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Need recommendation on some gear
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Pete O
(Shouse) - F

Locale: TX
Need recommendation on some gear on 03/10/2010 18:16:32 MST Print View

I'm not trying to set any records on being light, just a good bang for the buck light gear. Anything is going to be worlds better than what I have already. Most of my BP trips for a while will be in SE region, mostly FL. Things I'm looking for:
1. Flashlight. Thought about a headlamp of some sort. Not having to hold it in my hand will come in handy.
2. socks. Not exactly sure what type I should get as most of my trips will be in decently warm climate.
3. Stove. alcohol? MYOG? What's the best.
4. Water filter. FL has pretty crappy water. Filter is probably best.

Not looking for anything TOO expensive. Bang for the buck. Thanks all.

Derek B.
(derekb) - F

Locale: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/10/2010 19:28:02 MST Print View

Hi Peter,

Others will likely have much more experience than I on this but here are some answers I have found to those questions:

Flashlight - if you don't plan to travel at night and just want something light, check out Photon Freedom lights (0.4 oz, $20, comes with hat clip) or the Petzl e+Lite headlamp (1 oz, $30). If you are looking for a headlamp for nighttime travel, the Princeton Tec Eos (3.7 oz, $40) generally gets great reviews around here, but is quite a bit heavier so it depends on what you need it for.

Socks - many kinds. Merino blends are a good bet for hiking, as they are comfortable (good against chafing), will stay warm when wet, and can go a long time before they start to smell. I tend to use Smartwool socks because they are easily available in stores near my (for warm weather, check out a light low cut model like the Adrenaline mini crew), but a lot of people here also swear by Darn Tough socks, which seem like a great product, though I haven't yet had the chance to get a pair.

Stoves - if you have never used an alcohol stove before, a good place to start is to make a Fancy Feast cat food can stove, as Andrew Skurka demonstrates in this video. Later on, you can try out other kinds - you can find a ton of info on this topic on (including tips on fuel tips, safety issues, etc.). If you want to see different types in action, you can easily find a MYOG video for any model you please on youtube.

Filters - I have not yet replaced my MSR filter, but to get started without spending much, you could try using Aquamira or Katadyn tablets and just use a coffee filter to filter out the floaties. Alternately, if you wanted to spend a bit more, many people seem to be moving toward using a UV method such as the Steripen Adventurer, and this is the direction I am looking in for myself as well.

Check out some of the gear lists on this site - there are a lot posted and I have found them really helpful as a resource for information on different gear ideas. If you have not already, get a digital scale and weigh all your gear, and make a spreadsheet so you know what you are carrying. But you may have heard this advice before already.

Hope this helps a bit, and best of luck!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/10/2010 19:39:38 MST Print View

Skurka's Fancy Feast Catfood Can stove (mentioned above) is a great starter, but be sure to include a tight windscreen that matches your pot, or any other stove/pot you end up with.

Pete O
(Shouse) - F

Locale: TX
thanks on 03/10/2010 19:40:30 MST Print View

Thanks a bunch. Great information. You got any good sites to find those socks though?

Edited by Shouse on 03/10/2010 19:41:14 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/10/2010 19:51:58 MST Print View

1. Light: I like the Petzl Tikka 2. Many older Petzl's are likely to burn out using lithium batteries.

2. Socks: Polyester or nylon dress socks, maybe running socks in the same fabric if you need thicker, merino wool for temps around 40-55 F

3. Stove:
MYOG woodburning or a campfire is the least expensive and the lowest fuel weight :) I also like the Penny alcohol stove:
Alcohol stoves take more knowledge and experience to use properly and safely. Practice before a trip. :)

4. Water purification:
Boiling is the most thorough, but not many have the fuel or time to do it. If you use a filter, I'd use chemical treatment to kill viruses which will pass through the filter (if they're even present). The Steripen is a nice but expensive and battery-dependent option.

Edited by AndyF on 03/10/2010 19:55:36 MST.

Derek B.
(derekb) - F

Locale: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/10/2010 20:02:59 MST Print View

Just to add to the other comments, the penny stove is another good starter, but slightly more work than the cat can stove, and also a bit more fragile. But both are good starter stoves. +1 on the windscreen - you can make this out of aluminum foil with two paper clips to hold it together.

About socks (and other apparel), I just use google shopping to find the best price for the product I want. Make sure the seller has free shipping (you are lucky in the US that you get this option!). Andy has a good point, in a hot area like Florida you may prefer synthetic socks. Nylon dress socks or running socks have also worked for me as inexpensive options.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/11/2010 00:29:54 MST Print View

> Flashlight / Headlamp
Fenix headlamp if you want to do night hiking or a Zebralight if it's for around camp. Personally, I really like the iTP A3 EOS Upgraded flashlight which can be clicked to my hat.

> Socks
Injinji toe socks to prevent blisters between toe which I used to always get. If you don't have issues between toes then there are a lot of choices. I liked wright doublesocks and inov-8 trail running socks.

> stove
I would vote for alcohol or esbits. Lots of good choices. I think the UL Caldera Cone + MLD 850 Pot/Mug is the best compromise factoring in ease of use, compactness, and fuel efficency, but there are lots of good options. For DIY I like the various catfood stoves and the penny stove.

> Water filter
Look at the various gravity options.

More ideas on my recommended gear pages.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/11/2010 05:18:42 MST Print View

1. Walmart
2. Walmart
3. Make an alcohol stove from
4. Walmart

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
florida hiking gear on 03/11/2010 06:32:25 MST Print View

Coincidentally, I just got back from my first hike in Florida. Enjoyed it. Very different from the mountains, but it was fun.

Light: Any small light headlamp is fine. I like the Zipka, but any of them will work. A headlamp is MUCH easier to use around camp than a flashlight. I prefer a light that uses AAA batteries over one that takes coin cells or odd camera batteries.

Water: I used Aqua Mira, but I can definitely see the utility of a filter -- even some of the hand-pumped well water was pretty nasty. Next time I will bring my Pur Hiker filter. That's a reasonably priced, reasonably light filter.

Stove: Not sure I would want an alcohol or tablet stove given all the flammable stuff on the ground. Yes, I could have cleared down to sand most places. Still, the fire danger is real. I was happy to have a canister stove on this trip. I just got a Coleman F1 Ultralight based on the testing here at BPL, and it worked very well. (Yes, it's my fourth canister stove. No, I do not have a problem. I can quit anytime I want.)

Socks. Oddly enough, I found my usual medium-weight wool socks worked best on this trip. I used quarter-height Darn Tough socks for the first three days, and had happy feet. On the last day I switched to some thin synthetic socks, and had very hot, chafed, and unhappy feet.

Shelter: I took my new Tarptent Moment, which worked fine. But I might have preferred my hammock, given the terrain. Would have had many more potential campsites that way.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Further recommendations on 03/11/2010 09:11:03 MST Print View

I can agree with Derek's suggestion of the Petzl e+LITE head torch. It's probably gained a bit of weight recently as I notice the current version includes a whistle, but it's tremendously functional for its size:

Alternatively, if you don't mind something not head-mounted (although it does have a good clip on it) then the very robust Maratac AAA might be an option. Three brightness levels and barely larger than the AAA battery which powers it:

Having used both the Photon Freedom and the Photon II I definitely prefer the Photon II. The switch on the Freedom, with its various modes depending on how long you press it, is a bit of a pain when you just need a light.

The most convenient water filter I've ever used is currently available in slightly revised form as the Travel Tap, a simple plastic "sports" bottle with the filter built-in. Weight is pretty reasonable, especially when you consider that it replaces a separate filter and bottle, but not spectacularly light. So far mine has been effective and simple to use:

Edited by bigjackbrass on 03/11/2010 09:13:47 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Further recommendations on 03/11/2010 09:59:54 MST Print View

"Having used both the Photon Freedom and the Photon II I definitely prefer the Photon II. The switch on the Freedom, with its various modes depending on how long you press it, is a bit of a pain when you just need a light."

The Freedom is the only one of the two which is advertised as water resistant though.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
socks on 03/11/2010 10:43:51 MST Print View

Can you beat De Feet?


Edited by rambler on 03/11/2010 10:45:35 MST.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
More options? on 03/11/2010 23:50:49 MST Print View

1. Fenix HP10 if you go out in the winter, Princeton Tec Fuel for more time in the darkness or the classic Petzl e-lite if you don't need it much.

2. I like my Woolpower 200, 400, 600 and 800 merino socks. Smartwool socks are great as well, and my gf is happy with her Icebreaker socks.

3. MYOG all the way. Here my 6 g MYOG top burner stove how-to

4. No idea, I don't need a filter. I reckon a Buff can do to get the bigger stuff out, and then some drops or tablets.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Maratac AAA and Fenix E01 on 03/12/2010 00:02:31 MST Print View

I agree with Jon above on the Maratac AAA. If you are looking for a flashlight as your only light option, this would be a good choice. I also like the Fenix e01 as a nightlight. It can be found for 12 bux shipped on ebay. Heres a link to some pics I recently posted about the potential of both flashlights as lighting sources for in-tent use.

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
Re: Need recommendation on some gear on 03/12/2010 13:39:46 MST Print View

1. Petzl E-lite. Photon freedom is good as backup, but by itself it's hard to get anything accomplish if you don't have it clipped on your baseball hat.
2. Smartwool. shop around on websites for discount. can i make a suggestion? Hydropel gel (repackaged, of course). Expensive but saves your feet.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
gear recommendations on 03/12/2010 17:22:55 MST Print View

1. Petzl Tikka 2, though almost any AAA battery headlamp will work for around camp. I don't think the photon's put out enough light as a primary light. The little fenix looks nice, too, but I prefer headlamps.

3. REI merino wool socks. $5+ cheaper than smartwool, about the same quality.

3. I'd probably opt for an alky stove, though what Jason said makes some sense. Maybe also carry something like a cardboard square covered in foil to mitigate against the fire risk?

4. hard to argue with a hiker pro. Little heavier and bulkier than I like, but the thing isn't too heavy and very dependable.

Pete O
(Shouse) - F

Locale: TX
Thanks on 04/04/2010 19:22:35 MDT Print View

Thank you all for the recommendations. While there are similarities, there was a LOT of different recommendations. I've read this page probably 50 times.

Camping in the Boy Scouts they always taught us to where a wool sock and a inner nylon sock. Are people still doing this or not needed when wearing socks such as smart wool?

Also, what do you all think of the Fenix HL20? The flashlight will be used on other non UL backpacking trips. It's important that it's a good strong weight. I'm willing to sacrifice a few ounces for that. I guess I need the best of both worlds :/

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Thanks on 04/05/2010 10:21:27 MDT Print View

"Camping in the Boy Scouts they always taught us to where a wool sock and a inner nylon sock. Are people still doing this or not needed when wearing socks such as smart wool?"

This varies with the sock and the person. Take along some inner socks, and put them on the first sign of hot spots on your feet.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
socks on 04/05/2010 13:46:34 MDT Print View

The Bridgedale "X-hale Trailhead" socks are a nice light sock. I never really noticed any difference in socks until I wore them.