Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
My top picks of 2009 on 12/31/2009 09:34:11 MST Print View

I bought a lot of gear in 2009 going from around 24 pounds for a 3 day trip to around 18 pounds or less for the same trip so this is tough.

1. Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus – I originally wanted a ULA Circuit, but tried the Mariposa and it carries like it was made for me. It is just as comfortable with 20 pounds as my old Mountainsmith Phantom which was twice the weight. I liked this pack so much I also bought a Gorilla as the Mariposa Plus was a little big for my summer kit.

2. Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter & Alpinelite Bug Shelter 1.25 Combo – I had been using a BA Seedhouse SL1 and although I was very happy with it, I wanted something lighter. This combo gives me the same amount of square footage as my Seedhouse and is a full double wall shelter for a scant 23oz including stakes and guylines. That is lighter than the Tarptent Contrail.

3. BPL Pro 90 Balaclava – I am a side/stomach sleeper that has never used the hood on a sleeping bag, and I have gone through several hats and balaclava’s looking for something that was light, warm, and wouldn’t come off during the night. This is it.

Runner Up:

ULA Rain Wrap – This is the rainwear to use in the summertime here in the Southeast.

Other items that I like, but don’t yet have enough experience with to warrant putting them in my Gear for 2009 list

Golite Ultra 20 – This is my first quilt, and it makes since to me because I never use the hood of a bag. I have used this for three nights in the mid twenties and have been plenty warm, but I don’t think three nights is enough to get me to sell off my WM sleeping bags yet, but it is getting there.

Caldera Cone – So far this is making me think of getting rid of my canister stove forever. I only have a month or so with it so we will see how it does in 2010.

Nunatak Skaha Plus with overfill – I picked this up to replace my non hooded Mont-Bell Alpine Jacket and help me push the Golite Ultra 20 down into the single digits. I haven’t gotten a chance to use it yet, but I get the feeling that is going to change here soon. We have had some cold weather here the past few weeks.

Marmot Essence - Full rain jacket protection with a nice hood and good breathability for 6.4oz in a Mens medium. It seems to good to be true, but so far it seems like the real deal.

Edited by Mocs123 on 12/31/2009 09:36:21 MST.

John Roan
(JRoan) - MLife

Locale: Vegas
2009 BPL Staff Picks on 12/31/2009 09:54:05 MST Print View

My top 3, in no particular order;

1. GG SpinnTwinn tarp for 2, very roomy and simple!

2. Nunatak BCB, made extra wide for 2, then modified by removing velcro, closing footbox, and adding draft sheets to sides. Has kept us warm well below freezing.

3. MYOG Caldera Ti-Tri for Heineken for stove/windscreen/pot/lid is 3.35oz. Easy to use in woodburning mode, and esbit or alcohol as a backup.

2009 has been a year of simplifying my gear, and getting my base weight below 7lbs (to include shelter & quilt for 2).

2010 will bring more MYOG projects (backpack in the works), and hopefully help some heavy weight backpacking boy scouts to see the light (pun intended).

Happy Trails :~)>

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks - Matt Lutz on 12/31/2009 10:18:24 MST Print View

"Arctic mukluks by Steger Mukluks: My feet were warm and dry in a myriad of conditions with these muks on. For the UL hiker, they're 20 oz per foot of warmth. Try to get that out of any other full-on winter boot. You won't. Now I just need to figure out how to keep the laces from absorbing moisture and freezing at night..."

How many miles do you hike in these comfortably? They look fantastic!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
also @Matt Lutz: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/31/2009 11:35:58 MST Print View

Arctic mukluks by Steger Mukluks: My feet were warm and dry in a myriad of conditions with these muks on. For the UL hiker, they're 20 oz per foot of warmth

20oz ... outstanding! My oversized Inov8 390GTX are 18oz per shoe ... that's before adding thick socks and an insulated insole. Although I'm sure you wear a smaller size. Which model are you wearing?

Now I just need to figure out how to keep the laces from absorbing moisture and freezing at night...

I wonder if silicone leather treatment would work for that.

Might be worth asking the Steger folks, after all they do live in work in exactly the climate their product is designed for.

Edited by jcolten on 12/31/2009 12:36:37 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: also @Matt Lutz: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/31/2009 13:03:45 MST Print View

> Now I just need to figure out how to keep the laces from absorbing moisture and freezing at night...
> I wonder if silicone leather treatment would work for that.
In my experience the silicone wears off too quickly, otherwise it would be a good idea. A bit of fluorocarbon DWR maybe? Or maybe just a good dose of Sno-Seal?


Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
RE: 2009 favorite gear on 12/31/2009 15:49:40 MST Print View

GG Light trek 4's
Neoair pad
Montbelle spiral down hugger #2

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/31/2009 16:06:47 MST Print View

Gear this year that earned top honors in my gear closet are...

1 - MLD Prophet
2 - Caldera Cone
3 - Custom Nunatak Ghost

Honorable mention to MLD Cuben Grace Solo and JRB Stealth

My 2009 MYOG list is
1 - MYOG Quilt (3" loft weights <21 oz worked down to 15 degrees)
2 - Ray Jardine Backpack Kit
3 - MYOG Minitent (12.9 oz in silnylon)

Honorable mention to Thru-Hiker Kinsman Pullover

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: also @Matt Lutz: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/31/2009 16:51:50 MST Print View

I've gone through two coatings of their silicone spray. I called the folks in Ely about the issue, and they really didn't have an answer. I suggested Sno-Seal, and they said that sounded OK. I'm going to use it eventually (likely this coming week) on the laces. Perhaps the customer service rep was new or something.

I use their Arctic model (without the ribbon).

I haven't tested them for mileage, but Will Steger and company have hiked across Antarctica with them.

I wear size 9 double wide, with the following sock combo: X-static liner, ID VBL, Smartwool Mountaineer.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
2009 favorite gear on 01/01/2010 00:12:21 MST Print View

My 3 favorite gear aquisitions over the past twelve months:

1. ZPacks Zero L (awesome - custom; transformable from kid's to adult pack!)

2. Coast LED Lenser Micro Headlamp Model 7451 (simple +uses just one AAA)

3. REI 400ml Titanium mug + Sippy Lid (used ~ every day for tea + hydration)

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
2009 Favorites on 01/01/2010 00:41:41 MST Print View

1. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir

2. GG Vapor Trail (post mod)

3. ZebraLight H60

I think this is a dupe thread. I'm pretty sure I answered this elsewhere. No matter. I have to also thank and all of you guys for your help this year. I've dropped a lot of weight. I never thought I would be below a 10 lb base weight. With the new gear i've recently ordered, I'll finally meet my goal.

Tim Marshall is making me a wonderful cuben quilt. (WLQ) Epiphany
Ron Bell over at Mountain Laurel Designs is making me a few items: Cuben Grace Tarp Solo, 2010 Alpine Bivy, and a Superlight Bivy. Those should arrive in the next month or two. I'm very excited. This will drop the last couple of pounds I needed to lose to get a sub 10 lb base weight. FINALLY!!!

January is a very welcomed month. On the 5th I get to walk again. It's been almost 3 months since the motorcycle accident and I've missed out on a lot of winter camping. I'm thankful to be alive. What a year. Happy Twenty Ten everyone!

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: 2009 Favorites on 01/01/2010 07:07:38 MST Print View

1. Thermarest Prolite XS- I am always out when it's too cold for a Neoair and it is an ounce lighter.

2. Keen Voyaguer low shoes- great desert shoe

3. Thermarest Compack Chair- it is perfect with a cut down Ridgerest and the Prolite XS for long nights in camp.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
2009 best on 01/01/2010 11:29:30 MST Print View

One that comes far ahead for me :
my neoair regular

never slept that good
i would sacrifice hot food / stove before sleeping again on my cut ridgerest

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Favorite gear on 01/01/2010 15:44:54 MST Print View

GG Murmur Pack
GG Litetrek poles
Gatewood Cape
Marmot Driclime Windshirt, with homemade hood
Western Mountaineering Megalite
Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket

all six of these go on just about every trip except warm summer ones (when down insulation not needed) or longer ones (when bigger pack is needed for >2 days food)

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
My Three on 01/01/2010 17:52:49 MST Print View

Reconfigured Western Mountaineering bag to use as a quilt;

Western Mountaineering down jacket;

Home-made soda can stove (various versions)

Janet; When does the pack review come? I need a smaller pack and would love to see some comparisons....

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Top 3 of 2009 on 01/03/2010 16:04:32 MST Print View

1: Neoair med -
marvelous, just had to learn to under-inflate

2: Bushbuddy reg version -
I know, its not new but it is new to me. It came with me on nearly every trip since acquiring it and hasn't let me down once.

3: Western Mountaineering down booties -
Light and toasty for a great price. Have not had much field use but will soon, that is if my lady doesn't commandeer them first!

EDIT: 3. Patagonia R1 Hoody -
I'm gonna eat my words on the WM down booties, as they haven't seen enough use yet and as I just remembered the R1 hoody. This is truly a great piece of gear. Amazingly versatile and fairly lightweight for its temp range. Also not new but its a first for me. I can't get enough of it.

With so many recent advancements in fabrics and materials in general, I am curious to see what the next decade has in store for us lightweight enthusiasts. Heres to Twenty-ten!

Edited by nicktruax on 01/03/2010 16:26:23 MST.

Thomas Kight
(ningen) - F
2009 Picks on 01/06/2010 07:10:51 MST Print View

Here are my picks. Not really new gear in 2009, but new to me, so here goes:

1. Trangia (sp?) Stove: Used on WT1. Many feel it is too heavy for UL, but I find it transfers heat more efficiently and effectively than some other alcohol stoves. It holds enough fuel so it doesn't run out just before your pasta is done. Plus, you can put it out whenever you want with the lid.

2. Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn Tarp: light, pitches beautifully, and is luxuriously spacious.

3. BPL Merino Hoody: great design with the hood and the thumb tabs. The warmth for weight return is remarkable.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Where's Don? on 01/10/2010 15:03:33 MST Print View

I just noticed that for the first time Don Wilson didn't list his picks, is he still involved with BPL?

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Where's Don? on 01/10/2010 17:00:29 MST Print View

Hey Pete -

I'm still here. Just got too busy to send in my picks.

My picks for 2009 would probably be:

Montrail Mountain Masochist Trail Running Shoes. Light. comfortable, durable. The best shoes for my feet that I've ever used. Just bought another pair.

My homemade super simple can stove. I've made lots of these, but this is the best one I've made. It's similar to Skurka's approach, but I use three rows of small holes, instead of two rows of standard hole-punch sized holes. I love the fact that the can also serves as the pot stand. Simple, always works, wicked light.

Last is my favorite meal from 2009. Ore-Ida potatoes, mixed with foil tuna and olive oil. Throw in random spices. Heavenly when hungry. Sticks to your ribs.


Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 01/11/2010 09:45:10 MST Print View

> Ore-Ida potatoes, mixed with foil tuna and olive oil. Throw in random spices.

I should not be hungry for this at 09:45 a.m. - - but I am!

Thomas Gauperaa
(gauperaa) - F

Locale: Norway
Re: 2009 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 01/17/2010 07:57:32 MST Print View

Caldera Cone - It's just a genius design with the pot stand being the wind shield. Very stable, very efficient and cool looking too. I have three of these now: the Keg-H, the standard cone for the SP900 and a ti-tri with inferno for the MSR Titan.

Buff - it's always in my bag/pack, being used year round as a cap, scarf, mask etc. Everyone should have one. I've recently bought the Polar Buff too, which I like.

Lundhags Traverse Pant with Schoeller strech material. Very comfortable! Only downside is that it is a cotton-polyester lend pant, so will wet through eventually. A bit heavy too, but worth it.

Honorable mentions:
Trekking poles (Leki) - just makes it easier, faster and more fun to hike. Great multi-use item when used as poles for a tarp too.
Swedish fire steel with quick-fire tinder
MSR Titan kettle
Jason Klass's lid for the SP900

Edited by gauperaa on 01/17/2010 07:58:33 MST.