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2010 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
nalgene on 12/29/2010 08:26:05 MST Print View

glad to see the plain old nalgene getting some luv

for winter, nothing beats it for versatility

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
HP calculator love on 12/29/2010 09:29:56 MST Print View

I will also join the hp calculator lovefest. I used my dads HP45 until I could purchase my own HP... a HP25. Like everyone else, I have stories about it surviving great abuse. The most dramatic was falling out of my pack while going around 40mph down hill... it bouncing on the ground and then was hit by the car next to me, and shot into a gully. Continued to work fine. When it was stolen I replaced it with an HP41C. Still love the key feel, but I mostly use an RPN calculator on my iphone to save the weight and bulk. Multifunction (even it isn't as good as multiple separate items) is the ultralight way :-)

I have to ask though... Ryan, does your 12C go out into the back country, and if so, what are you using it for?


John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
HP 41CV on 12/29/2010 09:49:47 MST Print View

My HP 41 CV is still goiing strong after 27 years of engineering. I've had to change my batteries more than Ryan has.

Ken Weatherly
(bmwadv) - F
Re: HP 41CV on 12/29/2010 10:49:44 MST Print View

I too have had my 41CV for about as long with no issues at all.

I was told about a website by a fellow 41CV user that had his repaired after it stopped working. The site is fixthatcalc dot com. It looks like they will repair just about any HP calculator ever made.

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
Stuff That Works on 12/29/2010 11:02:35 MST Print View

"Stuff that works, stuff that holds up
The kind of stuff you don't hang on a wall
Stuff that's real, stuff you feel
The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall"
- Guy Clark (Dublin Blues Album 1995)

Ryan - I purchased my HP-15C in January 1981 and it's still humming. Pocket sized, powerful, programable, ultralight calculator nirvana. I don't remember the last time I replaced the batteries. What a tool! In the mean time I've worn out three HP printers and moved on to another brand. What ever happened to that "old" Hewlett-Packard quality?

Sam - If you're looking to replace your nearly indestructable Arborwear Tech pants with some other "stuff that works" you might take look at Rail Riders Versa Tac Light pants. At 15 oz. (medium) their not especially light weight, but they are incredibly tough and the side access zips on the cargo pockets are pretty darn handy when you're sitting down.

Edited by pjstarich on 12/29/2010 11:05:46 MST.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Favorites on 12/29/2010 11:08:48 MST Print View

Love my "The One" tent!
Really love my AGPs by Titanium Goat!!
And finally, I sleep extremely well on my Neo-Air mattress by Thermarest!!!

As suggested, I am leaving it at three items although there are several other items I could mention that make life sweet on the trail.

Bart Dickens
(dickens) - MLife
HP 12 C on 12/29/2010 11:09:23 MST Print View

Sorry gang, this might be venturing a bit too far off topic .................but I got to throw out some love to my little Texas Instruments TI-1100.

I have always wondered why it is still working? I googled it and found at the datamath calculator museum web site that my little fella was manufactured for Texas Instruments by Toshiba back in 1983. It is not the solar powered one but I have NEVER replaced the battery and I use it at least every week for 28 years? Perhaps one of you reverse polish engineer types can explain how this is possible. Just kidding I'm still amazed non-the-less.

Cheers to all

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Calculator Love on 12/29/2010 11:28:15 MST Print View

I knew it!
Lightweight backpacking geeks are really closet calculator geeks, too!!
I have a 41CV with all the accessories, including tape reader (museum quality) and use daily my 17B II. But I find myself using an Iphone app, Fast Figures, more often, got to be able to triangulate those baselines out in the field, don't you know! (and read that latest novel, watch the latest movies and listen to my tunes.)
Ah, the joys of geekdom.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Stuff That Works on 12/29/2010 13:05:57 MST Print View

"What ever happened to that "old" Hewlett-Packard quality?"


Carly sold it.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
freakin enginerds on 12/29/2010 13:43:51 MST Print View

I gave up my calculator after HS calculus (last math class of my life), and haven't owned one since.

This is far and away the best staff picks yet. Well done. Some points:

-Had a high maintenance GF in college who loved Tigi products. She also got 150 dollar haircuts.

-Ryan (or anyone else), how do the 212s wear compared to an "average" trail shoe. They sound great, but I'm sick of killing shoes in a few months.

-Roger, IMNSHO the best stuff you've written for this site, ever. Wollemi sounds like it'd be worth the plane tickets.

My three (in order):

Alpacka Yukon Yak with deck
MYOG packs
Tenkara Amago

Matthew Duchow
(Duchow) - MLife
Ti-Tri on 12/29/2010 14:43:43 MST Print View

Ray - I don't see the Fissure on the Trail Designs site. Is it too new to be in production?


Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
12C on 12/29/2010 15:29:23 MST Print View

Well, all of those comments must mean its a great tool. Lord knows how long I resisted learning to use one, but now that I have spent the time, its difficult to use anything else. And the build quality is supreme as another noted. Don't carry one in my pack, I'm not that nerdy, but kinda wished I was! BTW all, great list above. The Caldera Keg made the list again. I guess I should get one.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: freakin enginerds on 12/29/2010 15:35:21 MST Print View

I still remember the summer of 1973. One of the engineering teaching assistants had just purchased the original HP-35 scientific calculator, and he stuck it in his shirt pocket with the digital display point forward. He had it lit up with the value of Pi, so he got many stares from the students. The HP newspaper came out right then with the HP-35 article, so we spent many hours going over and over that.

Of course, I was only a tiny child at the time.


George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: 2010 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/29/2010 18:12:36 MST Print View

LOL - Maia on Beano. First the face licking and now blowing kisses!

My 2010 picks: Winter beard, wool socks, and Stratocaster

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
$150 haircuts on 12/29/2010 21:22:21 MST Print View

If I paid a stylist that much to cut my hair, they'd better mop my floors, do my laundry, and give me a one-hour massage to boot.

Also, all you calculator geeks are impossibly cute. And incredibly nerdy.

It's cool. My first love was an impossibly cute, incredibly nerdy engineer. I named our son after him. :)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: $150 haircuts on 12/29/2010 21:41:51 MST Print View

"and give me a one-hour massage to boot."

Ah, nothing like a good massage. I get an hour-and-a-half massage every other Thursday night - been going to the same therapist for about 6 years now. The massages and my monthly chiropractic appointment keep these old bones moving.

My 2010 favorites in no particular order - My cuben quilts from Tim Marshall, my cuben hammock tarp from Lawson Kline, and my week-long trek in Wyoming with a few BPLers (my first backpacking trip in the west!).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: freakin enginerds on 12/30/2010 00:49:50 MST Print View

Hi David

> Wollemi sounds like it'd be worth the plane tickets.
Hum .... it's an acquired taste.

The first time we (Sue and I) went into 'deep Wollemi' we turned around rather quickly when we got bewildered on the second day and came home. We needed some time to psychologically adapt to the terrain. OK, that was many years ago.

We normally travel (anywhere) without a GPS, for two reasons.
The first is that we are 'old school', and pride ourselves on our ability to navigate in Wollemi with a topo map and a basic compass.
The second reason is that a GPS is not really all that much use in that country. Sure, a GPS can tell you that you are 'here' (if you can get a fix from deep in a valley), but it cannot tell you how to get to where you are going. You see, the maps are not entirely reliable, and they only have 20 m contours. It is a standing joke that what a contour line really means is that there is a cliff or scarp there.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Wollemi on 12/30/2010 07:25:25 MST Print View

It sounds like a turbo version of parts of Arizona's Mogollan Rim, or (less so) some of the rare Southern Utah slots with enough ground water to create in canyon jungles.

Places where even 20 ft contour intervals do you little good!

I take it there are some canyoning routes in Wollemi?

Patricia Combee
(Trailfrog) - F

Locale: Northeast/Southeast your call
RE: 2010 BPL staff picks on 12/30/2010 17:52:01 MST Print View

Gossamer Gear One -awesome shelter
Ribz Front pack - goes with any decor
My home made Super Cat alky stove.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Wollemi on 12/30/2010 18:14:08 MST Print View

> I take it there are some canyoning routes in Wollemi?
Funny you should mention that!

Yes, some of the world's best wet canyoning country is to be found in a narrow belt running down the W side of Wollemi. The sandstone rock there is especially hard, and the slots can be very narrow - two feet wide would be normal. You can be several abseils from the surface in places. For many canyons you need not just two full-length abseil ropes but some flotation as well, as you may be swimming for an hour or two in very cold water.

Of course, if it rains you have to get out very fast. I have seen big and small canyons go up 6' to 10' in a couple of hours. And yes, people have died in them as a result.

Sue at the junction of Crayfish Canyon and Claustral Canyon. The latter is very high grade - three longish abseils from deep water and/or into deep water. You just about need a headlamp.

Wollangambee Canyon B Jan 94 S
This is Wollongambee canyon, which in fine weather is long but fairly easy - but it can be cold! Doing both parts will take a full day.