I’ve been meaning to write about gear in individual reviews, but have been more pressed for time lately. Plus, I’d rather write about other things rather than gear. Instead, I’ll do this one post to keep things concise. This post is only about gear that has worked out well and stood the test of time.
My criteria for being in this list includes the following:
- Used one year or more
- Used regularly for whatever season/condition/purpose it is for
- Not shitty and would gladly buy again
In no logical order:
Tarptent Sublite Sil– This craigslist score has served me well. Its a one person tent that is unfortunately not made anymore. Between the original owner and myself it has 100+ and no signs of wear or damage. I also loan it out to friends who want to try out UL shelters. It weighs 26.2 oz.
Granite Gear Leopard 58 backpack– This is an extremely capable 4 season backpack. It’s not really UL, but I don’t care because it fits so well and can handle higher weights easily. It weighs 36 oz without the lid, which I only use the lid in winter. This pack is overkill for an overnighter, but handles multiday treks like a champ. In winter it’s also easy to harness my pulk to the hip belt.
Thermarest Neoair SV X-lite- This is my go-to sleeping pad for spring/summer/fall. It’s totally underrated although it was totally panned by Section Hiker. I scored two of these at the REI garage sale and I couldn’t be happier with them. I can unroll this mat, inflate it, lay on it, deflate it, and roll it back up in 3 minutes. There are lighter mats, but 16.9 oz is ok with me.
Polycro ground sheet- Nothing exciting here, just a piece of plastic. This is what I sleep on under my tarp as well as a groundsheet for my tents. The pieces (solo and double size) I bought 18 months ago look like new. 1.7 oz.
MSR Pocket Rocket- I’ve had this little stove since around 2003. I’ve never had an issue with it. Over the past year I diversified my stove collection and added a Kovea Spider for the winter and an Esbit UL stove from Flat Cat. For 14 years, this stove still works like the day I bought it. It weighs 3 oz.
Enlightened Equipment 20 Deg Revelation Quilt- This was one of my favorite upgrades to my gear. I’m a fitful sleeper, and a quilt allows me to move all around at night without getting twisted and tangled like I did in my last mummy bag. At 22 oz it allowed me to shed a good amount from my base weight. I use it all year long, if its super cold in winter I’ll add my myog 45 degree Apex quilt over top of it.
Sawyer 3-Way Inline Water filter- I was one of the suckers that bought this due to the 1 million gallon guarantee. It has served me well for 4+ years as an inline system while hiking and gravity filter at camp. You really have to maintain it, back flush it, etc but mine still works fine. The flow has slowed significantly though. I tried the Sawyer Mini for one year in 2016, but it sucks overall. Both this filter and the Sawyer Squeeze are superior to the Mini. The system overall is heavy though, at about 8.7 oz for filter + 3L Platy Big Zip. To lighten things up I recently bought the BeFree and have had good results with it thus far. While this is one item I can’t say I’d buy again, I can at least say it was well worth the money and it has served me well.
Exped UL Synmat 9- I bought this very warm mat on clearance as a mat to use all year. Believe it or not it was much lighter than the pad I had before it. Now I only use it in winter since it weighs 21 oz. It’s a bitch to inflate, hence why I was so enthralled with the Thermarest Speed Valve on my new 3 season pad. In winter I sometimes put a closed cell foam pad underneath this one just in case of failure, but I’ve had no issues with this mat.
MSR Classic Denali Snowshoes- These beasts will be mine until they fall off my feet in shredded tatters. I use them for day snowshoeing as well as winter backpacking. They may not be the best or lightest but they sure as shit do what they’re intended to do.
Adidas Terrex Fast X GTX- After suffering for 18 months with Plantar Fasciitis, these were the first shoes I could wear without special insoles. While many hate waterproof shoes, I don’t mind them one bit. Only on the hottest summer day are they too hot for me. The important thing for me is fit… and these fit unbelievably well. I used my first pair for two years and recently bought a replacement pair. I wore them out of the box on my six day trip in Olympic National Park and didn’t get a single blister.