My Gear/Reviews

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Panasonic Lumix LX100 Camera
Cost: $697.99
Ever since one of my bosses in college talked me into taking a photography course I have loved to take photographs of my experiences and travels. Being that I backpack and go to concerts I have stuck to point and shoot cameras. I did have a SLR back in College when I worked for the Unviersity newspaper but when I traveled I found it a real pain to lug a huge bag around with a large camera and multiple lenses.

Over time I found that most of my photography was landscapes and close ups of nature. After doing a lot of research I settled on the Panasonic Lumix LX100. It comes with a fast leica lens and should be more than up to the task for everything that I need to shoot on my travels. It does have a fixed lens (required for most concert venues). I also liked how you could easily go manual and adjust the shutter, aperature and exposure.

I have only used it on one backpacking trip but will update this post after my trip out west.

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Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 (w/ Mountain Glo)
Cost: $429.95
Weight: 2.4 lbs
When I am in places that might not have suitable trees for my hammock I needed to find a suitable plan B.  I researched one person backpacking tents to death and eventually settled on this tent. Just a warning that going with the Mountain Glo (LED lights inside) version of this tent added a couple more ounces to the tents weight. I honestly found the color scheme more bearable and after finding it on sale at Moosejaw decided to pull the trigger. What I liked about this tent is the easy set up, ceiling height and extra space on the inside where I can store my backpack at night. The MountainGLO gives you a nice ambient light source for finding your tent at night or reading inside of the tent. Adding a footprint ($59.95) adds 4.5 ounces.

 

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Thermorest NEOAir Xlight Sleeping Pad
Cost: $159.95
Weight: 1 lb
I read and watched a lot of reviews and this sleeping mat routinely comes out on top. It is incredibly comfortable, light and packs down small. Once compressed it packs down to the size of a Nalgene bottle. I would recommend not filling it up all the way when using it at night. When I did blow it up all the way the pad was too firm. Blowing it up will leave you a little light-headed and if you blow it up manually it will cause moisture to collect inside and mold to grow in the pad. Though this is nothing new I did note this when reading a few reviews of hikers who had taken it on the Appalachian Trail. 

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Leki Corklite Antishock Trekking Poles
Cost: $159.95
Weight: 1 lb 3 oz
After my first year of backpacking I was slightly concerned that in going upwards to 10 miles a day the amount of pain I felt in my hips, knees and ankles were making things unbearable. Typing that made me sound very old. =)

I did a lot of research and I anticipate as I hike more my body will get better in handling the longer distances. I also found that using trekking poles took 20-30% of the stress off of your body. I also could use them to prop up the tarp on my hammock to put it in “porch mode”. Serving dual purposes is always good when backpacking.

I’ve used them a few times and I am starting to really like them. I don’t use them for the whole trip but when I do it does seem to help minimize the stress my body takes on from the trail. I also have found that they help me keep a constant pace and especially in helping propel myself up hills.

I have not tried a lot of other poles but I felt going with the cork might help in absorbing the moisture from my hands which can minimize blisters. So far so good, 20 miles in on two trips and no blisters or hot spots.

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Sno Peak Titanium Spork
Cost: $9.95
Weight: 0.6 ounces
This is the only piece of silverware I carry. Extremely durable and easy to clean. I used to carry a titanium fork, knife and spoon but found most of my meals were just rehydrated meals. A sport works fine for me.

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Sno Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove
Cost: $60
Weight: 2.2 ounces (includes stuff sack)
This is my first small backpacking stove. It really has been great to use on my trips over the past few years. It is reliable, durable and packs down small. Also shown in the picture is the Giga Power fuel canister (sold separately).

 

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GSI Outdoors Hae Tea Kettle
Cost: $24.95
Weight 5.8 ounces
I have seen a lot of people moving towards Jetboil but this kettle serves all of my needs. The kettle comes with two bowls nested on the inside of the kettle. One of the bowls is insulated so you can use it for drinking coffee. You can also fit a small gas canister on the inside of the kettle. All of this in such a small space makes it a perfect fit in my backpack and so far this has kept me from picking up a Jetboil. For a person that is only looking to warm up water for coffee and freeze-dried backpacking meals this is a great piece of equipment.

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Nescafé Instant Coffee (3 in 1)
Having your coffee, creamer and sugar all in one packet is extremely convenient when backpacking. I am interested in trying other brands as I usually prefer stronger coffee.

Backpacking meals I would recommend:
Mountain House Breakfast Skillet (Bring tortillas to make breafast burrito)
Mountain House Mac and Cheese
Mountain House Chicken and Rice
Mountain House Chicken and Dumplings
Tip: Repackage meals into freezer bags. This will save you room in your backpack. You can pour boiling water into the freezer bags to make your meals.

REI Lumen Sleeping Bag
Relaxed mummy fit, 3-season synthetic sleeping bag offers excellent compressibility, warmth and value

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Keen Targhee II Waterproof Hiking Shoes (Mens)
Cost: $124.95
Weight: 2 lbs.
I fell in love with Keen shoes and sandals years ago. They take a a beating and wear very evenly. I have not been disappointed with this purchase. They continue to offer great traction on trails and especially rocks. I may look into insoles as the footbed is a little too firm for me. If I do I will make sure to update my reviews here. They are pretty hot in the Summer so I am exploring using sandals for some of my future hiking trips.

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Chaco Z1 Classic Sandals (Men)
Cost: $110
Weight: 1 lb 13 ounces
For years I have worn the Keen Newport H2 Sandals in the Summer. This year I decided to pick up another pair of sandals that were more open and might enable me to be able to backpack in them in the hot temperatures. I had a pair of Chaco flip flops and each day I walk about 4 miles in them and they seemed very comfortable.

I decided to pick up the Chaco Z1 Classic. I chose to break them in during my evening walks. This was a good thing because they take some time to break in. I would say it took me about 12-15 miles to get them broke in. Though I have not wore them backpacking yet I did wear them for a four day music festival and after walking many miles every day my feet were not sore at all.

I look forward to wearing these out west on my road trip this year and would rank them above the Keen Newport H2 Sandals.

Reviews Coming Soon:
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
Keen Newport H2 Sandals (Men)
Osprey Atmos 50 Backpack