2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable 2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks

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    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    Roger C said, "One might be hard-pressed to define BPL as a business at the present. How about a labour of love?"

    I was thinking that if Jordan could get things together, he could pay Roger a little money for all the fabulous work and contributions he gives us.

    And then Roger could afford a shirt and some decent looking ski pants.

    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    My favorite gear for the past year has been:

    Javan Dempsy/The Stateless Society Quilt. M90 shell, wide cut, and 3" of loft for only 20.25oz. I have had this for a couple of years and has seen quite a bit of use. The other weekend it was 18*F on my thermometer when I woke up and I didn't realize it had gotten that cold. I was warm and cozy all night long.

    100 weight fleece beenie.
    This is the perfect weight to hike in for me in cooler weather. On some trips it never comes off, I hike in it and sleep in it under my balaclava. I have one from Lands End and one from Mountain Hardwear and they are interchangable for me.

    DeFeet wool e ators.
    Up until a few years ago I used Smartwool adrenalines but when they discontinued them I went through a couple of brands before I found one I like. These are the ticket and not too expensive too boot.

    Honorable mention:
    Mont Bell UL Down Inner Jacket – bought in 2008 and is still my favorite jacket ever.
    Ridgerest-warm, light, cheap and bomb proof.
    Leaukotape P- pre tape problem areas and blisters are a thing of the past. Lasts for a week.

    Also did my longest backpaking day ever this year at 34.2 miles in the Smokies. It beats last years best of 29.8 miles in a day.

    David Ure


    "I was thinking that if Jordan could get things together, he could pay Roger a little money for all the fabulous work and contributions he gives us."

    As long as we all commit to buying one of Roger's tents when they arrive shortly (?), he should be well taken of.

    Keith Selbo


    Locale: Northern Virginia

    Sawyer squeeze water filter: light, no waiting, lasts forever. 2K miles and counting with no regrets. The bags that come with it were practically useless to me. Recommend replacing them with soda bottles.

    Dr. Bronners liquid soap (eucalyptus scent) I was put off by the lame verbose label inscriptions, but this is some damned fine soap. Works better than Shave Secret shaving oil for shaving and gets the stink out of the clothes I've been wearing for a week. Another long distance hiker "must have".

    Outdoor Designs Glo-mits. All glove-mittens are NOT created equal. I gave my REI glo-mits away at mountain crossings hostel after a week of frustration. I felt bad for the hiker who took them off my hands. I replaced them with the OD version. What a difference! They thought of everything.

    NeoAir Xlite 3/4 length (runner-up): Lighter than foam and a LOT more comfortable. I use it in my hammock and in shelters.

    Raquel Rascal


    I'm interested in those glomitts….can you post a link? I couldn't find them.

    Keith Selbo


    Locale: Northern Virginia

    Here's the link. They call them convertibles instead of glo-mits in the UK.

    Mary D
    BPL Member


    Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge

    There is a female on the BPL staff, and (as already pointed out) a black female, at that. She's also very comely. Unfortunately she's lacking an opposable thumb and her vocabulary is limited to WOOF.

    I guess I could try to write an article, but anything on the past year would be limited to coping with plantar fasciitis (lots of stretching!) and, most recently, knee strain due to too much walking on the beach (it's amazing how many unused muscles are discovered from walking on soft sand!). Favorite gear items would be a rehash of what I have had for several years, and would be a lengthy list. Also, since I'm lightweight (12 1/2 lbs. base weight, with no desire to go lighter) instead of UL, I probably wouldn't qualify in this crowd. Maybe someday I'll come up with "Confessions of an aged, rheumatic, short-distance woman hiker" or something of the sort. In the meantime, I'm trying hard to get in shape to get back out there!

    At least my dog is now eating again! It turned out that despite his showing several symptoms of kidney failure (not uncommon in older dogs), his blood tests are still very close to normal. It appears that his sudden loss of appetite was his protest against his kidney-friendly diet ("To ### with this healthy stuff; I want real food!"). I can relate to that as I overindulged over the holidays so am on a rather strict diet myself!

    Raymond Estrella


    Locale: Northern Minnesota

    "And then Roger could afford a shirt and some decent looking ski pants."

    Careful now. Rog probably made those pants…

    Kevin Buggie
    BPL Member


    Locale: NW New Mexico

    My 3 'backpacking' picks for 2012:

    1) 190 Proof Everclear (some to drink, some to burn)

    2) Smartphone with topo maps and aerials downloaded.

    3) lightweight shoes that don't lose chunks (Inov-8)

    And 3 more esoteric BPL picks:

    1) tenkara.

    2) pro-active chat with insurance agent about trailhead (car) vandalism.

    3) Getting to 'know' the BPL forum regulars (Ken, Roger, Dan, Nick, Eugene, etc…I love you (irreverent) guys, man!). And to think I used to only read the articles…

    Andrew U


    Locale: Colorado, Wyoming

    1. GoLite Bitterroot Down Parka: 13 oz. Packs small, lightweight, and keeps me toasty on long evening walks on the neighborhood trails in single digits. Love the hood, can fit easily over a helmet if climbing is your thing but not too loose to be annoying. And for $150 right now I honestly don't think you can beat its value compared to any other down jacket of similar quality, which is outstanding.

    2. Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid: 14 oz. Okay, okay. So technically I do not yet have this particular piece of gear. Should arrive in a few weeks. But it has been my most anticipated purchase in, basically, forever. I'm counting it as a 2012 purchase because I did in fact place the order on New Years Eve, so it totally counts. I've NEVER been so excited to set up and seam seal anything, ever.

    3. BPL Membership. 0 oz. Best value-to-weight ratio of anything I have ever purchased, hands down. As a relatively new convert to the world of UL backpacking, I discovered BPL in April 2012 and instantly bought a membership. My eyes have been opened to a lightweight world hiding right under my nose for years. In my defense, it might be because I have a big nose (I'm currently considering getting a nose job, see if I can shave a few grams off my base weight). I'm truly thankful for the articles written by the staff, but even more thankful for reader contributions. You guys are the reason this site keeps on chugging. What inspired me the most to take the UL leap was how passionate this community is about both lightweight backpacking as well as lightweight living. So keep it up, everyone!

    Jim Wynne


    Locale: Southeast US

    I agree with the soyokaze pick and tenkara in general. Awesome!

    Richard Colfack
    BPL Member


    Locale: ARIZONA

    For 2013 I hope the staff changes up the format to state what their favorite item is in each major category and state why. (i.e. Backpack, Shelter, Sleeping Bag, Pad, Stove, Clothing, etc.) I believe that info would be far more useful to the UL community. Just my 2 cents.

    Thomas Rayl
    BPL Member


    Locale: SE Tx

    I've found a real gem! As I've gotten older, I notice that I can NEVER make it through the night without one of those cold, oh-dark-thirty water-the-bush night walks. Seems you can't win: it's either cold, wet, or buggy. Then I went to my local drugstore and bought a urinal bottle: less than $10 and maybe an ounce (haven't actually weighed it) for a 1-liter snap-on lid wide-mouth bottle. The best part: it's shaped to use lying flat (more or less) so I don't have to get up & out to "drain the tank" — instead, I stay warm, dry, and comfy. Just empty the next morning. You can even use it as a back-up water bottle (use obvious sanitation precautions, of course) or for pre-filter collecting. Note: There are male and female versions. Absolutely heavenly!

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