Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk

My recent hike in the Olympic National Park has now been my longest single backpacking trip. We were out 7 days and 6 nights; the temperatures ranged from around the high 30’s (F) to likely mid 60’s (F), and we had a bit of sun, wind & rain. Conditions we experienced included: dirt paths, grassy meadows and scree fields, crawling under fallen trees & through grown over bushes, and across small streams. What I am trying to say is, this was a perfect opportunity to test my gear in some ways that I have not done so before.

Before leaving for my hike, I spent plenty of time debating about what to take, and what not to take. I did my homework by watching the weather reports, reading up on the past average conditions, and thankfully getting first hand reports from folks that live in the area. I took this information and applied to my previous experiences, so even though I had never been there, I had a good idea of what I could expect. In the end though, what I carried worked, and worked very well. I could not have asked for anything more…

So, as normal, I wanted to do a post hike gear talk video and cover some of the items that stood out to me on the hike. Each item can be seen in the video above, but I will list them out here too…

  1. Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Poles
  2. ZPacks Blast 30 Backpack (Older model)
  3. ZPacks Cuben Fiber/Nylon Hybrid Zippered Wallet
  4. REI Long Handled Ti-Ware Spoon (Custom-Anodized)
  5. Dirty Girl Gaiters
  6. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
  7. ZebraLight H51 Headlight w/ DIY Headband
  8. Lawson Kline Ti Hook Stakes, MSR Carbon Core Stakes & Terra Nova 1 gm Stakes
  9. ZPacks Cuben Fiber/Nylon Hybrid Fold-Over Hip Belt Pouches
  10. Patagonia Capilene 4 Extreme Wt 1/4 Zip Hoody
  11. The North Face Verto Wind Jacket
  12. ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp (w/ Beak) & Hexanet
  13. LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook Kit (w/ accessories to convert to a drinking mug)
  14. GooseFeet Gear Overbooties
  15. GooseFeet Gear Custom Down Pants
  16. GooseFeet Gear Down Socks
  17. Enlightened Equipment Custom Prodigy Quilt (~35 F)
  18. GooseFeet Gear Stuff Sack Down Pillow Case
  19. Exped UL Air Pillow (Size Large)
  20. Luke’s UltraLite Silnylon Rain Jacket
  21. Gossamer Gear 1/8″ ThinLight CCF Pad
  22. Therm-A-Rest ProLite 3 Sleeping Pad (Small)

I am not going to type out my thoughts on each one, so if you are interested in my thoughts on them I will direct you to the video (above). Short story though, as I said already, the gear worked very well on this hike, and I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better. If I were to be heading out the door today to do the same hike, I would re-pack the same stuff…

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If you have any additional questions about the gear in the video, feel free to ask, of if you saw something else I was carrying that I did not cover in the above video, feel free to ask. I love talking gear, so I don’t mind…  🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I am a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador. I am not obligated to write about any of the gear mentioned in this post, nor am I being paid to do so. As most of you should know, I just love talking about gear, and feel like I learned a lot about some of my gear on this hike and felt that I would pass that info along. Hopefully, it will help others make a better, more informed decisions about some of these specific pieces of kit…

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.
This entry was posted in Backpacks, Clothes, Cook Kits, Cups/Mugs, Gaiters, Gear, Gear List, Gear Reviews, Gossamer Gear, Headlamps, Lights, Pillows, Quilts, Rain Gear, Sleeping Pads, Socks, Spoons, Stoves, Tarps, Trekking Poles, Wallet, Water Filter, ZPacks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk

  1. John says:

    Chad –
    Looks like we were in ONP about a week after you were…Sept 12-18. The first 3 days are perfect weather…met a few locals who said we were very lucky to be there at that time 🙂 The last 3 were pretty rainy/misty and wet. Awesome place!

    On the last day we drove down to Mowich Lake and day hiked a small section of Wonderland. We were blown away with how beautiful that trail is, and we decided right there that we have to come back for a week.

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    • Stick says:

      John,

      Glad to hear that you had a great time in the Oly’s… it is a wonderful place! I hope I get to get back sometime…

      That is cool that you got to head down to Mowich Lake. We actually talked about doing the same thing, but instead ended up going up to Sunrise. Didn’t really do any more hiking though… I still want to do the Wonderland Trail…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. David says:

    Chad – Was it ever raining when you crawled in your shelter at night? What do you do, if anything, to keep from tracking mud and water all up inside your tent? Do you use a mat of any kind?

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    • Stick says:

      David,

      Yup, it was raining a few times when I was getting in and out of my tent, although, I will admit, not raining like I am used to here in the SE! It really wasn’t that bad, just consistent…

      Anyway, I just tried to keep my clothes dry by wearing my rain shell, and then just kind of peeled it off as I was pulling into my tent. Fact is though, when it is raining, things are going to get wet… and the only thing to do is find out what works for you, with the gear that you have…

      As for keeping mud out, it was mostly my feet and lower legs that were dirty/muddy. So, I would sit down inside my tent with my feet hanging out. Then I would peel off my shoes and socks, and then my pants. I then put my down pants on and some clean socks.

      In the warmer months though I don’t always have extra clothes to put on in the tent. In that case I just unzip the lower section of my pants off. Or, if it is a lot hot, then I will just hang out in my undies… 🙂

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

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  3. Finally getting around to watching this. Thx for sharing. it was enjoyable & helpful hearing your experiences with the gear you used.. I’m finally getting around to figuring out top layer clothing. GA weather doesn’t make figuring out clothing easy – especially with drastic temp changes all in one day.

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks for watching Claire, and glad to hear you liked it! And I know what you mean about the huge temp changes… I gotta admit though, I am pretty happy with my layering system… Good luck with dialing yours in!

      ~Stick~

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  4. OregonMomBackpacker7 says:

    Wow, you are fast!! Thanks for getting back to me so soon 🙂 I didn’t know Zpacks had the option of the back pad holders–that is really good to know! I have a tough decision, but I’m leaning towards Zpacks. Joe is so awesome, I know if my husband didn’t end up liking it, it would be easy to return.

    I really want to thank you for taking the time to do such great reviews on products that aren’t carried at places such as REI. It can be nerve wracking spending so much money on products that you can’t see in person first. Your reviews make it less scary. I wish I would have found reviews like yours on UL gear before I wasted so much money on heavier equipment (that at the time I thought were the lightest of the light) at places like REI.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Haha… no problem. Glad I could be of some help. Great to hear that you enjoy my posts too… and thanks for letting me know. A big reason I do them is for exactly the reason you said. I know it is not the same as actually putting hands on something, but being able to see someone else put their hands on the item and talk about it seems to give me much more info than the typical product spec page. This is what I try to do for others, and I appreciate you letting me know it helped you.

      Anyway, again, I wish you the best of luck in deciding which pack to go with. I wish I had each of them so I could have gave a better comparison… maybe in the future I will… 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  5. OregonMomBackpacker7 says:

    Stick, Thanks so much for the great review of your gear (and I loved the video of your Olympic trip too.) I am considering surprising my husband this XMas with a backpack. I’m looking at the GG Mariposa (I own the Gorilla) and the Zpacks Arc Blast. I love Zpacks costumer service and products (they are #1 overall in my book), but I’ve never seen their backpacks in person. I like how my Gorilla is really quiet and how I can use my ZLite pad for back support and comfort (it is like having a pillow on my back). I also really like it’s pockets and looks. I like Zpacks Blast because it is lighter and waterproof. Waterproof is awesome as I live in Oregon. Did you find your Blast’s cuban fiber or metal support noisy? Did you have any issues with your skin in the lower lumbar region where there was no mesh? Thanks!

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    • Stick says:

      Hello! Whichever pack you decide to go with, it sounds like you are planning to surprise your husband with an awesome piece of kit!

      As for the packs in specific, unfortunately, I don’t have experience with either of those packs, but I can say that everyone I know that either has, or used, either the Arc Blast or the Mariposa have been very happy with them.

      I can say that the nice thing about the Arc Blast is that you can add only the features that you want, and none that you don’t want. It is completely customizeable. (Including the back pad holders to put a sleeping pad in like on the GG packs.)

      Also, FYI, the ZPacks packs are not “waterproof”… however, they are highly “water-resistant.” The Arc pack comes with the seams taped, and the top comes stock with a roll top closure (although, you could likely get a cinch top if you preferred and requested it). However, even with all of this, if the pack was submerged for a period of time, chances are, some water will get in. But, it will likely be much less than the GG packs since they are not sealed.

      Anyway, I do have an older model of the Blast pack, which is the pack I carried on this hike, and have been using for the last 2 years nearly. It is a great pack, however, with all the good things I hear about the Arc Blast, I will likely pick one up eventually…

      Hope this helps some, and good luck with your decision.

      ~Stick~

      Like

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