I always find that reading other peoples blogs and journals are the best way to get “real” reviews for gear. Sure magazines are okay when it comes to reviews, but a weekend warrior is much different when it comes to needs than a thru hiker.  This section is where I will post about the gear I am using, as well as reviews and feedback.


Big Three: Backpack, Sleeping bag, and Tent:

My Backpack: Gregory J 53



As a PCT Dirty Dozen winner, I received a bran spanking new J 53 to use for the trail. I am excited that this bag is just a bit over 3 pounds. My AT pack was over double this weight. Even though it is light weight it also still has a carrying system, which I like, especially when I will be hauling a ton of water. Here is hoping it rocks.

Sleeping bag: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Down Bag

Phantom 15

I’ve used an older version of this bag for several years. I’ve decided to update it, not because the older one doesn’t work, but because I think it will be good to start fresh. I love it’s warmth, even after 5 years with my old bag it still keeps me toasty on cold nights. I sleep pretty cold, and like that I can use it as a quilt when it gets warm.

Weight: 2.1 lbs  Price: $300

Tent: Henry Shire’s Tarptent Rainbow

My Tarptent Rainbow

I used this lovely thing on the AT, I really love how light it is, as well as how easy it is to set up.  The bug netting keeps out the creepy crawlies, and it tolds up pretty well in rain. Mine has a few small micro holes, which I will patch before I head out. I can’t say enough about the space in this thing. I can very comfortably sleep myself and my gear inside. In a pinch I could have two folks inside and gear in the vestibule. 5 out of 5 Stars.

Weight: 34 oz  Price: $245 (purchased in 2008)




  • 1 Pair Zip off Gander Mountain Guide Pants ($40)
  • 1  EMS hiking skirt ($20, at consignment shop)
  • 2 Champion sports bras, ($gifts) the best sports bra I have found yet!)
  • North Face Quick dry hiking t-shirt: I have owned this for a while, it works well, is light weight and comfortable. ($20, bought a few years ago)
  • Columbia Airgill Omni Freeze Long sleeve button up shirt, . I need this for protection of the desert sun, trying something new. Hopefully it lives up to the hype. ($50)
  • Patagonia Hooded Down Sweater: I bought this on sale this summer knowing it would cut down weight and add warmth to my layering system. ($160)
  • Patagonia Synthetic Long Underwear, bottoms. I’ve had them for a long time, they still work great at keeping me warm and toasty.
  • Fleece Hat: ($free, lost and found score from the hut)
  • Wool Buff: my awesome friend Beth made this for me from scraps of leftover fabric. I love the color and the versatility of it. Hat/headband/face cover/etc.. ($gift from awesome Beth)
  • Mittens: wool thin mittens, work great at keeping my cold prone fingers warm. ($gift)


  • 3 Pairs Darn Tough Socks ( Love this company, they stand by their socks 100%. I have sent back 2 pairs that got holes and received brand new ones very quickly)
  • Solomon XR Mission trail runners (first pair) with superfeet insoles. I went with these due to the roomy toe box as well as the price. They were comfortable and a good deal.  I will be bought them one size larger than normal to combat desert swelling. ($60)
  • Crocs, yup I know most people think they are just extra dead weight, but I love being able to let my feet rest in these marshmallow shoes. ($5, bought years ago at discount store)

Cooking System:

  • GSI Outdoors: Soloist cooking pot, I used this on the AT, it worked great and doubles as my bowl and mug. My only issue was the lid is not fireproof and my old alcohol stove melted it a bit. Still works great. ($35, bought in 2008)
  • Titanium Spork, I have had this for years and I love it. Fork/Spoon what more could you need? ($?)
  • GSI Compact Scraper: the best tool to get those hard to reach last bits of food at the bottom of my pot. I am lost with out this as my tongue can’t reach the bottom of the pot. ($ gift from work years ago.)
  • MSR Pocket Rocket: with such a dry year I am leaving my old cat food can alcohol stove behind and moving on up to a canister stove. It weighs a bit more, but being able to not start a forest fire is very important to me. ($27)
  •  2 2liter Platy-bottles: With such a dry year in California, I am going to try to make it easy to haul tons of water. ($8, each)
  • 2 Liter Camelback water bladder and hose: hands free water. Yay! ($?, had it for years)
  • Extra water storage: Gatorade or smart water bottles reused to haul more water. Light weight and easy to clean/recycle. ($1-2)

Sleep System:

  • Homemade Bag Liner, I scored some awesome fabric on sale for 5.99 a yard at Joann Fabrics, thus saving a ton of money. It will serve several purposes: keeps my sleeping bag clean, adds a few degrees of warmth in the cold, and can be used as a sheet if it gets to warm.
  • Therm-a-rest Pro-lite 3: I have had this sleeping pad for ages. At this point in time, I am going to see how long it will last before I commit to buying a new pad. Mine is covered in patches, but it still works great. Bought this over 5 years ago.
  • TyVek, used for a ground cloth, got it from my dad left over from a siding project.

Luxury Items:

  • Motorola Android Ultra: my phone, gps, blogging device with charging cord.
  • ipod Classic: I am powered by music. Music has the power to change a tough day into a day of joy and happiness. I try to listen to the world around me as much as I can, but sometimes you just need the sweet beats.
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera, my tough camera can withstand a lot…. rain, dropping, sand… I will use this with a big card to capture what I see from the trail. (I used my DSLR on my AT thru hike, I decided it was better to go with the point and shoot. I often didn’t get the shot as my big camera was buried in my bag.)
  • Anker Astro 5600mAh External Battery, extra charge for all my gadgets.


  • Small journal and pen
  • Liteflex Trekking Umbrella (cheaper than the golite chrome dome, but the same exact thing)
  • Native Sunglasses
  • First Aid Kit: Band-Aids, medical tape, duct tape, ace bandage, Leatherman, needle and dental floss, ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, alcohol swabs, q-tips, moleskin, nail clippers, sunscreen, hydrocortisone, and Benadryl.  
  • Compass and printed Map Pages
  • 2 small lighters
  • Petzel Head Lamp
  • Toothbrush and small tube of paste
  • Contacts, glasses,  and solution
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer

*to be updated as the list gets more final:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s