November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
2013 Staff Picks
Display Avatars Sort By:
Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 09:40:22 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2013 Staff Picks

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 13:32:50 MST Print View

Wait. Did Dave Chenault really just admit to fatbiking on gametrails and on wilderness trails? ...yikes.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 14:24:44 MST Print View

Very disapointed. Hardly any backpacking items listed, and when there were, some were discontinued? What gives? Is this Backpacking light or Packrafting/Bikepacking/"Lifelist Planning"/Hunting Light??

Edited by bigfoot2 on 01/22/2014 08:59:41 MST.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 14:53:43 MST Print View

If Dave's Browning is feeling harassed, it's because I've been sending it cat-calls since I read this article. That is one sexy boomstick but as the price tag is greater than a 10-22, Remi.308, and a Mossberg 500 combined (probably could get a new Glock while I'm at it), I'll have to stay in the cheap seats and live vicariously through Dave's experience with this shotgun. Nice piece of iron though; happy hunting.


I've promised my daughter a Tenkara rod before next summer but I'm not sure if I'm going to get her the Iwana or the Amago. I realize a thorough review is outside the scope of this article but it'd be interesting to hear which line you are using with this rod and if you stick with traditional Tenkara flies or not.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 15:12:52 MST Print View

\? Lifestyle item \?

I was relieved when I read the choices.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 15:28:23 MST Print View

I'm not looking for new gear at this point so have only a theoretical interest here. However, i agree that very few of these items are backpacking-related. As for shoes, since shoe fit is so individual, and I have really weird feet, I have always ignored shoe recommendations. I still have one unused pair of the old (pre Columbia Sportswear takeover) Montrail Hardrocks which will keep me shod for another year.

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever bought any of the past BPL staff picks, except for a very few items that I bought before BPL staff recommended them.

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/26/2013 15:29:12 MST.

Alice Hengst
(Moondust) - MLife

Locale: Southern Sierras
re 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 15:55:51 MST Print View

These were probably the least helpful picks ever, here or on any other hiking site. Let's summarize what's on the list (* denotes hiking or backpacking gear I might be interested in):

shoes that give the wearer blisters - good thing they have a "heal cup"
a gun
a bike
a fishing rod
an avalanche protection backpack for skiers which costs over $1000 dollars
a recommendation to take a class
a tent which is "not available for several years"
a running shoe with no details given
a foam roller
a puffy jacket*
hiking poles*
a text editor
10 year old snowshoes
snowshoes for kids
a commuter bike
a rainjacket*
a kayak
the idea of journaling
a cuben fiber pyramid costing $800 (those ads must be generating some revenue!)
a kayak paddle
a national park

Three out of 21 items are realistic hiking and/or backpacking items. To be fair, the title of the article was not "Staff Gear Picks", so I guess we should feel lucky we got items somehow related to being outdoors. They could have picked their favorite beer or movie star. But the email said "...take a minute and see which gear our staff uses often." I would have gotten a lot more out of reading about gear I would potentially be interested in buying.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: the grinch on 12/26/2013 16:18:27 MST Print View

Wilderness with a lowercase w Tim, what's the problem with that?

Sounds like you folks might want to think about backpacking as involving more than just hiking.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: re: the grinch on 12/26/2013 17:12:11 MST Print View

Dave, or maybe you staff want to think about not watering down the concept of this site. This was just another boring article. Wow, Ryan likes HMG, is he an ambassador maybe?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 18:46:24 MST Print View

Kids, the site's been branching out for quite some time now. Embrace it already! Instead of whining, add your picks. I'll add a second place to each of my picks because I like to be wordy.

My picks:

Ultralight Backpacking item: My Enlightment Equipment Enigma quilt system. The three pieces snap together to give me an exceptionally functional piece of kit for a wide range of temps. Close second: Ruta Locura WiFi stove. A toasty stove for just over a pound. Really ups the fun factor on winter hikes when distance isn't important. And yes, it's UL compared to most other backpacking stoves.

Outdoor activity item: Elemental Horizons Kalais pack. Finally found a pack that just feels right. More than worth the few extra ounces. Runner up: I'll be like the other Doug and list something I've had for years - my Koga Miyata World Traveller touring bicycle. It's maiden voyage was a solo trip from Garlstedt, Germany, to East Berlin to watch Roger Waters and guests perform The Wall in PotsdammerPlatz - after the Berlin Wall had come down but before reunification. Finished that trip by cycling down to Dresden, up to Leipzig, and then back into West Germany down to Munich. What a trip! That bike also carried me on unsupported trips in Ireland, Scotland, France and New Zealand, and a trip around Arizona as well.

Lifestyle item: Vitamix 750 Professional. This thing rocks! Getting my health back, one smoothie at a time. Yesterday I used it to make some almond/oat/coconut milk (delicious!). Tonight I put a mug's worth in the Vitamix and added Godiva dark chocolate hot cocoa mix and let it spin on high for around 3 1/2 minutes. Presto! Hot cocoa! Close second: Superfood Smoothies and Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris. Fabulous recipes!

So what are your picks?

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 18:57:02 MST Print View

I don't mind the branching out at all; I have been doing that myself...

My picks:

Ultralight backpacking item.
Hennessy Hyperlite Hammock. This system is super comfortable, easy to set up and weighs in at one pound and 12 ounces, including the fly .

Outdoor activity item.
No surprise here that this would be a Trail Camera. After trying a few of them out, I pick the Cadillac of trail cameras, the Reconyx Hyperfire. Seeing what wildlife shares the trails with me has made my outdoor life even more interesting and very exciting.

Lifestyle item.
Well, soon it might be my brand new Vitamix, but I just got that so until then I will pick the item I do not own as a lifestyle choice: a tv.

Edited by Kat_P on 12/26/2013 20:41:58 MST.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
the great outdoors on 12/26/2013 19:05:53 MST Print View

For some of us, various outdoor items fit into backpacking.

I backcountry ski a pretty good amount and do some winter backpacking while skiing.

I would not want to see backpacking light become the Ski Forum, but there is enough room in the tent for the occasional rafting, biking, climbing etc post that happens to involve backpacking too.

These are the personal picks of the staff members as well. People who are active in the outdoors who do purely backpacking/hiking are in the minority. Snowshoeing, skiing, trail running, climbing, fishing etc all are into the mix. And often backpacking is way to do part of it.

So the picks reflect the outdoor style of the contributors.

I do not see it as watering down the site but making it more interesting.

Just my nickels worth.

(My personal lifestyle item is a good craft beer. Because at the end of an outdoor trip, craft beer is awesome. Maybe I should spend more time outdoors so I would have a more appropriate pick? ;-P)

Edited by PaulMags on 12/26/2013 19:11:07 MST.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Well on 12/26/2013 19:12:41 MST Print View

I don't mind the diversity at all, but not at the expense of the core product.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
And on 12/26/2013 19:24:01 MST Print View

While I'm at it. In a world of constant information overload, there's a real quality in specialised information. Less is more?

Hiking is as simple as it gets.

Edited by prse on 12/26/2013 19:24:52 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 19:30:16 MST Print View

If mountain biking and packrafting are the new direction of BPL, that's fine, but that means I'll be here less and less! Actually, that's already true--even in the forum, I now skip the majority of the recent threads. That's even more true of the articles. It's not that I've lost interest in backpacking, just that I'm happy with the gear I have and also find much of the forum material and articles to be repetitious or about stuff that doesn't interest me. Anything I'd list in my 2013 gear picks will be no different than 2012. Somewhere along the line, I've lost my "gear geekness."

The posts/articles that make me pick up my ears these days are either about backpacking with kids or trip reports. As I get older (and the grandkids are able to carry more shared gear), those grandkids are going to keep me out on the trail longer! And I've always loved a good adventure yarn! There is a reason I jump at the trip reports with kids from Ike Jutkowicz (I hope I spelled that right!)--they combine the two!

And after having nearly been run down several times by mountain bikers (who are supposed to give right of way to hikers but instead forced me to jump off the trail), I have an intense dislike for the species.

Will ORVs be next here at BPL?

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/26/2013 19:39:31 MST.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: re: the grinch on 12/26/2013 19:31:51 MST Print View


Wilderness/wilderness. Got ya. But with all due respect, game trails? Perhaps its just the tree-hugger/conservationist in me but, I think its pretty irresponsible. The relationship between hunters and mountain bikers gets very testy sometimes in my neck of the woods. Hunters often complain about mountain bikers pushing animals out of BLM so they can ride game trails and that consequently turns it into "their singletrack".

Perhaps I'm just bitter because I pay a county tax fee for an open space fund which seems to only benefit mountain bikers who want to just build more tread in these "open space areas". What ever happened to setting aside land for the protection of habitat/wildlife and keeping pervious surfaces?

End rant.

Edited by timdcy on 12/26/2013 19:33:53 MST.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: 2013 Staff Picks on 12/26/2013 19:41:18 MST Print View

I personally think hiking with a backpack on is a pretty narrow topic and enjoy reading about these other adventures and interests.

My picks:

UL Backpacking Item: I had to revamp my kit this year so I have many items to choose from but the Lite Trail Solid Fuel Cook System V2 continues to impress. This system works well for when I want to shed weight from my pack but still want a warm meal at the end of the day. I fully expect that 2014 will bring a Flat Cat dry baking system into my life for the trips where I am less worried about hiking from dawn to dusk and want to bring my back-40 culinary experience up several notches.

Outdoor Activity Item: As mentioned above, the very large majority of my 2013 fun money went to my backpacking kit. Slowly but surely I'm bringing my 29er up to snuff for some bike packing in 2014. A couple buddies and I are planning a couple rails-to-trails trips next summer to shake down our gear before we commit to a more ambitious single track adventure.

Lifestyle Item: I started a thread a few months back about wanting to improve my photography. I've ordered a couple books today which were recommended to me on that thread and hope to steal a day here and there to explore the wilderness and work on my photography.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 12/26/2013 19:45:12 MST.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
A rock on 12/26/2013 20:01:54 MST Print View

All these extraneous toys: rifles, tenkara rods, saws, skis, daggers, bikes, ropes, axes, helmet mounted HD video cameras, selfie helping trekking pole me, me, me thingies, live tweeting smartphones, battery driven loudspeakers, drones, music instruments, breaking bad playing tablets. They all remind me of what my generation is called. The masturbating generation. More, more, more!

What happened to the art of just going out in the wild, find a nice rock, sit, be.

I have loads of toys myself. But that's another story. Not one I need this site to tell me.

Don't take this personally, just ranting on. Take care, merry christmas :-)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: A rock on 12/26/2013 20:27:04 MST Print View

"What happened to the art of just going out in the wild, find a nice rock, sit, be."

THAT is downright un-American! Expect to be pulled aside for interrogation by the TSA the next time you try to come and sit on a rock and be, here in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. :=[

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: A rock on 12/26/2013 20:43:41 MST Print View

Peter, then why even go online? Just head out and enjoy.