Favorite Hiking Gear for 2012

It is Christmas evening. Presents have been open and the turkey devoured. Family is sitting around chit-chatting. I am thinking about and preparing for my next hike.

John Abela over at HikeLighter.com just posted his 12 Favorite Pieces of Hiking Gear for 2012, and invited others to do so too. What the heck, might as well put something together.

Creating a favorite list of gear for 2012 infers that the gear was purchased this year. Not the case for me. I bought very little gear this year, as my kit is pretty well set. Several pieces I have used for years or even decades. My kit has gotten to the point where I bring very few items.

I have used a numbering scheme like John did just to keep things similar. And like John, the numbers are not listed in any particular order. Favorite gear means this is what I normally grab for the trip at hand.

#1 Sans Trekking Poles – actually this is non-gear. I quit using trekking poles this year… as a matter of fact I quit last year. Just found them to be more of an inconvenience that a benefit. I wrote about this earlier in the post titled, Trekking Poles? However I may start bringing my old faithful Tracks brand hiking staff on trips again. This was my hiking companion for over 20 years. Can’t say it offers any significant advantages, but it is like an old friend; one you just cannot abandon. It can be used as shelter pole, a mono-pod, hiking aid, remove-rattlesnakes-from-the-trail implement among other things.

# 2 McHale LBP 36 backpack – This is my absolute favorite piece of gear. When I need a smaller pack, then it is my McHale Bump, which is my 2nd favorite piece of gear. For more detailed information read the following posts McHale LBP 36 and McHale Bump.

GVP Cone#3 Caldera GVP Cone Kit (stove) – Uses either alcohol or solid Esbit fuel. Light and efficient. I often consider bring one of my other stoves, but this is the one I usually take trip after trip. The Caldera Cone Systems are made by Trail Designs and I have several, but the GVP is my favorite.

Houdini#4 Patagonia Houdini Wind Shirt – this is the one piece of gear I bring on EVERY trip. I cannot say enough good things about it!!

#5 Mizuno Universe Wave 4 XC Flats – You can read about them in the Minimalist Shoe Craze article I wrote last month.

Wearing my Houdini windshirt and Mizuno shoes on a windy day.

#6 Favorite Clothing – There are 4 pieces (not all are used on the same trip):

  • Patagonia Baggie 5″ Shorts (been using them since the 1980’s.
  • Rail Riders Eco-Mesh Pants
  • Rail Riders Eco-Mesh Shirt
  • Mountain Hardware Cliffer Merino/Poly Long Sleeve Shirt

Patagonia Men's Baggies™ Shorts - 5

Above (L to R): Patagonia Baggies, Rail Riders Eco-mesh shirt and pants, Mountain Hardwear Cliffer.


#7 Montbell XUL Down Jacket – Not much to say. Extremely Ultralight. 900 FP goose down. Weighs around 6 ounces.

#8 zPacks Hexamid Solo Shelter – approximately 3 ounces.

#9 zPacks Groundsheet/Poncho – approximately 3 ounces.

#10 Thermarest NeoAir Mattress – I still often use a foam pad for sleeping, but more and more am enjoying the comfort of an air mattress.

IMG_0166IMG_0167zPacks Poncho

Above: zPacks Hexamid Shelter, zPacks groundsheet/poncho, NeoAir.

#11 Cammenga Lensatic Compass

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