I like to go for long hikes and then share them with you.

2017 Gear List

2017 Gear List

I've never done a gear list here before, but I think it would be helpful for some people to know what I am carrying every year on the trip reports that I am posting. As of this writing I have made a couple changes to what I carry in 2017.

For starters here is my Lighterpack list for the next trip I have lined up: https://beta.lighterpack.com/r/1h57rx

Lighterpack is a website you can use to catalog and weigh your gear. I find it very helpful to know how much my gear weighs. I also use lists like this to ensure I am not forgetting anything on any given hike. This list does not include anything I am wearing or my hiking poles, which are in my hands. Only things that are literally on my back.

Pack: Osprey Exos 58

I recently did a review of this pack and it will be my pack of choice for the rest of my 2017 trips. With my base pack weight (the weight of all your gear before food/water/fuel) hovering just above 10 lbs. I could afford to use a less robust and lighter weight backpack, but this one gets the job done and has a lot of features I like. That said, I am doing some preliminary shopping of other packs and may try out something different later in the fall.

Shelter: Zpacks Duplex and Tarptent Rainshadow 2

Despite recently doing a review of the Rainshadow 2 it will be taking a back seat to my newly acquired Zpacks Duplex.

I love so many things about the Rainshadow and it will remain in my quiver of tents, but the weight savings of the Duplex cannot be denied. The Rainshadow is a palace which I purchased originally because it will fit me, Sarah and my daughter. It will be kept for those trips or for shorter trips where weight isn't a big concern, but interior space and comfort is important.

For longer trips and for solo trips I'll be taking the Duplex, which saves me carrying 1 lb. 6 oz. After I get some miles and nights into the Duplex I'll post a comprehensive review.

Sleep: Enlightened Equipment 20° Revelation Quilt, Sea to Summit Aeros UL Pillow, Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Short

For the most part this part of my backpacking system goes unchanged. I've been using the 20° Revelation for about a year and a half and absolutely love it. I've been working on a review for it for a few weeks, so look for that some time soon.

Many ultralight backpackers choose to forego a pillow and use clothing under their heads to sleep. I am primarily a side sleeper though, so this doesn't work very well considering I don't carry much extra clothing. The Aeros UL provides a good amount of loft at a small weight penalty.

The biggest change to my sleep system is my sleeping pad and it isn't much of a change. Last year I used the Z lite, but at 10.5 oz. I thought it could be "improved." I improved it by cutting 4 of the foam panels from it, which turns it into a torso length pad. It extends from my shoulders to just below my hips and weighs 6.5 oz now.

Cooking: Soto Amicus Stove, Toaks 550ml pot, Toaks Foldable Spork

I don't actually own the Soto Amicus stove, but after some less than desirable wind performance from the 1 oz BRS-3000t I decided a different canister stove was a good idea. After reading Hikin' Jim's review that detailed how well it performed in windy conditions I was sold. It increases my base weight by 1.5 oz, but I think in this case it is worth it. I placed my order for it today.

The Toaks 550ml pot is replacing my tried and true Imusa 12cm "grease pot" this year. There is nothing wrong with the grease pot, but it is 1.1 L in size, which is overkill for the kind of cooking I do on the trail. The 550ml has worked out well so far and it takes up much less space in my pack.

The Toaks Foldable Spork is back on the trail with me this year. Not much to say about it. Sometimes the foldable aspect is a bit annoying because it will collapse when I don't want it to, but it folds up and fits inside the 550 ml pot, so that's cool.

Packed Clothing: Patagonia R1, Frogg Toggs UL2 Rain/Wind Jacket

This year I'm going to struggle with taking either the R1 or my Patagonia Down Sweater. I think this might be trip dependent. They weigh roughly the same, but in humid Michigan the R1 would probably be the better piece of insulation. When we're in Colorado I think a down puffy might be warmer and more useful at high elevation.

This is the 2nd season I'm using the king of all cheap gear - the $20 Frogg Toggs UL2 jacket. I bought this jacket as a set with a pair of really shitty rain pants at Meijer. I tossed the pants in the garbage. The jacket on the other hand might actually the best piece of gear I've ever owned.

Water: Aquamira Drops

Most people love the Sawyer Squeeze, and it is a great system. I have a problem with it though; I hate sitting there squeezing the life out of a bag to get drinkable water. Call me lazy, but it was too much work. I rigged it up as a gravity system once and it was too slow. So, last summer I switched to Aquamira. It doesn't take any less time than a Squeeze, but it requires virtually no effort. Just mix the 2 parts, pour it in the water and go. So easy.

Ditty Bag: Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap, Thrunite Ti3, Lawson Ultraglide

This year I am going to try brushing my teeth with soap. Peppermint soap, but soap nonetheless. They say ultralight backpacking is about finding multi-use items and eliminating redundancies. This is one of those things.

The Thrunite Ti3 is a tiny flashlight. It doesn't last long on full blast, but it weighs less than an oz so I'm trying it out!

Lawson Ultraglide Bear Line is new to me. I had been using some simple paracord I found at Meijer, but I ended up slowly cutting that down for other things until it was too short to hang a bear bag with. So, I got this Lawson Ultraglide. It is very smooth, which helps it glide over branches and bark easily when hanging your food bag. It's also white, which makes it easy to see.

And that's it for my thoughts on my 2017 gear list. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations I'd love to hear from you!

North Country Trail Gear List (Video)

North Country Trail Gear List (Video)

Return to Red River Gorge

Return to Red River Gorge