I love hiking, camping, road biking...and pretty much anything that keeps my body moving. Mountain is where I feel the happiest because I can be myself (and by myself, if needed).
I was born in Central Europe but Pacific Northwest is what I have been calling home for past 5 years.
My ideal day off is laying by an alpine lake, smelling the wildflowers and gazing at stars before going to sleep.
GoPro HERO7 Camera
Nice upgrade from previous version but...
I owned GoPro Hero4 silver prior to purchasing Hero7 Black so it seemed as a great upgrade. The picture quality is great (better than my iPhone7) and it takes nice and vibrant photos outdoors which i love. Especially when going for a hike, when I don’t bother carrying my heavy DSLR camera. I also love the time lapse and hypersmooth features. I’m not an expert or sport crazy person, but every now and then i like to make short clips or videos to share with friends and family. This GoPro connects via GoPro app and photos are almost instantly viewed on your phone, which is a great plus. I also like that when I’m somewhere by myself, i can take selfies by using voice commands, or make a short video clip and then extract a photo from that clip. Makes it much easier for group photos too, just record a clip and turn it into photos in the app. What I don’t like, however, is that camera does overheat in warm (80+) weather, battery doesn’t last in colder weather (skiing), and my camera freezes on me every now and then. I have to pull the battery out and insert it back in to get the gopro working again. Also, when i was snorkeling in Hawaii, i realized that while you can take videos under water, taking pictures can be more annoying as the touch screen is very sensitive under water and keeps changing modes or jumping into settings when going under water and above water. I feel like the picture and video quality is great and beyond my needs. But it’s not very reliable as battery seems to drain at random times. While at home, it will be in off mode for weeks and still work later. When i take it outside and take couple pictures, i might find it drained couple hours later. (I keep all extras off, no Connectivity or gps and completely shut off). It might be that i have a faulty item or it might be an issue with more GoPros. This camera is rated for extreme sports, so it should act like one. It’s annoying when it freezes mid dive or 30 minutes into ski day.
Thermarest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
Great sleeping pad (just not for me)
I read several reviews about this pad and decided to purchase it because it seemed as one of the most popular choices among backpackers. Straight out of box I was confused, it seemed too long and narrow as compared to my previous pad by Klymit. It ended up being 5 inches narrower, which I didn’t pay attention to when buying. (I’m 5’7” and about 180lbs) It takes quite a few breaths to inflate this sleeping pad but after one night sleeping on it I realized it’s not necessary to inflate it all the way. Too full means the pad will be too hard and uncomfortable. The next night, I would inflate maybe only a half way and it was much better. I have one of the recent updates of this pad so I don’t think it’s noisy at night as some previous versions might be. Material feels sturdy enough to last a while if taken care of. However, I decided that this pad is not for me because of how narrow it is. At only 20inches wide and with rounded edges, I would constantly slide off the pad at night. I tried sleeping with the pad inside of my sleeping bag or sleeping with my sleeping bag fully open as a quilt (to prevent pad and bag material friction, but still it wasn’t comfortable for me. I’m a side sleeper with one of my legs slightly elevated so I would sleep with half of my knee/leg off the mat because it wasn’t wide enough. This wasn’t much of a problem in summer but I wouldn’t want to be touching the ground on cooler nights. I also don’t use pillow but sleep with arm under my head and maybe a puffy or shirt crunched under my head. I’m not sure how this would pair with a pillow. Overall, i think this pad is great, if you are a sound back sleeper. If you toss and turn at night like me, you might as well sleep on a ground.
Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots - Women's
I wanted waterproof boots for Washington hiking so I decided for this style of Keens. They are sturdy, they have nice grippy soles and feel and look nice on trail. Mine had taken some beating through the two years that i have had mine, but other than little color fading they still look like new. I have to admit i almost never treat my shoes, which I probably should to preserve the shoe longer (i might still have dried out mud from my last hike on them). I never had issues with the laces coming undone on this particular boot (but it was an issue with other Keen shoes). I don’t get any hot spots or rubbing from the shoe, and with the right sock for the season you are hiking in you will be as comfortable as one can be. I wanted more ankle support because i get clumsy and twist my foot every now and then. Hence the boot style, as opposed to low cut hiking shoes. These boots are not the lightest but they are comparable in weight to other hiking boots. But do be aware that the weight of your boots makes a difference on your stride. I hike in low cut shoes most of the year, but if i know there will be wet and rocky surface i opt for these. I love using these boots on rough terrain, such as lava fields at Mount St Helens or Hawaii because you don’t hurt your soles as easily as these boots are sturdy. I haven’t had an issue yet with these.
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access Ki 70L Backpack - Women's
I bought this pack as a recommendation from a friend who owns the male version. He absolutely loves his so I got one also as other brands I tried weren’t either working for me or weren’t my style. I bought it on sale through REI, otherwise i would have purchased a smaller capacity pack (but those weren’t on sale). But the good thing about this bag is that you can make it smaller by removing the lid and the top rolls up or down to make it fit as much or as little as you need. I used my 70L bag as a carry on when traveling to Hawaii with my backpacking gear, as well as a long weekend trip to Utah because I didn’t want to be dragging wheeled bag. I just wish the hip belt had pockets. So i made one out of fabric on my sewing machine and it works just fine. Or you can buy them through GG site for about $20. This pack is very comfortable, the hip belt hugs my rather larger hips nicely and even if loaded at 34-45lbs it carries the weight well. I contacted Granite Gear because i needed a hip belt replacement and they replaced it no question, i just paid $8 for shipping. The straps to tighten the pack are narrow, but they are very durable and strong. Don’t get fooled by their size! These straps are common for Granite Gear bags. These packs are not very feminine looking, but if you can deal with the shape and color it’s the best pack i have tried throughout the years.
Sea to Summit Titanium Spork
I got one in purple and scratched it almost immediately, which bothers me. Otherwise it’s a great spork that i carry with me whether i go backpacking, car camping or traveling elsewhere. It’s very light weight. It doesn’t seem like it would bend too easily. Sometimes i use it to lift up a flap on a can when I can’t open it with just my nails. Titanium is super durable and with then price tag of almost $10 i hope it lasts a few years.
Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - Men's
My boyfriend owned this jacket for a few years before he left it at a venue by accident. They come in cool colors which tent to be a shade different each year. He wasn’t happy when he couldn’t find the exact same green he misplaced. Other than that, these nano puff jackets are perfect layering items. They are not thick enough to keep you warm on a cold day by itself, hence the layering. So i would say it’s great 3 season jacket. It packs small inside one of the pockets, so it’s great as a jacket to take for backpacking trips! The square quilting distributes the dawn evenly, so he never had issues with cold spots. Men’s style is more relaxed than women’s. Ladies jacket is more form fitting.
Klymit KSB 20 Down Sleeping Bag
Ever slept on a cloud?
Have you ever slept on a cloud? Well, this is as comfortable of a sleeping bag as it gets, at least in my opinion. I was backpacking with someone who had one and I immediately purchased it upon return home. I’m a side sleeper who tosses and turns so i always felt constricted by regular sleeping bags. This one has stretchy baffles along the whole bag, so you can sleep in whatever position and still have space to breathe. (Then my issue was that while my bag wasn’t restrictive anymore, my pad wasn’t wide enough. Lol) I’m 5’7” and have more than enough space left at my feet, or you can also shorten it with little hoop and loop on the bottom. The reason behind this is that if you run cold at night and have too much empty space in the bag your body will exert even more heat and you will be cold. I opted for the 20 degree bag as I don’t plan on sleeping any colder than that, and the warmer the bag the heavier it will be as they have to use more material. I slept with it on a Haleakala Crater in Hawaii, snow camped at Mount Rainier, backpacked around Mount St Helens and used this bag on 10+ car camping trips already. While i love this bag and i have been using it on trips throughout the year, i might need to splurge on something lighter eventually and sacrifice on comfort. It weighs over 3lbs and while it is water-repellent treated down, it doesn’t compress very small. I stuff it into 14L bag. It works for now but when I do more of ultralight backpacking, a 3lbs sleeping bag won’t be an option. Another minor issue is the loop and hook velcro at the collar gets constantly stuck with my sleep shirt (and ruining sleeves of my merino shirts). While zipper works seamlessly, the velcro i never use and yet it constantly bothers me.
Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket
I love my better sweater jacket! I had mine for over 5 years now, and still no pilling or rips. The zipper never got stuck. The fleece keeps me warm but also fashionable. I wear it on hikes, bikes rides, as well as around town. It is skinny enough to be a good layering item, but thick enough to keep me warm on its own when needed. The left arm pocket fits my iPhone 7 or keys. Side pockets are deep enough to keep my hands cozy. I always wash it on cold but let it air dry. So i never had issues with static electricity either. Patagonia makes several new colors each year so you can find the one that fits your style the most. I bought better sweater vest so i can wear this great fleece more often because the jacket will be too warm for summer, but vest will be perfect for crisp morning bike rides.
Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket - Women's
I love this jacket. It’s versatile and comes with me anywhere i go. On colder days it is great as an extra layer. I love that it has a hood, that was one of the main reasons i opted for this jacket as opposed to the regular nano puff. It’s form fitting and flattering, great for hikes as well as to wear around town. They don’t go on sale often, so if you see one at a good price, take it before it’s gone. Patagonia gear is rarely on sale.