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2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/29/2009 21:36:49 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/29/2009 22:39:50 MST Print View

Nice roundup.

I was interested in the Ts1 comment by Ryan as this is a camera that I am looking at for my next purchase. "It's superbly simple, painfully slow, has an awful screen, but shoots fantastic images." slow and awful screen don't too much to excite me but seeing some of the HD video taken with the camera by Ryan soon changes that. I think some of my favourites were the ones on the 24 hour hike series.

Also interested that Roger would pick the MSR pot as a favourite, care to expand Roger?

Cheers, and well done.


Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Oops! on 12/29/2009 22:57:05 MST Print View

Ryan has a man cold. He didn't mean the TS1. I'm fixing it now. Poor Ryan.

Jonathan Boozer
(anywayoutside) - MLife

Locale: South East
Re: Oops! on 12/29/2009 23:02:24 MST Print View

OH that is far too funny. I assume Ryan's bell is Ti?

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Oops! on 12/29/2009 23:44:08 MST Print View

Ha!, Now that changes it all :)

Thanks Addie,


Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Picks on 12/30/2009 00:00:01 MST Print View

My 2009 Picks:

1) BPL Thorofare Pants - At 3.95oz they are radically lighter than anything else I've hiked it, yet they are durable and comfortable. After putting in a stronger waist band elastic cord they are perfect.
EDIT: Okay not that durable. These pants are neat but I've reverted to more durable Patagonia Sol Patrol pants around 7oz.

2) GoLite Ultra 20 - This is my first quilt and it has impressed me continually. I find it so comfortable and easy to use and it's also quite warm and a great bargain compared to other quilts on the market.

3) NeoAir Small - After using the regular NeoAir for most of the season I switched to the small and saved 5oz with no loss in comfort. The trick with any NeoAir is to inflate it less than common sense tells you is right and you'll sleep great. Using my packs back bad under my feet (and as a sit pad in camp) is a great way to make that item multi purpose and to lower the overall weight of your sleep system.

EDIT: Another year has passed and the Ultra 20 and NeoAir Small continue to highly impress.

Edited by dandydan on 11/28/2010 22:18:48 MST.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
a knife ! on 12/30/2009 00:41:29 MST Print View

Roger - a knife ! I am surprised. Always good to be surprised by folks.

Julian Watson
(JulesWatson) - F
.. on 12/30/2009 00:44:32 MST Print View


Edited by JulesWatson on 12/30/2009 15:40:07 MST.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: busted link on 12/30/2009 00:50:22 MST Print View

Just posted a PM to Addie for the same thing Julian :)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
My 2009 Favs on 12/30/2009 01:39:07 MST Print View

MLD 850 Pot, UL Caldera, GramCracker Stove, Esbits. After using an alcohol stove for a number of years I experimented with esbits. A number the experiments didn't go well, but I found this system is excellent: it's light, compact, durable, simple, and effective.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Pack: I have been using a Granite Gear Vapor Trail since 2002. THe Gorilla is the first pack that I have found that was as comfortable to carry <=25lbs loads, weights less, and was more convenient to use on the trail.

Inov-8 Flyroc 310 + Injinji socks: I have been using this combination for a few years now and continue to be thrilled with the results... my feet feel free and are blister free except when fail to clear out trail debris that can accumulate inside the shoe.

Other notable items on my perfect gear page.


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: My 2009 Favs on 12/30/2009 02:13:33 MST Print View

1) NeoAir
2) StickPic
3) Golite Ultra20 Quilt


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/30/2009 02:37:48 MST Print View

Hi Mark

> interested that Roger would pick the MSR pot as a favourite, care to expand Roger?

Um.... what can I say? It's really light, it is the right size for two, it is very robust, it has been on all our long walks since early 2006, and it still isn't showing any dings or damage. Contrary to popular myth it does not burn the dinner, although that may be partly how I cook - but I do simmer gently.

Works for me.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: a knife ! on 12/30/2009 02:46:02 MST Print View

Hi Julian

> Roger - a knife ! I am surprised.
Me too! Honest! I am not a knife enthusiast.

We have always taken a very light knife from an old English camping set with us, but while it is 'good' it doesn't stay as sharp and it has a round tip - good for butter and jam though. But for cutting bread the old knife is a compromise.

On our extended trips in Europe we always go through a huge amount of bread per day, and that means we spend a lot of time cutting the loaf. This knife is LIGHT (<2 oz) but with a decent length of blade. I haven't found another knife to match the specs (folding, 3.5", <2 oz).

We took it to Switzerland in 2009 for 2 months almost on spec, and we were sold. It was in use for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, and dinner. So ...


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: a knife ! on 12/30/2009 02:57:17 MST Print View

Thanks Roger,

I have the same one, I was just interested in your though process as you say it does the job, just not what I would have selected from all my gear,


Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Picks on 12/30/2009 05:47:49 MST Print View

Oh my, this is making me think about how much gear I bought this year. Funny how much new gear it takes to drop your base packweight from 18 to 8 pounds. My picks...

1. Caldera cone & MSR Titan Kettle: wicked easy water boiling with a small amount of alcohol in very cold temperatures. Just got a new MLD 850 and UL Compact Caldera for next year. Can't wait to compare.

2. MLD Exodus pack: my first frameless pack, and it's been wonderful so far.

3. Golite Ultra: my first quilt. Not as warm as I expected, but it's a good introduction.

Runners up: GG LT4 poles (didn't get enough use out of them this year to be sure, and I'm waiting for a replacement pole due to a defective expander).

Hmm... If I can find one of those little bells for when I get a MAN COLD, that might be on next year's picks.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/30/2009 06:24:42 MST Print View

my top 3 for 2009?

Golite Chrome Dome Umbrella: Not the best peice for all trips, but a huge mental boost when you have a long day in the rain.

BPL UL Merino Hoody: Def the most usable layer in my closet. The weight is perfect and the hood fit is amazing

GG LT4's: My BPL Stix have been abandoned in the garage for winter sports. These poles approach perfection.

Top Skill Learned in 2009: Mastering the art if pitching a standard 8x10 Flat tarp in any situation I find myself

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks" on 12/30/2009 06:50:53 MST Print View

My top 3:

1) Patagonia R1 Hoody- Perfect weight baselayer next to skin for my cold blooded self!

2) Arcteryx Delta SV glove- Perfect balance of weight, fit, and wind cutting ability for trail running in cold weather and brisk weather hiking.

3) MSR Titan Kettle- Lightweight, durable, simple. My only titanium pot and still my favorite, used it on all my trips this year and last year and it is great for small meals or really big solo pasta dishes, the lid works perfectly and it nestles all my cooking gear just right!

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Fixed on 12/30/2009 08:40:35 MST Print View

That link's good again. Thanks guys!

My picks (hahahahaha!) would be:
1.) Packraft. I can't believe how much fun I had in one this summer.
2.) BPL Merino Hoody. I'm vain, and the green looks good on me, plus I loved how functional it was while both packrafting this summer and hunting this fall. Most of my clothes can't claim such a nice combo of form AND function!
3.) Whatever GoLite tarp I slept under this summer. I've only ever been a tent girl, and the buggy conditions we were in had me a little freaked out for nighttime (I have a thing about mosquitoes - it's not pretty). The roomy tarp was snugged up close enough to the ground to keep the nasties out, and I didn't get bitten once.

So there. Your non-gear-head editor's gear picks. :)

Edited by addiebedford on 12/30/2009 09:14:56 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
2009 Picks on 12/30/2009 11:25:40 MST Print View

In no particular order:

1- Ti-Tri/Inferno stove-- great combo, user-friendly wood stove, super-efficient alky
2- LT4 poles-- I hated trekking poles before, then tried these, and now can't imagine backpacking w/o them
3-Tied: iTP A3 EOS Upgrade light-- from 9 grams for an 80 lumen (adjustable down to 1.5 lumen), orange peel reflector (for throw) light. Add a few grams for the clip, a few more for a AAA battery.
3-Tied: Grohmann Boat knife. Certainly not new, but new to me, and my idea of the perfect backcountry knife.

Honorable mention: Merino wool, especially Patagonia's wool 2 zip-t and wool 4 hoody. I'm thrilled w/the great performance of merino, and can't seem to own enough of it, even for daily wear.

MYOG top 3:
1- 4.5 oz down vest
2- 19 oz framed 55L pack; parts blew apart on the trail, but were repairable, and the overall performance of the pack was great
3- "Ugly hat" of climashield and 2.75 oz down booties

Edited by 4quietwoods on 12/30/2009 11:27:00 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
2009 picks on 12/30/2009 11:55:51 MST Print View

In no particular order.

MLD Duomid and Inner Tent. My favourite 3 season shelter. Loads of room for little weight. I can sit out rainy weather, and relax away from the midges in comfort.

MLD Prophet. Perfect size for my gear. The Sub-Prophet might be a pick for next year for weekend trips.

Hip cartilage repair surgery. Had it done a few weeks ago, and hopefully i'll be out playing with my gear soon! :)