gear reviews

Here's a list of my gear reviews. 

Thru-Hike Gear Reviews

AZT thru-hike gear reviews (2014)
  • ULA Circuit Backpack
  • Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tarp
  • 2 mil Plastic Painter's Tarp for Ground Cloth
  • REI Snow Stake for Cat-Hole Trowel and Tarp Stake
  • Frogg Toggs UL2 Rain Jacket
  • REI Sahara Cargo Pants
  • Nike Miler Dri-Fit UV Long Sleeve Shirt
  • PolarMax TechSilk Top and Bottom Baselayer
  • Dirty Girl Gaiters
  • Darn Tough 1/4 Cushion Socks
  • Merrell Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoes
  • LiteTrail Titanium Foil Windscreen 550 ml
  • QiWiz FireFly UL Titanium Woodstove
  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter
  • Platypus Water Bottles
  • Gaia GPS Android App

PCT thru-hike gear reviews (2013): 
  • Six Moon Designs Starlite Backpack 
  • Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Tarp
  • Frogg Toggs Rain Suit (Jacket and Pants) 
  • REI Sahara Cargo Pants 
  • Dirty Girl Gaiters
  • Darn Tough 1/4 Cushion Socks 
  • Montrail Masochist Trail Runners 
  • Merrell Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoes 
  • Light My Fire Spork & Sea-to-Summit Delta Spork 
  • ZPacks Small-Plus .51 oz/sqyd Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack 
  • Halfmile's GPS App
  • Bear Vault BV500 Bear Can


gear providers currently aiming their business at cat holes (4/30/14)




stubbe springs loop and a poncho tarp

My hike began 4.5 miles east of Geology Tour Road.

I hiked the Joshua Tree NP California Riding and Hiking Trail west from Twin Tanks on Pinto Basin Road, out and around Stubbe Springs Loop, and back--a round trip of about 33 miles. My initial pack weight was about 28 pounds (9 lb base + 1.5 lb food + 17.6 lb water). I took 8 liters of water but should have taken 10. This trip didn't include any night hiking.

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Fan Canyon
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Animal track "highway"

I brought my poncho tarp along for some pitching practice and to see if it might work as a shelter for the first 700 miles of the PCT. There was no rain and little wind during my hike, so I had an easy time of it. I wonder if I'd have the skill to pitch it when it really counts.

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GoLite poncho tarp
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I like the idea of using a poncho tarp because it weighs only 7 oz and doubles as a rain jacket; however, considering how small the poncho tarp is (8.5' x 5'), I'd have to get a bivy sack. If I replace my 16 oz Shangri-La 1 tarp and 6 oz Frogg Toggs rain jacket with the 7 oz poncho tarp and a 5-10 oz bivy sack, I could save 5-10 oz overall. Right now, however, that's not enough weight savings for me to give up the convenience of an easily pitched, 360-degree shelter and separate rain jacket. The poncho tarp is a lot of fun, though.

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As much as I like the GoLite poncho tarp and Shangri-La 1 tarp (discontinued in 2013), I've come to realize that neither of them is my ideal shelter. I think my ideal shelter would be a shaped tarp that can pitch with one pole and doesn't require the pole to stand right in the center if the tarp. I see something like a Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis or ZPacks Hexamid in my future. For now, though, the tarps I have should get me through my thru-hike.


dayhike on the pct

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Horse riders heading to Mission Creek Stone House. 
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South toward Whitewater Preserve, Mt. San Jacinto in the distance.