Here's a list of some of the hiking & backpacking gear I use/carry:
- Montrail Hurrican Ridge GTX trail-runners - I traded my Lowas
(below) in for these. Very comfortable and reasonably normal-looking.
In about one year of moderate use, however, they are showing many
signs of wear (tears, scuffs, scratches, separations), more than I
would want to see given their price. They're still comfortable,
however, so I will likely wear them until they fall apart. Next time
I wouldn't bother paying for the Gore-Tex.
- Colombia Cascadian winter boots - haven't had a chance to use
- Lowa Renegade GTX mid hiking boots - fit my
feet better than the Montrail Torre, and they're extremely lightweight
(2.2lbs/pair for a men's size 9). Alas, after a few hundred miles,
the soles are slowly delaminating from the upper (cosmetic only), but
more importantly the tops of my toes are getting beaten up on long
- Chaco hiking sandals - sweet! Sandals with a fairly aggressive
Vibram sole. I use these for practically all of my non-rocky,
non-loaded hiking nowadays.
Montrail Torre GTX hiking boots - the perfect heavy-duty boot
except that 1) the toe-box is too narrow for my feet and 2) they're a
tad heavy. After 300 miles, they were still in near-perfect shape.
- Wigwam Ultimax
hiking socks (sometimes with corresponding liner sock) - Very
- REI Minimal gloves
- REI Winter Ridge Nordic pants
- Outdoor Research
Sahara Cap - Very thorough sun protection, and a very
comfortable hat. Handy removable neck skirt. Its overkill for
shorter, lower-elevation hikes, but super-handy for High Sierra
- Outdoor Research rain cap
- Columbia Bora Bora Booney Hat - Mesh on the top keeps me cool,
dark underbrim keeps glare to a minimum, but it doesn't fit as well as
it might, and its somewhat dorky looking, even for outdoor gear.
- GoLite Reach - my favorite take-everywhere shell jacket.
Waterproof, yet surprisingly breathable, and it just weighs a little
over a pound. My only minor gripe is that it cannot stow into its
pockets. Its not particularly cheap (MSRP of ~$130), but I got mine on
a clearance at Performance Bicycles (of all places) for just $70.
- GoLite Blur - low-volume and -weight insulated jacket, yet very
warm. Actually too warm for much of anything but around-camp use so
- GoLite Gust - super, super light (1lb 3oz) and surprisingly
comfy. Rated for only 30# (in comfort), but easily large enough to
store more (and/or leave some stuff sacks behind). I've only done one
trip with it, but I was very impressed. The lack of a sternum strap
is a definite bonus - I found myself breathing much easier without it.
- Kelty Satori 4500 - great internal frame backpack for multi-day
affairs. I've used it twice so far, once with a 50# load, and once
with a 40# load. Its as comfortable as I think I'll ever be with such
a load, but for the future I'm pretty much sold on the sub-30#
ultralight style and my GoLite Gust, so much so that I sold this pack
at a recent garage sale.
Redwing 2900 - Sweet trekking pack! 2900 cu. in.
provides tons of space, suspension system and internal frame are
extremely comfortable. I took this with me on my Mt. Whitney day-hike and it performed
excellently (save for the sternum strap breaking!). Has side
pass-through ports for skis or trekking poles (a feature I missed in
the Glacier when I was doing some class 2 scrambling and had nowhere
to stow my poles!). Definitely large enough for a weekend trip if you
pack light. I do not use this pack very frequently lately, as I
rarely need (or want) to carry lots of gear on dayhikes.
- GoLite Pulse hydrapack- excellent large-capacity and lightweight
hydrapack. Comes with a 70oz reservoir, but a 100oz one fits easily
enough. Lots of usable storage and two external web pockets that I
can reach around and access without removing the pack. Unless I need
to carry oodles of gear, this pretty much takes the place of my trusty
- Kelty Glacier daypack - This is a great
daypack. Large capacity (1800 cubic inches), very adjustable with
comfortable waist and sternum straps. The waist straps can be zipped
into pockets when not in use. Has 2 side pockets that are perfect for
water bottles, and an internal hydration reservoir sleeve. Until I
got my Redwing, I loved this pack, but you couldn't pay me to use it
for any serious duty now that I've grown used to the Redwing :)
- Marmot Arroyo 40°F down sleeping bag - I got this on
clearance at REI Outlet (I'd never pay the full price for such an
item!), and its worked wonderfully in the year or so I've had it. Its
pretty darned light (a little over 2 pounds for the long version),
very comfortable, and stuffs into the size of a grapefruit if you use
a stuff sack with compression straps.
- Pur Guide water filter - This is a handy filter. Its not the
lightest in the world, but it works very well, and it filters quite
- Camelbak "Omega" 100oz hydration reservoir - Fits in hydration
sleeve in Glacier daypack. New design makes it a lot easier to clean
the bladder (no need for air-drying racks and weird brushes - you can
fit your hand in the opening).
- MSR 4-liter "Dromedary" bag - I use this with a hydrapack
attachment for my water needs while backpacking, and put on the camp
spigot for in-camp use, thus saving the weight of a separate camp water
container. 4 liters is a little on the small side for camp use, but I
Ultralite trekking poles - Great lightweight poles at a
resonable price! They squeaked annoyingly until I (carefully) applied
some silicone grease to the spring and shaft (being careful not to
accidentally lube the plastic expander wedge that keeps things
together!). I just wish they had the angled grips like some Leki
- Petzl Tikka headlamp - I haven't had occasion to use this on
the trail yet,
but its so small and lightweight (2.5oz) I don't mind carrying it
along just in case. Petzl claims 150hrs of use on 3 AAA cells. Its
great for around-camp and in-tent use.
- Petzl Zoom headlamp - Bright headlamp. Due to its weight (its
not that heavy, but I'm a wuss :), I only carry this if I
expect to use it. It does provide a lot of focusable and usable
light. For day-hiking Mt. Whitney, I swapped the bulb for a halogen
one, and it was quite bright, and it didn't even burn through one
battery in the 5'ish hours of night hiking we did.
- MSR Windpro stove - great little stove. Not the lightest, but
it performs excellently and the included wind screens/heat reflectors
help conserve fuel (and the bottom one can double as a coffee filter
holder, I discovered).
- EverNew Ti pot set - very lightweight (and of course my
wallet is lighter too!), no sticking problems, and so far, very
durable. I only bring both pots if I'm car camping, and just use the
larger one for backpacking.
- EverNew Ti 18cm skillet - also very light etc.