As the camping season approaches, I'm really excited to get out and try out some new gear we recently purchased. I'm posting pictures and short descriptions of the gear I recently purchased and I'll later post reviews of this gear after I use it later this year. I'm also going to include a few pictures of some gear I've used in the past and brief reviews.
MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent
This tent is classified as an lightweight backpacking tent weighing just 4 lbs 5 oz, which includes the tent, poles, rain fly, and footprint (basically a tarp that is designed to fit exactly under your tent). This tent is great because if you want to ditch another 2 lbs from your pack you can just use the tent mat, rain fly, and poles (poles/rain fly connect to the mat). Of course you'll be a bit exposed at the sides of the tent along the bottom, but it still provides adequate shelter.
With a compression stuff sack I can get the tent, rain fly, and footprint compressed down really tight to fit in my pack
Hoping to try this out on our trip to CA in April
Kelty Light Trekker 20 degree down filled sleeping bag
We had a couple of synthetic filled lightweight sleeping bags, but they were still limited at how small you could compress them to fit in your backpack. The down-filled sleeping bags are truly ultralight and compress amazingly, while also holding in some serious warmth. We should be trying these out in at least by our trip in April
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core sleeping pads - 20"x72"
I'm really excited at the chance to sleep on these. After blowing one up in my house and resting on it I wanted to fall asleep right there. The fact that these are insulated is a huge perk as they'll keep us warm off the ground. We had previously been using some cheap, HEAVY pads from walmart, along with a couple of Alps Mountaineering pads, neither of which are designed for backpacking. I'm excited for these because they compress up to the size of a 32 ounce nalgene bottle.
When I first heard about the Jetboil brand of stoves I was pretty stoked about the chance to get my water boiling a lot faster than my old stove. I have an ultralight MSR Simmerlite stove, which I love for how small it is, but it takes FOREVER to boil water. Comparatively my large car-camping stove takes about just as long. I have not fired this bad boy up yet, but I'm anxious to see what it can do
Sea to Summit compression dry sacks
When I had some extra money to spend at REI on a gift card Bill suggested some compression dry sacks. They're expensive, but as he pointed out, worth it because you can obviously get a lot of gear compressed in it, but it will also stay dry if you get in a wet situation. I picked up two of these 35 Liter sacks. I'l be using these in April as well.
I'm not sure when I'll actually get to test this out, but a little technology along the trail never hurt anyone. This thing emits UV light into the water, guaranteeing to kill off 99.9% of all bacteria in the water. I'll always plan to have my filter system with me, but I'll use this as an extra kick to ensure everything is killed off.
Osprey Ace 48 Backpack
Bill was able to use a pro deal to get me this pack and it's GREATLY appreciated. I have a 12 year old that is super tall, but not super strong (yet) and it was looking like he was going to have to use the 4500 (see below) for our up-coming trip until I was able to pull this off. As you can see from the picture we loaded his sleeping bag, pad, and 2 person tent into it and we still have room for his clothes, some food, and a few misc. items he may want to bring (the top is pulled down tight over the pack, so you can't really tell, but there is room). His pack weight will be around 20 lbs, which is a bit big for his 105 lbs frame, but he's about 5'3" right now so I think he'll be OK.
Kelty Camp Hauler 2
I got this as a gift because I lucked out (again) with Bill having the honor of being my santa at this year's family christmas. Of course he's going to hook me up with something cool. This will be great for storing our gear, etc. when we're car camping. Right now we've been using a huge storage bin that at times takes up too much room. This will force us to get rid of stuff we don't really need to bring and take up much less space in the car.
Here is a bit of my existing gear that I'll be using this year
Kelty Redcloud 6500
This is a HUGE pack and I bought this back when I thought you had to have a TON of room in your backpack (and back when I actually NEEDED a ton of room because all my gear was so big). This is a great pack, but I'm thinking I won't be using it much now that I have a lot of light gear. I did a test load and put both mine and Alene's sleeping bags and mini-pillows, our tent/stakes, 2 sleeping pads, the jetboil, fuel, cookset, 2.2 liters of water, multitool, shovel, and spare clothing and my pack was only at 30.5 lbs. I still have to add food, but other than that I'm set AND my pack was only 3/4 full.
Ketly Coyote 4500
We had purchased this one with the intention of it being Alene's pack since it was smaller. I'm almost wondering if I should start using this one. We'll give it a test on our trip to CA since Alene won't be using it, to see if I should take it or not. I used it once on a snowshoeing trip up to the Uintas about 5 years ago and it worked out great.
Northface Tera 30
This is a day pack mostly, but could be used as an ultralight backpacking pack I think. I have it designed as our canyoneering backpack (notice the grommets I placed at the bottom of the pack to allow water to spill out). It's a great pack and fits well. I'm a little curious to see how it would stuff for a 1-2 night packpacking trip.
Last but not least.....
My "Hose Protection"
People always laugh at me when I bring this along on trips, but once they see the damage it can do they understand why I bring it. I came up with this idea when my dogs chewed through my heavy duty hose in my backyard. I was really pissed off (because it was expensive) and I had grabbed this leftover end piece and smashed it against a piece of wood. When I noticed the dent it left in the wood and the amount of force I came down on it with, I realized this could be a decent piece of defense equipment against a person, or a small to medium sized animal if need be. One crack on the skull and I'm POSITIVE it will make the attacker think twice. I do have a handgun I'd consider carrying, but for an average hike and when I don't want all that extra weight, this is perfect. I recently purchased a galvanized cap that I've screwed on top of this now. I plan to fill it with a bit more lead to give it a bit of solidness. The flexibility of the tough hose gives the weapon a great kick as you bring it down on its target (like a whip, but with a metal object at the end). People laugh, but if I ever need it, I know it will work
Here is a link to a set of pictures of all my camping gear if you're interested