Most of the gear that saved my life.
They also helped promote putting me in danger.
Read on for the details and maybe the path I ...Ahem, traveled, can help you make some important decisions on what gear you might use for your first or next overnight hiking trip. The prices posted were what I paid after shipping and taxes if applicable and will most likely not reflect current prices on the links they refer to. As I also used this post to help me understand how my bank account got murdered.
Note: None of the links are affiliate links - They are posted to help anyone looking for similar gear and save some time having to Google your own results.
My two load outs.
The larger pack weighed in around 52 pounds and the smaller came in at 20 pounds. Neither were used at the same time as they both took on the camera weight and tripods depending on which I was using.
Sirui 3T-35R - $69
This is easily the best tabletop tripod I've ever used. It has a choice of using no center column, using a static column or using a column that can be expanded. I chose to swap it our for just the static center column as its extremely stable while offering enough height to clear grass and other low obstacles if the situation appeared.
I will always be with this piece of gear from now on.
Sirui T-025x - $218
This is one of the lightest full-sized tripods in the world. It handled 2 minute long exposures with ease from a Nikon D750 and Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR. I left the extendable column on and indeed used it with great results. If you want a real tripod with the least impact to your load-out weight, absolutely look no further.
Rockstar Original - $32
Bad for your health. Good for when you need caffeine and you want it ice cold from the 26 degree weather you just slept in.
Coleman Toilet paper 3pk - $6
Toilet Paper does what it needs to. The paper didn't tear and that is enough of a win for me.
Darn Tough Micro Crew - $23
Lifetime warranty, but from what I experienced for my three days using them.... I probably won't need to use it. Simply felt good, dried fast, kept me warm, but didn't overheat my feet. These are worth every damn penny.
Scattante Bliss - $28
Super-light and they are extremely flexible so when squashed by other gear, they won't break. They also didn't fly off in super high wind on the Cinder cone and though I didn't take advantage, they do have three lenses you can swap in and out of. They seem to be permanently on sale.
Under Armour No Breaks Liner Gloves - $10
They kept my fingers from freezing off, but they were not able to fend off sub 30 degree temps unless my hands were also in my pockets. Good grip on my trekking poles though.
Osprey UL Rain Cover - $38
Overpriced, but well, it worked.
Tent Labs Deuce of Spades Trowel - $22
Link here might expire because they have a newer version coming out, but I didn't use it. I used the original and it performed admirably. Did my business like I'd done it before.
Esbit titanium fork - $8
Not the most fun to clean and it bent as easily as an aluminum fork. Rather buy a complete utensil set in another metal for the full price if this wasn't on sale.
Altura Photo lens keeper bags 4pk
I only used one to keep my 16-35mm f/4 protected and the quality of the materials inside and out were top notch. For the protection it offered at the weight it was.... hard to beat.
Sawyer Mini 2pk - $55
It works - I presume because I didn't vomit everywhere, but I wouldn't make this my primary water filter. I will reserve it for back-up status and use the regular full-sized Sawyer Squeeze. Its not much larger realistically and only an ounce heavier, but the flow rate really makes a difference when you are trying to suck some water down to prevent dehydration.
Packit Gourmet - $120
Bought a variety pack of like 15 meals or something - don't remember now... But it was for 3 days of 3 meals between 2 people. Honestly it seemed pricey at the time, but the food kicked ass for being the hydrate with water type. Various means, dips and desserts are all great. The best I've had. Its not the absolute healthiest, but it keeps the weight down and in the end well worth the price.
Family run business and it shows.
CNOC Outdoors - $20
Dual ended - One end is a traditional water bottle threaded opening and the other is a fold-and-seal. MAGIC. Slide off the seal from the large end, open the bag and make a single pass through the river and the entire bag fills up. Fold the end, slide the seal back on and attach your water filter. No more wasting time.
I set up a hanging system to have the bag connected with my water filter directly to my Camelbak so it filtered as I was walking. Just a minute to be refilled and go!
Coghlan's Bear Bell - $4
Call it survivors bias, but no bear ate me or tried to so I'll still vouch for this.
JanSport Klamath 65 - $80
Held all the shit I needed it to with enough options to never feel limiting. Can read more reviews if you really want to consider it, but I'm wise enough to understand that your bag is a very personal choice and I can't 100% recommend this based off my own inexperience at the time that I used it.
Deuter External Pockets - $30 (2 qty)
Add 10L each bag. I maybe could have got away without them, but I had a bunch of lame stuff I wanted easier access to. Either way, they are a great way to add 10L of carrying capacity and are durable and easy to mount wherever you desire. I mounted them flanking me one on each side of my main bag.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife - $60
Full tang - comes with a tiny booklet on survival, fire-starter strike flint and a whistle. Its heavy and the more experience might say you can find better for the same price or just as good for cheaper, but I was able to abuse this as much as I wanted. So if the weight doesn't bother you, its got all me cut free thumbs up.
Black Diamond Headlamp - $30
Really nice and the battery lasted a while. Need to practice with it so you memorize how to use its features as it doesn't have many controls at all. Only use if it was free as a protest against their loose affiliation with a company that produces tear gas. Please don't give them money based off my recommendation.
NEMO Fillo Pillow - $35
Too small for most heads. Too shallow for most necks. But its definitely better than other blow up pillows, lighter and softer materials. Overpriced. 100% buy if you have some clothing to adjust height.
Primus Portable Oven System - $80
Heats up quick - there are many like them.. choose whatever is similar for the best price.
Layer8 Rain Jacket - $20
Bought from Costco,
seasonal item. No complaints. Like all waterproof gear, you'll eventually make the rain inside as you sweat so weigh your options if its worth it to carry.
Klymit KSB 20 Down Sleeping Bag - $200
I have gone through many bags and for temps under 50F - this is my only recommendation for the price. This kept me warm in sub-freezing temps. Woke up one morning and didn't realize the ground was covered in ice. Until I stepped outside. The stretchy baffling was a great design choice that others don't utilize.
Columbia Shirts - $30
Sun protection, sweat remover... didn't stink after a few days (lol, probably not). Good quality and performance.
Wigwam Cool-lite socks - $13
Highest recommendation. Buy now before you leave. 3 pairs.
Patagonia pants - $90
Durable and pricey. They held up, didn't fray and no tearing or anything. Kept me a nice temp without heating up or cooling down. Actually kinda worth it now that I think about it.
CamelBak Crux 3L - $35
Higher flow valves are great with no questions if you plan to just use it as-is. I on the other hand made a system for my water filtration to filter back into the bag via the mouth piece line since I would have to unpack my bag each time to get to the CamelBak's main opening if I didn't. This made it a PITA to find valve adapters in the correct size as I needed to convert the bag to a quick connect system to allow swapping my mouthpiece line with the external filtration line.
I'm happy how it turned out and the "20%" increase in flow in appreciated, but probably not needed and there are actual options to do what I did natively in the 1/4 in line size that is the industry standard.
Also a ton of reviews saying the large screw on cap to the reservoir is a serious design flaw and leaks, but I did not encounter that.
Counter Assault Bear Spray - $55
Never used it. Hopefully the $4 bell was needed. Either way, I practiced with deployment and the carrier system is designed well and I don't have doubts I'd have a good shot and deploying it if I needed to.
Bear Vault BV500 - $80
Practice opening. Once you know what you are doing its easy to do even with cold fingers. Obviously the standard for a reason. Just pony up the cash and move on :D
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 - $250
Its light AF. Bought the add-on bottom layer since the fabric can hold it down in the wind, but not on sharp rocks and pointy twigs.
Alite Monarch Chair - $60
Get one of their other models that doesn't require you to maintain your balance. It did the job though and is only pound, but if you try to set up in soft ground its just going to sink in and now your ass in on the ground anyways.
Sea To Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Large - $200
This with my Klymit KSB 20 bag actually gave me the kinda drool inducing sleep I normally don't get. Its insanely comfortable and has a dual sides system... it's meant to be able to adjust to your personal comfort, but doubles as added protection in case one side leaks, you still have the other side if you can't repair out on the trail. High warmth rating for cold grounds aint no thang. Worth the weight to me, easily.
Outdoor Research AirPurge Dry Compression Bag 20L - $50
Take those clothes and crush them down to make more room in your bag. Water resistant enough to keep most things dry if you get rained on.
Columbia hat with comically large bill and sun protection - $25
Is what it is... keep the sun off your head and neck... keeps bugs from biting your neck and keeps the sun out of your face. Only issue is that bill gets in the way of using my viewfinder in my camera. Still worth looking like a dork ass though.
Monkey Sport down jacket - $40
Insane sale I got, still worth even $100. Its down, but light AF so pack two in case one gets wet.
Granite Sport Athabasca 24L - $40
Highly recommended day pack when you still need to carry gear for an entire day, but don't need a sleeping back or overnight accessories. Straps seem on the thin side, but they hold well with very nice construction.
Cascade Walking Sticks - $30
Bought from Costco, seasonal item. No complaints, didn't crack or feel as if I was stressing them too much. Very light for the weight. If you don't care how noob they look they perform and punch way above their class.
MindShift Gear Multi-Mount Holster 50 (Greenfield)
Allowed me to not worry about my camera while having it easily accessible. Extremely versatile and I'll never leave without it.