Thoughts on the new gear I took on my PCT trip in July '10
10.07.2010 - 16.07.2010
In preparation for my recent PCT trip, I upgraded some of my gear. Now that the trip's over, here are some of my thoughts:
- Shoes: Montrail Mountain Masochist trail runners. Absolutely loved these. They were lightweight, rugged, grippy, and very comfortable. They kept my feet cool and when they got wet they drained and dried really quickly. I liked them so much I bought two pairs!
- Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Enhanced. I bought this tent used from someone on BPL, and it's the best $160 I've invested in my backpacking gear. Why? It's lightweight (2 lbs!). It's easy to set up. One side is all mesh so even in the worst mosquito infested campground (can you say, Upper Truckee River Valley?), I was safe from the 'skeeters and could still carry on conversations and enjoy the sunrise/sunset/starry skies. Fantastic piece of gear.
- Backpack: Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude. Pretty happy with this. A full 3 lbs lighter than my old Gregory pack. I really like the panel loading via a slick bit of softshell material down the middle - you can open from the top or from the bottom. And the internal lid pocket was great for storing the things I needed to be able to get to quickly; was nice to be able to take this into the tent at night and know that I had everything I needed. The suspension was pretty decent; the only thing that bugged me was the load lifters - I wish they worked better.
- Water Filter: Steripen Adventurer. This worked fine but in the end I like the pump approach better. In fact, I really like that pumping water forces one to stop and just sit there for a few minutes without having to run around doing something. Live in the moment, eh. So I didn't use the Steripen, just borrowed my friend's Katadyn when I needed to pump fresh water. Returned the Steripen to REI when I got back. Love that return policy...
- Knife: Buck Scholar Knife. Not much to say here; this was a last-second impulse buy and it did the trick - I was able to slice salami and cheese each day for lunch ;-).
- Socks: Darn Tough 1/4 Socks. Um, they're just socks, right? I used to think that myself but now I'm sold. These are the best damned hiking socks I've ever had. Took 3 pairs with me on this trip. Never had a problem with blisters, etc. even when my feet were soaking wet. Get these socks.
- Shirt: Icebreaker Hopper SF190 T-Shirt. Bought this on sale at Gilt Man for next to nothing. Really REALLY love this shirt. I want to buy more but they cost 4x more than I paid for my shirt. Maybe they'll go on sale again soon.
- Down Jacket: Eddie Bauer/First Ascent Down Sweater. A last-minute buy (got a red one for 50% off at the Eddie Bauer store in SF). Didn't really need it but hey, it's super lightweight and packed down super tiny (size of a softball) and kept me a warm a few nights and mornings.
- Sleeping Bag: Rab Quantum 400. Got a fantastic deal on this 850+ down bag (normally WAY too expensive for my wallet). It's good down to 25 degrees, is super lightweight, and packs down really small. I love it except that it's a bit confining for me in the shoulders. Might sell it and buy a different bag with a little more room...or just get used to it.