Yes-Gear For 2012!

I have to be honest to my readers… this whole “No Gear For 2012” is just soooo not going to happen for me! I do not want to get into whether it is a good thing or a bad thing – that is something only each of us as hikers can answer. I sort of think it is great that hikers are out there trying to commit themselves to it, but for me, it is just never going to happen.

With the exception of a few pieces of cold weather gear I could take my existing hiking gear setups and do almost any hike anywhere in the world. But the thing is, I just love checking out new gear and I so love supporting the outdoor cottage gear companies it would be hard for me. Even though I already have all the gear I could possible need, there are a few items out there that I still really want to buy. Some of them to make my hiking life better, some of them to simply try them and see if I like them enough to use, some of them to see how they perform against existing gear that I already have, and some of them because they are just down-right awesome looking.

Already Purchased Items:

I have already bought a few items this year, including:

Six Moon Designs Skyscape X (review is around 80% finished, just wanting to get some more time using it)
Goosefeet Down Pants, Cuben Fiber (might write up a review on this post winter)
Gossamer Gear Bug Canopy (for pushing my XUL setup a bit further into the bug season)
Thermarest Z Lite SOL (setting a new standard for a thru-hiker pad!)
Thermarest NeoAir X-lite (oh yeah, they nailed this one!!)
Ruta Locura Carbon Fiber Tent Stakes (mostly to see if I like them are not, not sure yet)
ZPacks Carbon Fiber Tent Poles (because I am trying to go without hiking poles in 2012)
Hydropel (not sure why I did not buy this stuff last year – probably because of the price of it per ounce)
Stove pots from Zelph (because we can always use another stove pot sitting around, eh!)
Stove stand from QiWiz (awesome little Ti stove pot stand for my 1cup pot)
Sawyer PointOne Water Filter System (read my review on it here)
Platy 2-liter bag (replacement)
Inov-8 X-Talon 212 (replacements)


Gear I Plan To Buy:

Here is the gear I plan to buy at some point this year:

Black Rock Gear Vest (the lightest down filled vest on the market with at least 2 ounces of down fill)
Montbell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger #1 (less than 5 ounces heavier than a WM but way more comfortable!)
Icebreaker Layer 1 and Layer 2 Clothing
(oh so expensive – I wish Icebreaker would sponsor me!!)
LifeProof iPhone Case
(the best iphone cover for hikers??)
Suunto MC-2 Global (possibly the finest compass for hikers)
GoLite Race Visor (it is lighter than my existing sun hat)
Rite in the Rain DuraCopy paper (for the ultimate in maps)
Sealskinz Waterproof Thin Socklet (to replace my heavier mid-calf sized ones)
ZPacks Heximid Solo w/o Beak w/Netting (because who would not want the lightest weight fully enclosed shelter in the world!)
ZPacks Zero, Size Small (I already have a zero size x-small and a blast 26, but I need something in the middle without all the extras, this is the one)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Cuben Stuff Sack Pillow (mostly because I want to see how it compares to my existing pillow, plus it could do double-duty keeping my puffy jacket dry)


Gear I Am Considering, But Not Sure On Yet:

This is a list of products that are tempting for me to purchase, but not making my ‘for sure buying’ list:

Numa Optics Prescription Glasses (very very awesome!)
Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone (without a doubt the finest sat-phone ever made for hikers!)
Mountain Laurel Designs, Patrol Shelter (this is one of the few tarps that I have almost bought a few times – I love its design!)
Kestrel 4500NV Pocket Weather Tracker (This would just be awesome to have to be able to track high/low temps each day)
BushBuddy Ultra (in a quest to do away with carrying esbit and heet)
Evernew 900ml Ti Pot (for use with the BushBuddy)
TiGoat The Bug Bivy (this really really appeals to me, even though I swore off bivys last year)
KUIU Skeleton Caper Knife (I rarely use a knife on the trail, but this full handle one would be awesome to have)


What About You?

So if you are playing to buy some more gear this year, what is at the top of your want-list??

12 thoughts on “Yes-Gear For 2012!

  1. If you add all the stuff I got for Christmas into this year (which I kinda do) my gear buying list is getting to be fairly long too. Everything I’ve gotten is either reviewed or coming soon on my blog but tied for top on my list of want-to-buys are 1.Zpacks Tarp 2. New top quilt 3. 4 yards of WPB Cuben for a MYOG rain/wind suit.

  2. I’m on a quest to lighten my pack this year. I want to try to get it to 15lbs or less (last year it was 35lbs plus). I have the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-lite (Women’s) on the top of my list along with a Alpine Down Blanket. My camp kitchen is another area where I have a lot of pounds to shave off but I’m not sure yet what I want to get. There are so many options… Once I can get all the weight down, the last piece on my wish list is a Gossamer Gear G4 Ultralight Backpack.

    Thanks for this list! I will be looking into these products to see if they suit my needs.

  3. A new Mohawk kevlar canoe
    Canoe portage pads
    SnowPeak Ti cookware
    Assorted stuff sacks
    TarpTent RainShadow II

    As an added comment I really like your blog and as a result of reading it bought a Zgrill

  4. Great list, John. I agree that 2012 isn’t going to be a “no new gear” year for me either, although I applaud others’ restraint. Hopefully there are enough of us around this year to keep the industry afloat!

    For those who don’t find closed-cell sleeping pads as comfortable, the new Thermarest Prolite Small is only 11 oz, one ounce heavier than the small Z lite Sol. I’ve been using one since January (with a chess board drawn on it) and love it.

    This winter I’ve been carrying as little clothing as possible, which means that on cold mornings I usually start hiking right after I wake up. Lately this has been an hour or two before dawn, and I’ve been relying on my flashlight a lot. I’ve found that the Pak-Lite lasts a looong time with a very bright light. Used with a lithium battery and a Pak-Lite headband the weight comes out around 2 oz, but it’s worth the ease of use and long battery life. Plus, it’s luminous so easy to find in the dark.

    Speaking of luminous, I also found this glow-in-the-dark Swiss Army Knife which works wonderfully when cooking in the dark. No more fishing around in the leaves.

  5. I already picked up a new NeoAir Xlite. Also on my list is a ULA Ohm – I need a pack that will comfortably handle over 20 lbs for longer hikes that my GoLite Peak can’t support. I’ve been seriously considering Katabatic Gear’s Alsek bag and Bristlecone bivy combo. Together with the Xlite and the ZPacks Hexamid, my sleep system might totally replace what I have now (Montbell UL Down Hugger #3, original NeoAir, and GoLite ShangriLa 1). I’m a cold sleeper, and this would keep me warmer, plus save over a pound, FTW!

  6. Greetings John,

    Have you noticed that the Womens version of the Neo XLite has a 3.9 R factor vs the 3.2 on the Men’s version?!! I have researched this the last hour and there seems to be some merit to this as there very few left to purchase! Also curious about your opinion to ZPacks 20* sleeping bag with 2-3 oz of extra down as opposed to the Montbell #1 you have on your list to buy. I too have the Montbell #3 and love it but wish to push the temps down a lil more comfortably with a winter bag purchase. I sleep in down jacket,pants, & booties to get to 20* but with my Hexamid Twin open to the wind, it gets a lil cold. Your comments plz….
    Thanks for your tips and commentary, very informative.

    1. Hey Scott,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes I think that the women’s version of the XLite is freaking awesome!! I have said for awhile now that the NeoAir All-Season is the best bang-for-the-buck when it comes to weight for R-value. However when I saw that ladies version of the XLite I very quickly changed my mind and I am not sure there is anything out there that can beat it. Yeah, it is proving to be selling out really quickly, others have obviously discovered the same thing. The reason I did not buy one is because I went with the freaking huge “large” size, because I figured in those rare times when I did want to carry an inflatable pad, I might as well make it ubber comfy. But if I were to buy a regular size one, it would be that women’s version, without hesitation!

      I am not really sure I can say anything about the ZPacks hoodless sleeping bags. I have never in my life owned a hoodless sleeping bag. I have owned quilts and sold them all. Based on “loft” the ZPacks make sense, but based on the amount of down inside of them, they do not make any sense at all to me. Even if you factor in 3 or 4 ounces of what would normally be apart of a hood, the numbers still do not make any sense. I put together a spreadsheet earlier this year to document what it is I am talking about:

      I have used the MBULSS#3 for a bit over 300 nights and the more it gets used the colder it gets. Regardless of washing it, treating it, and all the usual methods to bring a bag back to life. Anything under around 46 and I start getting cold.

      So yeah it is time for me to buy a new sleeping bag. I think the Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is one awesome “big boy” sleeping bag, but in the end the pure luxury of the MBULSS makes me willing to carry the additional 4.93 ounces. I have spent thousands trying to reduce my BPW by an ounce, but when it comes to my sleeping bag, I simply refuse to compromise.

      This winter I have been testing sleeping without a sleeping bag. I had some guys make me some custom goose down garments and have been using them. It has proven to be amazing, but I have had a few times when having something over the top of me would have been nice.

      As for my comments on what setup to go inside of a ZPacks Hexamid…

      Well Scott it really all comes down to the “number game”. If you are willing to potentially suffer a bit of cold for the sake of ounces, go that route. If you want the most luxurious sleeping bag that exists and want to stay warm, go with the MBULSS#1. At 2.2 pounds it might be one of the more heavy sleeping bags on the trail, but sometimes, for some people, sleeping gear is worth its weight.

  7. Also, have not personally seen any of these pads up close but just viewing them on-line, the women’s version appears to have a different outer shell. The men’s version seems to be getting some mixed reviews for it’s outer shell quality(not durable) also too thin.

  8. Already purchased:

    HMG cuben fiber stuff sack pillow
    Zpacks 11*6 tarp
    Montbell Tachyon wind jacket
    Sawyer Point One
    ULA rail kilt
    MLD Superlight Bivy (full window)
    MLD rain mitts

    Will be getting:

    Cross Trainers
    WM Flash down vest

    Zpacks or Nunatak 30 degree quilt
    Modified Zpacks Zero

  9. Hey John!

    Thanks for doing SO MUCH resrarch for us regular ultralighters! I admire your passion and dedication on helping us with all this gear.

    Well here’s what I’ve purchased this year and I’m done for sure! No more!!! This is addicting and it takes away from family time!!! I have twin girls that are 3 and it’s not fair! ;) Well I can’t hike for very long times and usually hike 2-3 days at the most once a month because of my girls. So what I do is hike as far as I can and I’m able to accomplish longer trips by lightening up my load.

    Here’s what I have purchased this year:

    Zpacks Exo (great backpack but a little large for me. But it’s ok because I can carry gear for friends and family. I honestly believe this is the best backpack on the market and most comfortable.)

    Zpacks 30 Degree Sleeping Bag (great and super light)

    Fly Creek UL 2 Platinum (I have the regular Fly Creek and I loved it and I love this one even more because it’s lighter! I refuse to go with anything lighter because it usually involves some sacrifice to the elements)

    Ruta Locura Special Carbon Fiber Tent Poles (I sent the aluminum poles to Josh and he made me some poles that are 5 oz lighter than the the one’s that come with the tent!)

    Ruta Locura Yana Poles (so far so good! Super light at 3.5 oz each!)

    Black Rock Gear Vest (I will get this vest in 2 days! Found it on your website, thanks!!! It will replace my North Face Diez down jacket and save me 8 oz! I’m 6’2 and 240 lbs, I hope the XL fits me or else I will for sure lose some weight!)

    Rain Shield O2 Jacket/Pants (my UL rain gear)

    Snow Peak TI 650 pot and TI Stove (perfect for me)

    Neo Air Large (the old one but it’s more comfortable than the X Lite. I will NOT sacrifice my tent or sleeping pad EVER!!! I’m at 7.8 Lbs base weight and can get down to under 5 lbs but my tent and sleeping system is awesome for me!!!)

    All together this has cost me over $1800!!! F*CK!!! It’s ok, because the lighter I carry the better for my joints right???!!!! ;)

    Alright John, ONCE AGAIN, thank you for this website!!!!!

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