The (Hammock) Gear Post
Gear lists; we can’t get enough of them. How many times have I, or you, pored over the contents of other thru hiking badasses’ gear lists? I’ve found post-trail gear lists and reviews to be enormously helpful while compiling my own gear, so, I’ve decided to do a “before” trail post so that I can look back upon it months from now and laugh at how stupid I was (am?).
I went back and forth over this for months. I started with a Deuter ACT Zero, then switched to the heavier Osprey Atmos AG 50 before ultimately buying the Circuit on impulse.
It turned out to be the right decision. Not only is it half the weight, but I feel like I’ve dialed it in and it feels just dandy on my back with a load of 30ish pounds. It’s light, I can reach my water bottle without taking it off (which is a must, for me), it’s durable and it’s functional. What’s not to love?
I went with a Warbonnet Blackbird XLC. I love the integrated bug net, the gear shelf (where I keep my headlamp, puffy, phone, and quilt stuck sacks regularly), and the footbox. At 6’3, it fits me just fine, and I love being able to sit up in the morning to put my shoes on. It’s just so comfortable; I’ll happily take a weight penalty for this kind of night’s sleep.
The Hammock Gear Cuben Fiber Tarp. I splurged pretty big on this one. After reading about all the advantages of cuben fiber gear I decided it was worth the expense. It’s super lightweight, it won’t absorb water, and it won’t stretch after a long night’s rain.
Everyone seems to be going gaga over the Enlightened Equipment quilts, and I’m sure they’re great, but I’ve always been drawn to smaller cottage gear makers. My cold and warm weather top quilts come from Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works. I’m starting with the 20 degree and probably swapping to the 50 degree (which I’ve comfortably taken down to 35 degrees) sometime after the Smokies. I’m a big fan of Jared’s work over at MAMW, his quilts have a few things going for them on top of the excellent craftsmanship; something I’m certainly going to touch on as I get more experience with them on the trail.
Like my top quilts, I chose a cottage industry manufacturer, the same for both cold and warm weather quilts. The down goodness over at Loco Libre Gear is top notch, just like MAMW’s, and came outfitted with shock cord and mini-carabiners ready to hang right out of the box (and how can you not love that purple?). Both George over at Loco Libre and Jared at MAMW were super awesome to give me some pretty great discounts for these, for which I’m very grateful. It was also really convenient, because I’d already chosen them as two of my top choices for hammock warmth.
The Cook Kit
Originally I had a minimal titanium cook set from Snow Peak, but after some more experience I agree with Will Wood’s (aka Redbeard) reasoning that aluminum is better if you’re going to be doing anything more than just boiling water. I’m really digging the GSI Soloist kit, though I tossed out the garbage spoon and the sink/sack it comes with in favor of a long handled spoon and a homemade cozy (it’s really easy).
I’m hiking every day in a pair of lightweight Patagonia shorts as well as a one of their lightweight capilene shirts. If it’s cold out, I’ll throw on a Patty thermal weight hoodie (or a windbreaker, depending) and my rain pants, at least until the Smokies. I’m kind of a Patagucchi fanboy; I dig their Ethos on sustainability and long lasting quality, I like their design, and, most of all, I really like the way most of their products fit me. To wit; my puffy is a Patty ultralight hoody.
All the other stuff is kind of the same as you’ll see everywhere else; Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket, Darn Tough socks (duh), Leki Corklight trekking poles…If you want the full monty check out my detailed gear list (that still needs updating).
All the other crap
That’s about it for the big 5 or 6 or so; the rest is a continually evolving kit of hygiene and “luxury;” a fancy titanium poop scoop from QiWiz (who also makes really cool Ti wood burning stoves), a down pillow from Loco Libre, wet wipes, and even a half decent fixed blade knife mounted to the shoulder strap of my pack. I’m excited to see how all this stuff works out, and how much of it I’m going to end up keeping. If you have any comments, or want to laugh at how ill prepared I am, by all means leave some comments or shoot me an email.
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