I’m a mountaineer, outdoorsman, nemophilist who has had a lifelong passion for the wilderness. For over 20 years I’ve traversed much of the US and what her wilds share with friends or for work as a rescue diver, wilderness guide and SAR member.
GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist Cookset
This cook-set was created specifically for backpackers who like to keep their eating solutions simple and feathery-light. Combining a canister stove with windscreen, a 0.6 liter aluminum pot/mug with insulated sleeve and strainer lid, silicone pot gripper, and collapsing “foon”. All capable of being stored within the pot and weighing less than 10 oz. Not too bad a setup! I thoroughly enjoy this cook-set when I want to pack light and quick. As noted, it all packs inside the pot with room to spare for a small fuel canister. The stove, a high-efficiency Pinnacle (with around 10,000 BTU/h2), heats my water up to a rolling boil quickly and efficiently. It also sports a detachable/optional windscreen. Perfect for hot drink or pouch meals. Drawbacks? ~The nylon “foon” didn’t even make it to the field with me. I tried it’s collapsing/telescoping ability and was underwhelmed by its lack of rigidity. I tossed it out and went with my reliable long handle titanium spoon (I might review that another time). ~The windscreen held up okay, but was sometimes a pain to pack inside with the rest of the kit and I eventually just began to leave it behind more often than not. ~The magnet on the silicone pot holder works well, but stay sharp. It isn’t a strong magnet and I did bump it off or misplace it at times due to such. Overall, I would still recommend this cook-set for those weight conscious thru-hikers or ounce-counting minimalists.
Kelty Tuck 40 Degree Sleeping Bag
Made from silky 75D polyester inside and out with ThermaPro Ultra Synthetic insulation, this mummy bag has been comfortable and rugged enough for my moderate to warm weather trips. I found the comfort rating of 40F/4C honest, although with a down coat or added liner I was able to sleep well below that rating. The synthetic insulation works well, as expected from ThermaPro, and additional filling has been added to areas like the hood (for a built in pillow) and foot area. The zipper system has held up quite well too. They added an additional zipper for those nights where you get too toasty, just unzip a section of the bottom to allow your feet out to breathe. With additional anchor points on the bag, if so desired, you can strap your bag to a bed mat. Tuck comes in its own compression sack, with a stuff size around 8”x14”, taking up minimal space in your kit. Total weight of 3 lbs. isn’t horrible either, personally. (The sizes and weight I described are rated for their “regular” (6’) size but, for the taller (6’ 6”) adventurer, it does come in a “long” with minimal differences in measurement and weight) Overall, like much of my Kelty products, I have been very happy with this affordable mummy bag.
MSR WhisperLite Stove
MSR’s WhisperLite is a tried and true liquid-fuel stove system. It’s reliability and durability has been great. Making it a go-to stove for adventure seekers more than 25 years. Maintenance is simple and basic/annual upkeep can easily keep this stove operating for decades. As mine has. Although I’ve had no issues or field failures, I have heard (albeit not very often) an occasional issue with the control valve being the most spoken of. That being said, I would still recommend this system and continue to use it myself.
Merrell Alverstone Waterproof Hiking Boots - Mens
Alverstone has been a wonderful hiking boot. The low cut design and material make for a well put together, lightweight, comfortable boot on those long trail days. Along with Merrill’s Air Cushion in the heel absorbing shock and nylon arch shank, it has great support and stability, yet remains flexible enough for easily managing scrambles and uneven terrain. It uses a traditional lace closure and bellows tongue to keep debris out. Alverstone has a breathable mesh lining and M-Select DRY membrane offering a combination of breathability and waterproofness. Add in their M-Select ICE GRIP for maximizing its traction in snow, slush and ice. These boots have held up great as I continue to add miles in them, yet remain a comfortable fit.
Kelty Coyote 65L Backpak
If you enjoy the organization of Kelty’s Redwing series, I wager you’ll enjoy the Coyote lineup. Weighing in at 4 lbs 13 oz, the 65 liter Coyote sports a variety of pockets and storage for its modest size. Including the top converting into a sling pack, hipbelt pockets, hide-away ice axe loops, pass through behind side pouches, separate compartment for your sleeping bag and more. The aluminum and HDPE internal frame along with adjustable suspension system allowed for a range of settings for mixed and heavy loads. Combined with the mesh back panel/shoulder straps make for a comfortable haul on my long routes. I did, however, need to adjust the hipbelt more than I anticipated. It wasn’t a large issue though and could have related to how hard I pushed the route I was on. In all I have been quite pleased with the diversity of this backpack.