Packing & Camping

1. Backpack: Osprey: Exos 58 

Size: Large.  Weight: 44.6 oz.

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Available on Amazon.com

My wife has this pack, I have its predecessor.  One thing I like more about my older Exos 58 is the two outside zipper compartments.  I store my tent poles & stakes in one side, & my rain jacket and pack rain cover in the other side. The new one doesn’t have this feature…Oh!? unlike some Osprey packs, this one doesn’t include a rain cover.  One thing I like more about my wife’s newer model is the removable lid/fanny pack.  Useful for peak bagging from base camp.  That said, I give it a solid ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ/5!  Truly the best pack I’ve ever owned.

Note: If you are just starting out, new to backpacking & have a limited budget, you may want to consider putting a backpack at the bottom of your list.  First, buy the best gear you can afford. Then, find a reputable retailer who will let you bring your gear in & size a pack to your needs.  Don’t forget to consider food & water.  Otherwise, you may buy a pack that’s to big…& try to fill it with stuff you don’t need.  My pack in the early 90’s probably weighed 70+lbs.  Now, 18-22lbs (w/o food & water) depending on the season & length of the trip.

Manufactur description:

Weighing in at a mere 2.05 pounds when stripped down to the bare bones, the Osprey Exos 58 is made for minimalists. Everything about this pack is light and fast starting with the mesh Airspeedโ„ข Suspension that stabilizes the load and simultaneously provides maximum airflow for high-output ventilation. An ExoFormโ„ข hipbelt and shoulder harness combine for all-day carrying comfort.

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2. Pack Rain CoverOsprey: UltraLight Rain Cover (optional)

Weight:

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Available on Amazon.com

I don’t take this on every adventure and wonder, why don’t they just make waterproof backpacks?  My 8 pound CampTrails Omega Outfitter pack twenty years ago was waterproof.  Regardless, I give it ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ/5.

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3. Tent: Big Agnes: Copper Spur: UL2

Size: UL2 Weight: 60 oz.

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Available on Amazon.com

This tent leaves nothing to be desired, almost.  The only thing I dislike is the door lays on the ground when open.  Big Agnes listened!  There are newer versions called the Copper Spur HV UL2 and the Copper Spur UL2 Platinum The doors roll up to the side.  The reason I use a two person tent is, I like my gear inside, with me.  A greedy deer mouse ruining a $200 piece of equipment…  I give it ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ/5

I would have chosen the Fly Creek UL2 but at 6′ 4″, my head and feet rubbed on the tent.  If you’re looking to go ultralight, are tall and don’t mind rodents chewing on your gear I’d recommend the Copper Spur UL1 Platinum.  If you’re average height, the Fly Creek HV UL2 or Fly Creek UL1 Platinum would be perfect!

Manufactur description:

These full-featured, ultralight backpacking shelters are truly easy to pack, setup, and inhabit. Dual doors and steep, vertical walls make long trips with a smelly partner – or three – bearable, and thereโ€™s enough internal space to ensure that windy, rainy afternoons spent playing dominoes will be comfortable. Media pockets located above the sleeping area enable clean earbud cord routing from phones or other devices.

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4. Tent Footprint: Big Agnus (optional)  

Size: UL2 Weight: 5.6 oz.

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Available on Amazon.com

The footprint typically has one job: protect the tent floor, and it does its job well.  Big Agnes (and other) footprints are awesome because they do two jobs.  You can leave the tent body at home to save weight & use the rain fly, footprint, poles & tent stakes as a shelter.  The footprint I purchased for my Copper Spur UL2 doesn’t quite fit the bottom of the tent and they are expensive.  Other than that, one thing I would change on the footprint is the shape.  I wish it followed the outline of the rain fly (-1″), rather than the tent floor, which it doesn’t.  I give it ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ /5

Manufacturers Description:

To extend the life of your tent floor, we recommend using a Big Agnes footprint or ground cloth. The Big Agnes footprint also enables you to pitch a lightweight, Fast Fly shelter while leaving the tent body behind. The Fast Fly configuration requires the footprint, tent fly, poles, and stakes.

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5. Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering: Alpinlite

Size: 6’6″ Weight: 42.3 oz.

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Men’s on Amazon.com

Women’s on Amazon.com

Manufacturers Description:

This bag is wide, warm, and packed with features. With a 3-dimensional full down collar, a full-length YKK zipper, and 5โ€ณ of loft, the Alpinlite has quickly become one of our most popular models. Our award winning Ultralite has been a favorite among lightweight backpackers for more than a decade. The Alpinlite is just a wide version of that great bag. There are many 20ยฐ down mummy bags on the market, but none have the width, warmth, or loft of this bag.

I love this bag.  It’s light, warm, long…the description says wide…I found it nearly impossible to put my socks on while in this bag on cold mornings.  I also sometimes sleep with one leg straight & one bent at 90ยฐ, not in this bag๐Ÿ˜•.  Fortunately, the folks at RMO had a solution.  Western Mountaineering has a zip-in bag expansion.  That worked.  The really cool thing about these bags is, if you buy with “left” & “right” hand zippers you & your partner can zip them together!  Even though, in my opinion, the bag is NOT WIDE like advertised, I’ll still give it a ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ/5.

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6. Sleeping Bag Expansion: Western Mountaineering (optional)

Size: 6’6″ Weight:

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Available at RMO.com

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7. Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack: Sea To Summit

Size: 13L Weight: 1.4 oz.

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Available on Amazon.com

Manufacturers Description:

In the age of ultra-lightweight everything we have developed a range of ultra-lightweight dry sacks to save those crucial few grams. Using a 15 denier Sil/PU nylon fabric we call Ultra-Silยฎ Nano, a lightweight side release buckle and a thinner roll top closure we have created a dry sack that is 30% lighter than our standard 30 D Ultra-Silยฎ Dry Sacks!

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8. Sleeping Pad: Therm-A-Rest: NeoAir XLite

Size: Large Weight: 16.8 oz.

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Men’s on Amazon.com

Women’s on Amazon.com

Manufacturers Description:

The NeoAir XLite mattress delivers more warmth and comfort per ounce than any other three-season air mattress available.  Our patent-pending technologies deliver that performance with minimal weight and less bulk than a one-liter water bottle.  Softer fabrics bring next-to-skin comfort and a boost in durability, all with no added weight.  For the discerning alpinist, thru-hiker or backcountry minimalist who’s counting every ounce, there is simply no better choice to assure the kind of rest you need to enjoy tomorrow.  Stuff Sack and repair kit included.

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