Older fart here, only recently getting back into backpacking and trying to accumulate gear. I am trying to stay lightweight but not go bare bones ultralight. Some constraints - I am backpacking with my significant other, so some of my choices are driven by that . We have a Henry Shires Tarptent StratoSpire 2 - can't wait to test it out. This is an extremely roomy and yet lightweight tarp tent. As for bags, we are actually sewing our own quilt for two - from Ray Jardines kit (each of us can carry half of it for weight reduction).
Now the big question - looking at numero 3 of the BIG THREE - backpack. Right now I am considering 1) Go-Lite Jam50L, 2) ULA Circuit, 3) Osprey Exos 46, 4) Gossamer Gear Gorilla.
I would love to hear from anyone about comparisons. With Go-Lite's new pricing, it's hard to pass on that for budget reasons and I do like their design - nothing fancy but good basic pack. But it's out of stock until Nov!!! Ok, so my next favorite at the moment is the Osprey Exos 46. I really like some of their features - the mesh suspension to help keep my back cooler, and I really like the stow-on-the-go trekking pole loops. I wish there were a way to try out these packs before I plunk down $$$. So I am hoping some of you can impart trail wisdom upon us and help us with any information concerning any of these packs. Oh yeah, feel free to direct me towards another pack, if there is a compelling feature or reason, I am not completely sold on any particular one yet.