I've finally sorted my spring gear list after a winter hiking in Nepal (for that gear list, check here), and I am happy to share with you the tweaks and upgrades I've made for the season and year ahead.
This time around I changed up the formatting a bit for easier readability (at least I think it's easier) and I kept some of the same formatting from my previous list: orange denotes a new item and strikethroughs indicate things that I no longer have.
Below the initial list you will find detailed descriptions of each item, including photos, pros, cons, weight, and pricing information.
My gear still isn't perfect, but it's definitely coming along. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
THE BIG STUFF
- BACKPACK | Osprey Exos 58 (Full Review)
- SHELTER | Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2* (Full Review)
- SLEEPING BAG | Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15** (Full Review)
- SLEEPING PAD | Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
- LINER | Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Liner
TREKKING POLES | Black Diamond Alpine Ergo Cork
- HEADWEAR | Double Mountain Fitted
- HEADWEAR | Icebreaker Skyline Hat
- SUNGLASSES | RayBan RB2140 Wayfarer (54mm)
- JACKET | Columbia Decompressor Down Jacket
- SHIRT | Icebreaker Tech Lite Shirt
- SHORTS | Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Midweight Active Short
- SHOES | Merrell Moab Ventilators
INSOLES | Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles
- SOCKS | Darn Tough 1/4 Hiking Socks x 2 (Full Review)
- UNDERWEAR | Under Armour Compression Shorts x 2
THE SMALLER STUFF
- HEADLAMP | Princeton Tec Remix
MULTITOOL | Leatherman Skeletool CX
- RAINCOVER | Osprey UL Raincover
- WATER TREATMENT | SteriPEN Ultra
- WATER BOTTLE | 2L plastic bottle (x2)
- STUFF SACKS | Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks (2.5L, 9L, 15L)
- SLEEPING BAG STUFF SACK | Snow Peak Titanium Spork
I have converted to stoveless backpacking for reasons that can be found here.
- PHONE | LG Nexus 5
- BATTERY | Anker PowerCore+
- CAMERA | GoPro HERO3: Black Edition
- CAMERA | Canon 60D
- LENS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
- TRIPOD | Joby Gorillapod
- ACCESSORY | Peak Design Capture Clip x 2 (Full Review)
- STRAP | Peak Design Leash
- MISCELLANEOUS | Spare 60D battery, micro USB cord, mini USB cord
Toothpaste, toothbrush, cards/cash, Mini Bic, rubber bands, notebook, pens, Ziplocs
Since last fall I've made mostly small adjustments to my gear outfit, and have also learned that some of my gear (namely my tent and sleeping bag) has been discontinued.
A few items in my pack (my trekking poles and multitool) have disappeared due to airline regulations, and I may have to pick up some new items before the next gear list rolls around.
Here is my reasoning behind the (noteworthy) changes and thoughts on the new setup thus far:
ADDED: Columbia Decompression Down Jacket (discontinued)
I like my Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket, but I got my hands on a Decompression Jacket from Columbia (which has already been discontinued for some reason) which was basically a Ghost Whisperer with a hood (something that the Ghost Whisperer comes with, but that I opted not to buy originally).
It's too bad this jacket didn't live long in Columbia's line, because I quite like it. Maybe something else will come along before the CDT next year (yes, it's a serious consideration right now).
DROPPED: Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon
ADDED: Icebreaker Skyline Hat
Yes, another Mountain Hardwear product eliminated from the pack – doesn't mean I don't still love their stuff. Honestly, I lost the Dome Perignon and have recently decided that Icebreaker may be my new favorite brand of woolen clothing (and I found an Icebreaker outlet).
In addition to fitting on my enormous head, Icebreaker's Skyline Hat is incredibly comfortable and is long enough to pull down over my entire head if I need to hide from horrors during the night. It's the first of probably many products that I will be getting from this brand.
DROPPED: Columbia Omni-freeze Shirt
ADDED: Icebreaker Tech Lite Shirt
Remember when I said that the Skyline Hat would be the first of many Icebreaker products that I get? Well, I wasn't kidding. I've also (finally) replaced my long sleeve convertible button-down hiking shirt from Columbia with an Icebreaker t-shirt.
They come in a lot of different designs (including solid colors) and are 150 weight shirts made from a 87% Merino wool, 13% Nylon corespun blend.
DROPPED: New Balance MO989
ADDED: Merrell Moab Ventilator
In addition to having an inconveniently circumfrenced head, my feet are inconveniently wide as well. To make matters worse, New Balance, my former go-to footwear company, has stopped making most of their trail runners to “focus on other markets”.
This move has forced me to look elsewhere for footwear and I have since landed in a pair of Moab Ventilators from Merrell. I've been enjoying them, but have yet to put and crazy mileage on them. The important thing is that they're wide enough.
DROPPED: Peak Design Clutch
ADDED: Peak Design Leash
I like the Peak Design clutch, and although it allowed me to hang my camera from my wrist and free up both my hands, it wasn't enough. The Peak Design Leash is a lightweight and packable camera strap that allows me to comfortably carry my camera out of the way.
I prefer it to a “regular” camera strap because it can be configured a couple of different ways and it integrates nicely with the Capture Clip (which I am still a loyal fan of).
OSPREY EXOS 58
PROS: Comfortable, lightweight, detachable hood, stretchy mesh pockets, wide enough for bear canister or winter sleeping bag, lifetime warranty
CONS: Not an ultralight pack, poorly designed sleeping pad attachment strap
42 oz / 1.19 kg / $220 US
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR SUPERMEGAUL 2
PROS: Freestanding, incredibly spacious, two mesh pockets, holds up in rain a lot better than the UL1, light for a two person tent
CONS: Expensive footprint, expensive, discontinued (has been replaced with the Ghost UL 2)
34 oz / 980 g
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR PHANTOM 15
PROS: Warm enough for spring, compressible, down, lightweight, lots of room, built-in pocket, dries quickly (moisture due to condensation, not submersion)
CONS: Expensive, discontinued (replaced with the Flame 15)
33 oz / 935 g
THERM-A-REST NEOAIR XLITE
PROS: Surprisingly compact, 3.2 R-value, lighter than the Z Lite Sol, comfortable, made in the US
CONS: Inflating and deflating takes some getting used to, cannot be deployed quickly during breaks (like a foam pad), risk of puncture wounds
12 oz / 350 g / $130 US
SEA TO SUMMIT REACTOR THERMOLITE LINER
PROS: Adds warmth, can be used in lieu of sleeping bag on hot nights, makes bag more comfortable, keeps bag cleaner
CONS: Adds unnecessary weight
8.1 oz / 229 g / $58 US
COLUMBIA DECOMPRESSION JACKET
PROS: Hooded, super lightweight, breathable, warm, packable, water resistant
CONS: Red color is semi-transparent through to down, expensive, discontinued?
9 oz / 255 g / $400 US
ICEBREAKER TECH LITE SHIRT
PROS: Lightweight, breathable, quick drying, many colors/graphics available
5.75 oz / 163 g / $99 US
DARN TOUGH 1/4 HIKING SOCKS
PROS: Comfortable, wool, lifetime guarantee, great cushion
CONS: You will never want to buy another brand of socks
7.2 oz / 204 g / $20 US
MERRELL MOAB VENTILATORS
PROS: Comfortable, wide, good tread, laces don't come undone, they fit
CONS: Not waterproof (water resistant), heavy
13 oz / 369 g / $100 US
UNDER ARMOR 9″ COMPRESSION SHORTS
PROS Comfortable, effective at preventing chafe, rarely begin to smell, dry quickly, can be passed off as shorts
CONS: An inside seam on one pair tore (still usable, will replace)
4 oz / 113 g / $30 US
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR CHOCKSTONE MIDWEIGHT ACTIVE SHORTS
PROS: Very comfortable, awesome stretchy material (no more crotch ripping), quite water resistant, two zipper pockets, built in belt that appears to work
CONS: No rear pockets, only two large zipper pockets in front (this can be good or bad depending on your needs)
9.9 oz / 280 g / $75 US
ICEBREAKER SKYLINE HAT
PROS: Can be pulled down all the way over my head to hide my face, warm, quick drying,
CONS: It's a beanie, what am I supposed to say here?
PEAK DESIGN CAPTURE CLIP
PROS: Makes carrying a DSLR incredibly comfortable and easy, it's durable, lifetime warranty
CONS: Nothing, this thing is awesome.
3.5 oz / 100 g / $60 US
PRINCETON TEC REMIX HEADLAMP
PROS: Bright, doesn't eat through batteries, multiple settings, adjustable beam direction
CONS: No red light (didn't realize then when purchasing), no strobe
2.9 oz / 83 g / $30 US
PROS: Kills protozoa, bacteria, and viruses, quick and easy to use, rechargeable (no heavy batteries)
CONS: Does not remove sediment, doesn't work with murky/cloudy water, need container to fit, reliance on technology
4.94 oz / 140 g / $100 US
OSPREY UL RAINCOVER
PROS: Packs into itself, drawstring and button to cinch, can protect bag in vestibule from puddles
CONS: Could be replaced by a trash compactor bag (which I may do soon)
2.8 oz / 80 g / $30 US
SEA TO SUMMIT ULTRA-SIL NANO DRY SACK (13L)
PROS: Waterproof, durable, roll top
CONS: Not necessary
1 oz / 28g / $13 US
SEA TO SUMMIT ULTRA-SIL STUFF SACKS (2.5, 9L, 15L)
PROS: Lightweight, drawstring closure, have never had one tear or break on me
CONS: Not completely necessary, expensive for what they are
.4 oz, 11g / .7 oz, 20g / $9, $14 US
Am I doing anything right? Something wrong? Did I miss anything? Do you have any suggestions? I will update this again next season and as things continue to change in my pack.
Comment below and let me know what you think!
Disclosure: Your trust is important to me and that's why I only recommend products I love and personally use. This page contains affiliate links which means at no additional cost to you, I may receive small commissions for purchases made via these links. This helps keep the site up and running.