2020 Backpacking gear
With flying out of the question, especially to other countries, I decided to do a bit of local adventuring. With the encouragement and planning of some Slack pals, I began to plan for a few days of backpacking, and more importantly, a few days of gear. Anyone who’s read my blog for a bit knows I’m a nerd about backpacks, technical clothing, and having the absolute minimum amount of stuff with me on trips. At home, I live pretty comfortably, but when I’m out of the house, I love the deep thrill of having exactly what I need.
The last camping trip I went on was during the eclipse 3 years ago in Dallas, Oregon. We drove there, and barely had to hike to put down our gear, so I brought a blow-up couch, a Nintendo switch, and medium-weight backpacking gear. I had an old REI sleeping bag that I’ve used for years, a Mountain Hardware Optic 2.5 tent, and a few jugs of water. All my gear, with 2 gallons of water hanging outside my pack as I was used to desert camping in Texas, weighed a bit over 25lbs, without food. This is pretty great for a car camping or one night camping situation, butI love going further and not having nearly as much on my back, plus I needed to bring food in my bag because I wouldn’t have a cooler with me on this upcoming trip.
Thus began my list:
Total weight: 3.37kg or 7.44lbs
1275.72g Nemo Dragonfly
This is a new addition to my list, but so far it seems neat, albeit very small. If I needed to spend extended time in a tent, I’d probably want something larger, but for a spot to sleep I think this will do just fine. I replaced the stakes with 60g of MSR groundhog stakes.
Dependable light stakes. I’ve bent one of these only once when applying my full body weight through my foot into hard ground. In most cases this is very chill. I’ll probably dig a hole in the future, or possibly not even use stakes depending on the setup.
My most recent trip was with my old sleeping bag, and I spent the entire night with it open due to the heat. I learned that my air mattress is super comfy even sleeping directly on it, and that I made the right decision to switch to a quilt.
This is a big comfort upgrade over my Z-Packs folding mat, even though it’s definitely more annoying to blow up and deflate. I sleep on my side often, so I like knowing I can adjust this a bit to facilitate that instead of basically sleeping on a thin foam cover over bits of rock. I might try bringing the inflation sack to save my lungs, and maybe I’ll store clothes in it or something in the meantime.
This bag is outstanding. It’s so, so light, while still being incredibly tough, and roomy. It’s rated at 40L, but seems absolutely to be an endless bag of holding. I love that it has waist pockets for snacks, and a few webbing loops on the shoulder straps for a water bottle or a phone or camera.
Another new addition. Up until now I used the terra system that came with my crux lite, but never used both pots. I can’t fit my fuel and my stove inside with the lid, but that’s totally fine. I love that I can easily use this as a mug too.
72g Crux lite stove
Absolutely my favorite stove. It’s effective, quick and super light. I’ve used this for years, and it’s always worked save for the time I was trying to boil water with a 50mph wind blowing at me. Eventually, I hid behind a car and was able to make coffee.
16g Snow Peak Spork
I’ve had this spork for a long time—even before Snow Peak was cool again. Like, seriously I think I’ve eaten meals with this spork for 15 years. Love it. Durable and delightful. Mine is purple.
Ursa bear bag
This bag is only approved at certain campsites, but should be nice for those as an alternative to a rigid bear canister.
Weight: 270g (Terra stoves 471g)
188g Kindle Oasis
My entire library can camp with me without adding bulk or weight. Plus, it’s waterproof!
188g iPhone 11 Pro
Basically whatever the latest phone from Apple is, I’ll have it. This one is great.
192g 10000mAh external USB battery
Keeps my iPhone, watch, and AirPods charged. This one is very small, and only has one USB-C and one USB-A port, so I do a little juggling of plugs.
20g Assorted cables
A small Satechi watch charger and a C to Lighting and C to C cable.
(Optional) 416.74 Anker Solar charger
Weight: 588g (984.74g with a solar charger)
14.7g Kula cloth
A recent trip was my first time using this cloth, and largely it ruled! My one big mistake was getting a little too much camp soap on it, and having to wash it for a while to remove the soap. I think I can probably safely avoid soap for a couple days, and just wash it off with water.
This water filter sack is outstanding. The flow rate is super fast and the entire setup is light AF. I also picked-up a 3L version of the same setup for group camping or if I think I’ll be away from water sources for longer.
70g Matador water bottle
There’s a straw with the ability to bite to get water, which makes this easy for drinking on the trail.
113.40g Miir Pouragami
This is a little heavy to bring along if I’m hiking a lot, but it’s hard to beat the ability to do a pour over for friends. Usually I’ll bring fancy instant coffee instead.
46g Opinel knife
A fantastic classic knife. This is good for cooking or various cutting tasks. It’s not the lightest but I dig it.
Weight: 154.7 (268.1g with pourigami)
Icebreaker merino shirt
This is my standard shirt that I wear almost every day. It’s great, comfortable, and light. It also keeps me warm and dry most of the time, and stands up to hand-washing well.
Coalatree trailhead pants
I used these pants on a recent trip, and was a excited about the pillow feature of the pockets, but ultimately it was a little uncomfortable so I might try something different next trip.
Sometimes this is wool, but it’s always wicking. No cotton here.
Icebreaker merino underwear
Dries quick, doesn’t get too stinky, and is comfy.
Darn tough merino socks
I’ve had a bunch of merino and other material socks, and I keep coming back to these. They’re comfy, wash and dry quickly, and keep my feet comfy for hikes.
Works as a hat, a scarf, a temp face cover, and even as a wrap for my improvised pillow that is a bit softer. Love it. I’d resisted getting a buff for years, but frankly, I was a fool.
On Cloudventure Peak shoes
I’ve never worn hiking shoes or boots on backpacking trips or even to hike—I’ve never even owned any! I picked these up to help mitigate my slippiness on loose terrain, as the last time I went hiking I kept falling down. Hopefully these are comfy and grippy.
I don’t know if I’ll bring trail sandals on every trip, but they’re super comfy and I enjoy being able to take off my shoes at the end of the day but still wander around camp a bit.
This depends on the conditions, but either a Proof shell or a Mission Workshop Torre jacket. If it’s particularly cold or rainy, I also have a Snow Peak FR trench. I tend to get warm pretty easily, but hate getting super soaked, so I optimize for staying dry and layer a bit. The FR trench plus my Torre worked well for me down to -5C.
Merino wool watch cap from Tanner Goods. This hat is excellent and has kept my head and ears warm in four or five countries. It also doesn’t get too stinky when it’s been hiked in a lot.
I’ve only camped once with a lot of this gear, and eagerly wait for the end of fire season so I can do a bit more camping. Ultimately, it performed well but I’m excited to see how nice it is to hike with so little weight and set up shop in my little Nemo tent. If you want to chat about gear or ask questions about mine, feel free to hit me up.