I was fortunate enough to head up into the high country this weekend to get away from the oppressive heat of The Valley. I camped just south of the Kendrick Mountain Wilderness area and made plans to summit Kendrick Peak (post to follow!). The great part of this weekend’s trip was the opportunity to test out some new gear. I will post full reviews of some of this stuff over the next few weeks and some of it needs additional testing before I can truly review it. For now, however, I want to give a quick outline of what I got to play with and my first impressions.
I love hammocks! I’ve camped in other hammocks multiple times and there’s nothing like it. I won an ENO DoubleNest almost a year ago and I’ve only recently had the opportunity to take it camping. So far, I really like the ENO Hammock. It’s light, easy to set up with the ENO Slap Straps. It takes some time to get used to sleeping in a hammock again but it’s really the way to go. I look forward to using this one a lot and can’t wait to see how well it holds up over time.
One of the keys to comfortable hammock camping is a good insulated sleeping pad. I got the Exped a few months ago and have used it a few times now. It’s super lightweight at just over 1lb and packs down to about half the size of a Nalgene bottle. I’ve used it now on the ground, in my truck and in the hammock. It’s been pretty comfortable and I love the one-way inflation valve.
I was shopping around for a new sleeping bag a couple months ago after getting frustrated with the size and weight of my old bag. I started talking with some of you guys on Twitter about a backpacking quilt instead of a full sleeping bag. I ended up getting myself a nice full down quilt from enLIGHTened Equipment. The Revelation X is very nice! It’s warm, soft, light and comfortable. The first couple of nights I used it I was colder than I expected to be but once I got used to using the quilt it was better. This recent trip the temps got down to about 40F overnight and I was actually warm enough to have to open the quilt a little to cool off.
I just started field testing this pack a couple weeks ago. I’ve had it out a half-dozen times or so and it’s a pretty nice pack. I ran in to some minor issues with one of the pieces of webbing but the issue was immediately addressed by GeigerRig as soon as I brought it to their attention. Otherwise, the pack is very sturdy and well made. The 1600 is their largest pack and, in my opinion, too big for cycling or trail running. It is, however, the perfect size for longer day hikes and peakbagging trips. The pressurized hydration system is taking some getting used to but I have enjoyed being able to easily share my water with my dog when we hike together. An in-depth review of this pack will follow later this month.
A few days before I headed out for Kendrick Mountain a package from Grower’s Cup arrived. I don’t know who was more happy about this…me, or my buddy who found out we’d have quality coffee at camp. We brewed up some coffee Saturday morning and it was super easy and faster than brewing coffee at home! We drank it black and it was actually really good coffee. I think I want to let it brew just a little longer next time since I like my coffee strong.
I grabbed a couple of these after it seemed EVERYONE got to win one but me! I used to carry a bandana on hiking and backpacking trips for all sorts of uses. It came in handy often. I haven’t carried on in a while and I usually find some reason why I wish I’d had one. The Buff serves the same purpose except better. It’s even more versatile than the bandana I used to carry.
I just picked these up Thursday and was excited to try them out. They were amazingly comfortable in the store when I tried them on. I wore them all weekend and did a 9-mile peak hike in them. My feet were sore and tired, but the boots held up well. I look forward to putting more miles on them.
I picked up this nice little light-weight soft-shell jacket at REI a few weeks ago. It’s a nice jacket and has good stretch to it so it doesn’t confine any activities. It’s wind and water resistant and fits me nicely. I wore this jacket all day Saturday and it was light enough to be comfortable in full sun, but warm enough to keep me cozy in the shade. It worked well in the high winds on the peak and was water resistant enough to keep me from getting soaked while attempting to get used to spraying water from the GEIGERRIG.
It was a fun weekend that allowed me to spend part of my afternoon at over 10,000 ft (something I haven’t done in close to 15 years). Watch for my post about Kendrick Peak coming soon.