Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Top Ten Favourite New Items of Gear for 2010
Looking back at the new gear I’ve tried for the first time this year a number of items stand out. Unsurprisingly many of them were used on my Pacific Northwest Trail walk over the summer.
Caldera Inferno Ti-Tri Sidewinder cook system
This is a great cooking system that I really enjoy using, especially as a wood burner. Lightweight, compact, efficient and works whatever the weather. On the PNT I used it mostly with wood for the first 6 weeks and then with alcohol most of the wet final month. It worked fine with both fuels.
Pacific Outdoor Equipment Ether Elite 6
Despite it springing a leak on the PNT this airbed became a favourite due to the comfort, light weight and low packed bulk. POE have replaced it with the Peak Elite AC. I have one on test and will be reporting on it for TGO soon.
Rab Demand Pull-On
This eVent waterproof smock kept me dry on many wet days during the last month of my PNT walk and was light and compact to carry during the first six weeks when it was rarely needed. I think it’s an ideal waterproof top for long distance backpacking.
Pod Ultralite Drysac and Lifeventure Dri-Store
These roll-top, seam-sealed, silnylon waterproof stuffsacks are superb. I don’t like pack covers and prefer to pack gear into waterproof bags inside the pack. These stuffsacks, which seem identical, are lightweight and tough. They kept my down quilt and jacket, spare clothing and other water-sensitive gear completely dry on the PNT.
Petzl Core USB Rechargeable Battery
With this unit, which fits neatly into Petzl’s Tikka, Zipka and Tikkina headlamps, the output and the battery life can be programmed and the headlamp used in regulated mode so the power remains constant. There’s some clever software so you can adjust the modes on screen. I’d have taken this on the PNT if I’d had one then.
I used this pack on the second half of the PNT and came to really like it. I’d used the Odyssey with the same back system as a winter backpacking sack for a few years so I knew it was comfortable. On the PNT I felt the Quest was an ideal combination of size, light weight and comfort with moderate loads.
Steripen Adventurer Opti
In the Scottish hills I don’t bother with water treatment. But in some places abroad it’s essential. On the PNT some sections were in ranching country where every water source had been trampled and muddied by cattle. I used this little UV light purifier to treat this water and never got sick so I guess it worked. No chemicals are involved and no complex, slow to use filtering either so when I have to treat water this is the purifier I would choose.
On the PNT I wanted to minimise the number of devices I carried so I took a smartphone with GPS plus ViewRanger software with US topo maps. This was a great success on the many occasions when I needed to locate my position in dense forest.
Sony NEX 5
This camera takes better quality pictures than my DSLR whilst being much lighter and more compact and so is better for backpacking. I wish I’d had it for the PNT.
I’ve been wearing this lovely, snug down jacket a fair bit this cold autumn and winter. It’s lightweight and packs small and so is ideal for cold weather backpacking. A detailed review will appear on the TGO website early in the new year.
Photo info: the Ti-Tri Inferno in use at Waterton Lakes campsite in Glacier National Park during my Pacific Northwest Trail hike. Canon 450D, Canon 18-55mm lens@28mm, email@example.com, ISO 800, raw file processed in Lightroom 3.