Rock Gap to Deep Gap: Post Hike Gear Talk…

P1030198Last weekend I did my first section hike of the year. A few of us met up and hiked SOBO on the AT from Rock Gap to Deep Gap (NC). At only around 25 miles total, it wasn’t really a long hike,  but it gave me 3 days & nights in a range of weather conditions to use my gear… On many of my hikes I go on, I usually take a few new pieces of gear, however, on this hike, I only carried 1 piece of kit that I had never used. A few other things I had only used once or twice, but most of the items I carried on this hike were things that I have been using for a while…

Being that this is January, I decided to go all out and carry all of my winter gear. I carried all of my down clothing, my 15 F Marmot Helium, my large XLite and a 1/8″ Gossamer Gear Thinlight pad. With these pieces, I can easily go to 10 F and remain comfortable. Of course, I also carried my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp & Hexanet (although, we ended up staying in shelters all 3 nights). As well, since I was carrying all of my winter gear, I also used my somewhat new, ZPacks Arc Blast backpack to carry it all in…

The only completely new item I carried with me on this hike is the Vertex Stove (I will do a separate video on this stove soon). Because I carried this stove, I also decided to carry my 0.6L Evernew cook pot and my shortie spoon from LiteTrail. (I cooked Ramen in the cook pot, so no need for my beloved long handle ti spoon.) Other than this, I also carried my Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles, which some may remember that I recently removed the stock grips on the poles and installed the Gossamer Gear Kork-o-Lon grips in their place. I also took out my Inov-8 Roclite 243‘s again, despite that I said that I wouldn’t in another post hike gear talk video

My total pack weight was a hair over 19 lbs for this hike, which is about my normal weight for a hike at this time of the year (“SE winter”). My base pack weight is a bit over 13 lbs, however, this does include 2 lbs of camera gear, as well as a few luxury items. Regardless, I am completely happy with both the contents inside my pack, as well as the overall weight. (For a full gear list, click HERE.)

So, after the hike, there were a few things that I wanted to talk about (which is the point of this post). Particularly, there are 3 things that really stood out to me on this hike: my umbrella, trekking poles & my shoes. There were also a few other things that I wanted to touch on that I carried too. All of these things are discussed in the following video:

If I had to pick one thing that really stood out to me, it was my umbrella. Of course, if we had less rain on the hike, it would likely have not stood out to me so much, but we did have a fair amount of rain, and the umbrella was a pleasure to have. I managed to attach it to my pack so that it was hands-free, and it complimented the rest of my rain gear… Overall, it just rocked!

Other than that though, my entire kit just seemed to work well. I was really happy with everything that I carried. It kept me warm and dry, and my pack carried it very comfortably during the day. I love it when a gear list comes together…

Thanks for stopping by!


Disclaimer: The Vertex stove was provided to me for free, in exchange for personal feedback. I am not required to write about the stove, but feel that it is worth sharing.

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, Cook Kits, Foot Wear, Gear, Gear List, Gear Reviews, Gossamer Gear, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads, Spoons, Stoves, Tarps, Tent, Trekking Poles, Umbrella, ZPacks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Rock Gap to Deep Gap: Post Hike Gear Talk…

  1. roland says:

    Hi Sticks, thanks for your great post on the arc blast. I just ordered a 60l from Joe today. I also had the big debate about size. My Pct and Te Araroa packs were both 50-55l volume main bag packs, great for long stretches. I was planning on the 52l from Joe, but then noticed on zpacks website that 13l of the pack are actually the outside pockets, so the main bag is really 39, or 47 for the bigger one. Hoping this larger pack will serve me for four season use. How much do you think it can be sized down with the compression straps?

    I also ordered the belt pouches…do you still dislike yours? Any more thoughts on the lumbar pad?

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers, Roland


    • Stick says:


      To be honest, I have not really tried to compress it down… I guess I have rolled the top lid down, but I never really mess with side compression straps and what not. I actually prefer to try and let the pack be filled as much as possible, which usually means letting my bag and down clothes loft up inside the pack as I eat the food and stuff…

      As for the belt pouches, I just didn’t find the pouches with a buckle to be very easy for me to use, and I actually sold mine. Joe did send me some of the same pouches, but he used a velcro strip to secure it closed. I have used these a couple of times, and they are indeed much easier to use, which makes me like the pouch a bit better, but I still think that I prefer a regular zippered hip belt pocket… but to be fair, they may work just fine for you.

      I still love the lumbar pad…

      Anyway, I hope that you enjoy your new pack! Thanks for stopping by!



  2. Rudy says:

    You have previously mentioned that the 60L Arc Blast is really large. If you had to buy the same backpack again, would you choose the 60L again or downsize to the 52L?



    • Stick says:


      Absolutely, I would buy the same one again. As I mentioned in some of my first posts about the pack, I bought this pack to replace my ULA Circuit. I wanted this pack to be large enough for all of my winter stuff, as well as some of my wife or son’s stuff for the (rare) occasions that they come with me. For those somewhat smaller (winter) loads, I can easily just let my bag and extra down clothing loft up to fill space in order to fill the bag (although, the pack can be compressed down too, but I prefer to try and keep the pack expanded rather than compressed down…) As well, their is only a 0.5 oz difference in weights between a 52L and the 60L pack.

      I will say that if I were using this as my only pack, and especially if I were using it for a thru, I would likely go with the 52L. Maybe even the 45L for an AT thru since there are so many towns to resupply… But, at this point I have no plans to thru, so that is not an issue for me…



    • Rudy R. says:

      Thanks for the reply. I’m looking at replacing my Gregory Baltoro 75L with the Zpacks Arc Blast.

      On a side note, you mentioned devoting your extra money towards guns and not backpacking. You can do both. I own a Ruger 22/45 Lite and it makes a wonderful pack firearm. I’ve plucked a few squirrels with it.


    • Stick says:


      Unfortunately, I am not combining the 2 “hobbies”… (at this point) I still have no plans to carry while backpacking… But, it certainly is costing a bit of money to shoot… 45 acp rounds aren’t cheap, and especially when I am shooting as many as 500 – 600 a month… which is why I am saving for a reloader… 🙂

      Anyway, I hope that you enjoy your Arc Blast as much as I, and many others, have so far… 🙂

      Happy hiking!



  3. Dan says:

    You briefly mention your down pants leaking feathers…is the leakage bad enough that you would change your material choice? I ordered a similar pair with the 10d gray and black material.


    • Stick says:


      My down pants weighed 6.2 oz when I got them about a year an a half ago. I used them for the 2012/2013 winter, and have been using them for the 2013/2014 winter. They now weigh 6.1 oz. So, this means that they are at the very most, 0.1 oz lighter than when I got them, and I can only assume that this is likely due to the lost down.

      If I could do it over, I would probably just go with the all black 10D (Nobul 2) as it is a bit more down proof than the gray, and only weighs about 0.9 oz/sqyd more. I feel like the down that is coming out of my pants are coming out through the gray material rather than the black.

      Saying that, I don’t think that they are loosing so much down that I will have any issues with them for a long while… I had mine stuffed with 3.5 oz of down (which may have actually been a little more than I needed to begin with). So, if I loose 0.1 oz from every 2 years of use, I should get plenty of life out of them! Honestly, I will likely change them out in favor of some new material that hasn’t come out yet rather than because they aren’t working anymore…

      Hope this helps some!



  4. geartoonblog says:

    the umbrella and the goosefeet gear pillow were objects of my envy. I gotta haz one now.


Leave Your Comment Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.