GEAR REVIEW: Montbell EX Light Down Jacket

GEAR REVIEW: Montbell EX Light Down Jacket

Montbell EX Light Down Jacket

 

OVERVIEW:

Function is Beauty. The phrase is as simply as the motto. It also encapsulates what we believe here at Trail Lives; Less is More. The Montbell EX Light down jacket is a bare bones insulation layer that uses some of the lightest materials in the market. It is the lightest down jacket we have tested and is competitive in price ($200), but a lack of durability and awkward fit are problematic with this jacket. Continue reading “GEAR REVIEW: Montbell EX Light Down Jacket”

GEAR REVIEW: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit Backpack

OVERVIEW:

Here at Trail Lives, we absolutely love Cottage Gear Shops. Some of the best gear tested has come from these unlikely and relatively small companies, which are usually run by hikers like you and I. Founded in 2001 by a fellow thru hiker and located in Utah, Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) offers some amazing ultralight gear, especially backpacks. Today, many consider ULA as cottage shop royalty, as their packs hold a standard of excellence by many long distance hikers. Within ULA packs, testers and ULA alike, report the Circuit as the most used on trail. I will be taking my ULA Circuit with my on my PCT Thru Hike this April.
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Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows

Section: Mexican Border to Kennedy Meadows

SYSTEM GEAR CARRIED WORN
BACKPACK SYSTEM
Pack ULA Circuit Pack (XL) 40
Pack Liner Trash Compactor Bag 2.3
SHELTER SYSTEM
Tarp Cuben Tarp w/ guy lines 8.14
Bivy Ptarmigan Bivy 5.9
Ground Cloth Gossamer Gear Polycryo 2.95
SLEEP SYSTEM
Isulation Top Enigma Quilt 22.75
Insulation Bottom Thermarest NeoAir Xlite 15.59
CLOTHING SYSTEM
Socks 2 REI Lite Hiker Socks 1.6
Underwear Patagonia Underwear 4.7
Hiking Shorts NYU Basketball Shorts 11
Hiking Shirt Marmot LS Shirt 7
Insulation  Top Montbell Down Jacket 6
Wind Shell Bottom Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants 3.1
Wind Shell Top Montbell Tachyon Anorak 2.6
Rain Shell Top DriDucks Poncho 8
Insulating Hat Outdoor Designs Hat 0.74
Bandana Bandana 1.29
Sun Hat Baseball Cap 2.82
FOOTWEAR
Shoes New Balance Trail Runners 23.52
Socks 1 REI Lite Hikers 1.6
COOKING SYSTEM
Stove Snow Peak Giga Power 3.71
Cook Pot Imusa Pot with DIY Lid 4.05
Utensil Spork 0.54
Towel Paclite Towel 0.45
HYDRATION SYSTEM
Water Filter Sawyer Mini 1.62
Water Scoop DIY Scoop/Adapter 0.59
Water storage x4 Platypus 2.4L Bladder 5.16
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
Water Bottle Smart Water Bottle 1.29
SURVIVAL
Light Petzl Tikka Head Lamp 2.86
Fire Starter Mini Bic Lighter 0.4
First Aid First aid kit 2.86
Toothbrush Portable Toothbrush w/ toothpaste 0.85
Toilet Paper Small Roll of TP 2.23
Soap/Toothpaste Dr. Bronners 2.71
Line 25 feet MSR Utility Line 0.54
Repair Kit sil tape/needle/thread 1.28
Cash/Credit Card cash/Cards/ID/Permit 0.54
Stuff Sack Cuben Fiber Stuff sack 0.22
ELECTRONICS
Phone Galaxy s4 6.27
Charger iPhone/gopro Charger 2.45
Camera GoPro Hero 3 10.51
ITEMS CARRIED
Trek poles Black Diamond Trek Poles 20.22
Base Weight 165.82 78.42

 Conditions Faced:

The first 702 miles to Kennedy Meadows are mostly desert, with the odd foray into higher, and cooler elevations. Distance between water sources is a serious consideration, while rain/snow were pretty much a non factor (2014). Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Mexico to Kennedy Meadows”

GEAR REVIEW: Mountain Hardware UltraLamina 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

OVERVIEW:

imgresMountain Hardware is no cottage shop. They are a titan of the outdoor apparel industry and they make pretty much everything. I have a few things from Mountain Hardware including their Orko Gloves, synthetic Compressor Jacket, and of course their UltraLamina 0* Sleeping Bag.
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GEAR REVIEW: THERMAREST NEO AIR X-LITE SLEEPING PAD

GEAR REVIEW: THERMAREST NEO AIR X-LITE SLEEPING PAD

OVERVIEW:

I have five sleeping pads. Five. All of them still work, all of them are relatively lightweight, and all of them lay abandoned in the corner of my room, collecting dust, and enticing the cat to use as a scratching post.

I don’t like sleeping on the floor and never truly will. In fact, if I can I will bring my Warbonnet Hammock and sleep suspended between the trees with a gooey down under quilt below me. However, during my recent NOL’s Semester in Patagonia, I needed to find a good sleeping pad to sleep on for 85 continuous days. I also need a ground system for my upcoming thru hike on the PCT. Fortunately for me, I landed with the Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pad, quite possibly the best sleeping pad that money can buy.

Neo Air X-Lite Size Chart
Neo Air X-Lite Size Chart

Continue reading “GEAR REVIEW: THERMAREST NEO AIR X-LITE SLEEPING PAD”

GEAR REVIEW: OSPREY AETHER 85L BACKPACK

GEAR REVIEW: OSPREY AETHER 85L BACKPACK

OVERVIEW:

(DISCLAIMER: This was my first pack, so it holds a place in my heart!)

Osprey is a great backpack company. Its humble origins began in Colorado and since then Osprey has become one of the biggest backpack manufacturers in the country. The Aether is a robust and versatile bag that can haul heavy loads and works particularly well as a traveler’s backpack or a mountaineering pack.

PROS:

Hiking up Glacier Calluqueo, Patagonia.

1. Durable: The only thing I had to replace on this pack over the years is a hip belt buckle and it was my fault that it broke. This pack is quite rugged and can take a punch. I brought the Aether with me to Patagonia. In an unknown valley just south of Cerro San Lorenzo, I found myself bushwhacking through chest high calafate (think giant thorn bush!) while traversing a 60 degree slope. Between the large river gorge to my left and the spiky gauntlet surrounding me, the last thing I needed was a pack that couldn’t hang. The thick fabric shrugged off the inch long prickers with ease. The Aether is not invincible, however. Over the years, small holes have been torn into the mesh back pocket but they do not spread and the mesh is still functional.

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