Welcome to my Gear pages. Those wondering exactly what I pack for certain trips can check here. My goal for 2016 is to have a base kit that goes on practically every trip, with variations depending on the event. For example, I may combine a BIKE/HIKE/SKI trip where clothing choices will have to be adaptable. I have found that there is no combination that is static over 3 seasons or all uses, which is why (for me) it is important to be able to select from a "quiver" of gear and clothes, choosing appropriate kit for the trip at hand. I am no longer a sponsored athlete and I gladly pay full price, or an advertised sale price, for all my gear. With this in mind, let's delve into the closet.

SHELTER

If I'm traveling with a buddy or my daughter, I'll be using the ZPacks Duplex tent. You can read my review of this tent here. For weight, roominess, and all around utility this is the best two person tent I have used. I purchased the carbon poles to go with this tent as they are so light and pack so small that I needn't concern myself with using trekking poles, as I don't always carry them or I'll have the fixed length Gossamer Gear poles. Also, there are occasions where we may leave the tent set up and do out and backs, like peak bagging or probing into areas with no intent of staying overnight, and this allows us to take our poles with us. So far the tent holds up well to moderate winds (gusts of approximately 30 knots) and has seen light rain, but no deluges yet. As I gain more experience with any of the gear on these pages I will update accordingly, good or bad.

  ZPacks Duplex at Del Norte, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park.

ZPacks Duplex at Del Norte, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park.

Bivy Bags: despite various opinions and experiences of people with bivy bags, mostly with condensation issues, I remain a 20 plus year user. I like the simplicity of a bivy, I like sleeping with a view, I like the protection from bugs and rodents a fully enclosed bivy affords, and I like the space and weight most of my bivies command.

  ZPacks Pocket Tarp in use with a bivy at Mowich Lake campground, Mt. Rainier National Park

ZPacks Pocket Tarp in use with a bivy at Mowich Lake campground, Mt. Rainier National Park

Important bivy considerations: in the rain, a bivy is a PIA. Changing clothes, keeping gear dry etc is a challenge. If rain is a consideration on a trip, or conditions can be expected for condensation issues, and I am using a bivy bag, I will pack the ZPacks Hexamid Pocket Tarp at 3.1 ozs (excluding stakes). This is a small weight and space price to pay for being able to sit up, change clothes, cook or organize gear out of the rain. In fact, I will pack this tarp anyway for most bivy trips.

Borah Gear Bivies: I currently own 4 Borah bivies. For my review on this excellent company, click here. My latest (and as of this writing, untested) bivy is a 9.1 ounce custom made from Dyneema composites (cuben); breathable eVent on the top (1.62 oz/sqyd) and 1.0 for the bottom (1.0 oz/sqyd). Fully weather proof, this bivy will be in my pack for all day hikes and many overnight trips. There is some gear that will come with me on any day hike, and this bivy and a pad will be amongst the items. Full shelter and an insulation layer between the ground and I could make a huge difference in an unplanned overnight or other emergency situation. Last year I was impressed with the condensation mitigation performance of my full eVent Snowyside bivy and am hoping that the cuben eVent performs similarly. Now, I only have two nights in the Borah Gear cuben bivy, which is not waterproof but has a full mesh head area with breathable Argon top fabric. However, I was quite pleased with this 4.5 oz small package in the favorable conditions I used it in (I also carried the Pocket Tarp but did not use it). Consider this bivy, the Pocket Tarp, and 6 titanium stakes (1.2-1.8 ozs) provide weather and bug protection for slightly over 9 ozs.