Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
Display Avatars Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 16:34:40 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: 2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 16:47:28 MST Print View

Very interesting to see the range of favorites from those at the front of the herd. Although I'm plodding along near the back - but not in the last row that gets eaten by wolves - I love the Beartooth Merino Hoody and BPL FireLite Ti Trappers Mug. Both have made 2008 a great gear year for me.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 16:52:10 MST Print View

A Great list of gear!!!My three favorite pieces of gear for the year are as follows:

MLD Serenity Shelter (custom) 10.2 oz
BPL Ion Stove SUL!!!!!!!!!!
Thermarest Trail Pro 72x20x2 32oz. A good nights sleep is very important to me-worth every pound .


Edited by Creachen on 12/16/2008 17:35:57 MST.

David Stenberg
(dstenberg1) - F

Locale: South
Re: 2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 17:20:54 MST Print View

I always look forward to the Staff Picks and the Picks from those on the forums. Here are mine:

1. BPL Long Handled Spoon--best eating utensil in the backcountry
2. BMW Torsolite--best pad I have ever used!
3. Steripen Adventurer--Allows me to drink as much as I want fast; no wait for purification! Only downside is battery life.


Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: 2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 17:47:30 MST Print View

Ryan on the Merino Hoody - "While you've been waiting for this product to come to market, I've had the privilege of wearing it all year." Braggart!

Since I'm in law school, amassing debt hand over fist, my picks are all super light and super good deals. My three:

- Gossamer Gear G6 Whisper - discontinued, but only $60 for a wicked light pack. This pack changed my life!

-Equinox Silnylon Poncho-tarp - $40 bucks and 10oz for shelter and rain gear. It might not be made for extreme conditions, but it works great for weekend trips in moderate weather - the kind I make the most.

- REI Kilo Flash Women's and REI Lite-Core self inflating pad (short) - After sale and coupon, I paid only $89 (with in-store pickup) for both a 20 oz 35 deg down bag and a 18 oz, comfortable sleeping pad for my wife. She's getting them for Christmas, and are integral in my plot to convert her! I found the deal thanks to BPL forum.

Edited by dsmontgomery on 12/17/2008 14:43:19 MST.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
My favs on 12/16/2008 18:10:57 MST Print View

Montbell UL Thermawrap Parka - fantastic UL insulating parka. Don't get the jacket - it only has 50 g/m of Exceloft as opposed to the parka's 80.

ID eVENT Shortie Gaiters and MLD eVENT rain mitts- In the category of gear that does exactly what it is designed to do with nothing unnecessary added, these two pieces of clothing take the cake. They are perfect because there is no longer anything to take away.

TarpTent Double Rainbow - My brother and I spent two weeks in this shelter in May and loved every minute of it. The headroom is great, the total floor area and usable space are massive for a two person shelter and the vestibules are actually usable.

John Quinn
(inspector8598) - M

Locale: Northeast
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 18:38:40 MST Print View

In no particular order, here are my (3) favorite gear choices for 2008 -

- ZPacks Z1 Ultralight Sil-Nylon backpack - at 4.2oz. and Joe's exceptional customer service, you can't go wrong.

- Mountain Laurel Designs bug bivy - when the bugs are biting and you want to get a good nights sleep, there is no better choice.

- Gossamer Gear Lightrek 3 trekking poles - I don't go anywhere without them, especially at only 4.8oz/pair.

( - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: 2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 18:52:27 MST Print View

BPL Thorofare Pants

GG Lightrek 4 poles

SMD Serenity Net Shelter

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
My Fav's on 12/16/2008 19:01:59 MST Print View

BPL Thorofare pants
Inov8 Flyroc 310/Roclite 315 (love them equally for different purposes)
Ibex Meru Beanie hat

Honorable mention
ID eVent Rain Jacket
MLD SuperZip Pack

Edited by Jkrew81 on 12/23/2008 06:25:04 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
mine on 12/16/2008 21:30:54 MST Print View

-Osprey Talon 22
-Patagonia Traverse Pullover
-Spandura scree gaitors (velcro heel attachment!)

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: 2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/16/2008 22:01:27 MST Print View

Gotta agree on the Merino Hoody. I received mine just after submitting my top 3 but it's a genius piece of gear- definitely on my top 3 for 2009 list!

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
2008 Favorites on 12/16/2008 22:19:41 MST Print View

Inov-8 shoes... for me it's a toss up between the more grippy and cushioning 295 roclite and the more durable sole with slight more natural feel 310 Flyroc.

Injinji Tetratsok... which when combined with the Inov-8 shoes have meant NO blisters no matter how many miles I put in or how wet my feet were.

Platypus BigZip SL Hydration System... fast and easy to fill, reasonably light, tube quick release works well making it easy to switch between being part of a gravity filter system and a hydration bladder on the trail.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
2008 list on 12/16/2008 23:30:59 MST Print View

MSR twin sisters for trips in winter or under heavy rain.
valandré mirage with short zip
event shorties gaiters

this year my BPL 1100 pot wont be in the list, i recieved the new one after my wife lost one with the bushbuddy inside ( was fun hiking in the snow using cooking oil in a small tea candle metal cup to cook food for 5 days..)
but the new one seems different the lid isnt fiting as a start.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/17/2008 04:42:41 MST Print View

Items I've most appreciated in 2008 (more than three):

Any tent designed by Henry Shires. IMHO, they are better ventilated and have less condensation than any other single-wall--and a lot of double-wall--tents on the market.

My Western Mountaineering Ultralight Super sleeping bag, which kept me snuggly warm in temperatures well below freezing. I didn't have a thermometer, but the water in my dog's dish froze completely solid.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Insulmat Max Thermo (how's that for a mouthful!) insulated air mattress. Even more comfortable than the mattress on my bed at home. The newer version is the POE Ether Thermo, whose name is slightly less of a mouthful. Despite the lighter name of the newer version, both old and new weigh the same.

Six Moon Designs Comet pack. It performed admirably even when I had to carry close to 37 lbs. My back, shoulders and hips were fine, although my knees and feet screamed. What I learned from that incident is that if you want your ashes scattered out in the wilderness, please pick a place that's close to the trailhead and easy to reach. Human cremains weigh at least seven pounds. It's asking too much of your relatives to carry them to a place that's 4 days' hike from the trailhead.

ULA Amigo Pro gravity water filter. It saved me considerable lower back pain caused by bending over a water source pumping. It also saved me considerable time sitting by buggy streams stirring with a Steripen.

Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat. I'm allergic to most sunscreens, and this hat eliminates the need for sunscreen except on snow or close to bodies of water. Unlike other hats I've tried, it's very comfortable, has lots of ventilation and doesn't bump against my pack.

Jeremy Cleaveland
(jeremy11) - F

Locale: Exploring San Juan talus
2008 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/17/2008 07:41:22 MST Print View

Montrail Hardrocks + Dirty Girl Gaiters ("Switchbacks") + Holstein Cow Socks

Cilogear 60 liter Worksack! Great for hauling climbing gear around and backpack guiding

Paramo Aspira Jacket

Liberty Ridge Windcoat with hood and full zip (homemade)

DMM alloy offset nut #7 (climbing gear)

Black Diamond Microstoppers (climbing gear)

Primaloft Pants (homemade, full side zips) - 11 oz, don't need them much, but when I do they are amazing!

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
For Rick Dreher on 12/17/2008 08:21:29 MST Print View

you were looking for under insulation that is affordable, easy to use. Jacks R Better have a down 2/3 length Underquilt that is made for the Hennessey lineup (but will fit any gathered end hammock) on a special order program. it is not listed on the website. Contact Pan or Smee for info. I understand it is a 3 season quilt that wont work for most winter conditions, (maybe here in southwest, HI, or the south..) but its great for next spring. No, I dont work for them even if I sound like it! mike.

my fav 3:

petzl e-lite
reading a book in bed never seemed so easy

montbell inner snap neck vest
sub 4oz is a great core warmer

orvis traveller 8' pack rod, 5wt
great reason to hike to sub-alpine lakes

(favorite DIY gear is hands down my bridge hammock system - tarp, quilts included)

Praveen M
(prav66) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
My favourites for '08 on 12/17/2008 09:48:26 MST Print View

My 3 picks...

Panasonic G1 camera :

I've gone through over a dozen cameras & this is my current pick for trips where photo quality matters. Full zoom, real SLR quality & optical stabilization in the smallest/lightest package of its kind currently in existence.

Innov8 Terroc 330 :

After using Inov8 it's hard going back to other shoes. My previous Montrail hardrocks feel like over-cushioned lead in comparison. Inov8s are extremely light, have great grip, decent durability and they really let your foot move and flex naturally as evolution intended. For me that means less injuries and blisters in the long term. The Terrocs work best for my wide toes.

ULA Conduit :

It's not the lightest pack for it's capacity and it's heavy on the shoulders when weight creeps past 20 lbs yet for most multi day trips it's still my favorite pack. It's so comfortable, feature packed and sensibly made that I find myself missing aspects of it whenever I try & go lighter and end up coming right back.

Edited by prav66 on 12/17/2008 09:53:07 MST.

John Mackey
(JohnMackey) - F
2008 favorites on 12/17/2008 12:13:54 MST Print View

Gossamer Gear "The One" tent

My favorite tent: only 17 ounces, bathtub floor, very easy to set up, full rain and insect protection, and very versatile. What's not to like? Could it be better? Sure--make a Cuben version and get the weight down to only 10 or 11 ounces.

Feathered Friends Swallow Sleeping Bag + Nunatak down balaclava--custom bag for me made without a hood and with an excellent neck collar, made with NANO fabric--listed at 20 degrees, 25.9 ounces + 3.6 ounces for the Nunatak Balaclava. I think the neck collar and the Nunatak Balaclava make this a 10 to 15 degree bag with a wide comfort range. Western Mountaineering, Marmot, and Nunatak get most of the sleeping bag kudos on this board (and they all do make excellent bags). However, Feathered Friends does too and their customization on fabric, size, length, quality of down, etc., combined with their production speed (compared to Nunatak) and excellent service give them an edge IMO.

Gossamer Gear Lighttrek 4 Trekking Poles

These new adjustable trekking poles rock! Their big advantage over Ti-Goat's adjustible poles (which are also very nice) are the superior handle grips.

IPOD Nano 16 GB

For only 1.5 ounces I can listen dozens of full audio books and thousands of songs and have 20 to 24 hours of battery life before recharging Don Wilson--Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" is available for download at Thanks for the tip on this book.

Simblissity Scree Gaiters

These gaiters fit very well and don't require a strap under the shoe (which always wears out very quickly). Not waterproof, but also very breathable and not too warm. Perfect for non-snow hiking with trail runners.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
2008 Favorites on 12/17/2008 13:51:42 MST Print View

Black Diamond Megalite
4 Season protection for under 3 lbs, with extra room when you dig it out, try that with a tent.

Smartwool Midweight long sleeve zip comfortable from an incredible range of temperatures, just pull the sleeves up, and zip it up, may be replace by the Beartooth Hoody which seems to take it even farther.

Montbell Thermawrap Action
Not so well known as all other Montbell gear, the fleece makes me comfortable enough to take it on cold active pursuits, compresses well, and has thumbholes.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
2008 favorites on 12/17/2008 14:14:37 MST Print View

New to me this year that I've really liked:

1. WM Ultralite sleeping bag.

2. Merino wool hoodie made from sewing a balaclava to a l/s shirt based on Bill Fornshell's idea.

3. Bicycle spoke added to my cooking pot for a bail/handle.