Yes-Gear For 2014!
Back in March of 2012 I wrote an article entitled “Yes-Gear For 2012!” and it was sort of a counter to those who were trying to get people to stop buying gear and doing a “No Gear For 2012″ movement, which I just giggled at. I understood the reasoning and all behind it, and totally admire anybody who stuck to it, but it was just not going to happen for me. Even this year, 2013, a year I have bought the least amount of gear since I got into hiking, I have still bought a fair amount of gear. Not going to get into listing all of the gear that I have bought this year, but I do want to do a forward-looking “Yes Gear” for the 2014 hiking season.
Most of the gear on this list are pieces of gear I have been thinking about buying but have not for one reason or another, or is not yet on the market, or a piece of gear I have been waiting for others to use and review, or I just have not had the money to buy. By no means saying I am going to buy all, or even any, of this gear next year. Some of it is from my “maybe buy” (some of which I have bought already) and “Winter Setup“ pinterest lists, as well as bookmarks I have kept for gear.
Really Thinking About Buying:
The “YourSole Insulated Response” is something I have had my mind pondering on for awhile now. I have been a Superfeet Green user for years, but there is just something about the concept behind these YourSole that intrigues me. If not the Insulated Response, I would probably go with the “Signature EV Ultra“.
It would be really hard for me to give up my Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants (I have ~750 days of wearing the same pair) but in 2014 my hiking schedule has me in some places that I am really thinking about going with a pair of tough pants. These are the RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pants and I have almost bought them a number of times over the last couple of years. These feature the same type of ventilation that the SunPrecaution Ultra Athlete Pants that I reviewed and fell in love with for hot desert hiking.
This is a fabric called “Aluminet”, it was designed in Israel for the primary purpose of blocking as much sun as possible yet still allowing the maximum amount of possible air flow. It is not cheap nor is it all that light weight, however it could serve a very vital purpose on a hike I have planned next year through the hottest place in the USA. An image search reveals all kinds of different people using this fabric in all different kind of manners to protect themselves and their equipment from the sun. My thought here is to use it as a ‘middle of the day’ shelter when you typically stop hiking and take a siesta to let the hottest part of the day go by.
This is of course the SunTactics sCharger-5 solar charger – which has pretty much dominated the long distance hiking world the last couple of years. CDT hikers were raving about it this year, with the exception of one hiker who broke four of them LOL – though he told me he still loved it, despite the hinges breaking. When I am out on the trail for more than about 5 days pretty much all the electronics I carry with me start to have battery problems, this should solve that, along with a battery pack, which I have not decided which one to get yet.
I would LOVE to have one of these Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultra-4 tarps! It would be the core component of a hot-shelter system that I want to put together, along with the SeekOutside XL Ti stove - it would probably be the lightest possible solution to a decent hot shelter that does not tip the scale at 10+ pounds. The problem I am having though is that the GoLite Shangra-La 5 is only two inches shorter and $500 dollars cheaper! The MLD SuperMid is not a viable option because it is so dang short and I feel a hot shelter should be taller than what the SuperMid offers.
These are the KUIU Yukon Gloves and I cannot think of any finer pair of outer gloves than these.
Ok, I don’t want to buy those two guys… I want to buy what they have been working on!! They are, of course, Ron Moak (right) and Brian Frankle (left). Ron Moak is the owner of Six Moons Design and Brian Frankle is the original owner/founder of ULA backpacks. Back in January of 2013 SMD announced that Brian had joined SMD as their ‘Director of Pack Designs’ which can only mean one thing… the awesome creativity of Brian with the brilliant attention to small details, production and marketing that Ron has. In my opinion the best “mid weight” backpack on the planet right now is the ZPacks Arc Blast. If anything could possibly knock the Arc off the top pedestal it could be whatever these two guys are working on. I do not care what it is they bring to the market, I am buying one.
Kinda Thinking About Buying:
This here is the LuxuryLite StackPack, one of those most intriguing backpacks I have come across, and something I really want to try. The kicker is I am not going to drop the $440 bucks it costs just to see how much I like it. There are some aspects to this backpack that just scream “OMG, Awesome!”. The ability to shove your sleeping bag into a drybag, your food and stuff into another one, and your cloths into another one, and have it all compartimalized and crazy easy to get to, just speaks to me. The only thing that would be more awesome would be if it used a full carbon fiber frame such as the KUIU backpack instead of the round tube that it uses.
Jim from adventuresinstoves has been trying to get me to buy one of these Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stoves (KB-1109) for a long time now for use in the winter hiking season. I think if I end up buying a winter stove system to use when the Jetboil Sol does not work, this will probably be the one I pick.
The TarpTent Scarp 1 is at the very top of my list of 4 season, non-hot-tent, shelters list! I gave the Hilleberg Unna a try and it just did not speak to me all that much. I am hoping to see one of these next month and maybe get inside of it and see if it speaks to me more than the Unna did. If it does, probably will pick up one for the rare 4-season trips I go on.
Maybe, But Probably Won’t Buy:
This is the Nunatak Raku and I came soooo close to buying one last year. I really regret not buying it. Still on my list though. I think it has a very specific niche use, but in those times when it would fill that niche, it just seems like it would be so much better than the traditional options. Would probably have extra down stuffed into it and shoot for a 10(f) rating. The primary reason this is under the “probably won’t buy” is the price-tag — ouch!!
These are the JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones and they would replace my highly beloved Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 Noise Isolating Earphones which are likely the finest non-custom-molded earphones on the market. I really like the idea of having non-wired headphones while I am hiking. But, between the fact that the UE are just so dang awesome, and the price tag, and the need to keep them charged, I have them in the “probably not” category.
I want a road/trail bike BAD!! These things just open up the possibilities for a hiker in so many ways. They get you into places that you normally could not get into, at least here where I live, and are fairly decent priced. The one at the top of my list is the KTM 350 EXC-F but my step-brother who has spent most of his life racing bikes and jetskis thinks the Honda XR 650r is his dream dual sport bike, but a 650 is just too much for me. Either way, if I had the money, this would be in my “gonna buy” list and not my “probably not”.
This is the Warbonnet Ridgerunner and Spindrift. If I were to ever get back into hammocks this would be my first purchase. I use to have a bridge hammock and really enjoyed it. It would just be sooo expensive to have to go out and buy an entire hammock system (hammock,tarp, under quilt, overquilt, etceta) that it has kept me from doing so.
Anyway, I think that about does it for the main things.
What kind of gear are all of you thinking about, or planning to, buy in the 2014 hiking season??
Likewise, if you have any suggestions for truly outstanding gear, let me know!