- Jan 1, 2018 at 8:40 am #3510341
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to: 2017 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
The Backpacking Light Staff Picks Gear Guide offers what we consider to be our personal recommendations for high-quality, high-performance, lightweight backpacking gear that we’ve actually used this year.Jan 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm #3510403
My favorite gear of 2017 is the LL Bean -20 F. down sleeping bag.
->750 fill DownTek DWR treated goose down, “responsibly sourced”
->best designed collar, Velcro closure and drawcord system I have ever seen on a winter bag
->long sized for foot area storage
->very reasonably priced (and a steal when on sale)
->typical LL Bean high quality materials and workmanship W/ Bean’s garantee
Unfortunately they are sold out for this season. 0 F. bags may still be available.Jan 2, 2018 at 3:30 am #3510424
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
My top 3 picks for 2017:
Rab Merino+ 160 Hoody – I wore this baselayer for 14 days straight in Alaska this summer. We saw all types of weather and this piece was fantastic. Cold? Use the thumbloops and the hood, Hot? drop the hood, unzip the front, and push the sleeves up. The wool/poly blend dried reasonably fast, and did a pretty good job of minimizing the stink.
Seek Outside Unaweep 4800 – While a big large for a weeklong trip unless you are packrafting, for a two week trip with a Bearikade Expedition it was perfect. I started off with about 35 pounds, but when a my hiking partner twisted an ankle in an alder thicket on the morning of day 3, It carried 40 pounds like a dream and held up to all the abuse of the trip and still looks like new. After some trimming the pack got down to around 45oz, so reasonably light as well.
Javan Dempsey Custom Quilt – Javan Dempsey made me a custom quilt in late 2010 and it has been fantastic. It has ~12+ oz of 800 fill power down and Momentum 90. I had a couple of nights in the upper teens that had others complaining about being cold in their 15-20* bags, but yet I was warm and toasty as usual. There are lots of good commercial options out there nowadays, but in 2010, I didn’t have many choices for a side sleeper (Katabatic hadn’t created their wide quilts) and Javan’s side sleeper cut has been perfect.Jan 2, 2018 at 9:18 am #3510448
carlos fernandez rivasBPL Member
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
35 staff picks …. half of from well know brands… (patagonia 4, outdoor research 3, arcteryx 2, osprey 2, altra 2, rei,black diamond, petzl….) if we compare them with previous editions and we go backwards …. we can have an interesting perspective of how things have changed in the ultralight gear market and in backpackinglight in particular :-/
Jan 4, 2018 at 4:23 am #3510780
- This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by carlos fernandez rivas.
Cole CrawfordBPL Member
@cdc43339Locale: Somerville, MA
Not necessarily. It could mean that larger brands are catering to backpackers. Yeah, Patagucci and Dead Bird make a ton of stuff for the mainstream crowd, but their lightweight lines hold up well to everyday use which is pretty important.Jan 4, 2018 at 6:32 am #3510794
Ito JakuchuBPL Member
I have to say I hadn’t seen the Petzl Leopard FL Crampons.
I’m very curious how they compare to the Kahtoola K10’s. Of course the K10’s are steel and would be stronger/weigh more.
But I’m thinking more regarding fit, for on low trail runners. I was reading some people had the ankle strap on the Leopards digging into their ankles. Does anybody have experience with these crampons on low cut trail running shoes?
I personally have a local (Japanese/Korean) variant to the Microspikes that are aluminium.
They weigh 265g (9.3oz) for a pair in Large that fit US12 trail runners.
I really appreciate the weight savings because it makes me take them with me instead of wish-guessing that I can leave them at home. I can imagine the same process for when you would be better off with a more fully spiked crampon.Jan 5, 2018 at 12:16 am #3510897
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
@jakuchu I think the Leopard FL’s are “ok” on low-cut trail running shoes – but the shoes need to have a little bit of body to them. I wouldn’t expect to use them well on say, Merrel Trail Gloves. However, they seem to be fine on something like my La Sportiva Ultra Raptors.
The real utility of a crampon like this, however, is for glacier travel. The Kahtoola Microspikes’ spikes are simply too short for summer glacier travel, where the soft glacial surface is often an inch or more deep before you get to ice. Microspikes, to me, are pretty limited to “snowy/icy trail hiking”.Jan 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm #3512972
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I have to agree with Mr. King. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can only own one UL solo shelter that it should be a DuoMid-sized pyramid of some sort. I own a smaller tarp too, but if I had to pick only one I’d keep the DuoMid. It’s a palace for one: large enough to hold you and your gear comfortably, to change clothes in, cook in, and yes even fit a second person in a pinch. Pyramids are pretty bomber by UL standards, especially when fully staked to a dozen points, though the minimal pitch for mild conditions only needs four. Probably the only more bomber UL shelter is the MLD TrailStar, though unlike the TrailStar the sides of a mid are usually steep enough to shed snow pretty well. Pitching options are limited, granted, but at least you can pitch high or low and maybe leave the door-side open depending upon conditions and ventilation needs. So they cover 95% of the conditions that I’m ever going to be in. Pitching is about as simple as it gets- stake the four corners into a square, then insert the center pole. Perfect every time. You can use a trek pole as the center pole, saving weight. Even if your trek pole isn’t quite long enough it’s usually pretty easy to find a rock to stuff under it, or you can carry a 1oz pole jack.
They are not freestanding, which I know freaks some people out. And they use a center pole, which I know also freaks some people out, though asymmetrical mids like the DuoMid XL mitigate most issues that I’ve heard voiced. So, if you’re not turned off by these points they have many benefits.
[/PROSELYTIZATION]Jan 28, 2018 at 1:56 pm #3514927
Jamie SBPL Member
Thanks for posting this! Now, I must go out and spend more $$$ and upgrade. Great ideas all around!Jan 29, 2018 at 2:51 am #3515317
Well, I’ve tried two pyramids and find it difficult to live with a center pole. If I’m going to use two hiking poles for tent support I’d take a Tarptent Notch since I like the idea of a built-in floor and bug net. Yeah, not the lightest but add in a floored net for a mid and you’re getting very close.
Besides the Notch is very similar to my TT Moment DW and (properly rigged and guyed) I trust that tent in the worst weather in any season.
For two I’d go with the TT Stratospire 2. Plenty of room for two and very good in winds.Jan 29, 2018 at 11:58 am #3515426
Robert MeurantBPL Member
Has this thread somehow got corrupted with another? From Dean F.’s post onwards to Eric’s, it looks like responses to another thread. Spaghetti Junction!Jan 29, 2018 at 1:28 pm #3515433
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Dean F. references Matthew King’s comments in the Staff Picks article mentioned in this tread’s OP.
Jan 29, 2018 at 8:32 pm #3515485
- This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by Greg Mihalik.
Sorry for the thread drift.Jan 29, 2018 at 10:10 pm #3515509
Robert MeurantBPL Member
What is life, if not one great thread drift on the Sea of Light staff picks?
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