Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All my new gear


Alpine Quilt

So, putting my ultralight backpacking kit all together, I have chosen an ultralight Gossamer Gear backpack, the Kumo.  A Thermarest 35 degree Alpine Down Quilt, and a Henry Shires Tarptent, the Notch.   That covers the "big three", except for number "four", the cooking system.  I already own a Snowpeak Trek 700 Titanium cook pot my wife gave me for the holidays (so cool), so what is left is the stove.  For the portable stove I have selected the Trail Designs classic Ti-Tri Caldera stove.  Much has been written online about this fine design, how it encloses the heat source with the pot to provide the most efficient heat and how well it all packs down small and light into its own container, and that it works at most any elevation!  I expect to cook with Esbit tabs on the gram cracker stove and have considered using some found wood to cook with if necessary.  I have also seen these stoves used as a "night-time-tv" at campsites when open fires are discouraged.
Caldera Cone
So now, what else?  Well, the list of stuff I still need, of course!
Remaining Camping List
I need a headlamp, several Op Sacs and a food storage bag, 50 feet of small orange cord, a larger pocket knife (about 1.4 ounces), a new sleeping pad, water filter and drinking bags, new trail shoes and insoles, a cooking cozy, a mosquito head net and bug spray, a new wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off me, Body Glide, a slew of small containers to repackage things, freezer bags, trash compactor bags, Esbit tabs for fuel and some food.

Here's the Petzl Tikka 2 headlamp.  It uses 3 AAA batteries, runs about 90 hours on the high setting, has 3 light settings with flash, and weighs about 3 ounces.  There are many more lights out there, but this one works fine.  I'll also have a small backup light for emergencies.
REI has a smaller size than this one, but the LOKSAK OPSak is what you pack your "smellables" into.  I'll use them separately for food and toiletries and they sell a  handy 4-pack of smaller sizes I may be using.  It is expensive for 3 bags but nothing else seals as well and I'll reuse the bags on multiple trips.  The LokSak bagged food will go into a larger cloth storage bag like the medium-size Granite Gear Zippsack.
EZC2 line sells at Gossamer Gear for $14 for 50 feet.  This line is NOT for a bear bag, I'll make one of those when I'm camping in bear country.  This is for the short lines to retrieve tent stakes, extra tent line, clothes lines, pretty much as utility as you can imagine, plus it can be seen at night with its reflective braid.  I'll order some of this with my pack.
I think they discontinued the larger knife I was looking at, so here's number two, the Gerber LST.  It weighs 1.2 ounces, has a lock blade, and has a lanyard hole.  For something so light it actually fits in your hand, allowing you to use it for crafts and carving, just like with a "real" knife!
The sleeping pad I have is a short Thermarest Ridge Rest.  It has seen some use!  I would like to upgrade to a Thermarest Z Lite Sol, which I have slept on and I prefer it over the Ridge Rest.
For a water filter I'll get a Sawyer Squeeze filter.  They are highly rated and are the most simple solution for me.  Just squeeze to filter water!  Evernew makes some of the best water bladders/bags out there, and they even fit the Sawyer Squeeze filter!  They are hard to find in stock, so I'll have to hunt a little.
I found these shoes 10-15 years ago and New Balance keeps changing them a little, but the fit has stayed the same for years.  The New Balance 626 is what I comfortably wear on the trail daily and at home.  I need a set for trashing in the outdoors, and a "clean" one for home.  I'll add some new insoles like these and will be set for the year.
Cooking Cozy
Here's a cooking cozy, as good as homemade!  The cozy is how we cook (simmer) food "in the bag".  I'm not going to ruin my car's sunscreen and cut a larger than quart-size hole out of it to make my cozy!
A mosquito headnet is for those days and nights in Florida when the bugs will just not leave you alone.  I prefer no bug repellent on mine.  This also makes a good stuff sack for keeping the gloves and sleeping hat organized in the pack.  The bug spray I'll use is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.  I won't use Deet, so the jury is still out on this particular bug spray.
The new wide-brimmed hat I have in mind looks like this, and it is called a Sunday Afternoons Adventure hat.   It has a flap in the back for shade.  I'll have to see how well it works with the mosquito net but expect it will be fine.  I have seen a few people wearing them while kayak fishing in Mosquito Lagoon.  There's not much more sun and bug exposure in Florida than that.
The Body Glide I plan to use on my feet can be found at REI also, I plan to repackage it into a smaller container for backpacking.
A slew of small containers would look like this, my old ones are all lost so it is time to update.  I won't use all of them, just a few for Body Glide, sun screen and food items.
Quart-size freezer bags are for cooking my dinners and carrying food.  Available locally at Target, maybe on sale.
Trash compactor bags are what everything goes into first inside my backpack for waterproofing.  There are only 4 to a box.  These are also at Target.
Esbit tabs for fuel.  I've been using these for 9 months now and I like them for simply boiling water.  I have read online there are now more outdoors people cooking with Esbit than with alcohol stoves.
Food will be covered in detail closer to the trip.
My clothing is otherwise taken care of (I'll buy new stuff later, on sale).  I'll wear a sweat-busting t-shirt, compression shorts, short socks, zip-off-leg nylon pants and a long sleeve nylon fishing shirt daily.  To sleep, I'll wear my lightweight long underwear with wool socks and my hat and gloves if needed.  Then there are my fleece pants and jacket if it really gets cold (can wear the rain coat on top) and that's everything I have.  The long pants and long sleeve shirt will keep the bugs and sunburn away during the day and as long as it is cool outdoors (70 degrees?), I'll be comfortable.  I've worn this stuff for years outdoors and it still functions.  New pants, new shirts, down jackets and new socks are very nice, but I'll be fine with what I have for now.
So, I still have to find these items online and available in my size, choose the color, order everything, unwrap it when it arrives and check it out when it gets here.  Then I have to weigh it and post the gear list.  Then buy and package the food for breakfast and lunch and dinner on the trail for the trip duration.  Then make sure I have the right batteries and medicines and figure how to pack everything.  And repack everything.  And listen to my wife ask why I'm repacking it while I repack it a third time.  Before you ask, here' a simple diagram I'll use on how to pack an ultralight backpack from Erik the Black's blog.
Do mouse-over the text for all the links I posted here.  I will begin price-hunting soon.  I listed many items at REI mostly for convenience, but there are many other online sources available.  Start with EMS, Campmor, Backcountry, Moosejaw, Sierra Trading Post, Amazon, and my wife's favorite, LL Bean.
Locally we do have places where we can touch items and talk to people who use them like Travel Country Outdoors, Gander Mountain, Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop, and a local Army Store or two.  I'll be the one there with the confused look shopping with all the lists.


  1. That Kumo is a great choice.

  2. Phillip,
    Thank you for your fine comment on my backpack choice. I highly value your opinion and really appreciate the good word! I'm excited about my upcoming purchases and am looking forward to "getting on the trail" to see how they feel. Temperatures in Florida are still in the 90's but should cool down in October and November when I can get back outside. I'll look for you on Section Hiker.

  3. Great information Bryce Thank You, I will be using your research for putting together a camping/hiking kit with my 2 boys as they get older. Looking for good places to kayak a bit then camp. Brian

  4. Brian,
    Here's a kayaking link you may not have found yet. It includes lots of routes in Florida and a few other states(just scroll down the page) and some advice about alligators, click here:
    Once my gear arrives, I'll give you a call so you can check it out.
    Take care,