Gear Lists, Favorites and Reviews

My Gear, Clothing, and Electronics - Summer 2015

My Gear, Clothing, and Electronics – Summer 2015



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Annual Hiking Favorites:

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Gear Reviews:


  1. Hey Rockin’ another congrats on your PCT finish with Stealthy! Question for you about mundane hand sanitizer…anything special out there that you like from a packaging standpoint? I’ve used the foamy pump stuff in the past but just ran out and wanted to see if there were any other options that might work better. How do you handle it? Thanks! -GoalTech

  2. Hi! Great read! I haven’t done any long hikes and the John Muir Trail will be my first. I’d really like to get some hiking boots for the trail for the added ankle support. Do you have any suggestions for a good pair of boots that will last the whole trail and not be very heavy? We’re gonna go in July.

    • Hello Laura, Boy to be honest I haven’t used any type of boot in a few years. We have found that trail runners with a lighter pack is safer without blisters and knee and ankle problems. Just be sure to do prep training on uneven trails before you go for ankle strength and of course keep the pack weight under 30 pounds with food and bear canister.

  3. Hi Christy
    It was nice to meet you and Dan briefly on day one of the TGO Challenge at Shiel Bridge and again on day two at Camban bothy. Glad to read you successfully completed your first Challenge a day ahead of me on Thursday, 22nd May. I do hope we meet again next year on your 2nd Challenge and hopefully my 7th. If not I may just decide to escape all this dampness and rain and take the next plane from Manchester International to L.A. – my first visit to the U.S. of A. at the grand old age of 62. I was very pleased with my first American tent – the Scarp One. When you next meet Henry Shires give him a big thank you from an eccentric limey, you once met briefly back in ’14. I apologise for the silly advise I gave you at Camben bothy, not to sign the visitors book as you had not stayed overnight. This was far too prescriptive and I feel bad about it. Anyway, thankfully you ignored my advice as when I stopped by Char bothy, towards the end, I saw you had written in the bothy book thanking Scotland for a great trek. Thank you for mentioning me on the day 2 of your blog. I suppose I do smile a lot, especially in the Scottish Highlands. Who would not in such a sublime landscape.. Now I have discovered this great blog of your I will visit often. Perhaps I should start my own.
    Best Regards
    Tony Whewell – Equipment and Clothing Reviews Editor – ‘Backpack’ – quarterly journal of the Backpackers Club (U.K.)

    • Ahh Tony…it was so nice meeting you on the challenge. Please do not give the signing of the visitor’s book a second thought. Funny though, you saw our names in the Char Bothy because the couple that were doing some maintenance while we were there insisted we sign in.🙂

      Do remember that we are here to help in the US when you do your trek in the Sierras!

      Best Regards to you also,
      Dan and Christy

  4. Great site. I’m hoping to hike the jmt this year. Any advice? I’m thinking sometime in Aug or sept. I would like to miss the crowds and bugs. Possibly w my wife or solo. I’m hoping to complete in less than 2 weeks as vacation time is limited and travel to and from Jax, fl eats up a few days. Any advice is greatly apriciated as I hike the AT in the south east so looking forward to new views…

  5. Cool gear list. Tip: I have the same Thermarest seat cushion. It can double as a pillow. I tried it my last backpacking trip. I just wrap my buff around it like a pillow case and let a little air out and it was quite nice.

    • Such a great tip. Love using existing gear for yet one more use. Gotta try this. Thank you for posting.

  6. Funny. I took your advice about the longer stakes from before and ordered a set. When my order arrived ,they had given me the 8″ stakes to begin with. So now I have 4.

    As far as training goes. I have a bunch of weekend trips w my boys and hoping to squeeze in a “press expedition traverse” of the Olympics (4-5 days) In late July. Working on finding some low land hikes for June.

    And on the sawyer squeeze. Take a look at getting a nalgene canteen with a jet flow adapter. Wider mouth to fill dirty water bottle faster than the small mouth on the sawyer bag.

    Good luck on your CDT. I heard from Wired you are meeting up with her for a section or 2. Can’t wait to read about it.

    • Hey, Henry Shires must have listened and now the longer stakes are standard with the Moment! I am considering adding my Sawyer filter to my platypus hose for this summer’s hike. It would only work if you were hiking solo and not sharing the filter.

      Yes, that is the big plan to meet Wired in the southern San Juans in Colorado. I am super excited and scared out of my mind at the same time. Upcoming will be posts about my CDT hike preparation.

      Keep me posted about your trips. Thank you for sharing. Love it.

  7. I have another question for you.
    I have started using “Evernote”. Not a lot of uses for it in my profession and position. Therefore I am dealing with a learning curve. I want to use it to organize my first, on my own thru-hike of the Wonderland trail this coming Sept.. Any ideas/examples of ways to use it that I may not be thinking of would help me out greatly.
    So far I have made;
    timeline of events that need to happen.
    gear lists
    questions to answer
    and just plain thoughts on my up coming thru-hike

    a confession: With the natural slowdown the season calls for, I am going through with-drawls for the trail.

    Grace and Peace

    • Barrett,
      Good questions. I also use Evernote to post links to web pages that might have info I need for the trip. Examples: motels, ranger station locations, travel (train, shuttles to trail heads), maps, info on wildlife, and info from other hiker’s websites. I just go to the web page and clip the entire page into Evernote using the Firefox plugin you can download from their site. This helps to keep everything in one place, so I am not wasting time looking around. I also scan all my guidebook pages and add those to Evernote. It is also helpful in keeping track of prices at different companies for gear you will need to purchase.

      The Wonderland Trail is on my dream list of trails to hike. Good for you! Happy planning.

  8. Hey Rockin’ ,
    I know you have a TT Moment and I know you like it. I have been going back and forth between a moment and a rainbow. I am pretty sure you have seen both.

    Any thoughts on these 2 models that may be good info for me to make up my mind?
    I like the 1 piece design and the big vestibules. Have you ever stored gear on the other side(backside) of your moment or is that possible.
    I am 5’9″ and have a BA SHSL1 It is a good tent, but I am not so fond of the vestibule in the front/ having to climb over my gear to get out of the tent. I am also not fond of the 2 piece set up in the rain.
    The Moment is smaller than the rainbow and weighs 4 oz less, but not sure how the space difference in them would benefit me.
    any info you can offer me, bias or not would be appreciated🙂

    Thanks for the great blog.

    • I had to mull this one over. You already know that I LOVE my Moment. It is light, easy to set up (with 2 stakes), durable (it has lasted through 2000 miles of backpacking and 3 summers), fares well in storms, and very roomy. I also own the Rainbow 2 and use it when I am hiking with a partner. I just looked at the Rainbow 1 and I am pretty sure it only has 1 door. Because of that reason stepping over your gear in the vestibule would still be an issue.

      I do know that both the Moment and the Rainbow are plenty long for a tall guy like yourself. I did shop for an additional solo tent for my son at the PCT kick-off last spring, where they have many vendors with tents on display. In the end, he decided on the same tent, the Moment. He has borrowed my tent many times and loves, loves, it. I also have 2 hiker friends that have recently bought the Moment and also are pleased. Good luck with your decision. Either way both are great tents.

      • Thx for the reply.
        Through your blog I have seen the Moment in action. from pictures of it in beautiful background to video of hailstorms. I think after viewing every youtube video I can find of the 2, I am leaning that way too. Getting the new tent solves 2 main inconveniences for me. 1) reducing my weight, and 2) the wet weather set up. Living here in Washington, we get a little precipitation, and with my plans moving forward for the Wonderland next summer. I like the idea of the one step(peice) set up.
        Since I am being long winded here I would like to express a personal thank you for your blog.
        I found your blog through Wired’s PCT journal/blog. I have not hike/backpacked/trekked since I was a teenager. I am in my 40’s now. This last July I hit my heaviest weight ever. I was going through some serious depression. Something needed to change in me. I bumped into a docu. film on the AT which got me thinking about the PCT which lead to reading PCT journals. In reading all of the journals I found Wired’s journal and reading to the end of her journey I started looking for other hiking/backpacking blogs. I remembered her mentioning you and started following. Through yours, wired’s and others great writing and pictures I was inspired to get back into it. I took my boys out backpack/camping for their first time ever (my oldest is 14 next month) I have since been on over 15- 15+ mile road hikes, 10 Day hikes and 3 multi-day hikes this summer. I have lost over 40 pounds, and weigh less now than when I was laid-off 2.5 years ago. I have reconnected with something that I loved once before and lost. Thank you for your writing, your great pictures, your courage, and including your wonderful family.

        Well, I am out of breath and need to get going. I am heading to Mazama in the Methow valley to meet my wife, kids, and in-laws for a little time out at a lake and a day hike.

        Again thank you for your great writing and pictures and pass my thanks onto Erin for me.

        In the words of JM. ” the mountains are calling and I must go”, and so I am.
        Sincerely Grin’n

        • Wow, thank you thank you for sharing your story here. I think others will enjoy and be inspired. I forwarded your reply to Wired and it made her day. We are especially excited that you are bringing your whole family along with you.

          As for the tent…I wanted to add one more thing. If you do decide on the Moment, I recommend asking Henry Shires (owner of Tarptent) to send you 2 longer gold stakes. They work 100% better than the short blue ones that come with the tent. They stay better in wind, snow, loose dirt, sand, and in difficult places to set up a tent. Also, a big rock set on top of the tent stakes are not essential when using the longer stakes.

          Thank you for sharing, posting, and following. Love to hear what you decide.🙂

          • Hey Rockin’ !
            I received my moment in the mail. I was able to catch it on sale for 227 w/ the liner and snow-load extra pole. I have only been able to set it up in my living room so far, but WOW! It is actually bigger than my BA SH SL1. Or maybe it just seems bigger due to better design. And in comparison I dropped a little more than a pound from my base weight (46.5oz vs 28.5oz). I also just got my Golite jam 50 (which I did not realize you had also until today) and a jam 35 for each of my sons. I dropped nearly another 2lbs on the weight of my pack (30oz vs 61oz). With these 2 upgrades and changing from a Katadyn hiker pro to a Sawyer squeeze and a few other minor changes I have dropped my base below 19lbs. With a new sleeping bag by Sept. I should be around 17lbs for the Wonderland Trail. Thanks for the advice And if you have any tips for the tent or the pack… away, I’m all ears.

            Thx Grin’n

          • Grin’n,
            This is all great news! You are going to love the packs and tent! and will love hiking even more with less weight. Your sons are very lucky to be getting out with you and sharing fun memories. I am using the Sawyer Squeeze this year also. It is a new piece of gear for me and have read great things about it. The only thing with the Moment that I added later from Henry at Tarptent that was helpful is longer tent stakes. It helps the tent stay taut in sand and wind. If you are using the extra snow-load pole you wouldn’t need them. Are you planning training trips to prepare for the Wonderland? Thanks for sharing!🙂

          • Guess what? Just checked out the new design and it is 4 ounces heavier. It does have 2 entries and 2 vestibules, but I like less weight.

  9. Hi Rockin- love your blog… I’m reading it here while waiting out the snow in Big Bear!!!I love your energy!!! Happy Trails!!!
    sandy “coyote”

    • Hey Coyote! So glad I can be of some entertainment while you are holed up in Big Bear. I can’t think of a safer and better place. It is snowing here and beautiful. I will have the rest of the pics up soon so you can see yourself scurrying gracefully on the snow. So fun. Talk to you soon.

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