2013 in review

The end of a year and the beginning of the next is a great time to reflect on what has changed for you over the last 12 months.  Below is an unordered list of rambling that pertain to how my gear set has changed over the course of 2013:

  1. I found a multi night backpack I actually like! The Bergans of Norway Helium 55L.  I have odd dimensions and this pack fits me perfectly.  It also has an aluminum support that can be bent to fit your specific back shape adding additional comfort.
  2. I’ve switched from traditional hiking boots to a pair of Gore-Tex Solomon trail runners for the majority of my hiking.  They are lighter, more comfortable, eliminate the need to bring along camp shoes, and reduce the number of blisters I get while hiking.
  3. I bring more emergency gear that I used to.  Maybe its my old age catching up to me but I feel less invincible than I used to and feel the need to plan more when it comes to mitigating risk.
  4. This year especially I felt a bit mind boggled about how much gear technology has changed.  Treated down has taken over, synthetic insulation has become way better than it used to be, across the board gear is incredibly lighter than it has been, fabrics are super thin but still incredibly durable… I could go on and on about how much gear seems to have evolved during 2013.  Many of the technologies that were on the fringe and reserved for the ultralight, mile crushing, professional hiker who was willing to drop serious cash have finally made their way into mainstream gear.
  5. My mountaineering tent is sub 3 lbs… MIND.  BLOWN. I’m using the Mountain Hardware Direk 2 tent.
  6. I’ve switched up my sleep strategy to feature a lighter weight sleeping bag (swapping a 0 degree for a 20 and a 20 degree for a 45 degree bag) that is augmented with a down jacket and insulated pants.  I achieve the same level of warmth without adding any weight but I have a cozy set of clothes to wear around camp. Its a win-win.
  7. I’ve started wearing sandals… No socks but still, didn’t think that would ever happen.  I picked up a nice pair of Keens that are super comfortable for crossing rivers and wearing around camp.  Airing my feet out when I get the chance has made hiking more enjoyable. Huge upgrade from the flip flops I was rocking before.
  8. Treated down’s capabilities really are amazing.  I made a point this year to swap out all my traditional down gear for treated versions.  No more stressing out about damp down.

Overall its been a great year.  Had some awesome adventures and stayed safe!  Here’s to a great 2014!  Happy new year everyone!