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Gear Reviews:

Remember that we are active hikers, which mean that our gear gets tested a lot compared to the average hiker.  On average, we spend 30 nights a year on the trail . Over the years we have learned that expensive is not always better. You can spend as much as you want on gear.  They will sell it to you.

Clothes are a big money item that you get to burn holes in while you are sitting around the campfire. Easy rule to follow: Find out what it is made of and then go to discount store and buy items made of the same material. Nylon, Polyester, wool, fleece, and down are the way to go. Save your money for the sleeping gear and backpacks. 

Sleeping Bags:_______________________________________________________


Enlightened Revelation 20 Degree Quilt: 20oz Down

Time Tested:  New

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, durable, room to roll around inside, warm, very compact.


Dislikes:  None



Enlightened Revelation 0 Degree Quilt:  30oz. Down

Time Tested:  New

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, durable, room to roll around inside, warm, very compact.

Dislikes:  None


Comments: Tested down to 4 Degrees. Lots of room to dress under. Easier to use than bag.

Kelty Lightyear 25 Degree Bag:  38oz. Down

Time Tested:  6 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, durable, room to roll around inside, warm, very compact.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  I hike year round.  I have used this bag in a hammock with a pad down to 25 degrees and had no problem.  For weather colder than 25 I put it in my 45 degree bag and it works great.

Kelty Lightyear 45 Degree Bag:  33oz. Down

Time Tested:  6 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, durable, room to roll around inside, warm, very compact.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  I hike year round.  I use this bag as my summer or warm weather bag.  I also use it in conjunction with my 25 degree bag for weather lower than 25 degrees.

Kelty Lightyear 20 Degree Bag: 41oz. Down

Time Tested: 5 years

Issues: None

Likes:  Light at 2lbs 9oz and very warm

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  I hike from Oct. to May.  I have used this bag in a hammock with a pad down to 20 degrees and had no problem.  For weather colder than 20 I put my 40 degree bag in my 20 degree bag.

Kelty Lightyear 40 Degree Bag:  28oz. Down

Time Tested:  5 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Light at 1 lb 12oz.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  I hike from Oct. to May.  I have used this bag in a hammock with a pad down to 40 degrees and had no problem.  For colder weather I use both sleeping bags with the 40 degree inside the 20.

Sleeping Pads:___________________________________________________

Walmart blue pad:  15oz., 74.5x24 inches

Time Tested: 6 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Light weight, durable, fits great in hammock, Cost

Dislikes:  Not very compact

Comments:  I did trim extra off corners.

Thermarest 1" 3/4 Length:  20x46.5 inches

Time Tested: 10 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Light weight, durable, comfortable

Dislikes:  Not very compact, Cost

Comments:  Use in tent and shelters for extra padding.  Did have to patch once.

Big Agnes:

Time Tested: 5 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Insulated, lightweight

Dislikes:  Blowing it up

Comments:  Very good customer service when I found a leak, they replaced it.


Backpacks:________________________________________________________

ULA Catalyst: 48oz., 4600cu in


Time tested: 100 miles

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, Deep Pockets, Expandable.

Dislikes:  None

Comments: Popular pack on the AT, ULA


ULA Circuit: 41oz., 4200cu in


Time tested: 2 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, Deep Pockets, Expandable.

Dislikes:  None

Comments: Popular pack on the AT, ULA


Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest: 35.4oz., 4400cu in + 600cu in Pockets 


Time tested: 1 year

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, Deep Pockets, Water resistant, Expandable.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  Was looking for a equal to or greater pack than my Kelty Shadow.  Found it! Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Reevaluation: Two years and 677 miles later: Still like my pack!

Kelty Shadow: 63oz., 4800cu in

Time tested: 6 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, Lots of pockets, expandable, good for up to seven days food supply.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  This has been a great pack.  Update:  I sent my pack back to Kelty to replace a stay that broke.  They replaced the stay, redid my bungee and fixed my pulls for the strings at the top for free.  I have now had the pack for 3,000 - 5,000 miles.

Kelty Moraine:  56oz., 3600cu in.

Time tested:  5 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Has plenty of pockets, lightweight, expandable.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  Somehow I have made it with 7 days of food in this pack.

Water Filters:_____________________________________________________________

Katadyn Hiker Pro: 11oz., 6.5 x 3 x 2.4 inches, Pumps one liter per min., Pleated 0.3 micron glassfiber/carbon core/filter protector, Removes Protozoa and bacteria.

Time tested: 5 years

Issues:  Had a case leak issue and a handle break.  Katadyn exchanged both with no questions and in a timely matter.

Likes: Lightweight 

Dislikes: Screen needs deeper water source, suction hose too short.

Comments: I made some modifications to include longer suction hose to be able to stand up while pumping and installed lower level suction screen and prefilter from an old Sweetwater Filter.  New weight 14.5oz.

MSR Sweet Water Microfilter:  11oz., 7.5x2 inches, Pumps one liter per min., 0.2 micron Silica Depth filter, Removes Protozoa and bacteria.

Time tested:  2 years.

Issues:  Showed stress fractures in case and handle broke.

Likes:  Lightweight, Cleanable filter


Dislikes: Did not care for attaching handle to pump

Comments:  It was a little harder to operate than the Hiker Pro I got later.

Platypus 2 liter Gravity Filter System:

Time tested:  3 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  No pumping, Set it up and go set up camp.

Dislikes:  Got to be able to scoop up water.  Cannot let freeze.

Comments:  It has been great.  Very easy to use.  In winter, put filter in ziplock bag and keep in sleeping bag.

Water Bladders:_________________________________________________________

Camelbak 2 Liter Omega:

Time Tested:  2 years

Issues:  Mouth piece leaks, Filler Cap strap broke

Likes:  Lightweight, Good Flow 

Dislikes:  Cost, Difficult to open and close Filler Cap

Comments:  Installed shut off valves.  I noticed that all of the newer ones come with the shut off valve.

Walmart Water Bladder: 2 Liter

 Time Tested:  5 years

Issues: Filler Cap failed.

Likes:  Lightweight, Cost 

Dislikes:  Hard to get plastic taste out,  Not enough flow 

Comments:  Probably would have bought another, but wife picked up the Camelbak
  
Tents / Hammocks:____________________________________________________

Warbonnet Outdoor Superfly Tarp: 11' x 10' 19oz

Time tested: 1 Year

Issues: None

Likes: Larger tarp, doors, more options

Dislikes: None

Comments:  Looking to replace our Campmor Sil/Nylon Ultralight Tarps.  Went a little bigger with doors with the Superfly We added 6oz. 

Skeeter Beeter Hammock: 20oz., 9.5x4.5 feet, 250lbs capacity, Polyester Taffeta

Time tested:  7 years

Issues:  Hammock Failure after 4 years

Likes:  Lightweight, comfortable, bug screen, dual zippers

Dislikes: Rope connections

Comments:  I modified my hammock.  I removed the ropes and installed 15ft of one inch nylon webbing on each side.  This gives me options of trees further apart and of different diameter.  It also makes for easier tying and setting up.  The bug netting also serves as insulation.  My original failed after 4 years, but that is alot of nights with my usage.  I did not hesitate to order another one.

Skeeter Beeter Hammock: 20oz., 9.5x4.5 feet, 250lbs capacity, Polyester Taffeta

Time tested:  5 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, comfortable, bug screen, dual zippers and two small pockets inside on netting and one big pocket on side of hammock.

Dislikes:  Rope connections that come with hammock.

Comments:  I have only stayed in a tent two times when I started backpacking and have been in a Skeeter Beeter hammock since then.  I modified my hammock.  I removed the ropes and installed 15ft. of 3/4 inch nylon webbing on each side.  This gives me options of trees further apart and of different diameter.  It also makes for easier tying and setting up.  The bug netting also serves as insulation.

Equinox Ultralight Tarp 13oz., 8x10

Time tested:  10 years

Issues: None

Likes:  Lightweight

Dislikes:  None

Comments: Been a great tarp

Stoves:______________________________________________________

MSR Pocket Rocket: 3oz, Canister Stove

Time tested: 5 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, fast, no maintenance.

Dislikes:  Canisters have no good way of knowing how long you have
left for cook time. 

Comments:  I usually use alcohol stoves except when hiking longer hikes 
with the Outcasthikers.  The Outcasthikers use canister stoves so we can
interchange if necessary. 

Beer Can Stove: 0.5oz, Alcohol Stove

Time tested: 5 years

Issues:  Need to practice with to get lighted.

Likes:  Lightweight, no maintenance, no wasted fuel.

Dislikes:  None

Comments:  Like it.

Esbit Esbit Brass Alcohol Burner E-AB300BR: 3.5oz Alcohol Stove


Time tested:  12 years

Issues:  None

Likes:  Lightweight, no maintenance, no wasted fuel.

Dislikes:  Heavier than my Beer Can Stove.

Comments:  Use with my 2 liter pot when cooking for more than one person.


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