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2013 Reader Picks
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
2013 Reader Picks on 12/31/2013 12:45:10 MST Print View

Companion thread to 2013 Staff Picks

Please add your own!

My picks:

Patagonia Drifter AC shoes
Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack
Light My Fire Mora knife with firesteel
Gaia GPS app for iPhone
Olicamp hard anodized aluminum Space Saver mug/pot
Orion fire starter/flare
Nalgene Oasis Canteen
Olight i2 1xAA LED flashlight

Edit: OMG! I forgot the most excellently named Borahgami 2-person 13oz tarp tent!

Edited by dwambaugh on 12/31/2013 18:51:24 MST.

Benjamin Meadors

Locale: Central Arkansas
My picks on 12/31/2013 13:18:51 MST Print View

Here's some I can think of off-hand:
Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Rain jacket
Patagonia Houdini (2012 <= )
Target Champion brand stretch fleece beanie (bargain warmth for my head!)
Cabot & Sons Merino Wool Hiking socks
Merrel Bare Access zero-drop shoes (I wear these everyday on the town and on the trail)

All of mine are clothing, hmm...

Mike Stromsoe
(phstudio) - F

Locale: So. Cal.
My picks on 12/31/2013 13:32:41 MST Print View

My picks for 2013:

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest pack
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Tarp (tarp only, I don't have the inner or the beak)
Katabatic Gear Sawatch Quilt
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm
Rab Boreas (it made my Houdini obsolete/redundant on my Colorado Trail thru hike)

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: My picks on 12/31/2013 13:47:52 MST Print View

Lightheart Solo tarp-tent

Neoair Xlite

EE Rev-X 20˚

Opsrey exos 58 and 34

Opinel #6 / Westcott 3" scissors

dirty girl gaiters

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
My Picks on 12/31/2013 14:05:38 MST Print View

My nose
My butt

Exped Synmat UL7 S
Golite Jam 50 (2012/2013 model)
OR Helium I, Centrifuge
Lawson Equipment Glowire Blaze Orange
Rab Xenon
MEC Vega hoodie
Kovea Spider
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 12/31/2013 14:06:37 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
My picks on 12/31/2013 14:09:02 MST Print View

Mine are pretty simple.

UL backpacking equipment: Enlightened Equipment Revolution 30. This has been a really nice piece of gear. Its simple and comfortable and light. The venting ability of a quilt really makes sleeping much more comfortable over large temperature ranges. My only complaint is that Tim's new Enigma quilt just might be simpler, lighter, and more comfortable.

UL backpacking activity: I picked up a tenkara rod and have really enjoyed it. It has a learning curve, which makes it interesting. It also occupies me when on trips with people who like to spend more time in camp. I need something to do or I get surly.

Lifestyle: Beer brewing. I've previously dabbled in some simple brewing but really got into it a little more seriously this year. It takes a bit of equipment and time, but I like the learning curve associated with brewing. Also, my job has no tangible widget I make at the end of the day, so brewing scratches that itch a little.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
2013 Reader Picks on 12/31/2013 14:58:04 MST Print View

Moving up from a Zpacks Hexamid Solo to a Hexamid Twin. I love all of the extra space with only a 3oz weight penalty. Sometimes, in the push to go lighter, more is better. Makes me seriously question the utility of solo cuben shelters.

Zpacks Poncho/Ground Sheet - best designed poncho I have used and mates perfectly with the Hexamid Twin. I am a bigger guy, so I use the newer twin size poncho.

Custom Feathered Friends Vireo sleeping bag. I had FF add 5oz of overfill to the top half of this specialty bag producing a 22oz 20 degree bag. It was fully field tested this year in wet, cold, and snowy conditions and performed great. FF was great to work with and the quality and materials are excellent.

Zimmerbilt Quickstep backpack. This is great little pack that will be the heart of my nascent SUL kit. I had Chris Zimmer make me a detachable lid for it as well.

Crazy light carbon fiber trekking poles. Picked up a pair of Ruta Locura Yana Poles on Craigslist to replace my old Leki Super Makalu poles. Used them this entire season and loved them. They have proven much more durable then I thought they would be. I have also picked up a pair of Gossamer Gear LT4's but have yet to use them in the field.

Edited by on 12/31/2013 15:02:34 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
List. on 12/31/2013 16:28:35 MST Print View

Do these have to be newly released in 2013? If not, then here are items I'm happiest with from 2013:

Inexpensive, low-stink, Paradox Dri-Release Poly/Merino base layers from
GoLite Bitterroot w/ Down-Tek...lite, warm, and resistant.
Zelph Starlyte there are three of them.
Uber Inexpensive Imusa mugs.
EE RevX 30°.

I will be watching this thread closely for rain jacket recommendations! Do need.

Edited by Bolster on 12/31/2013 16:31:08 MST.

Justin C
(paintballr4life) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
2013 Favs on 12/31/2013 17:47:16 MST Print View

Laufbursche Huckepack

Zpacks Hexamid Solo Plus

Black Diamond Carbon Cork Poles - I got tired of my LT4 poles not locking!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: 2013 Reader Picks on 12/31/2013 18:19:07 MST Print View

Backpacking Items:
1. Toaks Outdoor titanium pot
2. Fenix HL21 headlamp
3. Komperdell carbon fiber trekking poles

Other Outdoor Activity Item:
1. Mountain bike (possibly adding a new Montague bike)

Lifestyle Item:
1. 2014 Honda CR-V (lost my 2003 Honda Pilot 3 weeks ago to the ice storm)

John Klinepeter
(johnzotk) - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies, USA
Some 2013 picks on 12/31/2013 18:38:01 MST Print View

New to my gear list for 2013:

Neoair XLite

MLD Newt Pack

Luke's Ultralite Down Vest

LiteTrail 550 ml Ti pot

Carryovers from previous years, still on the favorites list:

MLD Solomid, spinn fabric

QStarz GPS Data Logger BT-Q1000XT

whalen e
(whalen) - M

Locale: PNW
2013 favorites on 01/01/2014 01:07:54 MST Print View

If 2012 was about getting as light as possible, 2013 was finding that balance between weight and those other factors: convenience & comfort

Altra Lone Peak 1.5: lived up to their hype after switching from Wildcats, helping me overcome PF & hike 250+ miles last summer

Zpacks 20 sleeping bag: worth the $$, warm & lightweight

HMG 3400 Windrider: comfort that surpasses the extra weight

Yama Cirriform Tarp: a perfect long distance tarp; yes I sold it and yes I miss it

Zpacks Duplex: limited use thus far, but really enjoying the space, dual doors, panoramic views, and all-in-one set up

Paragonia R2: perfect combination of warmth & breathability; a necessity for those of us who sweat a lot

DeFeet Wooleator socks: surprisingly tough and comfortable

Ultra Steripen: the convenience in time and effort outweighed, for me, the extra weight over Aqua drops

Ruta Locura 9" carbon fiber stakes: I experienced a noticeable difference in the efficacy of these long boys

Guthook PCT App: reliable, convenient & thorough- I never used my paper maps once this summer

Werthers Originals: a small candy that goes a long ways

Edited by whalen on 01/01/2014 01:23:01 MST.

Donna Chester
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: 2013 Reader Picks on 01/01/2014 05:07:22 MST Print View

My favorite things: Lite Trail cookset
Golite Ultra 20 quilt
ULA Circuit
tarp camping
Glacier NP (!!!)
MSR UL folding spoon and fork
membership to BPL
my first cuben item..rain mitts.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
2013 picks on 01/01/2014 08:35:20 MST Print View

Rab Strata with Polartec Alpha - Pretty much the ideal cool to cold weather climbing jacket. Doesn't get stuffy when you're working hard, but warm enough for belaying. Hood fits over a slim profile helmet. Great for biking when it's cold too. Not as ideal if you just want to wear it for idling.

Asolo Reston WP boots - They're so comfortable and lightweight. I originally bought these for winter day hikes when my serious double boots are overkill and I find myself wearing them every day. Could be a bit more breathable, but for day use it's not a big deal.

Petzl Tikka RXP - This is the new, smaller headlamp with Petzl's Reactive Lighting tech. I love it. It's a bit heavier than the popular headlamps these days but if you have a lot of hiking to do in the dark this one is the bee's knees. It automatically adjusts its output between two different LEDs so that it can light up the trail at your feet and the trail off in the distance easily. This is one headlamp you don't have to fiddle with. You can lock it into various outputs if you have tricky lighting conditions but it's rarely needed.

Zpacks Multipack - The perfect complement to nearly any pack. It can be a pack lid, huge hip pocket, summit pack, or man-purse.

R1 Hoody - Still my favorite fleece thing. The hood and the wrist gaiters make it more appealing to wear in cold weather than any other fleece I own. The Power Dry gridded fleece keeps me comfortable in changing conditions even when I'm working hard.

Fleece, fleece, fleece - With a few thrift/consignment shop finds, fleece has again risen to the top of my favorite clothes. They breathe better, dry faster, and wear harder than synthetic fill, the only problem being bulk. Even then, fleece vests don't take that much space and do wonders for cold weather comfort. Must be paired with some sort of wind-resistance though.

Uniqlo UL Down Parka - At $69 this jacket is simply outstanding. The low price point of this and other Uniqlo stuff (fleece, fleece-lined pants) has enabled me to expose more people to cold weather hiking and backpacking.

John Davis
(JCD) - F

Locale: Southeast
My picks for 2013 on 01/01/2014 09:35:58 MST Print View

Favorite gear purchased this year:

Goosefeetgear down socks
Zpacks Arc Blast: comfortable and lightweight
Hammockgear 20* Argon quilt : light and warm
Blackrockgear UL down vest and original hat
Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder with Evernew 900ml pot

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: 2013 Reader Picks on 01/01/2014 10:34:05 MST Print View

Here we go (in no particular order):

1) Revelation quilts from EE. I used and enjoyed the Golite Ultra20 (original, inappropriately rated one) for years. The warm-weather and 30 deg models I have are warm, soft, and light. Well-constructed as well.

2) NeoAir XTherm Large. I don't frequently get to use this pad to its fullest (warm) benefit but appreciate its warmth and dimensions for comfort in the woods.

3) Squeeze Mini. Wow it's small!

4) Wild Oasis from SMD. I have used the Gatewood Cape / Serenity combo over several years and appreciate the extra room while maintaining a USUALLY bug-free environment that the WO offers. The ease of setup is nice. Side entry shelters are my preferred option for cooking, tying shoes, and easing my mud free butt into bed at night because I didn't have to crawl under a tarp! IMO, a better value in terms of price/space/weight than the Zpacks Hexamid tent.

*** My Long Term, continues to pass the test no matter what award goes to ***:

My old BPL 550 pot w/ handles, Ti-wing Esbit stove, homemade aluminum windscreen, BPL folding Ti spoon. What a cookset - light, compact, efficient and still has the cool factor - as evidenced by LiteTrail's success with its similar (albeit lighter) cookset. No matter how many lighter pots and myog varieties I try, this is my go-to kit on almost every single trip.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: 2013 Reader Picks on 01/01/2014 10:41:53 MST Print View

The Sawyer mini! Left that off my list. Guilt free water purification :)

It is small and light enough that I throw it in my day pack without a thought. I still carry a few MicroPur tabs for backup, but the mini is a no brainier. No mixing, waiting, batteries, or phaff.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: 2013 picks on 01/01/2014 12:04:53 MST Print View

This is fun.

Here are my favorites of 2013:
Rab Xenon X. Talk about wrapping yourself in your cozy sleeping bag when you step outside!!

Trader Joes coffee singles and the Packit Gourmet all American burger wrap..

The Sierra. I'd never been and now I literally can't wait to go back!!! I need to figure out how to live near there so I can go all the time.

Quilts. Never thought I'd make the switch, now I can't imagine using a bag again. I've given Tim Marshall so much of my money I am embarrassed.

The cuben Duomid with solo cuben innernet. I think I may have found shelter nirvana. Except for the fact that I got my hands on a trailstar in the past week or so and now I'm all confused.

Zelph's starlyte stove paired with the caldera cone. I can't imagine a better kitchen set out there.

My Zimmerbuilt pack.

My resolutions for 2014?? Less work, less complaining, longer hikes in out of the way places.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
TD Sidewinder Ti-Tri, DeLorme inReach SE, HMG Windrider, Writing for BPL on 01/01/2014 12:07:51 MST Print View

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri
Trail Designs stove with Esbit
This stove makes cooking with Esbit far easier and more reliable. It Just Works, even when the wind is pushing flames several inches through the vents. Amazing.

DeLorme inReach SE
DeLorme Inreach SE from
Keeps my wife happy, tracks my travels, nice to have for SOS functions. I use it without a smart phone, and barely use the DeLorme web site, so the hiccups in those features don't affect me.

HyperLite Mountain Gear Windrider (now the 2400 Windrider)
HMG Windrider 2400
Light enough, simple, tough, almost waterproof, and comfortable.

Lifestyle change:
Writing for BPL
BPL logo
I enjoy writing the articles and interacting with an enthusiastic community. Writing for BPL led to a career change, and maybe a return to grad school.

-- Rex

Edited by Rex on 01/01/2014 12:14:53 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

2013 Picks on 01/01/2014 15:24:06 MST Print View

My picks out of the gear I acquired in 2013 (not necessarily new items to market in 2013) are:

1) ULA Catalyst Cuben Hybrid
This pack is great for larger loads such as packrafting and winter hikes. The cuben hybrid fabric minimizes water weight uptake and keeps my gear mostly dry when packrafting (I use drysacks for crucial stuff). At 40oz, it enables me to undertake a wider variety of backpacking trips. Compared to the HMG cuben hybrid packs, the Catalyst is more fully featured which suits my style.

2) Locus Gear FL CP2 poles
The Locus Gear Flick lock poles are the best UL poles (latest version is the CP3's). The flick locks are much nicer to use than the GG LT4 twist locks, and they're decently stiffer too for just an extra ounce. The also collapse shorter since they're 3 piece and the price isn't too ridiculous. My only complaint the small diameter grips, which I remedied by replacing them with GG grips. 4.8oz ea with the straps off.
flick lock

3) Garmin Geko 301
This GPS is excellent for trips where you'd prefer to have the safety net/convenience of a GPS, but you don't plan on using much if at all. The Geko 301 is very light (~3oz) and it gives me a my UTM coordinates, which is all I need to locate myself on the map should the need arise. It's been discontinued for several years now, which means they are widely available on eBay for $30-$70. The 301 has much better battery life than the 201 and 101 versions.

Nite-Ize #1 S Biners -Light, strong & well made. Great for bear bagging. 0.1oz.
Nikon AW100 Camera - Waterproof camera's are so nicer to use, and this one is good.
Mountain Hardware Quasar Rain Jacket - The move to more durable 9oz 3 layer rain jacket with a higher quality membrane looks promising.