This page is going to showcase the gear I currently take into the backcountry and my thoughts on it. I don't own a couch or a television but I do obsess over having the perfect gear to take into the backcountry. I have spent hundreds of days backpacking over the past decade and have thru hiked all 2,660 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. I have spent over 100 nights in the backcountry this year alone. Hoping I can pass some insight on.  

I am not affiliated with any of these companies and have turned down sponsorships to be able to give unbiased reviews. I choose this gear because I think it is the absolute very best. A balance of durability, weight, longevity, safety and comfort are all factored into my decisions. You will notice Im very critical of every ounce I carry. Having a light base weight allows me to cover more miles comfortably and I can carry all of my camera gear and up to 3 weeks of food at once. Eventually all of the gear I use will be on this page as I have the time to do thorough reviews. 


This backpack is a work of art. I haven't seen another bag that is comparable on every level. It is constructed out of 100% waterproof Dyneema. In my eyes this is by far the most superior material that can be used for a backpack. The material is 15 times stronger than steel. Weighing only 40 ounces this bag is one of the lightest in its size. I really want my bag to cover me for any possible trip I might go on. From a day trip to a three week trip this thing has me covered. The waterproofing of this bag is no joke. I have had it in many downpours and no water has been able to make its way inside from the rain. I was just on a backpacking/pack rafting trip on the Queets River in the Olympics. We spent 3 days hiking as far up the Queets as possible and then rafted over 40 miles to the Pacific ocean over the next two days. We encountered lots of rain and I ended up flipping my raft over on a more turbulent section of the river. My bag was completely submerged in water until I was able to flip my raft back over. After getting back to shore and opening my bag I was  surprised to see that the inside was almost completely dry. The slightest bit of water had made its way through the opening for a water hose. The opening is designed so water wont get in from the rain though. I had all of my gear further protected in a trash compacter sack lining the inside of the bag and I would still recommend doing that if there is a possibility of your gear being completely submerged in water. I no longer line the inside of my bag while i'm hiking in rain.

While this bag is considered ultra light it can handle heavy loads better than any other bag I have used. I just took this on a 13 day backpacking trip covering over 120 miles traversing across the Olympics. Not only was I carrying 13 days of food for me, I made the decision to carry all of my partners food so she would have no problems being able to complete the hike. On top of that I had about 12 pounds of camera gear, Ice axe, microspikes and the rest of our backpacking gear. It was by far the heaviest load I have taken into the backcountry coming in at about 70 pounds. I have completely torn off shoulder straps of 2 other bags in the same weight category in previous years. 

I love the simple design. No unneeded compartments or features. Its basically a big empty tube with an outer stow pocket and side pockets for a water bottle. I have been using bags of this style for many years now. I much prefer to organize my gear in stuff sacks than backpack compartments. I also love that the bottom of the bag is a sewn on flat panel. The bag stays standing upright while you are loading and unloading it.  The strap system allows you to synch everything down nice and tight which is great for day trips or hikes from basecamp where you aren't carrying much.  It will feel like a comfortable daypack instead of your standard 70 liter bag. There are also small pockets on both sides of the hip belt that can be used to store your phone or a couple snacks. Also comes with a sewn on loop for securing an ice axe. After using this bag extensively the only things I would personally want to change would be getting rid of the opening for a water hose and moving the ice axe loop to the side a bit so I can still have full access to my outer pouch while my ice axe is attached to my bag. Hyperlight will make custom modifications like that if you order directly from the company. 


Tent

ZPacks Duplex

I have spent more time in my duplex these past few months than my house. I absolutely love this thing. Weighing only 19 ounces this is the lightest fully enclosed two person shelter available. With that being said this thing is surprisingly spacious. I am 6'5" and the Duplex more than accommodates me and all of my gear. Me feet and head have room to spare and i can fully sit up straight inside. Me and my partner fit no problem with all of our gear inside the tent as well. It has two doors, so you get ventilation, views, and vestibule space on both sides of the tent, plus you don't have to climb over your partner to get out. It has a waterproof bathtub style floor. It is constructed from Dyneema. Unlike Sil Nylon that most tents are constructed of Dyneema stays taught in all conditions. I have found this shelter to do incredibly well in the rain and wind. I find it extremely easy to set up and get a perfect pitch.

This is a single walled non free standing shelter so there are some things to keep in mind. Like a tarp the Duplex must me staked down very securely, If one of your stakes comes loose it will compromise the entire shelter. I pair my shelter with 8 Full length MSR groundhog stakes. Don't go ultra light on your tent stakes. Not worth the ounce you might save. Trekking poles are used instead of tent poles for set up. I prefer this because tent poles are a common point of failure in strong winds. The Dyneema is slightly see through so you loose some privacy but gain a greater sense of whats around you. Condensation can build up on the inside in certain conditions. I try to keep as many of the doors open as possible for ventilation and I carry a small  microfiber cloth to dry up any condensation that may occur inside.  


Sleeping Bag

Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt

I prefer using a quilt over a traditional mummy style sleeping bag. I find quilts to be much more comfortable. This is especially true if your side sleeper and roll around in your sleep. They also provide more warmth per ounce than a sleeping bag by putting the insulation that would be compressed under you on top of you. This quilt is filled with treated DownTek. If it were to get wet it would still insulate me. Regular down products fail here and can be fatal in extreme conditions. I no longer carry any down product into the backcountry unless its treated. I use a size wide to give me a little more room to roll around in my sleep and it also doubles as a quilt that is large enough for me and my partner to use at the same time. Only added about one ounce going with the size wide. I own a 30 degree quilt and a 10 degree quilt. I have found this to be the best solution for covering all conditions that I might find myself in while only owning 2 bags. I use my 30 degree bag most all of spring and summer and my 10 degree bag in fall and mild winter conditions. In more extreme winter conditions I bring both bags double them up and am covered into the negative temps. My 30 degree quilt weighs about 17 ounces and my 10 degree weighs about 23 ounces. 

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