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Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition
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Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Favorite Gear 2012 on 10/15/2012 10:39:26 MDT Print View


1. Fjällräven Karl Zipp-Off Trousers

- Just started on my 2. pair. 1. pair used almost daily for 5 years! Very durable, soft, quick-drying, good breath-ability and good wind-shedding. I use them all year round. Used in the mountains of Norway and in the summertime in Turkey. If you could only own 1 pair of trousers/shorts, this would be hard to beat.


2. Gerber Ultralight LST Knife (17g / 0.6 oz)

- Blade is sharp, lockable, construction feels very solid, perfect for cutting cheese and sausage. A joy to use. "Real knife"-feeling for 0.6 oz!
Used many times.


3. Katabatic Gear Palisade Quilt Regular (515g / 18 oz)

- New item - very promising so far. Superb craftsmanship.

Al Brassell
(Jambeaux) - M

Locale: Southeastern US
Favorite peice of gear on 10/15/2012 13:06:19 MDT Print View

My current favorite is an unusual pack I've been using. It is from New Zealand and is called the Aarn Guiding Light (even the name is unusual). It "corrects" my posture and lets me carry my gear in new ways. It is also very waterproof.

(jake.L) - F

Locale: Katahdin
My top 5 on 10/15/2012 13:26:25 MDT Print View

1. Katabatic Gear- Palisade quilt, regular/wide, +3oz overfill 23oz

2. Exped Air Pillow UL, medium 1.5oz

3. Black Rock Vest, XL 4.9oz

4. Neoair, short 9oz

5. Mitt system: Possumdown gloves 1.3oz, BRG down mitt 1.2oz, MLD rain mitt 1.3oz- Total 3.8oz

Justin C
(paintballr4life) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Favorite Gear 2012 on 10/15/2012 13:31:51 MDT Print View

1. Katabatic Gear Alsek

2. MLD Cuben Patrol Shelter

3. Zimmerbuilt Pack

4. Goosefeet Down Booties (been my absolute favorite for 2 years)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Favorite Gear 2012 on 10/15/2012 13:43:32 MDT Print View

New: Trek Superfly AL, modified HMG Windrider 3400, CEP compression socks

Workhorses that remain favorites: RAB Boreas, Lightheart Gear Solo, Haglofs Ozo, Caldera Cone with 400ml cup

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
New favorites on 10/15/2012 13:46:19 MDT Print View

New for 2012

1. Katabatic Chisos wide with 2 oz overfill
2. Exped UL 7 downmat
3. Schnozzle pump sack

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Gear on 10/15/2012 14:03:04 MDT Print View

Gear of the Year:

Hoods: I love hoods, especially those on my Rab Boreas and NW Alpine Spider Light Hoody. Good for sleeping in, belaying in, and walking up the continental divide in when you're being hit by 30-40 MPH gusts.

Ohm 2.0: This pack is great. The side pockets are the best I've ever used, the hipbelt pockets are gigantic, and the compression system rocks. A great all around pack for loads of up to 30ish lbs.

Edited by aaronufl on 10/17/2012 11:31:08 MDT.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
favorite gear on 10/15/2012 14:33:48 MDT Print View

ZPacks™ Hexamid Long Tent or Tarp
Just a huge amount of space, love the bug net.

2) zpack blast, with stays and with the new hybrid cubin with a protective layer of 50 Denier Polyester on the outside, a thin and wide backpack that puts the weight were I want it on my hips.

3) Sawyer 3-Way Inline Water Filter, nothing like clean water.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Ah yes on 10/15/2012 14:49:15 MDT Print View

Synmat ul7

Sawyer squeeze

Solid fuel, Coghlan fuel tabs, this replaced my canister.

Borah custom m90 bug bivy

Mountain hardware ghost whisperer jacket

Prana Zion stretch pants, they are pretty good, I wish they were a tad skinnier. I'm such a hipster.

Go lite poncho tarp

Zimmerbuilt shoulder pockets, black xpac

Icebreaker 150 base layers

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Favorite Gear 2012 on 10/15/2012 14:55:03 MDT Print View

Surly Karate Monkey- rekindled my love for cycling, reminds me of my youth everytime I jump on it. A new means by which to travel outdoors in a self supported fashion.

Brooks Pure Grit trail runners- went through 3 pairs of these since the late winter and loved every pair. Lots of comfort for long days and rough trails. Not a single running related injury in '12 (so far! *knock knock), and I can't help but think these shoes helped. Ran the R2R2R in April in these and they worked well.

Backpack. Zimmer built a simple rucksack with a removable hipbelt for me that I use pretty much on a daily basis. Love it. The best gear to me is the stuff I use often.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Fall 2012 Gear on 10/15/2012 15:26:07 MDT Print View

MLD Grace Duo Tarp 7.8oz

Yama Mountain Gear 10.5oz
(bug shelter)

ZPacks 20* Sleepng Bag 22oz

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: Favorite Gear 2012 on 10/15/2012 15:36:56 MDT Print View

Hey All, a few things that have made me go "wow" that I have bought in 2012.

The Sawyer Squeeze Filter has pretty much revolutionized water filtering for me. They have finally found that sweet-spot between providing a 1.0 Absolute Micron filter, in a light weight form factor. Not the lightest option out there for filtering water, tablets or liquids will always be, but at the speed that this can filter water and being able to do so down to an Absolute 1.0 micron level, it will probably be awhile before the Squeeze is no longer the go-to filter for me. Yes, we all know that the bags themselves suuuuck, so just throw those stupid sawyer bags away and order up some evernew bags and the world will be all right again. (my full review of the sawyer squeeze)

The ZPacks Waterproof Breathable Rain Jacket has changed my approach to what clothing I take with me on trips now. I never figured a single clothing item could impress me the way that this has. Though I do have to say that my Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants are still in use on a near daily basis and that is impressive from a whole other level. Anyway, the ZPacks WPB Jacket has replaced both my standard rain jacket and my montbell tachyon wind jacket. I use it over my down jacket, I use it when there is a cold wind, I use it around town, I even sleep in it within my sleeping bag. All around highly impressive piece of clothing. (my full review of the zpacks wpb jacket)

The Trail Designs Sidewinder has also changed how I go about cooking. I know I am waaaay late to the game on this one, but now that I own one, I see why everybody loves these suckers. I got one for both my Evernew 900ml pot and the Evernew 600ml pot. I am having a really hard time trying to decide which will go with me on my 2013 long distance hikes. One will give me a bit of extra room to do cooking in, the other is about 3 ounces lighter.

The new Inov-8 Trailroc 245 shoes have blown me away! As a long time user of the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 shoes, I had little hope when I ordered the 245's, but wowzer have I been amazed. The larger toe box of these Trailroc 245's have totally surprised me. Truly fallen in love with the 245's even though they weigh more - I even sold all of my X-Talons. I will say that I still prefer the lugs on the X-Talon shoes, the best lugs I have ever used for long distance hiking.

In the shelter department, I would say that of the little over two dozen shelters I tried in 2012, the Six Moon Designs Skyscape X has been the clear winner for me. I gave it a full review back in April and and I am still using it. Pretty sure this is the longest I have used a single shelter in a very long time.

I also bought one of the ACR ResQLink 406 PLB and have a pending order for the Iridium Extreme, which both will be going with me in the 2013 hiking season as I will be doing some remote backwoods trail development.

Lastly would be Gurney Goo which has been the replacement for Hydropel since their parent company got bought out and the decision to no longer make it was announced. I still think Hydropel was better in wet conditions for feet but the Gurney Goo is the best alternative I have found so far. Only one company in the USA that seems to have it at this point.

Anyway, those are the biggest highlights of my 2012 hiking gear I suppose. Coming in after those, would be the Kavu Chillba Hat which has been an awesome alternative to using the GoLite Chrome Umbrella so my hands are free. The Black Rock Gear Down Vest is my first vest so while I am impressed with it, I have nothing else to relate it too. I finally ditched the Black Rock Gear hat and switched over to a North Face Windstopper High Point Hat so I could have some ear protection. I also went "stupid light" and started using the Ruta Locura Carbon Fiber Stakes for most of my hikes. I still think that the L-stakes that Six Moon Designs sells are the best all around stakes I have come across though. Oh, I also switched from using Patagonia Capilene 3 baselayers over to using Icebreaker baselayers. I held off doing so because of their crazy prices, but now I see why they are so expensive as I am loving these Icebreaker baselayers!!


ps: I really love these posts once or twice a year - they give me a great insight into what gear to check out for the next hiking season!!

(updated: used 2012 once when I meant 2013)

Edited by JohnAbela on 10/16/2012 10:33:39 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition on 10/15/2012 18:57:41 MDT Print View

Backpackinglight Pro 90 Balaclava - I have used this balaclava for several years and it has always been just what I needed. I am not aware of any current synthetic balaclava being sold and that is a shame since I prefer synthetics for things like that.

Salomon XA Pro 3D - I have been wearing these since '07 and am now on pair 6, and they have always been the closest thing to the perfect shoe I have found. I have a narrow heel and these seem to fit the bill. I have tried a few different brands in the past few years and keep going back to the Salomon's. If it aint broken, why fix it.

Montaine Areo Windshirt - Another piece I have had a long time and I don't think I have ever quite given it the credit it deserves. It goes on a lot of trips and I have never wanted anything more. I also have a Patagonia Houdini and used to have a Patagonia Dragonfly and the one that always finds its way into my pack is the Areo.

SMD Swift '10 - This has been my favorite pack for the last few years, but finally bit the dust this year in Wind River Range. The stitching of the hipbelt begin the unravel and I decided to replace it with a Zimmerbuilt. That being said the SMD was a great value and a wonderful design. My Large only weighed 16.4oz after a little trimming.

I am not going to list it as I think I have listed it several times before, but I will agree with the first poster on the Mont-Bell UL Down Jacket, great piece. Quite possibly the best piece of clothing I have ever owned.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition on 10/15/2012 19:07:01 MDT Print View

OR Neoplume pants. chill begone!

OR Centrifuge hoody. my favorite new piece of clothing. Full zip hoody with water resistant front and 'top' (hood, shoulders)

Tarptent Scarp 2. yet to have any weather, but it is very liveable.

Garmont 9.81 Bolt DL shoes. FINALLY!!! (I bet they stop making them next year)

OR DryComp Ridge Sack. I'ma figure out a 'frame' and see how far I can take this thing.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition on 10/15/2012 23:22:51 MDT Print View

Favorite gear this year are the Inov-8 TrailRoc 245 trail runners. Simply perfect for my feet. Showed me that while the Inov-8 Flyroc-310 was very good, there was still room to improve. I went through 24 pairs of Flyrocs since they were released... hope to do every more with the 245.

I have a list of other gear I love on my "perfect" gear page.


Edited by verber on 10/16/2012 00:14:15 MDT.

Benjamin Auer
Re: Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition on 10/16/2012 06:36:19 MDT Print View

Two favourite pieces from the last year are my Caldera Cone + SP Mini Solo.
I've used that on every trip the last year and change.
Another item is the Sirroco wind shell from eddie bauer. EB is one of the few companies that makes tall clothing (I'm 6'6") and I've used that wind shell more than any other piece of clothing in the last year.
A newer item I really like is the tarptent stratospire 2. It has the right combination of weight and size for my tall personage. After using single wall tents for a while I'm glad to be back to a double wall with very little extra weight.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: fav gear on 10/16/2012 07:55:56 MDT Print View

I'd like to congratulate the community on making it through two pages of posts without a single "I've just unboxed it and it's already my favorite".

Nick G
(HermesUL) - F
Too soon to say... on 10/16/2012 07:57:16 MDT Print View

It's too soon to say, but I'm expecting to be pretty excited about the custom silnylon/quantum bivy that Joe/Zpacks is making me. I basically sent him a wishlist of what I'd want out of a perfect bivy sack--including price--and he said he'd make it for me.

Other runners up would be my Golite Adrenaline 1+ season bag, which unfortunately has only gotten a few nights sleep so far (I went to college right after the purchase), and my Osprey Hornet 46, although a buckle recently broke so I need to get in touch with Osprey/take better care of my gear.

My list of "favorites" inherently rules out all of the fancy expensive/cuben fiber stuff, so I'm not going to make any silly claims that these are the best items available. However, I've been able to get some great gear on a budget, and all of my summer items were less than $130 each.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
not much new in 2012 on 10/16/2012 08:42:34 MDT Print View

2012 won't go down as much of a gear buying year, which isn't all bad :)

old favorites still include my Houdini- it's used/carried on every trip (including all of my trail runs)

Montrail Sabino Trails- on my fourth pair (the old pairs had ~ 500 miles each), not uber light, but hold up great both hiking and trail running, they have a wide enough toe box for me that most other shoes don't

I did purchase a new Cap 4 hoody and so far, very impressed- we'll see if it makes the 2013 list :)

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Favorite piece of gear - Fall 2012 edition on 10/16/2012 14:34:05 MDT Print View

2 new items:

Thermarest X-lite women's version - the perfect size for me, comfortable and warm

Peter Vacco mosquito headnet - so much nicer than any others I've used, far better visibility and breathability. So even though it's not used as many hours as some other gear, it's a noticeable improvement in quality of life for me (aka the designated mosquito magnet of any given group).

And one old one: my old Marmot DriClime windshirt (which I really treat more as a jacket), made before they "updated" and got heavier . It goes on pretty much every hike I do, unless it's a summer dayhike someplace where the fog won't be coming in. For someone who gets cold easily as I do, it is so flexible for those in-between temps, rest stops, or as an additional layer.