Post Hike Gear Talk

A couple of weekends ago I went on a 4 day hike in the Roan Highlands. For this trip I did as usual and took a mixture of old gear along with a few new pieces. (Who doesn’t like trying new gear on a hike?) Overall, the trip went well, as in we had no major catastrophes, but that is not to say that there weren’t any smaller mishaps along the way. Or better yet, some pieces of gear that I just really enjoyed using and like to continue to talk about it…

So, I decided that I would do a post hike gear talk video. I have picked out a few pieces of gear that I carried with me on this recent hike in which I have either formed, or reformed some of my thoughts on them. And I am sharing those thoughts here.

So, what kind of gear will I be talking about in the videos? Here is a list of those items, in no certain order other than the order I picked them up and talked about them in the video…

I am taking a little bit of a different direction with this post, meaning that I am not going to essentially type up everything I say in the videos, so if you are interested in my thoughts on the above pieces, you will have to watch one (or both) of the videos posted below…

Take these videos and the thoughts for what they are…

Of course, these are just some thoughts that I had about the listed items above after using them on this one particular trip, or for some items, from a number of trips. These are not the end all thoughts on any one piece of gear that I listed above, and I am more than sure that my thoughts on them will either continue to evolve or completely change after more uses…

Thanks for reading!


About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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14 Responses to Post Hike Gear Talk

  1. Pingback: Post Hike Gear Talk (Part 2) – GREAT OUTDOOR SPORTS MAN

  2. Pingback: Post Hike Gear Talk (Part 1) | xero days video

  3. Jason says:

    Have you had any issues with food tasting like each other when using the odorproof bags?? I noticed that alot of my food took on the taste of the single serving powdered gatorade I brought along with me. It was pretty gross eating what should have been a tasty meal that had a slight hint of gatorade flavour. haha.


    • Stick says:


      I have not had any problems with my foods tasting like other things, but I know that at the end of the day (and moreso towards the end of the trip due to all the garbage) when I open the bag, I can smell everything at once pouring out. It is a different sort of smell, but I can’t say that it has altered the taste of the food, or my drinks.



  4. LiteTrail says:

    Re: Odor Proof bag size for horizontal bags. That’s a great suggestion. Noted. In the mean time, since our NyloBarrier Packliner is the same OP material, just use one of those. They fit in the horizontal food bag perfect. If you feel it’s too tall, just dedicate one to your food bag and cut it shorter. Or you can put two of the regular sized OP bags side by side in the horizontal.


    • Stick says:


      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! And those are great suggestions…I can’t believe I didn’t think about cutting down one of the pack liners to use with the wider food bag. I did try the horizontal thing, but it was too long, and I didn’t really have enough to make 2 horizontal tubes with…although, I could have probably made that work too.

      Either way, still a great product!



  5. Shadowalpha says:

    Really enjoyed watching both videos!

    Cook kits – good point on the sack vs a mesh sack – tho I don’t mind the soot on the pot just don’t need it on the rest of my gear when I store pot in pack. and if we weren’t always changing up cook kits – what fun would it be? 😉 wood / esbit is a go to for me. (even tho I still tinker wit DIY alky stoves)

    I think with right combo of materials for a bivy – condensation can be battled. A long time ago it was suggested to me to take outter layer — roll it up & store at bottom of sleeping bag when I sleep. Sleep in base layer w/ socks & let the bag insulate me when I sleep.

    +1 on Bens goosedown socks – on my wish list!

    I got a roll top CF food bag after my food got drowned last yr – was in a draw string sack & in ziplocs & still had soggy oatmeal packs. Have 1 large & 1 med from MLD. Confident now my food will stay dry.

    When you going to do a hammock trip Stick? 😛


    • Stick says:


      Glad you enjoyed the videos, thanks fro watching!

      I am not totally giving up on Esbit and wood, but I will think a bit mroe about if I want to use those methods on my trips. However, this one was ok because of the small miles each day which gave me plenty of time at camp. However, it did seem a bit messier this time than it did the last time I used it. I will actually reserve the wood to summer hikes… Also, my “SUL” cook kit which uses Esbit seems to be a bit less sooty…Strange.

      And yes, it is fun changing out kits! I love having the options…

      I still have some learning to do about bivies, obviously. But I have some ideas brewing from this experience already…

      The down socks are awesome! Definitely recommend them!

      I have actually been using a different cuben dry sack for my food bag most of this year. This time though, the Blast bag was more ideal. I have been meaning to pick up a roll top version, but have been putting it off…so it is kinda my fault. But oh well… I will get around to it one day… 🙂

      And I need to work on my hammock set-up more, but probably next year. Biggest thing is getting a cuben tarp to drop some weight from my OES 8×10 sil tarp… The gram weenie in me doesn’t like the idea of using that tarp now…but I will see…

      Thanks for stopping!



  6. Cesar says:

    I like that you are so open and honest about your gear reviews. 🙂 Here is my 2 cents on some of the gear mentioned.

    *Bivy. I used to use a bivy all the time (Ti goat) but in the past year I have not because I got sick of the condensation. It wasn’t all that much wetness, but enough to be annoying. I was thinking about adding a DIY zipper on the foot box to help the vapor to get out, but been to busy to fix it. Or might just sell it, not sure.

    *Wood fire. I suggest for wood fires to have a separate pot, and keep the pot in a plastic bag and you can replace when it gets too dirty. I have three Ti pots, and each serves a different purpose: one for wood fire 2 days and less, one alcohol (cat can) 3 days and less, and one alcohol (Clikstand) for longer trips and if I am traveling with someone else or a group. So based on how many days, the weather and if I have the time/energy to deal with wood fire, and solo or not I can pick and choose the best one. I am going to write a blog focus on my stove systems sometime soon, I am very happy with them, and friends and people interested in backpacking seem to ask about this system of gear (along with tent vs. tarp) the most.

    *Neoair. I have a Xlite and love it, though I will only use it on trips of 3 days or less. I am paranoid about it going flat or damaged in the middle of nowhere, even though I take my repair kit and also have a sit/back pad of foam I could use as emergency ground insulation. More than 3 days and I take foam (Ridge Rest Solar when it’s cold). Anyhow, I say give the Xlite a chance. I have had many a good night’s sleep on mine, and at 3.2 R value it’s pretty warm too.

    *Adding weight back. I found this to be just as fun and a learning experience as stripping weight down. As you know I have done a lot of SUL and a few XUL trips, which were great. But adding back “luxuries” and such is nice too. A camera to take pics is nice, plus I took a book with me last trip, and the usefulness of my little 37g Ti mug I got half a year ago has made it one of my favorite pieces of gear that I think will go with me nearly every time now. Especially after you go SUL/XUL, you really learn to cut back on what is not needed, so it’s not as big a deal adding weight again. For example, my base weight last trip was only 4kg (8.8lbs) even with my book and camera and other little luxuries. You said you had around an 11lb base weight, which really is not a big deal either, and you had all sorts of stuff. For me you really start to feel things around 12-13lb base weight (I doubt I will ever backpack with anything higher than 13lbs, but who knows), but the difference from 5-6lb to 8-10lb base weight to me is not so noticeable. The big jump for me that you feel the most is XUL–every time you pick up your pack and are amazed (“WOW that’s light!”) and feel pretty much nothing while hiking–but it’s such a challenge and only possible under certain limited conditions, that I consider it like a rare treat.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work.

    Oh, and Hi John! Nice feedback from you as usual. I just put up a few more trip reports on my blog, in case you are interested; I’d like to hear your feedback there too. Keep in touch man, and hope you are doing well. 🙂


    • Stick says:


      Thanks for the comment! I try to be open and honest about my gear, and I am glad that this is coming across.

      The zipper on the bivy footbox might be a good idea, or maybe even a slit with the top side overhanging it a bit so that it is still water “resistant.” I guess one could even get fancy and attach a small piece of mesh in their to keep it bug proof too… I wonder if John would do this as an option on his bivies…

      I also have a number of different stove set-ups, and also only use certain pots for either wood or Esbit fires. It may be nit-picky of me, but I like to keep my gear as clean as possible, and for this reason only use certain pots for certain types of fires… I will look forward to your blog post about the stoves though, thanks for the heads up!

      Thanks for the inspiration on the XLite. So far, it does seem ok because it is wider, but the foot area is still a bit narrow, which is where I appreciate the width. However, I will carry it on any trips I plan to be on the ground, despite the length of the trip. I will also carry a ccf pad in colder weather though… usually my 1/8″ GG ThinLight or a 1/4″ XLPE ccf pad someone sent me, which actually seems to be a lot like the EvaRest pads that Lawson is now selling. He sent me 2 of his 1/8″ pads and I actually used one (cut-down to size) on this trip.

      I also agree with your thought process of adding back in some things on occasion, although you have more experience than I do on the lighter weight trips… Either way, I have had a great year this year and have learned a lot about my own hiking style/preference as well as UL and even SUL backpacking, and I look forward to even more next year!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!



    • One has to ask themselves what do they want out of a bivy. Are you using it to block the wind? Are you using it as a VBL? Are you using it to keep the flying-bugs-that-shall-not-be-named and ants and scorpions away?

      The bigger question is, why are you using a product designed for high summit alpine climbers, as a hiker on the ground? (read the excellent “A Few Thoughts on Bivies” written by Ron Moak)

      In 2010 I went through almost a dozen bivys trying to find one that worked. I even gave the MLD superlight bivy with special highly breathable material on the top and it too suffered internal condensation.

      The only bivy I would even consider buying anymore is this one:

      I think if that one were to suffer condensation that would pretty much be the obvious indication to me that a bivy just does not belong in a hikers backpack – unless they are doing alpine summitting.

      A bivy that you only carry in one weather condition does no good for thru-hikers, and that is where I have most of my focus on/at.

      There are, of course, thousands of hikers out there who love and use their bivys. I totally respect them for figuring out the little tricks of using a bivy in all weather conditions.


    • Stick says:


      Of course there are a number of attractive options about a bivy (as you alluded too..) however, like any other piece of gear, I agree, there can be downfalls too. My main reason for getting this bivy to try out (keep in mind, it is my first bivy) is to help keep water from splattering onto my sleeping gear. As you know, I recently got a GoLite Poncho tarp, and I like that I have an option to try this small tarp/bivy combo, but I have not yet tried it out personally. As well, even in my Hexamid, if I am not set up in an ideal place in a rainstorm, the bivy can also help there with rain spray/splatter.

      Other than this, I would like it to add a few degrees to my sleep set-up in the winter. As you know, I am still pretty new to all of this, so there are some ideas that I would like to try out for myself just to see how it all works out. It may not be this year before I try everything out, or next, and I imagine that things will change between now and then too…

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment! I appreciate it.



  7. Hey Stick,

    >>> rolltop food bag so water does not get inside of it when it is hanging up

    Great idea.

    >>> bivy condensation

    Therein is the #1 issue with the bivy.

    Was your wife wearing base layer? You can decrease a bit of condensation by making sure you are wearing socks, baselayer pants and shirt. What happens is your own sweat/condensation goes into the baselayer and not out into the sleeping bag and than out inside of the bivy where it gets trapped.

    But in the end, bivys still suck because of condensation.

    >>> pillow

    You have got to get yourself one of those new zpacks pillows with the microfiber material!!! uber crazy comfortable!! Got one with my recent order and pretty much never ever (hopefully) going back to using a straight CF bag to put my head on while sleeping.

    >>> GG LT4 – locking system

    Yeah, I hear you. As you know, I have been a huge fan of the LT4’s for a long time. But, here recently my frustration with the locking systems has gotten to the point where I am willing to carry a heavier pair of hiking poles (switched to the Black Diamond, Alpine Carbon Cork) so I no longer have to deal with the locking system of the LT4s. When they work, the LT4’s are awesome. When they cause you problems, you just want to beat them against a tree.

    >>> cooking system making a mess.

    A couple of drops of Dr B’s on the bottom of the pot before you put it onto the stove (be it a fire or esbit) makes cleaning the pot a bazillion times easier. As for soot… well, that is part of the pleasure of being in the outdoors… your not in an OR room 😉

    >>> Hexamid ripping

    wowzer, that sucks!!!!

    I ended up buying from zpacks some of their hybrid cf… think it is the “13” x 7″ Large Repair Patch” on their tape page. I cut it in half and used it inside of my Six Moon Designs Skyscape X where the poles come into contact with the bathtub. The way I figured it, an additional 20 grams of weight in order to protect a 500 shelter just makes good sense.


    • Stick says:


      I have been wanting to get the roll top for a while, just haven’t…so it is actually my own fault… but yeah, I like roll tops for my food bags. I have actually been using my Granite Gear Uber Lite (or something another…) cuben bag which works great with the LiteTrail NyloBarrier bags…

      As far as the bivy, yep, she wore baselayers, socks and even a down jacket, so the moisture should have been held onto pretty well. However, she may have had her head inside the sleeping bag through out the night too…if so that would have made a difference. I wonder if she was actually too warm, and that made her sweat even more…? But yeah, the top of the bag was kinda wet… Either way, I can see how it will take some more thought when actually using one, and even still, it may not sop it all. Also, according to Tim Marshall, this newer M50 is even less breathable than the newer M90…

      I saw your pillow in your recent video…and I may order one eventually, but I am not sure I would need the dry bag…so I will think about it. I actually found this cuben stuff sack to be fine against the skin…it is pretty amazing at how soft this 0.51 gets after some use…

      The LT4’s… I was bummed about the one, especially since I just published my review! But, I still like them…I sent it off to have the tip repaired and they will look at the locking mech too, but it was working again before sending it back, so not sure what will come of that… Either way, I will check them out a little better before leaving the house with them, and remember the warm water trick!

      As far as the cooking…I may try the aluminum on the bottom of the cook pot, but not sure… And I hear ya, I know it’s not the OR… but dang, I had some messy hands at times. I am ok with dirty hands, but this stuff is different… But, I am not throwing it out, just realizing that (like everything else) this option has it’s time and place…

      And yeah, I still have the patch I took off of the Hexamid floor that I can reinstall where it will work better, just haven’t yet. But, I was pulling on the mesh like a dummy and it ripped… not bad, about an inch maybe and at the seams, so it will be quite easy to repair…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!



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