my tap water tasted better!!


I used Aquamira on my Colorado Trail segment hike and my HST through hike in 2012. Pros and cons. If you get to the water source and are REALLY thirsty, this is a bummer since it takes 30 minutes to kill most organisms. On the plus side, it is light, and there are no electronic or mechanical parts to break. I will be using Aquamira in 2013/14.


Destroys viruses and bacteria in 15 min., Giardia in 30 min. and Cryptosporidium in 4 hrs


RailRiders Adventure Top

Rail Riders has a new version of their Adventure Top this year. I have been wearing Railriders shirts for several years and REALLY like them. Ventilation on the back,  sides and arms, dries extremely fast, really reduces the ‘funk’ factor that other synthetic blends caused.

Cons: Not ideal for cold weather. Summer shirt only.


Columbia Convertible Pants

Lightweight, quick drying, tough


Tilly Airflow hat

I have tried other hats over the years and always come back to this one. Been using the same hat for 7 years, just throw it in the wash after each trip. Still going strong and expect to use it for many more years.

Love this hat!!  Lifetime guarantee from Tilly.


Outdoor Research wool gloves

Light, will retain heat when wet.


Zpacks Goose Hood

For colder weather trips, having a down hood will work well with a quilt.


ZPacks™ Micro-Fleece Hats

Light fleece hat


ExOfficio Boxer Briefs


I started using these on business trips since they dry so quickly, I can wash at night and they are dry in the morning. Cuts down on luggage! Perfect for hiking and backpacking. Prevents chaffing.


Patagonia Capilene 2 Bottoms


Base layer. Lightweight.


Patagonia Capilene 3 LS Shirt

Base layer.


Frogg Toggs Dri Ducks Rain suit

Pants are definitely retired, jacket not retired (yet)


I hate the plastic poncho concept for staying dry. I always wind up with more condensation on the inside than rain on the outside. These DriDucks are breathable, and inexpensive. I wore one set for 3 days of 24x7 rain, and hiked for 6 hours each day in them. Worked great. Downside is they are not very rugged, so I need to replace after a few trips. At this price, I’m OK with that. Lightweight.


(5.1 Jacket, 5.4 pants)

Darn Tough 1/4 sock

Switched to Darn Tough socks because…. Well, they are darn tough


WrightSock Double Layer CoolMesh Low Socks


I tried several different liners, and stopped looking when I found these. Never a blister since I started using these. The double layer takes the friction instead of your feet. Wicks great, dries quickly.  Wears out fairly quickly though. I got about 100 miles on a pair.


WrightSock Double Layer Coolmesh Runners 


When I just wear trail shoes, these are the socks I take. I did 15 miles with 4000 ft elevation change in one day in these and my trail shoes. No blisters…


Vincere Grip socks

Camp shoes and stream crossing shoes for 3.7 oz? Can it be????


Used these for over 600 miles of hiking so far.


Only downside is if you use them to cross a stream at the end of the day, they will still be damp at camp. Since they insulate, I didn’t find this to be a problem.



Patagonia Drifter A/C


I put around 800 miles on my Patagonia Drifters, and was very pleased with the fit, and actually bought a second pair so that when the first pair wore out, I had a replacement ready to go It seems like manufacturers discontinue lines with regularity… I have tried trail runners over and over, and just can’t do it for long days and rocks/roots.




New Balance MT875OR

Now that my base pack weight is around 12-14 lbs, I can hike in Trail shoes on most hikes. Since I have 4E feet, finding shoes that fit has been a challenge. Since my feet are used to sitting under a desk and not used to rough trails, I wanted a trail shoe that had a shank or plate to limit bruising the bottom of my feet from stones and roots. I am currently trying the New Balance 875. No GoreTex or any waterproofing. I figure the shoe is going to get wet at the first stream crossing anyway, so I want a shoe that will dry fast.


Light My Fire Firesteel

Decided I should carry a backup in case my Bic lighters fail.


Delorme InReach SE

I am retiring my SPOT in favor of the 2013 Delorme In-Reach SE. 2 way texting, positive confirmation that your message went out, decent monthly plans.


Carrying a device that allows me to send an SOS or to let my family know I am OK is worth a lot for their piece of mind!




Updated model GPSMAP 60stc

I like carrying a GPS, even though I really haven’t needed it. I use it for more than navigation. I match the time stamp on the track with the timestamp from my pictures in my camera so I know exactly where every picture was taken. I also download the tracks and waypoints after each trip as part of my trip journal. This GPSr rocks. Rugged and waterproof. Mine has taken a beating and still works great. One set of batteries for every two days on the trail.

6.6 with lithium batt

Zpacks Z-Line Dyneema cord

50’ of Z-Line Dyneema cord. 1.25 mm

I use it for clothes lines, guy lines etc. I love this cord, it does not tangle easily, and is ‘sticky’ so it grabs and holds.

Non reflective, but bright yellow!


Photon Micro-Light II

I carry both a white and a red light version. These are so bright, I can night hike with the white light LED.

The red lasts for 120 hours and I keep it as an emergency signal light. For this weight, I’m OK with carrying two!


Petzl Tikki Plus 2 Headlamp


70 lumens, 155 hours on low, 70 hours on high, 2 brightness levels, white/red LED.  I like to read at night, so this is a perfect solution.






Canon SD780 IS camera

Just recently switched to this camera. Light, very compact, hi def video, great pictures so far. Picked up a couple of extra batteries for longer trips. Still too new to give a decent review. Only had it on one backpacking trip so far…

4.6 with battery

Brunton ADC Pro

This tool may allow me to combine several items into one. I need an alarm clock, a watch, a thermometer, and I like to have record of temps over a 24 hour period.  This unit also shows wind speed, wind chill, humidity, altitude, and has a ‘weather predictor with alarm. It is waterproof.


Gerber Paraframe Knife


I like this knife.


Starbucks Coffee VIA

If you are still looking for a great cup of coffee, and just don’t want the weight, give this a try. Best instant coffee I have ever tasted, and is WAY better than the other brands of single serving instant coffee I have tried.  Not actually gear, but since I have spent as much time on getting a great, lightweight cup of coffee on the trail as any other piece of gear, it warranted being on the list!

.15 each

Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles


I just started using poles last year. I know some like them and some don’t. I was skeptical until I tried them. I will NEVER hike without them again! Especially for us ‘older’ hikers, or for those with previous knee injuries, using poles makes a significant difference.  Downhill it reduces the stress, shock and lateral twisting, and uphill the poles pass some of the load from your legs to your upper body. I feel the reduction in risk of injury is also significant. I’m not sure I could have made some of the downhill sections of the trail without re-injuring my knee without using poles. These particular poles are not the lightest, but I really like them and the locks are especially noteworthy. No slipping at all, and easy to adjust.


Ultrathon Deet

This stuff works. On our SEKI trip where the mosquitoes were INTENSE, we had several repellants with us (including 100% deet spray). NONE of them worked like this stuff. I had ZERO mosquito bites on this trip. My son and daughter were getting eaten alive, even with other deet products applied. We all switched to this stuff and it worked for all of us. I have no idea why this worked when other deet products didn’t, but I highly recommend.


(repackage to just bring what you need <1.0)

Body Glide

For chafing. Will NOT hike without it.

Nuff said.



I used to use moleskin for blister prevention. Came across this stuff recently and like it much better. It holds well, is thinner than moleskin, and lighter. I wrap a couple of feet of tape around one of my other items that I am carrying, and take only the amount I might need. It isn’t cheap, but one roll of this stuff should last me many years. Can be used with Benzoin for ultra-hold. If you apply this to any area BEFORE you get a blister it will prevent one from forming (heck, apply it at the first HINT of a hot spot or anyplace even slightly uncomfortable).


I take only what I need.

BPL Mosquito Headnet



Mosquito headnet. I found my traditional headnet blocked some of my vision and was distracting. This headnet from Backpacking Light has a larger pore size, is more breathable, and has better visibility.







These items have been retired from my gear list




Description and Comments

OUNCES – these are MY weights, not the manufacturer claims

Opsrey Aether 70.jpg

Opsrey Aether 70 pack

For heavy loads. Comfortable, but heavy. Custom molded hip belt. Rugged. 4200 cu in. This was my first internal frame pack, after tossing my external frame that I had for 25 years. Since I have lightened my load,  I can now usually use a pack designed for much lighter loads (ULA Circuit).


Actually haven’t used this in 4 years, but keep it in case I do a hike that requires a heavy load, desert hiking (water), carrying for 2, etc



Montbell U.L.DOWN INNER Parka

Many years of use with this jacket. Replaced by the Montbell Plasma 1000.


800 fill goose down. Significant weight savings from my Primaloft jacket.

Should be good for 3 season insulation.



Tyvek Pants

Tyvek rain /wind/ mosquito pants. I primarily use these as mosquito protection and a wind block. Not sure how they would do in the rain, but at 2.4 ounces, we’ll see. The FroggToggs pants seem to rip every time I use them. These may also rip, but are basically disposable and lighter…


Smartwool Trekking Socks

Switched to Darn Tough socks.


When I am wearing boots, I like a thick sock. I have tried many brands and thicknesses, and settled on these. Durable, wool, no problems!


Smartwool Gloves

Switched to Outdoor Research wool gloves. The Smartwool wore holes after just a few days of wearing them.


I love having a wool lightweight glove. Keeps my hands warm even when wet! Doesn’t block wind, but I wore these in 39 temps with 15-20 mile winds, totally wet from constant rain and my hands were comfortable.


Con, not very durable. I have on my third pair. At this price, not recommended.


Steripen Adventurer Opti

With the introduction of the Sawyer and BeFree filters, I stopped using the Steripen.

Lighter and no technology to break or fail.


I lost my original Steripen on my 2010 JMT hike. I liked so much I quickly got a replacement, the Steripen Opti.


Kills Protozoa, bacteria and viruses. I use my bandana to strain out the water if needed, and then in 90 seconds this tool has my water ready to drink.


Used this for all 19 days on my JMT thru hike, with a single set of batteries. Worked perfectly, every time.

4.5 oz with case and 2 CR123 batteries

RailRiders EcoMesh LS shirt

Retired in favor of the RailRiders Adventure top.


Lightweight long sleeve shirt. Excellent sun block, excellent bug protection. Dries VERY fast. Rugged. Comfortable. This shirt is the PERFECT backpacking shirt for mild to hot weather.  Unlike some of my polypro shirts, this one smells fresh much longer!! I always wear a long sleeve shirt when hiking. In hot weather, for sun protection and bug protection.

5 out of 5 stars!


Joby Gorillapod

This little tripod can attach to almost anything.


SPOT II Satellite GPS Messenger

Retired and now using the Delorme InReach


Since I started doing solo trips, having some sort of PLB or this device makes sense. I like being able to send a non-emergency tracking messages so friends and family can see I am moving and doing OK. I wish it had multiple user configured messages, like “doing OK but will be delayed” etc.


Big Agnes +15 Lost Ranger

650 fill down. Lighter weight since the bottom of the bag does not have any down. Concept is that the insulation on the bottom of a bag is compressed anyway, negating the value of the down. The bag is designed to be used with a pad inserted into the sleeve built into the bag. In the field however, I was getting chilly spots when the temps hit the low 30’s. I thought this was going to be my cold weather bag, but my Montbell is lighter and just as warm.


REI Sahara Convertible Pants

Quick drying, lightweight. Legs zip off to turn into shorts. I have over 100 miles so far on mine and they are in fantastic shape. I love these for hiking / backpacking. Excellent mosquito protection.


REI Quarter Dome T2.jpg

REI Quarter Dome T2

Double wall, 2 person, freestanding tent. Heavy, but bomb proof. I use when expecting rain, and when my dog Timber comes with me. I really like the ease of setup of a double wall tent, I just don’t like the weight…




Contrail Tarptent.jpg

Tarptent Contrail

2009-2010 This was a good tent, but the Tarptent Moment is better!


Single wall fully enclosed tarp tent. 14" x 4" x 4" packed size; bathtub floor. Setup uses a hiking pole and 4+ stakes. (non free-standing) At 1 lb 8 oz, this is my lightest ‘tent’. You won’t find this at REI!  I used this tent on my 2009 SEKI tip. Overall, I was very happy with the tent. I wouldn’t choose this tent if I knew I was expecting significant rain, humid or snow conditions. Although it is waterproof, I wouldn’t want to set this up in the rain. I don’t think I could set it up without getting the interior wet. This tent requires attention to site selection and understanding condensation management. This is a perfect Sierra 3 season tent. I love supporting cottage backpacking industries! Go Henry Shires! (fantastic customer service, by the way)


TarpTent Moment

2010-2011  - 28.5 oz, single wall Tarptent. (my weight includes seam sealing). Another Henry Shires creation. It is extremely easy to setup, and has a freestanding option with an extra cross-pole that weighs 6.7 oz. I like the side entry, extra vestibule space, and head room in the center. I can set this tent up in the rain without getting the interior wet.  I used this tent on my 2010 JMT hike.


I struggled a bit with condensation with this tent. Nothing that got my gear wet, but still a pain. Am trying the Tarptent Notch for 2012. I would have kept the Moment as a secondary tent but had to sell it to fund buying the Notch!



KookaBay insulated air pad

2010 - Never really gave this a good test. It was retired when I got my Exped Synmat UL7.


Bender from KookaBay made a custom pad for me. 72x24x3.5” Wide, thick and not too long! It is insulated with synthetic insulation for a R factor of 4. Made with 70d  material.


BA pad.jpg

Big Agnes Insulated Air core



I find this pad VERY comfortable and I can get  a good night’s sleep on it.

However… the Exped UL7 is lighter, so this has been retired.



Therm-a-Rest NeoAir

2010 - Large, 72x20x2.5

I really wanted to like this pad. This is the king of the low weight air pads. The baffles run horizontal, and my arms seem to fall off the sides more with this pad.

I tried the medium and large sizes. I just can’t get comfortable on this pad. On my last trip I carried this pad and my son-in-law carried the BA Insulated Air Core. I had a bad first night, then  we switched on night two. I was fine on the BAIAC. 


DannerRadical 452 GTX Hiker

Danner Radical 452 GTX Hiker

2009-2010 I am just now getting to where I can wear trail shoes for most hikes, however when I need boots, these are it. I can walk for miles on rocky ground without bruising my feet, and they offer the support needed for carrying heavier packs. I have wide feet, so I had a hard time finding boots that were light and fit well.

It didn’t take much to break these in. I found these were comfortable in hot weather also.


2011 - Wore these out! Hiked over 600 miles in them. Replaced by Patagonia Drifter.


Tincture of Benzoin

This works, but I just never needed it. The Leukotape holds just fine for me without it.

If I expect to cover a lot of miles, or am worried about blisters, I will bring this to complement the Leukotape. It acts like glue to hold the Leukotape in place.



Skin protectant for chafing


(repackage to just bring what you need <1.0)

Sprint Aquatics


Unable to find mens size anymore

Fine for short hikes, but they started to shred around day 6.


Camp shoes. Or for stream crossings? These are very light, but don’t provide much protection.


Snow Peak Titanium Bowl


Pros: Rugged and light

Cons: non-insulated and not light enough!

Replaced by disposable soup or MacCheese containers


MSR MugMate Coffee/Tea Filter


In my quest for a great cup of coffee on the trail, I tried to use this with Starbucks ground coffee. Although this works great, the weight of the ground coffee was just way too heavy. I then tried an REI French Press coffee mug. Again, too heavy. I now just use the Starbucks instant, VIA. Actually quite good!


REI French Press Mug


This actually makes a great cup of coffee. I found that the coffee grounds were just too heavy to pack, and this is too heavy to use as just an insulated mug.


Therm-a-Rest Trekker Chair


Yes, I actually bought one of these. I used it a few times, but worried that my air pad would be punctured, and at the end of the day, the extra weight just wasn’t worth it.


Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit - 20


You can tell I really started my backpacking gear journey with an eye towards comfort in camp!! Retuned this after one use. Construction is too fragile. If you really want a chair, go with the Thermarest.


Lexan Fairshare Mug

My original 32 oz Mug and bowl. Used this for 15 years, before deciding to lighten my pack… Bulky and heavy. On the positive side, almost indestructible.



Caldera Cone Keg-F – Trail Designs

Alcohol stove system. Very lightweight. Includes stove, windscreen, pot, carrying case (which replaces mug and bowl), cozy, fuel bottle.  Don’t look for this at a big box retailer!  Stove is quiet, and seems very efficient. I have used it in light winds and in calm air, and haven’t noticed any increase in boil times with a light wind. Takes longer to boil than a canister stove, but somehow the quiet adds to the wilderness experience.


Went back to canister stoves in 2012. So simple and bulletproof.



Esbit stove

Trail Designs Gram Cracker - Titanium Solid Fuel Kit

Used in the Caldera Cone instead of alcohol. Never actually used this in the field.


Primus TechnoTrail Stove

My original canister stove. Rugged, but heavy. Only used now as a loaner stove.

Replaced by the Pocket Rocket in my gear list. The TechnoTrail is no longer manufactured.


REI Storm Proof Matches


Had issues getting them lighted when wet. Can’t have my backup firesource unreliable… switched to Light my fire Firesteel.


Katadyn Hiker.jpg

Katadyn Hiker Filter

2010 - Uses an internal cartridge. Got a lot of use out of this, and no issues. Gets expensive since I was replacing the cartridge 2x a year ($40 each). Moved to the Steripen for the weight difference. Kills Protozoa and bacteria. This is now in my ‘loaner’ kit.



Steripen Adventurer

Lost on the JMT in 2010…


Got the adventurer since it was the lightest of the Steripens. I worry about the durability,, but really like the convenience and fact that it kills viruses.  Kills Protozoa, bacteria and viruses. I use my bandana to strain out the water if needed, and then in 90 seconds this tool has my water ready to drink.


Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets


I take these as a backup water purification system. With a 4 hour wait time to kill crypto, it isn’t practical for getting water on the trail. I love the pure, clean taste of mountain water, so I only bring these for emergencies.


Destroys viruses and bacteria in 15 min., Giardia in 30 min. and Cryptosporidium in 4 hrs


Nalgene Water bottle

Sturdy, but there just isn’t any reason to carry this weight. Replaced by FIJI water bottle.


Easton Stake

Fell apart the first time I tried these. Head pulled apart from stake body.


MSR Hydration Bladder

I like the ability to sip as I go, but I couldn’t justify the weight.


Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth

2010 - I started with a ground cloth that was almost a full pound! This ground cloth is durable enough, and close to disposable at this price. However, this was too flimsy for me. It was hard to get down in a mild wind. It was like trying to get saran wrap to stay put. . I will be going back to my Gossamer Gear Spinsheet.


Tyvek Ground Cloth


Found my Gossamer Gear Spinnsheet so retired the Tyvek


Lost my Gossamer Gear Spinnsheet, so I switched to Tyvek for my ground cloth in 2012. It was really noisy in the wind. I washed it a couple of times and now it is much softer and quieter. Will see how it does in 2013.


I went without a ground cloth in my CT segment hike in 2012 and popped my Exped UL7 plus got a cactus spine in my hand that came through the tent floor. Decided to go back to using a ground cloth!! Not sure that even Tyvek would have kept a cactus spine from spearing me, but better safe than sorry.


REI Quarter Dome T2 Footprint


2009 Nice match for the T2 tent, but too heavy. I am looking at the Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth… 1.5oz


Sea to Summit Mosquito headnet

Replaced by the BPL headnet


Although I really would rather not need this, it was a lifesaver on my 2009 trip to SEKI. Comes with a little stuff bag.


I am looking for a lighter version with clearer mesh…



What can I say? I like to know the temps! Can’t get much lighter than this…



Replaced by Brunton ADC PRO


Clock and temp

I got this unit to serve as a clock, alarm clock, and it keeps track of a min and max temp over a 24 hour period. The alarm is so faint that it does not wake me up, and the buttons are hard to use. 


Replaced by Brunton ADC PRO



(I realized just how many of my links are to REI. I don’t mean to suggest that REI is the only source for these items,

however I give them my $ since they have earned my business with their quality and amazing return policy. There are many items I have been willing to

take a chance on and spend the $ since I know I can return the item if it doesn’t work out)