Biggest gear challenge?

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What is your biggest gear challenge when tripping?

Mine is sleeping gear. Being able to get a good, dry night's sleep seems to be my biggest challenge.

I typically eat pretty good, and of course fishing isn't a problem. Sleeping is my biggest challenge.

What about you?
 
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Hmmmm....Over the years I have been steadily replacing my old gear with stuff that is more efficient, more modern, lighter.
I switched to a Neo Air mattress, one of the best moves I've ever made. Also switched to a Kelly Kettle, another good choice.
Tent? An ultralight solo, then a better solo, this one a free standing Big Agnes.
Got a new backpack this year, an Osprey, to replace my 35 year old Tough Traveler.
Switched from a synthetic bag to two different down bags, one for warmer weather, one for winter use.

I guess my biggest gear challenge is the boat!! What, you say, I could build anything and everything I could want!! And therein lies the rub...as my paddling likes and styles evolve, the boat of choice changes to suit. Carries over 5 miles require an ultralight boat, I use my son's 10 lb Snowshoe. Pond hopping, I use my DY Special. Twisty stuff and mild whitewater, I use my newly built Kite. Real whitewater, I use my royalex Mohawk XL13. Big water, I use, uhmmm, I use my...hey, I don't have a boat for big water! Well, I guess I need to build a guideboat!

Oh wait, I just thought about my pillow choice. I use my PFD as a pillow, try to keep it as dry as possible towards evening. But it's still not the same as being home!

So that's my answer and I'm sticking to it, pillow and big water boat.
 
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For me the biggest challenge is I'm in love with my gear. I have way too much and I'm constantly fiddling with it, trying to improve how it works. (and sometimes just for the fun of playing with it!) It's like pulling teeth to leave anything behind. All the time while I'm surveying the heaps of stuff, I'm thinking that "such and such thing might come in handy, better bring it."

And it's not entirely loony; all the gear has a use and will add to comfort, but at a real cost in mobility and effort to move it.
Like the man says: "There are no free lunches." and it's the back and forth pull between comfort Vs. weight that I constantly struggle with.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Footwear. I can never find any kind of good footwear. My feet are around 6E wide, so I can't find anything off the shelf. I'm usually forced to wear New Balance sneakers, but they don't have the support in the uppers that I need for those rocky trails. Anyone else cursed with hobbit feet?
 
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6E? Are you putting them on sideways?

I think I have finally found a comfort zone with my gear. It's taken an entire shed full of gear I no longer use to get there though. Now it's just tweaking. Looking to buy some amsteel to use as my main rope choice but for the amount of times I have left the ridge line for my tape behind I am hesitant to switch from SYR.

I am comfortable with my tents, but would love to try the hammock thing. One day maybe.
 
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Bulk is the biggest problem. Everything is bulky as heck. Smaller, less bulky is very expensive. Christine now has permanent lifting restrictions so we need to reduce our pack size/weight within our means. I will be ordering a Synmat come August. The largest NeoAir is less expensive ($150) but it is still "air" and thinner, so I will drop the $200 on the Synmat and expect to get at least 5 years from it to justify the cost. It will pack small and light and be a comfy 3 1/2" thick. Although the Tarn 2 tent I have for solo'ing does work for sleeping, I still need more room, something I can sit up in without my head hitting and the Tarn is kind of short, my toes hit the back wall and my head is against the door, so a Wanderer 2 or Tarn 3 will likely replace it this Winter, if I can afford it.

I don't mind making extra carries on a port, 3 or 4, that is fine, there is no rush and slow and steady wins the day.

We have hordes of gear collected, we need to sort and sell what we don't use now. Same goes for boats, what we don't use doesn't need to sit in the boat house collecting dust. We won't sell our Coleman stove collection, but we do have polished brass fuel tanks we can part with for lanterns. Anyone have a hankering for one?

Footwear is an ongoing challenge. I have good hikers that I keep for around camp and generally use just inexpensive water shoes in the canoe and on ports. I would like to try Baffin Amazon as they would suit all needs. http://www.baffin.com/product-p/sprtw001.htm

Although we get by with the Swift Mattawa in Kev/carbon fusion, we are looking for a Kipawa in a similiar layup. It would be difficult to part with the Mattawa since it was one of the very first boats off the mold for this layup so it is special.

We may drop a size with our Eureka canoe packs, we have 115L size and may go to a 75L and see how well it works.

Gear is ongoing but for us, it mostly comes down to what we can afford.
 
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I understand the theoretical idea of selling unused gear. But have you noticed how often, just after you got rid of some albatross, fate or karma or something causes us to lament "I wish I had that (fill in the blank) back!"

Soggybottom, not sure what a cot/tent is? I use a cot, I use a tent, I use the cot inside the tent but they are not one item. There are several discussions about cots here and Memaquay's latest trip report mentioned one a little bit.

Rob
 
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Does anyone us a cot tent for sleeping? The cot tents/cots I have seen seem to take up too much storage space in the canoe.

stripperguy,
Is this the Neo Air mattress you are talking about?
http://www.amazon.com/Therm--Columb...&sr=8-3&keywords=thermarest+neoair+all+season

What does everyone do with your old gear? Hang on to it? Sell it?

Yup,

Pretty close...Mine is an older model and has a tapered shape with the corners trimmed off. Very, very comfortable, and warm too.
As for old gear? I pass it on to others that need it more than me. No charge, it's long since been paid for. Except for the old boats, those are either given to a family member or sold outright.
 
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Oh goody... a gear thread!!!

I'm always trying to trim weight and bulk. For the short trips that we do it doesn't make sense to carry the kitchen sink.

I'll second (I don't think I saw another) the NeoAir. Just bought one. It's the cat's ass. Not only is it lighter and much, much smaller than a regular thermarest, I've also found it more comfortable. I didn't think that was going to be the case when I tried it at home. I almost returned it. It is a little crunchy but I've been sleeping like a baby and no shoulder pain (an issue for me, I'm a side sleeper) in the morning. Mine is not the Xtherm so I've noticed it isn't as warm a foam or foam/air mat. I got a little chilly the first night I used it. I'm considering carry a cheap, light, 3/4 length blue foam mat when it gets a little cooler just to go under it. I guess another minus might be the fact you have to blow it up. I've been OK with that so far but if you are doing it every day for two weeks it might get old. The bag pump is junk. I broke the coupler the first time I used it. Don't bother, just blow in it.

For bedding, I use a Enlightened Equipment quilt and a thermarest pillow. Both go in a 15L dry bag of their own. Never get wet... yet. I love the quilt. Can't say how much. It's that good. I hate bags - I'm claustrophobic and I turn in my sleep. I always get tangled in them. Keeping them open the zipper always bugged me. Quilt is the bomb.com. Nice cozy footbox (that can be opened) and I just flop it on or off depending if I'm hot or cool. Never been cold in it yet. Mine is synthetic 30°F. My wife has the same one but a 20°F. She still gets chilly if it gets down toward 30. If you're a warm sleeper, go with the rated. If not, go 10 below or so.

The next part of a good sleep for me is the tent. I love that BA I have. Never been wet in that sucker. Good ventilation too.

My wife has a Hennessy hammock, Expedition Assym. She had some growing pains with it. Mainly getting it pitched at the right hang angle and figuring out how to adjust her underquilt. Now that she's got that she says it's cozy and comfy... unless you're drunk... she had a bit too much vino one night and got in and got the spins! Needless to say she had to make a quick dash to the bathroom to vomit. Also plan on getting up for a pee every night. I guess that is common with hammocks...

I was leery it might not stay dry with the small tarp - but it works. Once she got it figured out and tried it in the rain she was sold. It goes up and down so damn quick, I'm jealous. Can sleep almost anywhere you can find trees. It's nice if you don't mind hanging.
 
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stripperguy,
Is this the Neo Air mattress you are talking about?
http://www.amazon.com/Therm--Columbi...air+all+season

What does everyone do with your old gear? Hang on to it? Sell it?

Check this one out:

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-...camper/product

This is what I have. It really packs up small and is just a touch heavier than the others. It's a lot cheaper too.

The only thing you have to contend with is the lack of R value. For summer, it's fine. If you want to be cheap and light, buy a foam mat and trim it to 3/4 length:

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/pr...14966.12669396

and throw that under in spring and fall. They weigh next to nothing (and float).
 
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Anyone else cursed with hobbit feet?


I have fat feet. I don't know what my width is, but it's wider than what most are.

I usually have to size up a bit in length so I can get the right width. Or wait for them to stretch.
Luckily, unlike the hobbits, I don't have much hair on them :)

Certain Keens are REALLY wide. But the problem is that they don't seem to use the same last for every model. The pair I have now are the only shoes I have that have the right length to width ratio.

My Teva water shoes fit pretty well, but they are stretchy.
 
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I'm blessed with manfoot. 8D.

There is a blessing here.. no high heels are wide enough. Ergo I don't have to wear them.. Where is the bouncy YAY emoticon?

When men stop canoeing and creating a market for portage shoes, I will be sunk.
 
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Hi Mihun, So that's what a cot/tent looks like. Hmm.....looks like the main draw is that you combine two bit of gear into one. Taking that idea in mind, isn't that what the hammock guys have been doing all along? And their hammocks are no where that weight and they pack down well. Still and all I have to admire the cot/tent developers; not all experiments work out but without a willingness to try we'd never have any new gear.

To all the big feets or foots in the crowd; somewhere I read that camels evolved feet much like the ones you own, the idea was so he could walk on loose sand and not sink in.
Well, it's clear to me that you've evolved feet for walking over those really bad portages, swampy, mucky, loon poop and all. Probably descended from a long line voyagers! What you say? No voyagers in your family tree? Ha! That shows what you know, never, ever, underestimate the willy rascally, dashingly romantic froggie!

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Red brings up a good point, regarding rope. I have some regular yellow poly floating stuff, and it holds knots well blah, blah, blah, but I purchased some better cord a couple years ago. Beautiful stuff, but now I'm eyeing rope all the time thinking "Can I do better?"
Foot gear is a constant question. Boots, shoes, sandals...? I'd love to find "one shoe to rule them all", but haven't yet. Instead, every trip I take one wet pair, one dry. The season and conditions determine what they are. The thinness of my wallet is the biggest factor in what gets added to our gear.
 
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A good pair of boots is my last thing to find. I have the rest of the wish list sorted out and just need to find a good comfy pair of gore waterproof hiking boots. Have a Neoair pad, helinox chair, good 70lt dry bag with a hip belt and internal frame (cheap at mec). Have picked out the new tent and food box (need more funds). Just need the boots! Might go back to a pair of sundowners if nothing better shows up on the searches. Life is good! Just need time to enjoy it now!
 
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A good pair of boots is my last thing to find. I have the rest of the wish list sorted out and just need to find a good comfy pair of gore waterproof hiking boots. Have a Neoair pad, helinox chair, good 70lt dry bag with a hip belt and internal frame (cheap at mec). Have picked out the new tent and food box (need more funds). Just need the boots! Might go back to a pair of sundowners if nothing better shows up on the searches. Life is good! Just need time to enjoy it now!
I started with a pair of Sundowners many years ago. They nearly lasted forever, and were total comfort.
I love my mec dry bags. The sleeping pad and chair from your list is still only a daydream for me.
 
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I overcame my biggest gear challenge quite a few years ago. It came to a head when I began carrying so much "stuff" that during a trip I had to struggle to find time to use it all, gone went the reading material, the extra food for long drawn out meals, the extra fishing tackle (recently) too many ropes, chairs, oversized packs, clothes, way too much clothing, and "gizmos", I fell for every gizmo needed in the back country according to the catalogs I viewed .
Now it's down to two trusty packs, one for gear, one for foodstuff. I have tripped with these two packs comfortably many times and I have have learned to keep my gear limited to what has worked in the past in these packs.
I like to view the latest gear and ponder the advantages of a new and better way, but I am so comfortable and confident with my old gear that I'm good with what I have.
My old "Campmore" tarp has seen better days, it's got duck taped burn holes, torn seams, I use stones rolled up on the corners for tie downs, it's an old friend and I feel secure under it during a storm.
My cooking gear is bare minimal, a SS pot I prepare my quick pasta sides in and a cold handle frying pan that will work with either pancakes or fresh caught walleyes.
My SS pot doubles for my cowboy coffee in the am and for Ramen noodles for lunch.
It took me a while to downsize, but at this stage of the game, I feel pretty confident when I head out that the gear I used last trip will work this next trip.
 
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