Gear: Zpacks order

Yesterday I got a package from Zpacks. Here is what was included.

Zpacks Order

The 2 most important items are the Jacket and the Rain Kilt. These 2 items are the entirety of my rain protection and combined they weigh 7.2 ounces or .45 pounds. I will not be carrying rain pants.

Here is the jacket, it weighs 5.3 ounces:

Zpacks WPB jacket

I will explain the other items in an upcoming post. Now, if it will just rain in Portland I could test out my new gear.


Gear: Down Socks and Pillow

I just got a shipment from Goose Feet Gear in the mail.

Goose Feet Gear


Those red things in the photo are the down socks. They weigh 2.7 ounces.

The black things are waterproof over-booties. They are a shell for the down socks so I can wear the socks around camp. They weigh 2 ounces.

The pillow is very small and would not be very useful if I was sleeping on the ground but in a hammock I think it will be great. It only weights 1.25 ounces.

I will be camping on Mt. Hood this weekend so I should have some comments on how these items performed next week. The socks and over-booties are a luxury item for sure but my feet will be very wet and cold while hiking during the day so it will be nice to have these to look forward to.

Gear: New Underquilt

Testing the new Underquilt

Testing the new Underquilt

I am sick right now so my backpacking trip is delayed but I went over to my local park to test out my new Underquilt. It is exactly what I wanted, my only concern is how bulky it is in my pack. It takes up about a third of the pack volume. My top quilt is only rated at 30 degrees so I am hoping this Underquilt will make up the difference.

If I feel better tomorrow morning I will head out for an overnight or two.

Still on track

I haven’t made a blog post in over a month so I just wanted to give a quick update. I have been hiking a lot but not backpacking. I have 8 days off at the end of the year (including Christmas and New Years) so I plan to get out for at least 2 nights in a row.

I bought a new underquilt during a black Friday sale that I will review soon. It is a 0 degree Hammock Gear Incubator with 1 oz. of overstuff. I think it might have been a little overkill but I wanted some separation between this and my Yeti 3 season underquilt. With this piece of equipment I am not as anymore about hitting early winter conditions on the trail.

I have not purchased my plane ticket yet but I think I am getting closer to settling on a late February start date. One problem I am anticipating is my arrival time. It looks like I have no choice but to get there late afternoon. The shuttle service I would like to use asks that your plane lands around early afternoon so you can be at a certain subway stop by late afternoon. I really don’t want to pay $70 for one night in a hotel. I will be asking around for some pre trail magic and hopefully stay at someone’s house in Atlanta for one night, then take a shuttle to the hostel.

I have a lot of posts about gear coming up in the next couple of weeks so be warned.

I got my tarp back

I got my tarp back from Hammock Gear a couple of weeks ago. Here is what it looks like set up.


Here is what it looks like from inside.



I forgot tot take a picture of my tarp all wrapped up in my new Cuben Fiber sleeves but I will do that soon.

Gear: Tarp update and new stove

As a follow up to my last post, I contacted the manufacturer of my tarp and they are paying shipping and fixing it at no cost to me. I should get it back next week. I also purchased Cuben Fiber Sleeves that they will send back in the package. The sleeves will make it easier to set up and tear down the tarp. Thanks

For the last two weeks I have been doing a lot of research on stoves. My current cook setup is a MSR Pocket Rocket canister stove and a Snow Peak 700 pot. I have no problems with this system but I think I should use alcohol instead of canisters.

I could have just made my own Super Cat stove for a couple of bucks but I am a sucker for innovative gear. I settled on a Caldera Cone stove system. By the time I had a full cart my total was over $200 – I was ashamed when I clicked the submit button.

I purchased the ‘Ti-Tri Sidewinder Bundle’ from Trail Designs. I had to buy a new pot because the Caldera Cone system is customized by pot, and they didn’t have this specific model for my Snow Peak 700. The Ti in the name is for Titanium and the Tri is for the 3 types of fuel that you can use; Wood, Alcohol, or solid fuel. I also purchased what they call the Inferno – it’s an insert that raises the wood fire off the ground to provide venting which results in a gasification effect. I have no idea what a gasification effect is but this stove does it.

Here is what it looks like when everything is in my pot. Note:  I will not be able to fit my fuel or the 2 titanium stakes inside.


Here is what it looks like with the lid off.


Everything that was in is now out.


What cooking will look like in solid fuel mode.


What cooking will look like in wood burning mode.


Total weight with everything but fuel and stakes is 7.7 ounces.

There are two things that will make me very happy that I went with this over a Super Cat. If I am able to bake with it (think “just add water” muffin mix) and if I am able to easily use it as a campfire to warm up. I am eager to test this stove out and when I do I will post some photos.

Shelter Fail

I went over to my local park to test my new tarp. It is my most expensive piece of gear that I have purchased for my thru-hike. All week it was a battle between my laziness and eagerness to try out my tarp. I planned on getting home early from work and hanging it up but laziness got the better of me. Saturday will work just fine.


I hung up my hammock and tested my new structural ridegeline and things were going good. I moved onto my tarp and I carefully unpacked her and began setting up. After I tightened my 3rd stake SNAP! – one side collapsed.


Normally, this would not cause me to freak out but this is a $300 tarp and I have been very careful with it. One of the plastic tie-outs has broken – at least it wasn’t the material.


I am a little frustrated but I will contact Hammock Gear to see what can be done. I am not so much worried about not being able to test it right now as much as I am concerned about the durability of this tarp for the Appalachian Trail.

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