Staff Picks 2022
Nov 18, 2022 at 12:00 pm #3765584Backpacking LightAdmin
@backpackinglightLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to: Staff Picks 2022
Each year, our staff selects their favorite backcountry gear from the past year, and we look forward to you sharing your favorite gear of the year as well in the forum comments below!Nov 18, 2022 at 3:18 pm #3765605
I missed out on the closing date – I missed the invitation. But herewith:
Staff Picks 2022
BPL Coccoon jacket
Made by BPL when BPL had a shop, with a synthetic shell and synthetic insulation. They weigh about 255 g each in their double-silnylon stuff sacks. Back in 2006 (or was it earlier?) Ryan J sent us two of these, for my wife and me. We have been using them ever since. We don’t stuff them too tightly in their stuff sacks when walking, and we hang them up loosely in the cupboard at home, so they are lasting very well thank you (16+ years).
We use them even in the snow, but then we have them over good thermals. We don’t wear them under our quilts; just the thermals. They do fluff up nicely.
Helix Potty Trowels
These have been reviewed at https://backpackinglight.com/helix_potty_trowel_review/
They were made by ULA Equipment from carbon fibre and hard aluminium. Mine is 66 cm long and weighs 146 g. You would not want to use these for serious step cutting, but that is not their function. I use mine as light-weight trekking axe in the snow, and I have taken it on a number of walking trips (the photo was taken on the Aiguille Rouge in Europe) where it was very helpful.
Why ‘Potty Trowel’? The company did not advertise it as an ice axe, although the web sites admits it looks like an ice axe and that people have used it as such. One reason for this caution is very likely to avoid any liability if someone uses it as an ice axe and has an accident which the lawyers could try to blame on the Helix. In such a case the company could point out the Helix was being used for a purpose for which it was not advertised.
Caffin V6 Remote Inverted Canister Stove
Yes, another one of my stoves: the latest design in fact. I wrote about it at https://backpackinglight.com/caffin-stove-v6/ .
It is a ‘Vortex burner’ stove, which is quite different from the average upright canister stove. It is light, at 82 g total, although any base plate and windscreen you want to use are extra. But windscreens are a topic for another day.
It has two valves: a normal control valve on the stove, quite sensitive, and a remote on/off valve on the canister for safety. It has the typical power output of any canister stove, but with good flame spread.
I make these on my CNC machine, sort of as a hobby.
CheersNov 19, 2022 at 7:00 am #3765626matthew kModerator
Ryan’s trout footage is amazing. I’d like to see more of that.Nov 20, 2022 at 6:07 am #3765689Jeff de GraffenriedBPL Member
Thanks for the Staff Picks this year. It is always interesting to see what the favs are. Also, I appreciate the invitation to contribute but I was in a remote area of Nepal and missed the email until after the deadline. If its not too late I’ll add my choice – I would have never thought that an umbrella would make my favorite gear list but it has. For those who may snicker – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Ha! The Six Moon Design Silver Shadow Carbon umbrella is a versatile and user friendly piece of kit. It is light, strong, and wide enough to keep the rain, sun or wind off of you and your gear. It’s strong enough to endure being tossed by luggage handlers at the airport or into the back of a pick-up (neither are recommended as a normal practice). The umbrella didn’t collapse in strong wind, protecting me from rain, blown sand and sleet. I will be taking this packable, versatile, little jewel when I travel as I know it’s strong, small, light as a feather and will come in handy when I need it.Nov 20, 2022 at 10:58 am #3765717Packman PeteBPL Member
@packmanpeteLocale: Rainy Portland
I saw “chronic” on the list of accessories. Thought BPL was really stepping outside the box.Nov 20, 2022 at 12:35 pm #3765723Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
From an email I sent to Ryan November 28th, 2006 when we were launching the Cocoon line:
Phase One is complete. The Cocoon, Stealth and Torsolite products are
entered and “live” on the temp domain.
The original Cocoon stuff was available in bright red and bright blue. The second round of it came out in grays and a light olive color. I still have a first-gen pullover and pullovers and quilts from the second gen. My original red one is pretty beat up but I used it extensively for the first five or six years for backpacking, skiing, and everyday wear and I wouldn’t have expected the insulation to survive that. The face fabric is still strong and has never torn.Nov 20, 2022 at 1:56 pm #3765729
The original Cocoon stuff was available in bright red and bright blue.
And bright yellow. That’s mine.
CheersNov 20, 2022 at 2:17 pm #3765730Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
The bright yellow must have been a prototype color.Nov 20, 2022 at 4:00 pm #3765732Scott EmmensBPL Member
VERY interested to read the Staff Pick for the Base Layer Combo, is this a hint at the next (and final) instalment of the ongoing series (drama ;-) ) by Stephen Seeber? I am so looking forward to it!
Thanks for creating these Staff picks, always an interesting read.
Cheers, ScottNov 20, 2022 at 7:53 pm #3765744rmeurantBPL Member
Is there any substance to the rumor that Roger has been secretly working on a third revision of his biodegradable nanoarchitecture hierarchical core-multishell nano-cabbage nuclear fission stove with ancillary benefits of site-specific decarbonization, water purification, and mosquito prevention? Modesty no doubt prevented him from picking it, but just the same, new tech will ever out…Nov 20, 2022 at 10:48 pm #3765747
I can neither confirm nor deny such a rumour . .
CheersNov 20, 2022 at 10:53 pm #3765748rmeurantBPL Member
Might I respectfully offer a distaff gear pick? This is my beloved Millet Sherpa 30L pack, Reinhold Messner version, I think dating from the 70s. Purchased in the Seoul flea market some ? 15 years ago, at a grand price of 10,000 won = USD $7.38 at present rate. I have (ahem) many packs, but this has over the years become a firm favorite, most weeks over that period used several days. It always seems to be the right size for whatever ends up in it; further, it illustrates for me one of the design limitations of HMG packs – for which I otherwise have great respect – they seem to have settled on a constant horizontal section, like a prism, whereas the Millet Sherpa has (much) more subtle shaping from top to bottom. Similar subtlety is found in the Sac Millet line; for many years I used a 70L bought from some individual on the kerbside in Berkeley for $10 in ’71 or ’72, who swore to me it was not stolen; and recently bought a newish 40L, again at the flea market, for about USD $10. I can remember similar subtleties in the original Chouinard packs, and of course in the Chouinard Dragon (/Doragon) packs I’ve collected in Korea and Japan (Chouinard lived here for a while, I think serving in the military?), though they suffer from weight (and extreme scarcity) these days. I realize DCF constrains the spatial form the fabric can accommodate, but that subtlety of form makes those vintage packs a delight to live with.
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