Holiday Gift Guide: My Personal Lightweight Backpacking Gear Recommendations of 2017
Dec 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm #3507136Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Companion forum thread to: Holiday Gift Guide: My Personal Lightweight Backpacking Gear Recommendations of 2017
A summary of gear that I’ve used in 2017, and enthusiastically recommend for lightweight backpackers this holiday season.Dec 13, 2017 at 7:37 am #3507232Kendall ClementBPL Member
@socalpackerLocale: Southern California
I’m so sorry to hear about you breaking your back. I suffer from chronic low back pain. In fact, it was so bad at one point I spent a year and a half confined to my bed while the VA docs tried to figure it out. That was a couple of years ago. I’ve been slowly improving since after a procedure performed by a civilian doc, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the trail. I’d be lyin’ if I said a lightweight chair wasn’t something I was considering making a permanent part of my gear list. Anyway, thanks for the tip on the Helinox Chair Zero. Also, you mentioned the Smith Challis Techlite Polarchromic sunglasses. One of the most frustrating things in the world is having to keep removing my “polariozed” sunglasses to read a map or the gps on my phone! Anyway, Thanks again.Dec 13, 2017 at 2:42 pm #3507252Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
New polarized lenses don’t do that weirdness anymore. Amazing.
(drift: took 6.5 hours for this to get moved off the first page. One of the things discussed about trip reports.)Dec 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm #3507292brian HBPL Member
@b14Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
“tougher than yucca” – this made me LOLDec 16, 2017 at 8:41 am #3507796Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
@socalpacker so great to hear from you! I hope you are recovering well. Polarized lenses + electronic screen use, I hear you. Very annoying. Polarization tech is getting better, and they are now designing around the “need” to see screens. Which is great!Dec 17, 2017 at 4:59 am #3507914Kendall ClementBPL Member
@socalpackerLocale: Southern California
Thank you, Ryan! 😀Dec 24, 2017 at 3:43 am #3509122Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Interesting picks. I’d like to demo those innovative snowshoes.
And I heartily agree that a mummy bag is necessary for best thermal efficiency once temps go to the low teens. But I do feel, as the Adirondack Mountain Club says, that a -20 F. bag is the minimum rating for a winter bag. That’s why I bought an LL Bean -20 F.goose down bag treated with DownTek, in size Long for “foot box storage”. Who ever designed that bag knew exactly what was needed for a comfortable night. The hood, collar and closures are the best I’ve seen on any winter bag including Western Mountaineering bags.Jan 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm #3510357William KBPL Member
I’m still using my old BPL/ BMW(Bozeman Mt. Works) Polar Guard(PG) (SP?) hooded “Parka” with a Pertex(I think) Endurance shell(it was the WPB version, heaviest), bought close to when you guys first started either selling or at least recommending them. Runs about 12-13 oz in my size XL. Still a favorite, but definitely showing it’s age. Also, I the 8 oz BMW pants ( but NOT WPB). In much better shape as they have been used much less often. Still work great!
I have been paying special attention to your insulated jacket recommendations from above. What I have long thought I would like is an exact replacement for my BMW Endurance Parka but with a slightly tougher shell and maybe slightly warmer.( I don’t remember the insulation weight in gm/m or oz/yd on my BMW). Yes, that might be heavier, but I have used this jacket far more for every day winter use than I ever have for backpacking, so some extra durability would give me more peace of mind. I have really babied that 12 oz hooded BMW, but have managed to keep it still usable. The wind proof and highly water resistant shell have really added to it’s usefulness, and it has proven breathable enough for me. In fact, I once ran a home test where I put it in the sink and poured a cup or 2 of water into the inside and let it sit few minutes, gently wrung it out, and put it on over a dry layer thin base layer(syn or Merino). Went for a brisk walk in the neighborhood, about 2+ miles, at about 30F, light rain/snow, windy. I stayed more than warm enough. I was amazed at the sleeves. The torso layer appeared to be bone dry by the time I got home- roughly 1/2 hr of hiking (no pack) at 3-4 MPH. But the water in the sleeves sank from shoulder to wrist area, and was still quite wet at the wrist by the end of the test. I had no gloves, and was just covering my hands with the jacket sleeves over my fist(or mostly covering my fist). I was amazed to realize that though the ends of the sleeves were still pretty soaked, my hands stayed warm enough as long as I kept them up inside the sleeves, and could notice a big difference if I uncovered my hands. So, is that what they call warm- or at least warmer- when wet? I have had more than one person- when arguing in favor of down(which I also use a lot) tell me over the years that there is no such thing. But main thing is that all but the sleeves appeared to be bone dry after just a couple of miles of brisk walking. I remain impressed!
So, that is what I am looking to replace, more or less. That Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody sure looks sweet, but big $, and I guess not wind proof or water resistant. The Nunatak Skaha Apex is maybe not quite as expensive, very close to the same weight as my old BMW, and the Robic Ripstop looks like it would accomplish about the same water/wind resistance. Maybe warmer than the BMW, even with the lightest insulation? I don’t know. Probably no more durable, but “we can offer more durable fabrics on a special order basis only. These include Epic and multi-cam.” Hmmm.
And then there is the Enlightened Equipment Torrid, at only $175 base, and an incredible 9.5 oz in XL. But only 2 oz/yd Climashield, less insulation then even the lightest Skaha. Or 10.9 if I opt for the more durable fabric. I do not know how that would compare to the warmth of my old BMW, with a similar type insulation(though maybe the old PG not quite as warm/weight?) but several ozs heavier. And I wonder how the wind and water resistance would compare to the Endurance fabric on my BMW? But it looks very promising!
Decisions, decisions, so much good stuff to choose from! Thanks for the reviews and advice, Ryan! And thanks in advance for any advice from any member!
BillJul 27, 2021 at 1:09 pm #3723188David CaudwellBPL Member
@dcinbcLocale: Gulf Islands, Coastal BC
I don’t know if you monitor these older gear guides but, just in case…
A few years back I seem to remember you recommending a sunglasses retainer – a wired-type device. I’ve searched the site and various previous gear guides and I can’t find it. Is there any chance you could refresh my memory?
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