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2006 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
2006 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 11/29/2006 06:28:26 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2006 Backpacking Light Staff Picks

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Pringles on 11/29/2006 10:56:34 MST Print View

Pringles are an interesting choice. A friend once left half a pack in the cockpit of a small, sailing boat. A month later - and the boat had been on a mooring in Portsmouth harbour for most of the time - the Pringles were still crisp. An astonishing performance, demonstrating their suitability for backpacking if carried in a crush-proof container. Pringles definitely use only the finest quality, Belgian chemicals. They'd be even better if they had some food content.

Richard Sullivan
(richard.s) - MLife

Locale: Supernatural BC
Sawyer Controlled Release DEET ~ Asolo Voyager ~ Kelty Ridge 2 on 11/29/2006 11:07:21 MST Print View

Thanks again for a great list. I always enjoy this feature a lot.

My favourite gear for 06 was:

Sawyer Controlled Release DEET ~ This is one fantastic product, I actually enjoy using it. Long lasting, pleasant smelling cream, works perfectly.

Asolo Voyager XCR ~ These are the the lightest full shank boots on the market. And at 650g they are only 100g more than most hiking shoes.

Kelty Ridge 2 ~ Everything I always wanted in a Hubba Hubba, but with less weight and a high-level vent.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Pringles on 11/29/2006 12:36:09 MST Print View

John -

Yeah, Pringles may not be a healthy snack, but they really hit the spot for me this year in warm conditions and long days.

I've ignored the nutrition value and the fact that they are made with all the tricks of mass produced frankenfood. I just know that they got me through a lot of days and that I found myself dreaming of rest stops where I could gobble down my alloted amount of Pringles. I carefully collected every crumb, never letting the smallest morsel escape my cravings.

Of course, I also ate huge amounts of warm, sweaty summer sausage. So it is fair to question my judgement when it comes to appealing food items.

Len Glassner
(lsglass) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Komperdell hiking poles on 11/29/2006 21:24:26 MST Print View

I'm glad someone has had a positive experience with the C3 poles. Mine had an immediate, chronic problem with the twist locks not grabbing. I returned them to REI. I've acquired the more expensive LEKI carbon fiber poles, which have a similar weight. Have yet to try them out.

Ronald Lemmer
(rlemmer) - F

Locale: San Francisco Area
Re: Komperdell hiking poles on 11/30/2006 09:08:56 MST Print View

I have gone back to Leki non carbon poles. I broke a set on the PCT this year and I was one of many with this issue. I would not trust a carbon pole in a critical situation--like a sketchy river crossing. I know others seem to not have had issues---but I have seen way to many failures on the long trails.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Komperdell hiking poles on 11/30/2006 09:43:01 MST Print View

Not all CF is created (or in this case manufactured) equal.

Take a look at the LuxuryLite CF hiking staffs. Also, TiGoat makes some nice CF poles and staffs.

BMW has some very pricey, but strong and stiff poles.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Re: Re: Pringles on 11/30/2006 12:12:26 MST Print View

Hi, Don.

When I'm burning more than 5000 calories a day, I too eat anything I can get my hands on. It was me who tested the Pringles (plural) in the opened pack and I wasn't even particularly hungry!

Earlier in my backpacking career, I experienced getting run down after a couple of hard weeks, partly as a result of bad eating. I try always to get something really good into my rucksack these days, and then a bit of the stuff I would never touch at home doesn't really matter.

I do get concerned when hearing others laud food which is high in calories per gram. A balanced diet will keep a backpacker going longer. For example, protein is essential for repairing tired tissues, but isn't high in energy. However, if you need calories, fatty snacks, such as Pringles, really do the job. I've seen kids boil 50 ml of water with just one Cheerio (I think it was called). Boiling ruins the experiment, so these days I only let them set fire to half of one of these disgusting things. Loads of energy in all that fat.

My backpacking rarely includes desert, but in the environments I visit, replacing sodium chloride is all too easy. Maybe replacing salt is a valid reason in the desert, but it isn't in Britain.

There is also the psychology of backpacking nutrition. If you don't look forward to food, should you be carrying it? It seems to me that Pringles may pass two tests out of three and Meatloaf said that ain't bad.

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Re: Re: Komperdell hiking poles on 11/30/2006 12:16:24 MST Print View


How were you using the pole when it broke? Were you holding the two together as if they were a staff?

Samuel Winebaum
(samwine) - F

Locale: NH
Re: Re: Re: Pringles on 11/30/2006 12:55:35 MST Print View

While I have not tried them myself on the trail I talked to several of the runners' support folks at the Wasatch 100 trail race in UT while spectating this year and many of the top racers swear by Pringles during these 20 hour plus events.

Ronald Lemmer
(rlemmer) - F

Locale: San Francisco Area
Re: Re: Re: Komperdell hiking poles on 11/30/2006 14:19:23 MST Print View

The first one snapped when I put some sideways pressure on it when picking it up---I was shocked---but I suspect it had been damaged somehow previously. The second snapped when the tip got caught in a crevice. Both poles snapped about 3 inches from the top of the lower section---odd. I do not know how others came upon the same issue. Certainly there also were a fair number of aluminum pole failures also.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Don Wilson, Pringles, Artic 1000, and Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/30/2006 16:16:00 MST Print View

What do they all have in common? The answer is >62% dietary fat.

Don Wilson said, "This is not a joke. The right food is important to hiking enjoyment and in 2006 I rediscovered Pringles." RN-Pringles are 62% fat. His summer sausage is 72% fat.

Roman Dial’s diet during his phenomenal Artic 1000 achievement consisted of chocolate (58% fat) and chips (62% fat).

My Updated Theoretical AT Unsupported Hiking Limit post of 11/25/2006, showed the required fat consumption for the Artic 1000 team to set an AT unsupported distance record. Their required diet fat content was 69%.

CAUTION-The majority of us, including myself, could not capitalize on this type of long distance backpacking diet. For this high level of dietary fat to be utilized efficiently, two things are required. First, you must have achieved elite level cardiovascular conditioning, prior to your backpacking trip. Second, your exertion level needs to be kept relatively low. This is a unique calculation for each individual but, as an example, the Artic 1000 team would need to stay below 63% of their max heart rate to achieve their simulated AT max mileage results.

Edited by richard295 on 11/30/2006 16:18:05 MST.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Re: Don Wilson, Pringles, Artic 1000, and Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 11/30/2006 21:46:54 MST Print View

Richard -

Interesting comments. I was certainly attracted to fatty foods this summer while on my long hike. My other unmentioned favorite was Fritos.

I did try to maintain some diversity, and had a chance to sample town food every week or so.

I'll note that I did maintain my exertion level quite low even while hiking, and I was in the best shape I have been in for many years. But I wouldn't say that it was "elite level" - just pretty darn good, for me anyway. I find long hikes very motivating, so I had no problem working hard to be in top shape when I started the trail.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Don Wilson, Pringles, Artic 1000, and Unsupported/Unresupplied/Thru-Hikes on 12/01/2006 02:14:53 MST Print View

> What do they all have in common? The answer is >62% dietary fat.
Hum ....
It is recorded that some Antarctic explorers had a diet which basically consisted of dehi mashed potato and lard. I gather they ate every crumb each day.

Richard Sullivan
(richard.s) - MLife

Locale: Supernatural BC
Staying on topic on 12/01/2006 10:54:46 MST Print View

Isn't this the 2006 BPL Staff Picks topic? I'm kind of disappointed here since in 2004 there was fantastic participation with people listing their 3 favourite pieces of gear. Then in 2005 there was only a little, and now in 2006 we have a topic focused on a semi-synthetic potato product.


Edited by richard.s on 12/01/2006 10:58:22 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Staying on topic on 12/01/2006 11:32:05 MST Print View

My three favs for 2006:

1. Golite Hut 1

2. Gossamer Gear Nightlight Torso

3. Montane Lightspeed windshirt

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: 2006 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/01/2006 16:27:26 MST Print View

Smartwool Shadows Hoody:
See my review.

Jacks 'R' Better No Sniveller Quilt:
The versatility of this is hard to beat. It works in a hammock and on the ground and as a jacket of sorts. Four season warmth, outside or around the house.

Patagonia Houdini:
This is the perfect compliment to the Shadows Hoody. It strikes the right balance between breathability and water resistance. I used it year around on the trail and around town.

It's not easy choosing just three. The Firelight Titanium Wing Stove and my homemade titanium trowel are also top picks for me. I have to agree with Andrew on the Photon Micro Freedom.

Edited by ericnoble on 12/01/2006 16:34:04 MST.

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Re: Re: 2006 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/01/2006 18:45:02 MST Print View

Where can one buy a size medium smartwool hoody online?

Edited by hikerfan4sure on 12/01/2006 18:45:32 MST.

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
My three favorites 2006 on 12/01/2006 19:06:50 MST Print View

It's a tough choice, but for me:
#1 - Patagonia Houdini
#2 - Gossamer Gear Lighttrek poles
#3 - Dancing Light Gear Tacoma Solo Tarp

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
My top 3 on 12/01/2006 19:09:58 MST Print View

McHale SubPop: not ultralight, but comfortable, robust and ready for the long haul

Gossamer Gear Sleeplight: As light as a quilt with no drafts

BMW PRO Ultralight Stuff Sack (Yellow) keeps my gear organized and dry.