View Full Version : Your best gear

12-07-2009, 20:36
If you're like me much of your gear you quickly realize that you could just as well do without. But every now and then you come across a great piece of gear that you are glad you found. You only have 25-35 lbs of stuff in your pack, so whats great. And while we are at it you might list the low performers as well. i will start.

My first great piece of gear is my tent. Colman Exponent one man tent. I love this tent. for under $80 its about 3 lbs, easy to set up, easy to get into, very weather proof and airy, and the quality is surprising high considering its made in China. Great value. I may go to a tarp in the future but for now this tent is tops.

My next great piece of gear is my sleeping bag. Not to sound like a Colman freak, but its a Colman Cloudcroft 40deg down bag. Again not a high dollar bag and I almost froze in 20deg weather but I love it. Again high quality considering the manufacture and country of origin, and light weight and worm. Sure there are better 40deg bags but for under $100?

I am kinda new to backpacking, so that's what I have that I am glad I purchased. Everything else in my pack is neither here nor there and could be replaced are any moment.

My low performer was my cook kit. I got one of these 5 piece sets from Dicks, walmart has them too. It has a pan with handle, plate, saucepan with lid and a cup. Completely useless. I added a blue metal cup to this and found I only cooked in the cup. I ordered a titanium 900ml pot. I am hoping that will move to the top of my list.

Jack Tarlin
12-07-2009, 20:42
I used the same Mountain Hardwear tent on seven long hikes from 1997-2003 and still use it today sometimes.

It has around 20,000 A.T. miles on it.

Good company, good people, good stuff.

12-07-2009, 20:51
I'm sorta' fond of my old Whisperlite stove. It is not pretty, not all that light but it has never let me down.

Tipi Walter
12-07-2009, 21:00
I have sentimental gear and best gear, and the two are different. I sorely miss my North Face 1977 Tuolumne A-frame tent, but anyone would miss something they lived in for years. As usual, NF discontinued it(along with the fine Westwind 3 hoop tent).

I really had a good feeling for my 6 or 7 lb boy scout 1957 red flannel sleeping bag with the jumping deer, it was my first big ticket to the outdoors at a young age. I humped it and no one complained about the weight.

I spent many years in my Mountain Hardwear Muir Trail tent, but like most tents, the floor started absorbing groundwater like a sponge and the door zipper failed. It got me thru a lot of wild winds and blizzards. I still have it and will set it up in the yard occasionally for a few bag nights.

Gear wears out. The best gear wears out. My 1981 North Face Ibex goose down 550 fill bag lasted me 20 years with constant use(and only one washing), and it was loved but I noticed it quit keeping me warm at 0F like it used to, so I had to upgrade.

My best gear for the new millenium:
** Icebreaker merinos, especially their midweight balaclava.
** Feathered Friends Icefall parka: every winter backpacker if able should carry this baby. You will stay warm in camp no matter how cold it gets. Quit nickle and dimeing yourself with underfilled jackets and overblown reviews and get top-o-the-line if you want to stay warm in the winter.
** And, of course, my WM Puma -10F sleeping bag. It took me twenty years to afford but I finally made the plunge and like the old Ibex ticket, it's a new ticket to another decade of cold weather living.

12-07-2009, 21:20
Just off the top of my head......a few of my favorites :

WM bags...awesome..my 10year old Badger MF is still going strong and keeps me warm down into the teens. Packs up small, lightweight and super loft. Draft tube and neck collar are so effective.

This thing from REI. About five years old, lightweight and it goes on every trip. I'm still discovering uses for it. At least twenty and damn if it doesn't make a fine neck gaiter too !!


Superlightweight windshirt. These babies breathe well and take up no room. Good for everthing up to a drizzle, then I pop on the poncho and the durn thing dries out ! Awesome..... pertex is great material...

MSR Titan kettle and mug. Bulletproof and well-designed.

Lastly, for the coffee junkies out there (myself included).....the new Viva instant coffee tubes from Starbucks. Try the Italian Roast.....best brew for the least hassle/weight.

12-07-2009, 21:25
I'm sorta' fond of my old Whisperlite stove. It is not pretty, not all that light but it has never let me down.

i like my whisperlight also and the look on people's faces when i drink the fuel cause it's full of everclear :banana

Chaco Taco
12-07-2009, 21:31
TNF Rock 22 tent. Bomb proof, carried it all the way.
MSR Titan Kettle- Amazing pot. Have had it for 5 years and its just now getting character.

12-07-2009, 21:36
I'm liking my Montbell, Ultra Light, Super Stretch, Down Hugger sleeping bag.
It's the #2, rated to 25degrees F, and keeps me warm and confortable even into the high teens.

12-07-2009, 21:46
Gregory Whitney pack
Asolo Fugitive GTX boots
Fox River socks
MSR water filter
MSR water bag
MSR shaker jet international stove
Tex Sport cooking pot
Leki Voyager treking poles
UNDERARMOUR! long boxerjocks
Slumberjack 30F bag
Ridgerest 3/4inch extra long sleeping pad

Man, I just have a lot of good equipment that I really like!

(I have rain gear, but none that I am impressed with)

12-07-2009, 21:51
My bandanna. It has been on my sweaty head for many miles. It even has an AT logo on it...

12-07-2009, 21:52
Merino wool base layers from Icebreaker and Ibex. Love those things. Warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot.

Marmot Driclime windshirt. In the winter, I rarely if ever take it off.

Tipi Walter
12-07-2009, 21:58
I'm sorta' fond of my old Whisperlite stove. It is not pretty, not all that light but it has never let me down.

And let's not forget the Svea 123 stove. Grandpaw to the Whisperlite.

Feral Bill
12-07-2009, 21:59
SVEA, 40 + years and going strong

12-07-2009, 22:08

<---The Kifaru Paratipi in my avatar. :D

12-07-2009, 22:16
I guess I have a bias towards most-recent acquisitions, what comes to mind for me is the Gatewood Cape I bought this year. Maybe I'll change my mind after I have some decent miles in with it, but for now at least I'm really liking it.

O.P. said "My low performer was my cook kit."
To go with your new 900 m.l. titanium pot, consider saving some money at least to start with and making a very lightweight alcohol stove out of a cat food can (http://www.andrewskurka.com/advice/technique/fancyfeaststove.php) (it's quite easy and works well) and a windscreen out of aluminum foil.

12-07-2009, 22:17
Caldera Keg, it rocks. My hammock and insulation setup just plain kicks butt and my ULA Catalyst is the best pack I ever owned. Looking at getting a Circuit before spring rolls around. :D

12-07-2009, 23:29
By far my ThermaRest chair - at 6 oz it provides unbelievable comfort after a long day's hike. Just ask Gary, who on our last group hike jumped in mine every time I got out of it! I originally used it with a ThermaRest pad but it works fine with my BA mattress now.

Black Diamond Trail Back trekking poles - I love the sturdiness and the flick-lock mechanisms. Great in cold weather when you need to adjust or collapse, never slip either.

Jetboil - boils water faster than anything out there. With French Press for coffee, is a complete system that is just too convenient to opt for alki stoves for section hiking.

Steripen - Tried pumps and absolutely hated them. Would have continued to not treat water at all until this baby came along. It works! It's easy! It's cheap (when you factor in total cost of ownership-see "steripen" threads), and it's convenient. It will work in extreme cold weather (with lithium batteries - which are the only batteries you should use anyway) when pumps are useless. It provides cold, safe water within 90 seconds of your stop, rather than waiting 30 minutes or more with chemicals. Some say they don't last but mine's 3 years old and has probably 1000 uses and Mike and I doubled up on using it for a week recently and it didn't miss-fire once. Two guys I've hiked with recently have bought their own after experiencing mine! :)

12-08-2009, 08:35
Older model (2004) Prolite 3 short pad
Eureka Spitfire solo tent
MSR Titan Pot/kettle
Starter brand (Walmart) long sleeved wicking shirts
Golite Ion pack (for short hikes/day hikes)

12-08-2009, 09:26
Western Mountaineering Antelope sleeping bag. I've had it for 12 years, by far the best peice of gear I've ever owned.

12-08-2009, 09:32
Wanderlust Nomad 242 tent. Not made any longer. Whatever happened to the owner Kurt Russell of Myrtle Beach, SC. Maybe he started making movies again. :rolleyes:

mister krabs
12-08-2009, 10:03
Skidsteer kitchen with starlyte stove. This is the "coolest" piece of gear I have; uniquely cheap, functional and light. It's super simple but gadget-y at the same time. It appeals to my inner geek, cheapskate and caffeine addict.

Aquafina liter water bottles, tall and narrow but with a wide mouth for easy filling and drinking.

My new snopack 700 down jacket -cheap, light, warm and cheap. IMO the bang for the buck leader in the class.

12-08-2009, 11:44
Home made alcohol stove. Much lighter than any other stove I've seen with same burn time. Plus, it took all of 15 minutes to make.

Marmot jacket w/Polartec fleece. Stays warm in a drizzle, weight is negligible. Got it for $5 at Good Will.

Vasque leather hikers. Little heavy, but rock solid. Got them for $3.

Nike ACG 800 down fill coat. Very light, compact, extremely warm. Got it for $80. Bit much for me, but it was worth it.

12-08-2009, 12:08
My old external frame jansport D5

Cabin Fever
12-08-2009, 12:19
MSR Hubba Hubba Tent - Not that old, but hey, I'm not that old. It's bomb-proof.
Military knife my dad gave me

12-08-2009, 12:53
Black Diamond Spire Elliptical poles: they save my knees on downhills and are the only poles that have never collapsed on me.

Asolo wide width, full-grain leather boots: I wore out my first pair of 520's and replaced them with the unnecessary but oh so comfortable Powermatic 200's. I've gotten blisters in every other pair of boots but these two.

PUR Hiker water filter: I've had this since before it turned into the Katahdin brand and have only replaced the cartridge once or twice. Never had a clog or malfunction in over 8 years of using it. I tried a Hyperflow last year but returned it and went back to this.

Mountain Hardwear Nightview tent: Got this about 7-8 years ago when it was cool to have "bombproof" gear. I don't carry it much anymore because of the weight but it is a fantastically made tent, warm, roomy, and perfect when it might snow on you.

Western Mountaineering Sycamore: My new favorite. I like to roll/thrash when I sleep and this toasty, semi-rectangular bag lets me do just that. It's rated to 25 degrees but that's conservative.

Mooselook Marty
12-08-2009, 13:28
Marmot Driclime windshirt. In the winter, I rarely if ever take it off.

Ditto on that. Best apparel item I own.

12-08-2009, 13:33
If you're like me much of your gear you quickly realize that you could just as well do without. But every now and then you come across a great piece of gear that you are glad you found. You only have 25-35 lbs of stuff in your pack, so whats great. And while we are at it you might list the low performers as well.

My feet- got 'em way back, kept 'em ever since.

Seriously? My Mountain Hardwear tent is a little heavy, but very weatherproof and I love it. Used it the other day, got half a foot of snow and it held up. (Did squish me a tiny bit, but all I had to do was shake it by whacking it a bit. As a friend of mine said, it was just snuggling me. To death.) If the tent was about 1.5 lbs lighter and packed a bit smaller, I would make it a little throne out of gold.

12-08-2009, 13:35
OH! And LOVE my pocketrocket. Used to be a serious fan of the whisperlite, but it was always messy, you had to set it up, pump the gas, take it apart and clean it, etc... But the pcoketrocket, NO mess at all. I was in shock when I first used it. So clean, so simple. Tiny, tiny bit unstable for some people, but it has never been a problem for me. Did I say that I love it?

12-08-2009, 13:44
Old stuff...
Kelty Alpine pack from the mid 70's
Snowlion polarguard parka and Snowlion down sleeping bag from 78.
All still going strong.

New stuff is much lighter, ahh...
Golite ultra 20
Homemade hammock
Everything Cuben Fiber
Tyvek is cool
Merino wool base
Home made 24 oz nesting alcohol cookset that weighs 5 oz.

12-09-2009, 04:49
Here ya go.
Haix Airpower P6 boots.
Rivendell Jensen pack
Wiggy's Nautilus sleeping bag
Clark's Tropical hammock.or Warmlite tent.
Wyoming woolens fleece.
Wigwam marino socks.
Moritz gore tex.
AFTCO pants.
Ventile upland shirt.

Confused yet ?:D;):cool:

12-09-2009, 06:29
Teva Dozer sandles: lightweight, very comfortable, dries quickly
DIY cat stove: almost weightless, no moving parts, silent, and costs pennies
Warbonnet Blackbird hammock: roomy and comfortable
100-wt fleece shirt: lightweight, comfortable insulating layer
JRB No Sniv quilt: lightweight, compresses small, expertly made, wearable
UnderArmour boxer-briefs: never experienced any monkey butt with them

12-09-2009, 08:02
ENO Single Nest Hammock - got it at my son's Boy Scout summer camp on sale for $30! Been a God-send ever since.

Teva Terra-Fi Sandals - Though I often hike with less, I never need anything more.

12-09-2009, 08:35
MSR Dragonfly stove...never failed in 10 years: approx. 500 lights, not one piece replaced.

12-09-2009, 10:33
i have been mulling this one over and i keep coming up with four items..

sentimental gear item..............boston red sox baseball cap

best quality gear item.............wm mf antelope sleeping bag[just purchased,havent used but has to be my best gear item]

favorite gear item..................msr pocket rocket stove[love it, quick n easy]

favorite gear item..................granite gear vapor trail pack[most used and value here]

gear item most others go wow over..............belive this or not its my orikasa fold up mug and bowl, its amazing the reactions when they cant figure out how to fold it up. priceless]........

i have more but those are my tops.......

12-09-2009, 10:52
Best gear:
Hilleberg Akto Tent
Big Agnes Air Core Mummy pad.
Feathered Friends Great Auk overbag.
Golite Feather-lite 40 degree zipperless bag.
Hammock. Basic Traveler with ENO bug netting and 10x12 Equinox tarp.
MacCat spinnaker tarp, standard. Not used much yet but very light and doesn't stretch like silnylon when wet.
Supercat alcohol stove.
Esbit tabs.
Evernew Ti 1.3 liter pot. Big enough that I can stir a big meal in it and not spill it. Almost as light as a ti cup (both weighed without lids).
Golite Dawn backpack (discontinued, frameless rucksack). Got me through the Hundred Mile Wilderness last fall despite being 2800 or so cu. in. 14 oz.
Mountain Laurel Designs standard style (not the cat cut ones on the website) poncho. It's 9.5 feet long - enough for an emergency or ul weekend where wicked weather is not expected.
Marmot Ion windshirt.
Smartwool Socks.
Vargo Jet-ti stove (canister).
Trekking poles (basic old, heavy Lekis).

12-09-2009, 15:00
That looks like your packing list, Tinker. Then again, I've had the luxury of continually refining my packing list with every section hike, so there's nothing that really stands out as my "best" gear. I certainly have my most expensive gear, but even the cheap stuff I use is the best I have been able to find for that purpose.

12-09-2009, 16:33
Nothing has become as trusted and reliable of old friend as my SVEA. I still miss the deafening silence when it is turned off now that I don't use it regularly. It was just a part of the backpacking experience. Another sensation that I miss is the absolute bliss one would feel when removing their boots and socks after a long day. It's no where near the same today when removing your trail runners. Progress does have it's down side.

Today, I'm really glad I listened to Brian Frankel and bought PacerPoles. I will never go back to traditional poles. These are unique and much more comfortable to use.

The rest of my new gear has not been around long enough to obtain "can't do without" or "won't do without" status. That takes time, and a LOT of miles for me.

12-09-2009, 16:35
Girlfriend. . . .

12-10-2009, 14:17
Girlfriend. . . .You actually found someone of the female persuasion that not only backpacks but will put up with you? ;)

12-10-2009, 15:59
You actually found someone of the female persuasion that not only backpacks but will put up with you? ;)
I know! . . . it's almost inexplicable. . . :sun

12-10-2009, 17:29
Six Moons Designs Lunar Solo (excellent bug and rain protection for the weight)
Patagonia Micro Puff Pullover, and Jacket (light and warm)
Photon Micro-Light II (simple, light, dependable, long-lasting)
Feathered Friends Rock Wren sleeping bag, (3 thru-hikes and still feels like new)
Smartwool socks (comfortable, anti-stink)
Aqua Mira (effective, light, simple)

12-10-2009, 20:35
Smart Wool socks
Pocket Rocket
Thermarest Pillow

12-20-2009, 01:06
My jetboil, love it, easy to use and has never let me down.
WM mummy shape sleeping bag have had it for 2 years and it still looks and feels brand new.

12-20-2009, 14:13
My two favorite pieces of gear I really don't need but so love to have along on any hiking trip I take are... http://www.campsaver.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=thr0092 and my http://www.rei.com/product/708069

12-20-2009, 14:44
Old gear

Swiss army knife from boy scouts, still going way strong, has the sharpest little 4 inch saw blade on it. And the tweezers have removed about a pound of slivers from various body parts over the years.

Current gear.

Another vote for Mont bell #2 ULSS 800 fp bag. Flippy floppy side sleeper who loves the fit/stretch of this bag. Fits me perfectly, is really warm.

Leki poles. Who knew hiking with poles is that much better? A semi non believer, now won't leave home without 'em.

12-20-2009, 22:36
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL-1 Tent. - aka The Mansion

Lafuma x800 - packs the size of a nerf football

12-21-2009, 13:01
Some kit isn't neccessarily ideal, but it does have to be good enough and durable enough if it is to stand a chance to grow attached to. If its a consumable or semi-consumable, then it has to still be available also, when it comes time to replace it.

Some kit that I've grown attached to:

1. 20oz 3100ci Go-Light Jam2, but also my 10oz 1600ci Patagonia DayPack.
2. A light metal silva compass, with a leather pouch I had made to replace the one I lost.
3. Kelly Kettle, without the base. Packs better without it. I use rocks or dig a vent.
4. Army Surplus Bivy - 2 pounds, but it works really well. I leave it home in summer.
5. Light Cheap Nylon Wind Shell - Light and Cheap, $12 from LLBean Outlet. 4oz.
6. 200wt fleece pants
7. Alpaca Wool Hat - Peruvian style ear flaps - No fleece liner.
8. Hand Knit Wool Mitts - Brigg & Little Wool
9. Self Knit Wool Neck Tube - Simple to knit rectangle sewn into tube. Brigg & Little Wool
10. $20 Wool Sweaters - 1 or 2 have ended up keepers :)

12-21-2009, 15:28
bridgedale hiking socks. i have a pair that have been on multiple deployments, have seen years of constant wear at work as an ER/ICU nurse and a million hikes. Still as good as ever, great snug fit on my feet, and never a hot spot blister or sore area.

12-21-2009, 15:34
Bridgedales don't fit me quite right, but they really are really sweet socks for other uses. Have a pair stashed in the truck-Winter stuff.

If they fit right, I would have 5-6 pair aging unopened.:)

12-21-2009, 17:37
My Primus Micron stove (looks like the ExpressStove is the current model), and my Warbonnet Blackbird hammock.

12-23-2009, 00:11
My favorite piece of gear is a coffee mug. It holds my coffee when I drive to the trailhead.

That is much goodness...

12-23-2009, 00:35
My montbell UL SS #2. Most comfortable bag I have ever used.

12-23-2009, 01:39
Fun thread.
1.I love my Kelty (clark?) one person tent from 1999. I paid 100 bucks and thought it was a big deal at the time. It is the sturdiest and warmest tent that has been drug from Maine to Arizona, from Lopez Island to the AT. When it dies, I will cry.
2. My sentimental item is an insulated proctor and gamble "white cloud' logo mug my brother gave me from his AT days in the 70's. A wonderful little lightweight insulated mug. My backpack cup. Forever. It is indestructible. Now, it is retro.
3. My luxury item is my North Face Snow Shoe sleeping bag. Warm as toast in minus 0.

12-23-2009, 17:28
I used another favorite piece of gear all this week. My funky wool hat.

You need a funky wool hat for backcountry skiing....


12-23-2009, 17:35
My ridiculously oversized northface pack that i've had since highschool, and my whisperlight that has always seemed to fire up no matter how badly I abuse it

12-23-2009, 17:36
All I has is the best I has.

12-23-2009, 23:50
I used another favorite piece of gear all this week. My funky wool hat.

You need a funky wool hat for backcountry skiing....Looks similar to the one I use and love . . .


Mine's a slightly different color, but same design.

12-24-2009, 20:55
Looks similar to the one I use and love . . .

I bought mine at the local grocery store (no kidding)...

12-24-2009, 22:29
My Primus Micron stove (looks like the ExpressStove is the current model),.....

The only piece of gear I have not changed lost or warn out since getting back into hiking.

Thermarest prolite 4. zzzzzzz

12-25-2009, 14:25
I have owned many fine gear items over the years. One of my favorites disappeared mysteriously in Maine somewhere in 1991.

It was a blue custom anorak made to my specifications by Vermont Voyagers, a small, family-owned garment manufacturer operated at one time by a GMC member. Never did figure out what became of it, but I believe someone else must have liked it too. I hope whomever had or has it enjoyed or enjoys it as much as I know I did and would have.

12-25-2009, 14:39
baltimore jack is good to carry. as is the dude. and miss janet works in all weather. but if i had to choose my favorite thing to bring in my pack,.....are trail dogs. like fabian and tucker and raven and pepper and lp and thoroe and spit.i allways have carried my dogs. they count for two humans in the bag.