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2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks
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Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/28/2012 13:10:15 MST Print View

It made my day to see my old Suby up here, Daniel!

If I were to post my "Picks for 2012" they would be as follows:

2. Surly Pugsley Necromancer
3. Time with my fiance

Ron D
(dillonr) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re 2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/28/2012 13:18:12 MST Print View

"One might be hard-pressed to define BPL as a business at the present. How about a labour of love?"

"Long as you guys keep the lights on and the articles coming I'm happy."


Daniel Paladino
(dtpaladino) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Female Staff on 12/28/2012 15:49:08 MST Print View

With Addie gone, there is a definite lack of female staff. Kristin Tennessen has contributed some excellent material, and I asked for a Staff pick from her... What BPL needs are articles submitted by females, so come on ladies, get writing!

Don't be afraid to add your own favorite gear picks!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/28/2012 16:14:03 MST Print View

Labour of love...
I see that with the many that start at full speed with their blogs flooding the forums with links to them , loads of gear/pictures and even video clips and then....nothing.
Easy to understand why : eventually you run out of energy,inspiration and will power to do a lot of work for little or no no rewards.
BPL is not all that different from that.

Cut the mustard
Always tricky picking on idiomatic expressions because often others use them (correctly or otherwise) differently than we do .
I used that particular expression myself (no idea where I picked that up from) for decades and always in the past tense and in the negative sense, that is "didn't cut the mustard"
Here is one explanation :

There has been an association between the heat and piquancy of mustard and the zest and energy of people's behaviour. This dates back to at least 1672, when the term 'as keen as mustard' is first recorded. 'Up to mustard' or just 'mustard' means up to standard in the same way as 'up to snuff'. 'Cutting' has also long been used to mean 'exhibiting', as in the phrase 'cutting a fine figure'. Unless some actual evidence is found for the other proposed explanations, the derivation of 'cutting the mustard' as an alternative way of saying 'exhibiting one's high standards' is by far the most likely.

Edited by Franco on 12/28/2012 17:53:56 MST.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
favorite gear 2012 on 12/28/2012 17:22:44 MST Print View

1)Led Lenser H7 -brightest headlamp I've ever seen
2)ZPacksā„¢ Hexamid Long Tent or Tarp, wonderful to be able to stretch out and not come
near the tent walls.
3) This isn't new but the framesheet in the golite continuum backpack is truly amazing.

I love bpl.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Favorites for 2012 on 12/29/2012 11:09:52 MST Print View

Ken wrote: Nothing from Chris, nor Addie huh?

Actually I am surprised to see so many listed as staff.

Kinda funny actually.

Apologies to all for my omission this year. I was in a drug-induced haze and typing (badly) with two fingers from shoulder surgery when our submissions were due. I hope to be back in good trekking form by summertime.

I'd also like to add further apologies for being yet another white male on BPL staff. ;-)

Happy Holidays,


Edited by MikeMartin on 12/29/2012 11:12:00 MST.

Kristin Tennessen
(ktenness) - MLife

Locale: Sierra Nevadas
Women-specific articles on 12/29/2012 12:13:37 MST Print View

I started writing 2 female-specific articles I never finished enough to submit to BPL this year.
One is something like 'Tips to stay clean in the wilderness' and the other is 'A complete female backpacking kit'.
If you would like to read either draft, send me a PM and I'll send you the google doc link. I'm not promising quality.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
How does the Rab Xenon compare with Patagonia Nano Puff Hooded? on 12/29/2012 12:25:43 MST Print View

Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year to our BPL family.

Thanks for sharing your picks.

Gotta love an old Subie - so good in the snow and rain and easy to maintain.

Damien or anyone else, how does the Rab Xenon compare with the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody for:

1) Warmth/fill
2) Length - Xenon looks a little short but it's hard to tell from photos
3) Fit and usability of the hood

I'm only familiar with the Montbell Thermawrap in this weight class, and it is generous in terms of length.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
My Picks for 2012 on 12/29/2012 12:31:13 MST Print View

1. iPhone. I was walking and paddling for months this year and it was my first time with a smartphone. It was an extremely useful tool. I used it as a camera, GPS, map, journal tool, phone, star chart, plant and bird ID book and more.

2. Multiple-way tie:

A. Zpack Hexamid Solo Tent. Awesome 9.3 oz shelter.
B. Marmot Hydrogen sleeping bag. Light, comfy, warm. Rated to 30 F. but I take it down to 10 degrees or below by layering. About 24 oz.
C. Darn Tough, 1/4 Sock, Cushion. About 2.4 oz. Tough, comfortable. My favorite hiking socks.
D. Caldera Keg cooking system. Lightweight, efficient, nests nicely.

3. Free time.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: How does the Rab Xenon compare with Patagonia Nano Puff Hooded? on 12/29/2012 12:52:22 MST Print View

I had the original Nano Puff pullover. The Xenon is about the same weight or maybe a little lighter thanks to the fabric but offers a full-zip. It's undoubtedly lighter than full-zip Nano. The Xenon doesn't have the odd quilting Patagonia used. Otherwise, they offer both offer 60 g of PL1 and non-adjustable hoods. The Nano pullover I had was shorter cut than the Xenon.

Also, Rab garments are cut more for an athletic fit where Paty is much more standard american (boxy). The Xenon is a bit looser than some Rab garments, but still not as boxy or roomy as the Nano.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: 2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks on 12/29/2012 13:25:40 MST Print View

1. Golite Peak (backpack)
2. Gossamer Gear Nightlight (sleeping pad)
3. Equinox Sprawler Ultralite Bivi

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Rab Xenon sizing based on use on 12/29/2012 13:55:37 MST Print View

Thanks Chris, very helpful. Sounds like they are pretty similar for warmth, differing primarily in cut and the Xenon seems a bit lighter. A question about use and sizing:

My wife and I use our heavier puff insulation jackets belay style, to throw on over light softshell (Patagonia Ready Mix Jacket - the orange ones you see in my profile pic) and all layers underneath, during stops when snowshoeing, skiing or winter hiking, and to wear over all our layers in camp. Up to now we've used our lighter puff insulation jackets 3 season like your Xenon jacket belay style as well so we can use it for shoulder season stops.

How do you wear and size your Xenon? Do you wear it true to size under your outer shell? Assume you use it primarily for 3 seasons.

I ask such detailed questions about this because along with our wind jackets (currently Houdini) we find a light hooded puff insulation jacket to be one of our most useful items which also adds to your margin of safety. So light it's a no-brainer to take along. When you really need it, you're never sorry you've brought it. My wife loves knowing she can throw it on when she needs it.

Sorry about hijacking the thread for the Xenon...also curious about other items on the list.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Rab Xenon sizing based on use on 12/29/2012 14:10:59 MST Print View

No worries about questions and feel free to PM me (goes for anyone).

Mine is sized the same as my other Rab items. I have enough room under it to wear a couple of shirts and a Rab Micro (fleece). I could probably get a thinner softshell under it. I've been wearing it around town the last couple of weeks with the Micro under it if necessary.

Yeah, it's 3 season insulation for me here. In the early morning, I've been wearing my Infinity Endurance for walking the dog but that's been for sub freezing with low teen wind chills. I run cold these days FWIW.

If you want to layer it over something heavier, I'd go up one size. Rab tends to size garments based on use, so insulation like the Xenon is designed to wear over a few base and/or mid layers of the same size, but it's not really sized to throw over a hard shell.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Chris - Rab Xenon sizing on 12/29/2012 14:47:35 MST Print View

Thanks again Chris. When on the trail 3 seasons, sounds like you generally wear your Xenon under your outer shell when you need to, not over it, right?

Because we use lighter puffy jackets like the Xenon for 3 season or very mild winter, and much heavier jackets for winter, it's not as much a problem to wear the Xenon under a shell. We always make sure we have our waterproof shell sized large enough to accommodate some extra insulation underneath.

For heavier winter puffy jackets, I'd keep wearing belay style - so useful just to throw on over everything at stops without taking anything off.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Chris - Rab Xenon sizing on 12/29/2012 15:08:46 MST Print View

For me, if it's raining and cold enough to need a puffy, I'm not sitting outside. Short - I've never worn my Xenon and a shell at the same time.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Women-specific articles on 12/30/2012 13:26:55 MST Print View

Backpacking and the more wilderness-y activities of outdoors recreation are unfortunately not particularly diverse. It would be nice to see BPL, as a major platform in this arena, take some steps to address this. Some top-down efforts would nicely complement the bottom-up approach of encouraging article submissions.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Women-specific articles on 12/30/2012 22:56:24 MST Print View

Well, according to my wife, there are very few women-specific items of gear to write about.

And to get women-specific articles, we need women to write the articles. Well?

We can only publish articles which people write.


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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Women-specific articles on 12/31/2012 00:11:43 MST Print View

We may see articles with Regina Caffin as a co-author. Then we'll know.


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Re: Women-specific articles on 12/31/2012 05:25:58 MST Print View

1. Montrail Mountain Masochist 2's Trail runners
2. Six Moon Designs swift pack (2010 model) with half a Ridrerest Solite as the frame.
3. 03 toyota 4runner 4wd.

Jacqueline Bodemann
(jsbodemann) - MLife

Locale: The Netherlands
Favorites for 2012 on 01/01/2013 04:18:35 MST Print View

- Tarptent Notch - solid interior
- Thermarest Womens NeoAir XLite
- silk legging and long sleeve shirt for sleeping