2016 GEAR REVIEW- CLOTHING ADDITION

Wool and synthetic fabric are your best friend when long distance backpacking. Your clothing needs to be quick drying and moisture wicking. Merino wool for the win because it resists odour. You can’t bring an entire closet with you, so be prepared to put on wet, stinky clothing in the morning, rotate your socks and underwear- attach them to the outside of your pack to ‘freshen’ them up and to let the UV rays so their sanitizing magic to them (make sure your items are securely attached to your pack…. Hikers behind you are fond of finding your unmentionables on the trail tread, or hanging from a blow-down you scrambled under/ over). The best piece of advice I ever got was to have a separate set of camp clothes that you only wear when your done hiking; this includes top, bottom, socks, and underwear. This not only allows you to have some time in completely dry clothing, but it’ll save your Sleepingbag from becoming something reminiscent of PigPen’s blanket.

 

Wool and synthetic fabric are your best friend when long distance backpacking. Your clothing needs to be quick drying and moisture wicking. Merino wool for the win because it resists odour. You can’t bring an entire closet with you, so be prepared to put on wet, stinky clothing in the morning, rotate your socks and underwear- attach them to the outside of your pack to ‘freshen’ them up and to let the UV rays so their sanitizing magic to them (make sure your items are securely attached to your pack…. Hikers behind you are fond of finding your unmentionables on the trail tread, or hanging from a blow-down you scrambled under/ over). The best piece of advice I ever got was to have a separate set of camp clothes that you only wear when your done hiking; this includes top, bottom, socks, and underwear. This not only allows you to have some time in completely dry clothing, but it’ll save your Sleepingbag from becoming something reminiscent of PigPen’s blanket.

 

NORTH FACE STRETCH THERMOBALL

PROS: synthetic insulation that mimics down insulation, which allows it to get damp and not loose all the loft, synch cord waist and elastic wrists prevents the jacket from shifting.

CONS: pockets are accessible while your pack is harnessed, doesn’t compress very well.

COST: $220.00 UDS

WOULD BUY AGAIN: Maybe

 

COLUMBIA ARCADIA II 2L SHELL

PROS: light weight for the cost, breathable arm pit vents, large brim on hood keeps rain off face

CONS: pockets are accessible while pack is harnessed, soaked through after a day of rain

COST: $99.00

WOULD BUY AGAIN: Probably not.

 

SALOMON XULTRA MID 2 GTX

PROS: running shoe comfort and flexibility with ankle support of a boot, breathable

CONS: Gore-Tex only keeps water out for so long, plus it keeps it in during water crossings (and extreme sweat sessions), slow drying

COST: $189.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: Yes. The perfect fit and extreme comfort outweighs the annoyance of slow drying shoes.

 

SMARTWOOL NTS 195 T-SHIRT

PROS: flat seams, long torso fit provides extra coverage, quick drying and resisted odor

CONS: slightly translucent

COST: $49.99 USD

WOULD BUY AGAIN: yes

 

REI SCREENLINE HOODIE

PROS: drop tail hem, flat seams, quick drying

CONS: small awkward fitting hood

COST: $69.99 USD

WOULD BUY AGAIN: probably

 

LULULEMON PACE RIVAL CROP PANTS

PROS: quick drying, snug “second skin” fit, resisted odor

CONS: thin draw string cord was difficult to undo with cold fingers

COST: $98.00

WOULD BUY AGAIN: absolutely. They’re my go to work out pant, and was super happy with how well they stood up in the bush; not a single tear! (I’d like to smugly rub that into a few of the male thru-hikers who teased me for being a ‘LuLu Girl’ in the bush.)

 

PATAGONIA ACTIVE HIPSTER BRIEFS (3 pairs- one camp, 2 hiking)

PROS: quick drying, moisture wicking, odor resistant, modest enough to wear a swimwear.

CONS: no complaints

COST: $19.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: yes

 

ENELL HIGH IMPACT SPORTS BRA (2)

PROS: strong yet comfortable support, wide straps, full back prevents ride-up

CONS: slow drying

COST: $89.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: Absolutely! This has been my go-to sports bra for about 10 years. To my fellow busty active lady friends… trust me… you need this in your life!

 

DARN TOUGH SOCKS

PROS: no seams, quick drying, odor resistant. Doubles as cleavage chaif healer, lifetime guarantee

CONS: none

COST: $24.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: absolutely! If you don’t have these socks, you aren’t experiencing life! Go buy some. NOW!

 

ODLO REVOLUTION WARM BASE LAYER (TOP AND BOTTOM)

PROS: warm, soft, quick drying, close fit to body allows for easy layering

CONS: not a lot of stretch

COST: $89.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: depends. Just for camp/ sleeping- yes. Cold day time temperatures force you to wear a base layer while hiking- no (the lack of stretch made it difficult to maneuver steeper climbs)

 

REI TECH-COMPATIBLE ALL-SEASON GLOVES

PROS: grip comes in handy (pun intended) while holding trekking poles during rain storms

CONS: not the warmest

COST: $19.99 UDS

WOULD BUY AGAIN: probably not. These are advertised as “All-Season”, but are basically a wind breaker glove.

 

BUFF HEADWEAR (1 Regular/ 1 Merino Wool)

PROS: versatile, odor resistant, light weight, the merino wool is probably one of the best toques I’ve ever had

CONS: none

COST: Regular $24.00/ Merino Wool $26.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: yes (bonus points- double them up for an extra warm toque, or McGyver them together to create a balaclava. GENIUS!)

 

 

 

RANDOM GEAR

 

OSPREY RAINFLY

PROS: kept pack dry’ish, compresses into a tiny ball, lightweight, made me look like a turtle

CONS: eventually the rain soaked through, snagged on branches

COST: $69.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: yes.

 

WALMART BRANDED FLIP-FLOPS (camp and rest shoes)

PROS: feather-light, super inexpensive

CONS: sharp sticks poked through

WOULD BUY AGAIN: not for backpacking, I’ll switch them for something that can be strapped onto the foot.

 

 

 

iPOD NANO

PROS: light weight, kept the mind (semi)occupied during The Darkies, provided great backup vocals for yours truly

CONS: none.

COST: $170.00

WOULD BUY AGAIN: without a doubt

 

XMI BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

PROS: surprisingly great sound for a mini speaker

CONS: 4 hour run time meant I had to manage the usage closely

COST: $33.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: while I enjoyed having the luxury of not having an earbud in my ear, I can’t justify the weigh; so I probably wouldn’t bring it on any other backpacking trips.

 

iPHONE 6S IN A LIFEPROOF CASE

PROS: great camera, cross referenced my topo maps to Halfmile’s App.

CONS: none, except I was constantly worried I’d drop it off the side of the mountain.

COST: n/a

WOULD BUY AGAIN: n/a

 

SEA TO SUMMIT STUFF SACKS (small, medium, large)

PROS: kept small miscellaneous items (spare batteries, toiletries, etc.) organized, bright colors made them easy to spot in a deep dark backpack, durable, water resistant

CONS: none

COST: $10.99 for set of 3

WOULD BUY AGAIN: yes

 

REI MEDIUM STUFF SACK

PROS: light weight

CONS: zip cord blocker is weak and usually was undone by days’ end, seam started to fray a few days into my trek.

COST: $5.99 USD

WOULD BUY AGAIN: no. It’s cheap and poorly made. Would have been better off with a large Ziploc bag

 

LITE MY FIRE TITANIUM SPORK

PROS: feather-light, durable.

CONS: easy to misplace. Too short to reach the bottom of my MSR WindBoiler stove.

COST: $19.99

WOULD BUY AGAIN: probably not, only because there is no way to fasten it to something larger to make it easier to locate, and it was slightly too long to stuff into my MSR WindBoiler stove.