[Released] Gossamer Gear ‘LT5’ Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

Greetings Adventurers!

Gossamer Gear has introduced a new trekking pole, called the “LT5”, which is a three piece carbon fiber pole.

Many years ago I tried (and had no success) in making a three piece GG trekking pole (they sent me a bunch of hardware and poles and extra parts and such) and they had tried for a few years prior to that, so it is really nice to see that Gossamer Gear has worked out the manufacturing process to make a 3-piece trekking pole.

The nice thing about a three piece pole is that it can compact down to a smaller/shorter size, making it easier to air travel with, not having it stick up above your backpack, and making it useful for being a support pole on shelters that use/require a very short support pole.

Continue reading “[Released] Gossamer Gear ‘LT5’ Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles”

Gossamer Gear, ‘The One’ (2016)

Gossamer Gear, The One (2016)

Greetings Adventurers!

It is not very often that we get a new tent on the market that is worth talking about.

Rumors have been floating around for a few weeks that Gossamer Gear was bring back ‘The One”, which I think most folks that have been in the hiking world for any length of time should remember… it was one of the original ultra light solo shelters from a cottage maker that really had a major market impact – it was highly loved by many, and there are a fair number of shelters on the market right now that are based on The One design!

I had my doubts about the rumors, and I am so very glad to hear that I was wrong.

The One is back!

It is not just back, but it is back in style. In true form. And, with some serious kick to it.

Continue reading “Gossamer Gear, ‘The One’ (2016)”

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack

Greetings Hikers,

The Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 2012 edition has been on the market for a bit over a year now. I purchased one to give it a try and found I really loved a lot of the features of this backpack. Most of the below is from an article I wrote about a year ago on an old website I no longer use, and I wanted to get it moved over to HikeLighter.Com – so I have taken some of the below from my previous article and updated it with further thoughts after having used it a bit more.

The Gorilla has been a very popular backpack on long distance trails and it has a nice 3,000 cubic inches (46 liters) of total capacity with a 35 pound maximum carry capacity – pretty much perfect for a thru-hiker or weekend hiker that needs the extra volume.

The backpack averages 715 grams (25 ounces / 1.56 pounds) in weight, so as an UL/SUL long distance hiker it is something I could use, but is 10 ounces heavier than the ZPacks Arc Blast (3,200 Cubic Inches / 52 Liters – so significantly larger volume) and it is three times heavier than my primary custom made front panel loader backpack which is 2,200 cu in (36L) and 240 grams (8.47 oz). But as we all know, there are times when a heavier backpack is a very good thing. The Gorilla can take a serious load and keep you going without causing pain from having to heavy of a load in a backpack that does not have enough support. It has remained in my gear room specifically because of its ability to provide me the ability to handle a heavier load.

The backpack comes with pretty much every feature that we are use to seeing on high end full size backpacks – including a center loop which can double as an iceaxe strap, 6 exterior pockets, a crazy tough 140 denier Dyneema,  padded hipbelts, curved shoulder straps, sternum strap, so on and so forth. Everything a weekender/long distance hiker needs in a backpack of this size. Continue reading “Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack”

12 Favorite Pieces of Hiking Gear for 2012

Greetings Hikers,

As the year comes to an end I felt it was time to look back and highlight my favorite pieces of hiking gear over the 2012 hiking season. Last year I did the same thing and I really enjoyed how it made me stop and really consider the truly exceptional pieces of gear that I had used over the year – and I have done a lot of refinement to my gear lists over the last few years and for the most part have them where I want them. This year I am going to list 12 items rather then ten, because this is 20″12″, and I just have more items I want to highlight.

The below items are going to be listed in no specific order, so please do not think that I feel that the first item in the list is any more or any less a favorite piece of gear.

#1 – Six Moon Designs Skyscape X – You can read my review of this shelter or head right over to their website. As is documented within my SUL/XUL Fully Enclosed Solo Shelter Comparison, the Skyscape X is “the worlds lightest Total Shelter Weight one-piece fully enclosed shelter“. I first saw this shelter when I was on a hike with the owner of Six Moon Designs and almost instantly feel in love with it. I have bought two of them in the last year or so and would buy another one without thought or hesitation if I needed another shelter. I have never found any one piece shelter at this weight (425 grams / 15 oz) that provides as much protection from the weather.

#2 – ZPacks Waterproof Breathable Cuben Fiber Rain Jacket – You can read my review of this jacket and my follow-up article on it or head right over to their website. There are rain jackets and then there are rain jackets. Some rain jackets are truly exceptional when it comes to breathablity. Some rain jackets are truly exceptional when it comes to weight. Other rain jackets are popular because of their price. This jacket from ZPacks is by far not the most breathable rain jacket in the world. It is nowhere near as breathable as the latest gore-tex nor the latest eVENT. This jacket is also not the most durable rain jacket in the world, and it falls in the middle of the price range for top end rain jackets. What this jacket has going for it is that it is the world lightest three layer rain jacket that is presently on the market. I have used this jacket for hundreds of miles in the rain, a couple of hours in the snow, in hail for twenty or so minutes, and on a day to day basis around town for months. I have bought two of them over the last year or so and some of the changes to the most recent versions have made this my defacto wind and rain jacket.

#3 – Icebreaker Men’s Bodyfit 260 Tech Top & Icebreaker Men’s Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Shirt – My long time readers will know I just moved into the world of Icebreakers this year. I use to be a die-hard Patagonia Capilene 3 user – and was for many years. The price-point of Icebreakers kept me away from them for many years. A sale on them early in the year was good enough that I picked up both the Tech T Lite shirt and the 260 Bodyfit. Together these two pieces of clothing have resulted in the best layer one and layer two setup I have ever used. By themselves they both have their weaknesses (and more weaknesses than positives) but when put together I have absolutely fallen in love with them.

#4 – Inov-8 Trailroc 245 – These shoes, only on the market for a short part of this year, have become an absolute mainstay in my hiking life. For a number of years I have used the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 shoes. I loved their weight, I loved their traction, I loved their support. What I did not love about them was their (for me) narrow toe-box. With the introduction of the Trailroc 2012 series Inov-8 has introduced a larger (anatomical) toe box. As I have said for years, there are times  when performance and functionality matter more then weight. In this case I have added 33 grams (1.16 ounces) of additional weight to my shoes in order to have a shoe that can handle my toes swelling as I am pounding out the long mileage days. Absolutely worth the additional weight. I went with the 245’s over the 235’s because as a long distance hiker I felt the need for a rock plate was of higher importance than ten grams. I am glad that I did. The X-Talon 212’s had two shock zones and to have gone from two to none would have just not been fun.

#5 – TrailDesigns Sidewinder & Evernew Titanium Non-Stick 900ml Pot – Just going to be honest, adding twice the amount of weight to my setup in order to have a more versatile cooking setup was both a hard one, but an amazingly rewarding one. What I have discovered, as a long distance backwoods hiker, is that I have come to value food the more that I hike. I use to be somebody who could feel I was happy with eating idaho potatoes and top romin for days on end. Both of these could be made very easily with just hot water – and honestly, most of the time I did not even heat up the water. But over the last year I have come to value and appreciate getting to camp and spending a few minutes sitting down and actually ‘making’ a real meal. Having a 900 ml pot allows me to make meals I could never make with a food in bag approach. I can sit there and chop up carrots and real potatoes and all kinds of other stuff and make a real meal, thanks to the larger pot. Yes, it means having a 5 ounce cook setup rather than a 2 ounce cook setup. The long term physiological effect of cooking a real meal more then makes up for those additional two or three ounces. The TrailDesigns Sidewinder is truly a magical cooking accessory. A pot stand and wind screen built into one. It rolls up and fits inside of my pot. Super easy. A bit expensive for what it does (my old pot stand and wind screen cost 25 bucks, versus 80 bucks for the sidewinder) but in this case, it is one of those times when the extra money is totally worth the all-in-one-ease-of-use-amazing-performance factor that the Sidewinder provides. (ps: yes, sometimes I even take the pan-lid that is part of the 900ml pot… I take with me some dehydrated o’brien potatoes and some EVOO and wow does it make an easy way to have a great breakfast.)

#6 – ACR ResQLink 406 PLB – This should be an obvious one. I have never actually had to use mine, but as a hiker that spends the vast majority of my time in the deep backwoods while building a new hiking trail, 130 grams worth of weight is something I do not even think about when it comes to overall life-safety. My PLB goes with me, without thought, without hesitation, without compromise.

#7 – Suunto MC-2G Global Compass – This has been a fairly new upgrade for me. I use to use a smaller, lighter, less feature rich compass. But as time goes on I have found the addition of the features of this compass worth the extra weight. Most hikers would question having a compass with a mirror on it for most trails in America, but it has its value in some situations. Moreover the mirror can do double-duty to help me see the bottom of my feet if I have a bad blister that needs to be taken care of (very rare), and can also be used for tending to any facial cuts that I might get from trees or such. See my article When bulk matters more than weight for more on my thoughts about this.

#8 – Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System – Very little can be said herein that has not already been said about this product. The weight to performance of this filter makes it the unquestionable king of filters for hikers. Combined together with the Evernew Water Carry Bags and you have yourself the best 1.0 Absolute Micron filter on the planet with water bags that are durable enough to handle long term use when used properly.

#9 – Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4 Trekking Poles – You can read my full review of these poles or head right over to their official website. These poles continue to be an exceptional pair of hiking poles. Thousands and thousands of miles using them. I list them as my “favorite gossamer gear product” on my Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador page for a reason: because they are the finest three-season hiking poles on the market from a weight to performance factor.

#10 – Black Rock Gear Vest – I am new to the world of hiking with vests rather then full on jackets, and the Black Rock Gear Vest has proven to me that vests have a place in a backpackers setup. Sadly the demand for these and the fact that Black Rock Gear is a small cottage company and the fact that sourcing material is often times hard, the availability of these vests have been extremely limited. I was lucky to get one from their last batches – and very glad I was able to get one!

#11 – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles – You can read my short-term review of these poles or head right over to their official website. In my quest to find a four-season set of hiking poles, pretty much everybody I respect that I asked said these where the best ones out there. I gave them a go and have to agree. While significantly too heavy for summer time hiking (unless you are not a sul/xul hiker) these are freaking amazing bomb-proof trekking poles.

#12 – ZPacks Arc Blast Backpack – I have to be honest here and say that I have very few miles on this backpack. However once you have hiked a lot of miles you are able to very quickly know if a backpack is going to work for you or not. This year I have purchased 11 backpacks from three different cottage companies, most of them I used for less then 20 miles and just knew they were not going to work out. The Arc Blast reminds me a lot of the days when I had a ULA Circuit. It has the support and tough feeling factors that my normal non-frame cuben fiber backpacks lack. This should make it very nice for winter hiking and for those times when I am on the trail for 8 or 10 days between trail towns (note: I have not used this backpack in such a situation yet, as I only got it about a month ago, but one just knows these things.) Loaded up with all of my winter gear, this backpack feels like my load is around 4 pounds lighter then what I know it actually is – and that is sweet. I really look forward to using this backpack in 2013 in the deep backwoods of the Redwood forest. I was amazing hesitant to buy this (and did not buy it for over six months since it was released) because I had previously used hybrid cuben fiber backpacks from HMG and found the material to be way overkill for me. In the end my decision for buying it was other hikers reporting the ability to load it up with a fair amount of weight and have it carry the load very well. So far with the limited use I have used it for, I too have been amazingly impressed. I do not understand the how or the why, and my previous ZPacks Blast with external supports did not carry the load good at all, but this backpack is a whole other story. I have had a few buddies try it with a full load and it has made them go “wow”, just like I did the first time I put it on. A ULA Circuit is still going to be more comfortable overall, but if you are willing to give up 26 ounces for just a little bit of comfort, which I am, this could be the go-to backpack for me for the foreseeable future while I am long distance hiking. Only time spent on the trail will truly show if all of this is true or not.



Have you posted a “favorite gear of 2012 article”?? If so post a comment with a link to it so I and others can check out your favorite gear!!



In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that I am a “Trail Ambassador” of Gossamer Gear. The Gossamer Gear products mentioned within the content of this review were purchased by myself and were not supplied to me free of charge, or in exchange for services, by Gossamer Gear, unless otherwise mentioned. I hereby declare that I am a “Sponsor” of Black Rock Gear. The Black Rock Gear products mentioned within the content of this review were purchased by myself and were not supplied to me free of charge, or in exchange for services, by Black Rock Gear, unless otherwise mentioned. Any other product(s) mentioned within the content of this review is free of endorsement(s) between myself and the manufacturer(s) and meets all FTC 16 CFR.255 compliance requirements. (i envy those of you who live in countries where these stupid disclaimers are not required by law to include in articles)

Short Term Review of the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Greetings Hikers,

This past weekend myself and a few close friends went on some short hikes. This was my third time out on the trail using the Black Diamond “Alpine Carbon Cork” trekking poles. I have been on the quest for some more durable four season hiking poles, so earlier this year I sent an email out to a few long distance hikers I know, most of them triple crowners, asking what they thought the best four season hiking poles presently on the market are. Much to my surprise all of them that responded said the same thing, these Black Diamond “Alpine Carbon Cork” trekking poles. After doing some further online research about these poles I decided to order myself a pair and see how they would work.

I think it is important, from the very start, for me to say that it is just not fair to compare these hiking poles to the likes of the Gossamer Gear LT4 hiking poles or the Ruta Locura Carbon Fiber Yana Poles  as neither of these poles are considered four season hiking poles. Yes they can, and have been used, within four seasons conditions but they are just not designed as four season hiking poles. In all ways the LT4’s and the Yana’s are night and day different in regards to weight and features. Where those two poles, and others in their weight categories, are all about getting hiking poles to be as light as possible, a pair of four season hiking poles are all about providing high shaft durability, easy to use while wearing gloves, and locking mechanisms that are at the very top end of locking systems. So by no means should this review be compared to my reviews of those other two sets of hiking poles. Continue reading “Short Term Review of the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles”

Evernew “Water Carry” Bags

Greetings Hikers,

How to carry water while hiking… this is one of those issues that very much falls into the HYOH factor, and I have never been a huge advocate for one specific method over another.

When I first started hiking I used the Everyday CamelBak bottles. Those got replaced with the CamelBak 70oz Antidote Reservoir which got replaced with the Platypus Big Zip 3 liter, which got replaced with a Hydrapak 70-Ounce Reservoir and so on and so forth. I even bought myself a Camelbak HydroBak 50 oz Hydration Pack somewhere along the way. One of the few bags I never did buy was the MSR Dromedary Bag.

When I got close to reaching the SUL weight I knew that none of those were going to be able to keep being used so I made the switch over to using water bottles such as Gatorade, than to the Smart Water bottles which were a bit lighter and proved to be durable enough. This meant that not only did I get to reduce the weight of using a reservoir but I also no longer needed to weight of the reservoir sleeves within backpacks. (extra perk: no longer needing a backpack with a hole in it to push your tube through, thereby making it just a weebit more water resistant)

Through a set of events I never saw coming and I did not realize until after it had all happened, I am now back to using bags to carry my water in… Continue reading “Evernew “Water Carry” Bags”

LT4 Trekking Poles Poles by Gossamer Gear

Greetings Hikers,

Back when I got back into hiking a number of years ago the third thing I bought was a pair of Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles and I still have them to this day. They are the only piece of gear I still have from my first three seasons of hiking put together. I have a few thousand miles of use on them.

There is not a lot to say about the LT4 poles that have not already been said by other hikers for years. They stand as a pedestal in the long distance and ultra light hiking world, much like the ULA Backpacks do on the PCT, where well over 50% of the hikers are using a ULA pack of some sort. The amount of hikers you see these days with the GG LT4s is just amazing. It is a testament to their strength and weight.

They are the second lightest hiking poles I am aware of, second only to the carbon fiber Yana poles sold by Ruta Locura – you can read my review of them.

As a Trail Ambassador of Gossamer Gear I was asked what my favorite piece of gear that Gossamer Gear makes and without any doubt or hesitation at all, the LT4 Trekking Poles are my favorite! I bought the pair of mine years ago, back before I was a long distance hiker, back before I was posting videos on youtube, and back before I was writing articles about hiking gear.

Primer Thoughts:

If you are a hiker who follows my articles you know I am not a fan of putting competing products up against each other, but it would be very difficult to talk about either the LT4s or the Yana Poles without comparing them to each other – they are the defacto lightest hiking poles we can buy. Without a doubt I prefer the Gossamer Gear LT4 poles over the Yana Poles, but it sort of goes without saying that somewhere along the way they need to be compared to each other, so I will do so a few times within this article.

I do want to start off by saying that I have never snapped a single Gossamer Gear LT4 hiking pole. I do not use wrist straps and have taught myself to instantly and automatically let go of my hiking poles if I sense they have gotten stuck in rocks, roots, logs, or whatever. I am pretty sure that this training on my part has saved me from shattering a few of them over the years.

I will also say that I am very much attracted to the “Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles” the more that I hike. They are significantly heavier (492 grams for a pair – verses 238 grams for the LT4’s – that is 254 grams / 8.95 ounces heavier!) but there are some aspects about them that really appeal to me. That includes: the locking mechanism, the three piece design, and the locking mechanism. yes, i said that twice. Continue reading “LT4 Trekking Poles Poles by Gossamer Gear”

June 2012 Hike. 5 Days, 115 Miles

Hello Hikers,

Well I just got back from a 5 day (115 mile) hike and figured I would share a few thoughts and photos and a rather short and low quality video, as so many of you who follow me keep ragging on me for not taking pictures and videos of my hikes in the beautiful Redwood forest. So, this time I carried the additional 137 grams (4.8 oz) and carried along my iPhone. Sadly for reasons I do not yet understand no videos from day 4 or 5 got saved to the device, even though I know the record button was pressed. Sigh/Oh’well.

Gear Thoughts:

You can view my gear list for this hike if you are interested in such things.

My base pack weight was 3.22 pounds, which included the weight of the iPhone which I begrungingly took, otherwise I would have been at 2.91 pounds.

My consumables were 3866 grams (136.3 ounces / 8.52 pounds) of which 7.6 pounds where food, following my standard 1.5 pounds per day rule.

Food for this trip was primarily OvaEasy Powdered Whole Egg and Nido mixed together for breakfast, along with one packet of Nestle Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials. Lunch and dinner was Santa Fe Bean Co, Instant Southwestern Style Refried Beans (cold lunch, hot for dinner) mixed with Roadkill Summer Sausage and dried cheese. Snacks was fresh fruit (first 2 days) and a combination of more summer sausage and a mixture of Macadamia and Cashew nuts.

Daily mileage was 27, 22, 25, 16, 24, for a total of 114 miles, plus probably another mile for side trips. Total elevation change was around 4200 feet, with one day a bit over 3,000 in elevation change. Decent mileage days consider it is the first 5 day hike for me for the 2012 season. I have done a few two and three day trips so far, but to go out and do a 5 day trip with a three pound setup is always a trial and a fun time to push yourself. With the exception of not having a wind jacket I think that the gear that I took with me was perfect for the trip. Average day time temps were 56-58 (f) and night time temps were 45-48(f) so I was able to get away with not taking a lot of heavy cold weather gear. Continue reading “June 2012 Hike. 5 Days, 115 Miles”

Gossamer Gear Murmur Hyperlight Backpack (2012), First Hike Review

Greetings Hikers,

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to acquire the new 2012 Gossamer Gear Murmur backpack, which is the first non cuben fiber backpack I have bought in many years, because by the numbers the Murmur is one amazingly impressive backpack! The numbers were so impressive that it pretty much forced me into buying it (giggle) just to see it and put it on and take it for a hike.

As most of my blog and video followers are aware I have been using a multitude of cuben fiber backpacks for the last few years, with the ZPacks Blast 26 (now called the Blast 30) and the ZPacks Zero (X-Small) as my primary two backpacks, the latter of which is all I used in the 2011 hiking season, for a bit over 750 combined miles. Somewhere along the way I had a HMG WindRider as well but in the end it proved to be overbuilt and too heavy for my requirements (25 ounces is more than 1/3rd of my Base Pack Weight at this point.) Before I made to move to cuben fiber backpacks I was a big time ULA owner, having owned all of them from the catalyst down to the smallest ohm – but I moved away from ULA when I got into the mid-level UL range and have never looked back due to their larger capacity.

The Gossamer Gear Murmur is my first backpack from Gossamer Gear. Going away from cuben fiber was something I thought I would never do. None the less a backpack that is sub-10 ounces (283 grams) deserves the attention of anybody – especially when it is a fully featured backpack!

In traditional style (with the exception of my one article about the zpacks waterproof breathable cuben fiber rain jacket unboxing) I have tried very hard to never write a review, or do a video, about a piece of gear that was totally untested. It just seems wrong to write an article or do a video on something I have never even used. So, even though I did not have a trip planned for this weekend, when the backpack showed up and I took a seriously hard look at it to see if it would be worth spending a few days on the trail with it, it did not take me long to stop looking and just go dump the gear out of my other backpack and throw it into the Murmur and jump in my truck – and that is exactly what I did.

Being a SUL/XUL hiker, in true tradition, I went without a camera and video recorder, so for those of you interested in what this backpack looks like check out the official Gossamer Gear Murmur website and the following other reviewers (which all helped me make the decision to buy one) Brian GreenPhilip Werner, JERMM, and Jhaura Wachsman.

My Weekend Trip Stats:

Over the last three days I did a total of 57 miles (91.7 kilometers) – which granted is not very far for an initial review on a backpack, but it was all I could pull together for such a short planned three-day trip. The backpack felt very nice and performed beyond what I was expecting it too, reminding me of the days of having a ULA backpack on my back (I have always considered the ULA Backpacks to be the most comfortable backpacks out there – but that comes at the price of being way to heavy for my style of hiking these days).

When I started the hike I had a Total Pack Weight (total pack weight = all gear + all food + all liquids) of 4176 grams (147 ounces / 9.20 pounds).

Continue reading “Gossamer Gear Murmur Hyperlight Backpack (2012), First Hike Review”