Hiking Favorites of 2010

One can never have enough gear!

Mount Brewer

Until a little over a year ago I had not really even read a blog, much less toyed with the idea of entering the world of blogging. Then I started planning my first long distance (over 500 miles) thru-hike. Planning this journey was a transformation of sorts. I gleaned valuable information from books and online sources. It was great fun. One thing that was particularly helpful was when hikers took the time to create online lists of what worked for them on and off the trail. For a while in 2010 my home was a regular drop point on the UPS route in our area. Yep, during last year’s journeys I used and went through a lot of gear. Here are the keepers new to me in 2010.

Top: Patagonia Women’s Capiline 2 Lightweight Zip-neck (hangs well and looks great by itself, light enough to wear in warmer weather for sun protection and works well for winter activities as a base layer, washes up great over and over again, love the quarter zip/I am wearing it in my pic in the sidebar)
Socks: injinji Trail Toesock (click here for pic and thoughts)
Trail Shoe: Merrell Moab Ventilator (after the plethora of trail shoes I tried and went through, this was the overall winner, comfortable, cushy, tough, grippy, and no blisters, not water-proof)
Solo Tent: Tarptent Moment/with Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth (easy, easy, easy to set up just 2 stakes/very, very important to me after hiking BIG miles, roomy, light, worked great in wind and rain, small package, here is a pic in action)
Pack: Granite Gear Vapor Ki (comfortable, light, holds a lot of gear if needed/no cramming, easy to pack, fits a bear canister, tough/no holes after many miles, just enough pockets, here is what mine looks like packed)
Poles: GossamerGear LT4S Trekking Poles adjustable with straps (the Mercedes of poles, once you try these babies you are hooked)
Headlamp: Black Diamond ION (just right for lightweight thru-hikers but would be limiting for night hiking)
Jacket: mont-bell U.L. Down Inner Jacket (this in my pack always, here is what it looks like on)
Hygiene: Diva cup (for ladies only)
Sleeping Bag: mont-bell U.L. super Stretch Down Hugger #2 (mont-bell has discontinued this model and now offers the UL Spiral down, super comfy, very light and warm)
Backpacking Food: FRESH food (my favorites: flatbread, oranges, string cheese, apples, bread, deli meat, carrots, peanut butter)
Sleeping Pad: Therm A Rest Neo Air (okay, this little item is simply 2 1/2 inches of luxury)
Best view: Top of Cloud’s Rest (who wouldn’t want to have a 360 degree view of Yosemite at your feet?…Tuolumne Meadows, Mount Conness, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, to name a just a few)
Best section of trail: Beck and Monanche Meadows – Golden Trout Wilderness
Best section of off-trail: Lower Picket Lake to Kern/Kaweah River – Sequoia National Park
Online Motivator: Trail journals/blogs, websites, trailjournals.com, postholer.com (After reading my first trail journal on postholer.com I was hooked and ready to go)
Online Organizer: Evernote (I use this for hiking to do lists, mileage, food, resupply info, GPS Info, shopping, trip ideas, anything I want to remember)
Phone/GPS/Camera/Blog Writer/Book/Voice Recorder/Music Player: my i Phone of course!
i Phone app: Topo Maps (click here for more info)
TV Show: Motion on the Live Well Network (you can view the episodes online)
Magazine: Pacific Crest Trail Communicator (comes free when your join the Pacific Crest Trail Association)
Hiking Book: Eric the Black’s PCT Trail Atlas (I used several resources while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but loved this for distance between water sources and main landmarks)
Computer: 27” i Mac (rocks your world)
Software: Photo shop CS5

Misc. tried and true small old favorites:
Dermatone Lip Balm
Z-rest sit pad
Zip lock baggies (all sizes)
Tarma Jewelry
Trash compactor bag (inexpensive waterproof tough pack liner and cover)
Cotton bandana
Small plastic Coke bottle (I use this bottle for extra water between long distances between water sources and use this bottle for energy powders/so it doesn’t flavor my platypus)


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  7. Wow, this is a great list! Thanks for sharing! Out of curiosity, have you spent time backpacking in the tropics? Just wondering how much different the gear would be…

    • Wow that is a great question! Most of the items would work in any environment, but I would change out the mont-bell Down Inner Jacket and mont-bell Stretch Down Hugger to non-down alternatives. Some good lightweight choices might be the mont-bell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket and the mont-bell Super Spiral Burrow Bag. Tropics? how cool is that?

  8. Wow, excellent advice and terrific list – plan to do a quick link across from our site. Valuable, thanks!

    • It is always way too much fun to talk gear to fellow hikers that are interested! I am currently busy testing some winter stuff I am pretty excited about. Thanks for the shout out. 🙂

  9. GREAT Post!! Seriously! I bet lots of people are going to benefit from this!

    • Thanks. I just love reading other hikers’ lists of things that work for them. I have purchased many pieces of gear just on the recommendations of online gear heads. It would be great if this list IS helpful to someone out there.

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