At one point in my life, namely June through October 2015, I knew every piece of backpacking gear I owned. Probably because I packed and unpacked and repacked those same fifteen items every day for 120 days. Those days are long past. In fact, when someone recently asked me what type of pack I owned, I was like, “Ummm … Osprey … Aura? 60 liters? … The grey one.” (It’s actually 65l, but it is grey for the record.)
It’s a well-known fact that weeks of unemployment typically follow long-distance hikes, and, in between eating everything in sight, I used that time to write down and rate all my gear. Accompanying my gear review, which will likely come in the form of 1,204,324 blog posts, will be photos of my beautiful, lonely, currently-unused gear.
(Minus my sleeping pad, which gets use every night. Because I don’t own a bed. Still.)
Note: I hiked during the summer of 2015 – low snow pack year – so my gear might not be the adequate choices for a higher snow pack year. I also didn’t hike miles 0-650 a.k.a. The Desert.
The Big Three
- Tarptent Double Rainbow tent with Tyvek ground cloth 9/10
- My Two Cents: Great tent. Get the condensation sheet.
- Pros: Light, cheap, made in the USA, kept us dry, the guys at Tarptent sent us a loaner tent for free while our zippers were being repaired.
- Cons: Zippers broke (after three months of hard use though), single-walled tent and prone to condensation.
- Big Agnes Lost Lake 30 Degrees sleeping bag 9/10
- My Two Cents: A bag for the frugal backpacker.
- Pros: Affordable, lightweight, pretty warm.
- Cons: Not always warm enough for me – get a sleeping bag liner.
- Osprey Aura 65l 6.5/10
- My Two Cents: Don’t buy your backpack a week before leaving, but when you do, make sure you’re fit properly so you don’t stubbornly walk 1,300 miles in a too-big pack in search of the nearest REI. God bless the REI return policy.
- Pros: Lots of room, super comfortable when the Velcro hip belt works. My second pack’s Velcro hip belt worked fine.
- Cons: Adjustable Velcro hip belt that never stayed in place on my first pack, the smallest hip belt pockets that fit three Jolly Ranchers and nothing else, wasn’t a great fit for my frame/bony hip bones – I got a lot of gnarly bruises.
- Side note: Spoke to a couple other people with similar frames/bony hips and bruises seemed to be an issue regardless of pack type and pack weight. I eventually found discarded sections of a Therm-a-Rest Z lite sleeping pad in a hiker box and used these as padding between my pack and my hips, which helped.
Music courtesy of Dustin’s PCT Playlist.
Through My Headphones
*Electric Love -BØRNS