Hiking Favorites of 2014

Hooooorrrrrraaaayyyyy! Finally my “Annual Hiking Favorites” list is up. 2014 was my biggest and most challenging hiking year yet.  I hiked even longer mile days, climbed my most difficult 14er yet (Mount Russell), and for the first time traveled internationally hiking across Scotland.

This list features my favorite outdoor items I used and loved. All items fall in line with my belief in keeping things simple and light. I also try to only buy new gear if my old gear is worn out or something lighter with attractive features hits the market.

Best Gear of 2014
Click to view on Pinterest

Thanks to Pinterest, my 2014 Hiking Favorites are again visually portrayed.

Here they are not in any specific order…

Tent: Zpacks Duplex Tent
20.9 oz – This by far is our favorite 2 person tent we have owned so far! Dan and I used it hiking across Scotland in wind and rain with no problems. It is feather light, compact, lives like a palace, has two doors and vestibules, and easy to set-up. Tip: I recommend using v-stakes for security in sand and wind.

Backpack: Gossamer Gear Gorilla
21 oz – This pack is light, comfortable, has lots of pockets (love the large hip belt pockets), rides well in rough terrain, easy to pack, and fits like a glove. Tip: The Gorilla fits a half-size bear can easily. If you carry a full size bear can, the Mariposa model works nicely.

Umbrella: Chrome Umbrella
8 oz – This was the surprise of the year and now is an essential piece of my backpacking kit. Great for rain and sun, balances well, reflects sun, bends in the wind and keeps the hiker dry and cool. Tip: While hiking with poles attach umbrella with a small bungee to pack strap.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix LX7 with Auto Lens Cap and Toshiba Flashair
9 oz – This is the second LX series I have owned. It takes amazing photos in auto mode, has a super-wide angle lens, is easy to handle, reasonably priced, and pretty tough. Tip: I added the auto lens cap and wi-fi card this year. They both make this camera even more of a winner.

Utensil: Sea to Summit Long Spork
.4 oz – This utensil is ultra-light, does not break, long (nabs food out of  bags without mess on the hands), and negates the need for a fork and a spoon. Tip: Paint part of the handle with bright nail polish so the spork won’t get lost or forgotten.

Poles: Fizan Compact
11 oz for the pair – The poles were recommended to me by my good friend Swami. When descended, they are very compact for travel on the pack and general carrying. They are very strong (mine were run over by a car last summer and did not break), the pole tips last a long time (mine show no wear from last summer), and the twist locks work every time and do not retract accidentally when hiking through rough terrain.

iPhone App: Spotify
This music service makes creating hiking playlists a dream with endless song options. The app features an offline mode to save playlists on your phone.

Best Climb: Five Sisters of Kintail, Scotland
This ridge jets up into the clouds climbing 5 peaks with 8,000 feet of elevation gain up and over green rocky crags with stellar views. A must do in Scotland. Enough said. Read about it HERE.

Best section of Trail: Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon
I loved this section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Partly because it brought back fond memories of hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 sporting huge mountains, snow, creeks, green lush trees, and openness. I want to go back. Read about it HERE.

Movie: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Okay I admit, I am a Hunger Games fan. This movie did not disappoint. It not only made me want to get in incredible shape, but also gain some additional survival skills. Can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Audio Book: Outlander Series
This one is a bit of a risk to recommend and is only for adults. Staged initially in Scotland, this is the first of 8 very long romantic, historical, and action packed books. It will most likely take me another year to get through all of them.

Social Media: Instagram
For some reason Instagram works for me. I have to admit Social Media stresses me out. I always feel behind, out of the loop, and can’t figure the best way to share and post. Instagram changed that for me. This was my first year using the app. Tip: It works great on the trail when I don’t have service. In Airplane mode I just create an Insta as usual, when I click Share, it shows it as failed. When I have service it is ready to go, just click the reload arrow next to the failed photo, and away it goes. Magic.

Little things that make a big difference: Mini dropper bottles, Rite in the Rain notebook, Polycryo Ground Cloth, essential oils, Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes

Note: Rockin’s yearly favorites list are just the new things of the year that I loved. Check out my other hiking favorites lists for other gear I use and continue to find very useful.

Okay now it is your turn. What are your hiking and gear favorites? Please share.


  1. Oh my!! You keep doing things that make me SOO glad I found your blog! I intend to do a long hike in another year or two, and have collected the entire Outlander Series of books to listen to, as they are my very favorite books of all time! I credit a bit of my hiking bug to her, as she takes great interest in the plant life, and using it to heal people. Also, since I’ve read them several times, I figure if I get preoccupied with trail struggles, and miss a bit, it won’t mean I need to go back, and catch up. I also love your, “adult only” take on it, as I totally agree! I can’t wait to take them on the trail! And I’m totally excited to look at your other gear..Loved your essential oils post the other day too.

    • Melissa, Love your feedback. Ahhh yes the Scottish. They grab hold and will not let go. I was a bit nervous adding the book series and now I am glad. Half the fun of a big trip is in the planning and dreaming. Enjoy. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The fizan poles are great! I had a pair which i “gifted” my inca trail guide as his “tip” because he kept hinting at how he would love to have them because they are the best poles he had ever seen on the inca trail! Lol. 4 years later i got a new pair from friends for xmas because i kept whinging about not having them! Lol

  3. Thanks for the gear update.
    I followed your Scotland adventure with respect and admiration. Read about the driving winds and rain. Question: The rain fly and inner walls of the tents liner don’t seem to be sufficient enough to abate horizontal rains..Did any rain bleed up the interior tent into your equipment?
    I pack for the worse bad weather seems to follow me..

    • We were very careful to pitch not in an open area (except one night) and looked for a big rock, wall, trees, or shelter to camp behind. I don’t know of a tent that breathes and will protect from horizontal rain. We camped on wet ground each night and no bleeding. It is big, so you can just huddle in to middle away from the sides. It is a very popular tent for solo men that like a lot of extra space.

      • Expedition tents. I’m an ex mountaineer and
        expedition kayaker I always look for lighter equipment for long distance tramping. Thanks for your info.


  4. MMMM… I love gear lists and gear favs. I might just find something I need too!!

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