Generic Gear List Title
Chances are this isn’t the first gear list you’ve clicked on while perusing the website, so I’ll keep it relatively short and sweet. I should probably mention that I am taking a short break from the trail about six weeks in to attend a few graduations, move myself and my partner out to wherever her job is going to take us, so if I need to switch out some gear it won’t be a problem. Here we go.
Pack- Gossamer Gear G4-20
I’ve had this pack for a few years now, and I cannot say enough good things about it. It carries incredibly comfortably, holds way more than it seems like it should, and weighs very little. The removable sit pad that doubles as a frame is super clutch, the hip belt pockets are large and comfortable, and the mesh pocket is huge. I also enjoy that you can remove the side cinch straps or the top strap depending on how you want to secure your gear. The pack has been my main bag for a few years now, and that’s not changing anytime soon. I added the bigger GG shoulder pocket for my phone, sunglasses, whatever else I feel like carrying in there. It’s a great pack and didn’t cost an arm and a leg pre-inflation.
Quilt- UGQ Bandit XL
Just like the G4-20, I’ve owned a UGQ Bandit XL for a few years now. It’s a 20 degree bag, has a draft collar, is Maryland flag print, has other fancy add ons, and has kept me way too warm on every trip I’ve taken it on. I am a huge fan of the draft collar, and in my opinion it is a must for peak warmth. UGQ was super accommodating with how I wanted my quilt customized, and their customer service was excellent. According to my scale, mine weighs in at 1.96 pounds, which includes the Zpacks dry bag I keep it in to compliment the pack liner I already have for more waterproofness.
Thermarest Neoair XLite OR Nemo Tensor So here we come to the first conflict in my kit. The Neoair has been my pad for a few trips now, however I never could get good enough sleep with it. To put things in perspective, I got better sleep almost every time I used the crappy sleep pads the Army issued (which I recently found out are also made by Thermarest) than I did with my XLite. But it is extremely lightweight, the crinkly noise doesn’t bother me really at all, and I already own one.
I have a Nemo Hornet (more to follow) and love it, so I figured why not give the Tensor a try because Nemo just makes awesome products. So I did just that on my recent hike of the Art Loeb Trail, and I am a big fan. It’s way less noisy, doesn’t weigh too much more than the XLite, is very comfortable for a side sleeper, and the pump sack is way better designed.
Update: I snagged an insulated Tensor recently, and I’ve made up my mind on taking that instead of my XLite.
Nemo Hornet 2P OR Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
Like I mentioned above, I have a Nemo Hornet 2P. I LOVE this tent. It has never failed me in terms of ventilation, condensation control, waterproofness, ease of set up, weight, or really anything at all. I spent three straight days getting utterly dumped on with rain on the Foothills Trail in December, and I was able to set up my Hornet (granted, creatively) and keep the inside completely dry beyond whatever moisture was dripping off my carcass.
I picked up the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo because I was in the market for another backpacking tent so that my partner and I could go on trips together. The Hornet is a bit snug for the two of us plus our gear. I figured if we were going to get another tent, I’d want to try a trekking pole tent, not something that’s going to break the bank, and be able to get it in time to try it out on the Art Loeb Trail. The Lunar Solo checked all those boxes, and I was extremely pleased with it. The day I camped on a bald, it held firm against extremely strong winds all night long. When I was camped next to water and got rained on, condensation was minimal (relative to trekking pole tents anyway). It’s pretty simple to set up, weighs very little, and has way more headspace than I thought it would.
My only real complaint is that it is minimal on features. Unlike the Hornet, the Solo only has one pocket, and just a chord with a clip to hang a headlamp; also, only one vestibule compared to the two on the Hornet. The Hornet has the pocket in the headspace that you can put a headlamp or phone to light up the whole tent evenly, pockets on either side to quickly stow some gear, and the mesh Nemo uses makes it difficult to look into the tent but is very easily to see out of. But at this point it’s comparing an apple to a two person orange, and not a deal breaker for me. I’m very happy with the Lunar Solo, but if I change my mind then I can switch back to the Nemo in May.
Update: I’m starting with the Lunar Solo, but putting it in the Nemo stuff sack. Nemo definitely excels in that department.
Altra Lone Peak 7 OR Topo Athletic Terraventure 3
So I’ve been a Topo fan for a few years now starting with the Terraventure 3. I’ve had the same pair for about three years, beat the hell out of them on and off trail, yet they still look and feel fantastic. They’re finally starting to show their age, but considering how long I’ve had them and how many trips and day hikes they’ve been on, they still look and feel great. That being said, I’m starting with the Lone Peak 7’s.
I’ve owned two pairs of Altra’s, a pair of Rivera’s and now I have a pair of the Lone Peak 7’s. I was hesitant about getting more Altra’s because the first time I took my Rivera’s on a run down Ardennes Street (IYKYK) they started falling apart. The toe cap just started peeling right off, and it was only a short three to five mile jog. So that soured me on Altra until we got the LP7 at my new job. I wore a pair of the LP6 around for a bit, wasn’t impressed, then changed to the 7’s and was pleasantly surprised. I thought the construction was greatly improved from the 6, they were way more cushioned, and the color scheme was pretty decent. I took them out on the Art Loeb Trail last week and enjoyed them immensely. My partner and I have one more backpacking trip before I start the AT in just under three weeks, so I have some time to decide if I want these to be my go to shoes.
So that’s basically it for the important stuff. My full gear list, which is not remotely accurate yet, can be found up top. Happy hiking!
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