Contact Me

**As of October 26, 2014, I am no longer accepting any items for review.**

“GUEST POST’S”

This is my personal blog, very similar to a personal journal, which I choose to share with others. However, due to this very reason, I do not accept “guest posts” on my blog. Nothing against anyone, but this is my story…

REVIEWING GEAR FOR YOUR COMPANY

As noted above I AM NOT ACCEPTING ANY SORT OF GEAR FOR ANY PURPOSE. As well, I am not in the position to help promote content, such as for Kickstarter, or any other sort. Nothing against you or your gear, I just don’t have the time.

A little about me, my perspective, and the content of my blog:

I mainly hike in the Southeast US, but have been lucky enough to spend a brief amount of time (7 days) hiking in the PNW as well. I prefer to venture out on hikes lasting 3 – 5 days long, rather than single day hikes, but, I will take what I can get. My preferred backpacking styles are that of “UltraLight” to “Lightweight” backpacking, however, come summer time, I will also log a couple “Super UltraLight” weight backpacking trips as well. (So, keep in mind that my perspective is presented  from a “UL” stance.)

Please keep in mind, I am not a professional hiker, backpacker, or writer; my blog & YouTube channel is a hobby, as opposed to a full-time job (although, at times, I do dedicate full-time hours to the site). I operate this blog on my free time and the content within this blog is drawn from the times I am able to get out and hike and/or use the gear. The gear reviews that I have writen are based on my own opinions, which were formed from my personal experience with the gear, and how the items worked for me; both on their own, and along with the rest of my kit (as a “system”).

Simply put, each piece of gear will either work for me, or it won’t. In any review I have posted, I have stated one or the other, regardless if the reviewed gear was provided to me free of charge, or was an item that I dropped my own, hard-earned money on. However, I will be sure to include the reasons why it did or didn’t work for me since I realize that sometimes certain items may not meet my own needs, but may meet the next person’s needs just right. So, if an item shines I will declare it, if it fails, I will state that too…

Getting the word out…

There are a number of people who subscribe and follow my blog, as well as my YouTube channel. All of my entries are shared via my blogs FaceBook Page, Twitter, Google+, and of course on my YouTube channel if there is a video (and to some degree, even a few other media networking methods). Also, my blog is listed on numerous other blogs/sites on the web, so my articles are easily spread around.

If you are interested in me “reviewing” your gear:

As stated above, I am no longer accepting, or reviewing, ANY gear.

Thanks for your time!

~Stick~

Updated: July 10, 2015
Updated: October 26, 2014
Updated: July 5, 2014

186 Responses to Contact Me

  1. Hey Chad. I discovered that I live about 20 minutes from the ZPacks factory. So, I contacted them and let them know that after watching your youtube video I wanted to try on a pack. I met there with Matt today and decided that I am going to got with a ZPacks pack. Here is my question: Taking the cost difference totally out of the equation, if you had to choose between the Arc Haul and the Arc Blast, which would you choose for the hiking that you do. From what I can gather: Arc Haul is 3 oz heavier, a bit bigger and more durable. The Arc Blast is lighter but smaller and less durable. I’m really stuck trying to decide.

    Thanks,
    Tony

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tony,

      That is awesome that you live so close to Zpacks! Should make it easy to be able to stop on in and put your hands on what you need and then make decisions… that’s awesome!

      As for your question, me personally, I would like to have them both. What would be the deciding factor for me as to which pack I would carry would mostly result in whether or not I was carrying a bear canister (and maybe even when). More than likely, if I were carrying a bear can, I would just go with the Haul. It could be a little large for that (say in warmer months when I would need less other gear), but I would rather to not have to cram a can in a pack super tight. If I weren’t carrying a bear can, the Blast would be all that I would need on all of my trips except for those in the summer. (For those trips I use my Zero packs).

      The weight is a factor, being that the Haul is about a quarter of a pound heavier, but like I said, if I am going to need a bear can, well that’s extra weight too… The durability isn’t something I am too concerned with on these packs. After using my older Arc Blast for a few years I was really happy with how well the cuben hybrid material was holding up. Honestly, if I could get the Haul in the cuben hybrid material, that would have been my choice…

      Hope that helps you some, and enjoy living so close to an awesome company!

      Happy hiking,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. Brenden Woolley says:

    Hi Chad,

    Brenden from Australia here. Love watching your videos man, a bit long sometimes but lots of detail which appeals to me. I watched one of your recent hiking trip videos where you decided you were not going to be doing hammock camping anymore – you got wet and no sleep. So what is your go to shelter/tent these days. Is it the Hexamid Solo plus tarp still? I am thinking of buying a Zpacks Hexamid Solo Plus tent or tarp and as I know you have owned both wanted to know if you still think the tarp is your preferred option. I know you were not confident in the mesh floor of the tent version, but all long term reports say the mesh is good over many years of use. Would you go back to using a the tent version with the mesh floor given it is proven to hold up to lots of wear and tear. I have the Hexamid Pocket tarp (0.34oz – white) and it is sweet, no beak, no floor. But I am sick of having to fluff around with inner bug nets which are restrictive and fiddley. I would prefer the simplicity and room afforded by the sewn in mesh floor of the hexamid solo plus tent floor. P.S. I am 6’0″ 170 lb so slightly taller than you.

    Hey I want to do the JMT thru hike too. I will be watching your prep videos intently.
    Thanks
    Brenden Woolley

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Brenden,

      Glad to hear that you enjoy my videos… even if they are a bit long at times… I do agree with you on that, but I want to make sure I talk about all I can think about, and much of the time it is things that you may not exactly think of right off the bat, so I feel like it is warranted. My opinion anyway, lo!

      And yes, I am still in a Hexamid Solo Plus tarp and their Hexanet inner (which is no longer sold). As for the net floor on the Hexamid tents, I didn’t like them because they attracted dirt, sticks, leaves, water, and anything else on the ground. I also didn’t like that the netting was sewn to the very edge/perimeter of the tarp. I personally feel like it offers more protection from splatter and spray when it is inset a bit under the tarp, rather than right at the edge… My theory anyway…

      If I were getting a shelter from Zpacks today, it would be the Duplex. It is only about an oz more than what my set-up weighs now, but offers a bit more room. Plus, it has a solid cuben floor, not the netting. The Altiplex is the 1.5 person version, however, it is almost the same price as the Duplex, and only slightly lighter. The Solplex would be ok I guess, but it uses 2 trekking poles (as does the Duplex, although you get more out of the Duplex) and is a bit lighter than the Duplex. And I said though, my choice would be the Duplex. The only downfall for me about the “plex” line of tents is that they are single wall… after using my double wall set up for so long, I just like that aspect quite a bit… I like that I can set up either piece alone, or both as a single unit. Also that the inner keeps me away from the outer wall… Obviously you are looking to get away from that though.

      Anyway, hope that helps some, and good look on the JMT hike! I am nervous and excited about mine… I can’t wait for the moment I actually et foot on it… until then it just seems like a dream! lol

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Brenden Woolley says:

      Thanks Stick. Appreciate the advice.

      Like

  3. Michael says:

    Hi stick. I was directed to your site from BPL and your use with Montbell Down Jackets. I’m planning to do a AT Thru hike next year but currently stuck on which down jacket to get. I decided it will be one of the Montbells ones. Which would serve best on the AT (Plasma 1000 Jacket, 1000 Parka, EX Light, or Superior)? Unless you recommend something else. Note: I do have a EE hoodlum that I can take if you recommend a hoodless jacket or I could even leave it behind if you recommend one with a hood.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      I have used several of the Montbell jackets, and have always been a fan of them. If I decided to buy another commercially available down jacket, it would be from Montbell. As far as which one to use, I have most like the Ex Light series. Low weight, and a reasonable price, but mostly I liked the material. It is very down proof. The older UL Down series I used leaked down a bit more, which was a bummer.

      However, saying all of that, if I had too recommend one, I would recommend getting Ben from GooseFeet gear to build you a custom down jacket. They are priced in line with the Montbells, however, you get a custom fit jacket, with the features you want, the materials you want, and as much down as you want. This would be my suggestion. If you go to the GooseFeet Gear contact page there are several different ways to get in contact with Ben to discuss your jacket. I would say get in touch with him and talk with him about what you want, and then compare that to the other jackets you are looking at. But keep in mind, Ben makes the jacket based on the measurements you give him, not the standard S/M/L/XL, etc… found on store shelves!

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • James Granquist says:

      Looking for a good used zpack’s sleeping bag

      Like

    • Stick says:

      James,

      They often times come up for sale on the BPL Gear Swap. IIRC I noticed some recently on there…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. Jason Curlee says:

    Hello my name is Curlee I have followed your YT channel for years, I have always wanted to hike the smokies and I finally have a chance. I am planning to hike Fontana dam to clingmans dome. I will be solo is there a shuttle service that you use to get back to your vehicle?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jason,

      I don’t think I have ever used a shuttle service in the Smokies… I have always had others to shuttle cars. However, just doing a quick Google search, A Walk In The Woods comes up for shuttles in the area. Again, I have never used them, but it does seem that I have heard of them. I would suggest giving them a call and see what they offer… Hope this helps, and enjoy your hike! It’s a beautiful area! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Taylor says:

    Hey Stick, hope you don’t mind me asking a quick question. I’m not sure what the best way to contact you, so I’m trying here. Let me start by saying that I appreciate all that you do. I have watched your YouTube videos and read blogs, review, posts and have learned a ton from you. I remember a long time ago watching a video of you doing a review of your gear and you kept mentioning “Zpacks” and I kept wondering what that was. (shows how newbie I was) I even remember someone making a comment to the effect of “do you work for Zpacks”…haha. Now I have almost everything they make…no kidding. You answer about every question in your reviews that I will ever have and that saves me so much time in research. You influence my purchase decisions a good bit. I trust your judgement. You have helped guide me to some great company’s (all the ones you have posted below on your blog). In the past couple of years I’ve gotten into hiking and it has turned into something I can do with my 2 sons. I was heavy into triathlons but gotten heavy into hiking/camping as it can involve my boys more.

    ***Question (this will sound so lame) but my simple question is: what gaiters do you recommend for everyday wear, not for bad weather, etc (to keep debris out of shoes)? I have never used any but me and my boys keep saying we need to get some. I think I’ve see that you have used “dirty-girl” gaiters and also the MLD gaiters. You have probably used a whole lot more.

    Do the “eVent” gaiters cause you to feel to hot and/or sweat under them while wearing for everyday use? (not in inclement weather).

    It would be smart to get “one set of gaiters to rule them all” like getting the eVent gaiters to wear everyday and also used in inclement weather but I’m afraid they will feel hot and sweaty when using everyday.

    P.S. I grew up in NE Mississippi but moved when I joined the Army. Hearing you reminds me of home…haha.

    Also I’m planning on doing the JMT (as I think you are planning that as well) with my 2 boys (ages 9 & 13) this Sep 2017 (about 70 miles). I luckily got selected in the lottery. Based on your comments, I bought a Duplex for me and my oldest son awhile back in preparation for this hike and now I don’t want to leave my youngest son behind so I’m having to switch gears on shelter. So I bought a Hexamid solo + with innernet to go with the Duplex for us 3. But now have decided that I would rather us all sleep together for the “togetherness” of it all. I contemplated the Triplex but it would be tight (I like the large size XTherm). Finally decided on trying the Dyneema MLD Supermid (long story). Wow, so many decisions. We live in SC now and do mostly hammock camping. We have finally gotten that all tuned in and now are having to switch gears to get prepared for the High Sierras and use tents. I have all sorts of heavy gear and Army gear, but have been trying to get light because I carry most of their gear so it doesn’t hurt their back. (want to keep them to the recommended pack weight per their own weight percentage), hence discovering cuben/dyneema, titanium, down, etc.

    I have gone from “not having a clue” to doing a couple of successful longs hikes with my boys. We did the 70 mile Foothills Trail this past summer. I think that you have done this trail as well, but can’t remember if that was you or Joe from Zpacks that did Foothills Trail (SC & NC trail).

    Sorry, didn’t mean to type that much for the one silly questions, but mainly wanted to say a BIG “THANK YOU” for all you do and help with.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Taylor,

      This is as good a place as any to contact me! 🙂

      I am glad to hear that over time you have enjoyed my videos and posts, and that it helped you along the way too. Same as back then, I still don’t work for Zpacks (although it would be pretty cool), but I have given them a lot of my money! Heck, I just published a post on the 6th backpack I have bought from them! 🙂

      As for gaiters, the Dirty Girls are very popular for good reason. They are light weight, work well, relatively inexpensive and they have a ton of cool designs to choose from! I have a single pair that I will wear if I am not wearing my taller MLD Light Snow Gaiters. I have used some heavier OR Rocky Mountain Tall gaiters and some shorter ID eVENT gaiters. They were both ok, but I personally prefer the MLD and the Dirty Girls to those others. The MLD for cooler weather, and/or when in snow, and the Dirty Girls for warmer weather.

      As for feeling clammy, I don’t have that problem personally. If I do wear the MLD tall gaiters in warmer weather, I will leave the tops a little loose so air can somewhat move around inside them. It doesn’t do this well, but it doesn’t hurt either. Saying that, I don’t generally find that my legs are as much of an issue as being hot and sweaty as my upper body can, so I don’t really notice all that much. And honestly, I don’t have any real issues with wearing the MLD gaiters year round… it really depends on what else I am wearing for a given hike.

      That’s interesting that you used to live in MS. Every once in a while I get some comments from folks near me, so that is always cool. That is interesting that you are a triathlete… My current focus is getting back on track for just getting more fit and living a healthier lifestyle. Essentially just getting more gym time, or active time, and eating cleaner and of course portion control! I guess this includes beer too… I do enjoy a good craft beer… lol!

      It’s great to hear that you are getting your son’s out there with you. I enjoy taking my kids out (although, mostly it’s just my son… my daughter isn’t into it as much as I am!) and showing them that there is so much more out there than just MS! I am very excited about my son and I hiking the JMT next year and just hope that everything falls in place for that to happen! I think it will be a trip that neither of us will forget, and being that we will hike it together, that will just make it more special… 🙂

      Anyway, that is great that y’all will be heading out to do a portion of the JMT this year too. I am sure that will be a trip to remember! And I completely understand what you mean about getting them set up with a good kit for the trail. I have purchased a lot of new gear this year for my son, and it has been a bit expensive… However, we will each be carrying our own complete set-up, and will each be completely independent, so I wanted him to have lightweight, but quality everything. He is even carrying his own bear canister and all his food! At this point, it looks like both of our base pack weights will be between 13 – 14 lbs, and with our longest food stretch (only 5.5 days), water and fuel, we will be around 26 or so lbs total starting out.

      Anyway, thanks again for the kind words, and glad that I was of some help to you. Good luck and enjoy your hike!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. Jon Skiles says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the time and effort you have put into sharing your hiking and gear experiences. I have benefitted from it. Most recently I pulled the trigger on getting a Caldera Sidewinder with the Inferno setup. So…just a simple “thank you.”

    Like

  7. Bryan stringfield says:

    Hey stick! I’m a long time YouTube follower and was hoping to pick your brain. I just got a zpacks hexamid solo plus tent and I’m having trouble setting it up. My pole is the right length and so are my guy lines. But when I pitch it I can’t zip my door closed and it’s hard to get the tent taut. The edges of the tent look like a caternary cut tarp and can’t get them to pull straight. I know it’s cause the tent is up too high cause it floats almost a foot along the edges but if my pole is 52 inches then I’m not sure what else to adjust.

    Ps I saw you wear a Tennessee tristar shirt. What part of Tennessee are you from? I’m right outside Nashville.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Bryan,

      You may have already watched it, but here is a post with a video of me setting up my Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp. There is not really any difference in setting the tarp up vs setting the tent up, however, with the tent you will need to make sure you put the tip of the trekking pole on the little piece of fabric sewn to the mesh floor.

      https://sticksblog.com/2013/06/10/setting-up-my-zpacks-hexamid-solo-plus-tarp/

      Also, if I remember correctly (from when I had the tent version), if I had a hard time zipping the zipper it was usually because the tent was pulled to far backwards, and I needed to pull it towards the front more to create more slack in the netting. This is easily achieved by simply moving the rear stake towards the front a couple more inches, and then pulling it tight again with the front guyline and restaking it. After this, make sure the zipper can zip correctly, and then make any other necessary adjustments to the remaining side stakes.

      As for length of the pole, my BD pole extends out to 51 3/4″ in length, which always works perfect for me. However, if the ground is soft, or the tip begins to sink into the ground, I will use a small rock under the tip to keep it the same height, or depending on the rock, maybe even just a little higher. If it’s raining, I don’t mind if it sinks a little as that allows the tarp to lower and provide a little more protection from the elements. This does require small adjustments to the guy lines though…

      Speaking of guy lines, the angle of the guy line coming off the tarp is important too. The guy line needs to create equal tension along both edges of that guy line. The easy way to make sure that the guy line is pulled in the correct direction is to simply go by the material on the tent. The guy lines are found on the corners, so follow the point that the corner forms and stake the guy line there. (If that makes sense.) By placing the guy lines where they are supposed to be though will create a even, and symmetrical pitch because each point will then create the correct amount of tension along the long edges of the tarp/tent. (If any of that makes sense.. lol!)

      This tarp/tent does ride high around all edges. I think Zpacks recommends something like 6-8″. This allows for exceptional airflow though, and in my experience over the last 5 or so years, this works very well and when I do have condensation build up, it is very minimal. It handles condensation better than with any other tarp or tent I have used.

      I will also add that I prefer to use a little longer guy line on the front than what they suggest. It’s just a personal preference though… I didn’t like how straight down the front guy line was and wanted to be able to pull that guy line out just a little more…. but again, that is me, and now Zpacks recommendation.

      I know this likely doesn’t help you much with figuring out how to get yours up correct. The best that I can tell you on that is to keep setting it up over and over again. Also, to learn the ins and outs, I would suggest making sure that the ground is completely flat (if there are slopes, it can make setting this style tarp up – especially in cuben – a bit tough, so it’s good to know how to set it up correctly to begin with so you can accommodate for uneven ground later.) Also make sure the pole is centered and not offset. The tip may kick out just a little towards the front, but it should be straight up on the sides (not leaning left or right). If the pole does lean left or right, make sure the tip is planted in the center of the tent and make adjustments to the guy lines to straighten the pole back up.

      If you still can’t get it right after several tries, maybe make a short video, of you setting it up, and then a walk around showing what is wrong, and send it to Zpacks and see what they say… If you sent it to me I would be happy to watch it and if there are any suggestions I can make I would also be happy to do so…

      Oh, and as for the shirt, I don’t own a shirt like you described… Also, I am from NE Mississippi, so not far from you. Maybe it was my buddy Benny that was wearing one? I can’t recall, but he is from the Knoxville area.

      Good luck and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Heynonny says:

    11.9 oz., plus about 0.6 for the stuff sack or 12.5 against the comparable 9.0 (published spec) for the zpacks.

    Most of that difference is the cuben but maybe close to an ounce is Joe’s more efficient overall design and minimizing fabric. 3F UL Gear uses basically uses one sheet of nylon for the floor and there is some “wasted” fabric. The attachment point loops are all larger and heavier than needed and the zipper looks weightier. But in aggregate most of that gives it a “sturdier” look and feel. I have used the net for two trips, including one hellacious night of pounding rain in the NH White Mountains. Not a drop of water splash, which was frequently an issue with my old zpacks (but again Joe’s later version of this had the higher bathtub floor all around). My long term experience with cuben vs. nylon is I’m going to get a longer life without abrasion wear holes and shredding. But I would gladly trade durability to get an ounce or two back.

    I trimmed off a couple of attachment/pullout points from the netting I had no need for, replaced the main cord and two provided small loop cords with lighter weight cord. But I added a pole cup. I think all of that wound up with a net savings of about 0.6 oz.

    Like

  9. Heynonny says:

    Re: the packs hexanet no longer being offered

    I was disappointed too. I had bought the separate hex tarp and hexanet several years ago. I like almost cowboy camping (net only) when possible. I replaced the tarp (with the larger Plus size) when it gave out and THEN, when the net portion too reached the end of life, discovered I was stuck with a nice new tarp and no matching undernet.

    So, much as I didn’t want to do it, I bought the Chinese 3F UL Gear version of the hexanet. for about $45. It’s better in most respects, though its use of silnylon makes it a little heavier than the packs cuben fiber. Hate to say it because I love Joe’s gear and will continue to be a customer, but this version of the hexanet is larger, sturdier, drier, easier to pitch. The zippers don’t foul every few trips like my original. Now Joe may in fact have made some of these same improvements in the hexanet since my original purchase years ago; I’ll never know. Pictures of the current zpacks hexanet before it went off the market show the same higher bathtub floor, for example, that the Chinese version has.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Yeah, I was bummed to hear that he had taken them down again some time ago. In my humble opinion, I love the idea of the tarp and inner, for the same reasons as you… It provides options, and it works well. Well, it sounds like yours didn’t work out as long as you had hoped… bummer to hear that. I did not own the first gen inner net, but have a buddy who does. In comparison to the version I have, I gotta say, I like mine much better… Particularly for the high bathtub floors, but also because I can stake the corners down. I am not a huge fan of the floating floors… I will say, if mine had a rainbow zip rather than an L zip, I would love it even more… Anyway, I know that others have reported using the net tent from Six Moon Designs with the Hexamid tarps with good results, and I figure maybe even the MLD inners… I know that Bearpaw will build custom inners to match the Hexamid (and other tarps), which I believe is now our best option, at least for the option of cuben, and likely the best fit too… Anyway, I am hoping that they end up putting them back up as I really do feel that they are a worthwhile addition. Maybe if enough folks keep messaging them and asking for them… Haha…

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by. And if you wouldn’t mind, would you share the link to the inner you bought?

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. finbat82@gmail.com says:

    Hi Sticks

    My new Hexamid Solo plus trap is waiting to be shipped from Z Packs but I am wanting a Hexanet
    Any to go with it but they will not make me one. Would you have the floor plan dimensions so I know how much material to order with the tarp?

    Cheers
    FB

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hi,

      Congrats on the new tarp. That is a bummer to hear that the Hexanets are no longer being made. I really enjoy mine and know now that I need to hang onto it good… As for tracking one down, there was recently a solo version Hexanet for sale on the gear swap thread over at BPL, however, it is sold now. If you wanted to try to DIY one, I would suggest buying the appropriate size ground sheet from ZPacks and then attacking the bug netting. You could also try the Sea to Summit Mosquito Pyramid Net Shelter (HERE). You could also try the Serinity NetTent from Six Moon Designs. It seems like I have read threads where others used this net tent under the Hexamids with some success, although, I could be wrong…

      I can’t really tell you how much netting material to buy, but if you haven’t, you may could ask the guys at ZPacks if they can let sell you the pieces and you just do it yourself… Never hurts to ask…

      Good luck, and hope you enjoy your new set up!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  11. CJ says:

    Hey man.. Just wanted to drop a note and say thanks for your blog. I stumbled onto it while skimming through YouTube for videos about hammock stuff. I think I’m at the point you were at when you started this blog in that I’m itching to get going, but trying to figure out where and how to start. Up until now I’ve only done ‘car camping’, but have recently discovered the remote areas of the N GA Mountains. Also like you, I’m having to work around family commitments to be able to find time to get out into the woods. I’m hoping to do my first overnight on the AT this summer and I’m spending as much time as possible figuring out how to prepare (OCD).

    Thanks again for taking the time to post so much over the past few years. Maybe I’ll bump into you on the trail someday.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      CJ,

      Great to hear from you, and glad to hear that you have found the content of my site enjoyable and useful to you! And welcome to the world of backpacking! Hope you are able to get everything you need to have a great first overnight hike on the AT! If you have any questions or anything, feel free to shoot me a message or leave a comment and I will do my best to help you out.

      Happy Hiking,

      ~Stick~

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  12. Hatcher says:

    I read you blog about hiking the Roan Highlands and loved it. I’ve been looking into doing basically the same hike this summer with some friends. I haven’t been able to find much on water availability on the trail though. I was wondering if you could shed some light on that?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hatcher,

      I don’t recall there being a ton of water up near the balds, but it has been a while… I would suggest picking up the little MapDana Elevation Profile Maps (available from Antigravity Gear, among others) or AWOL’s AT Guide (available on his site, as well as Amazon I believe). These are usually pretty good about noting the locations that water can usually be found. Also, just before your hike, I would suggest to post on WhiteBlaze and ask about the section. There are lots of folks on that site that can comment about up to date conditions.

      Hope this helps, and enjoy your hike! It’s a pretty section!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  13. Hi Stick, I like you blog, and appreciate your videos on YouTube. I have not hiked in years but would like to get back into hiking. I like ZPACKS Cuben Fiber tents such as SoPlex and AltaPlex but being newly retired, they are a bit more than I can really afford. I.was hoping to get your opinion on ZeroGram;s (Zero 1 Tent)?, The Zero 1 Tent uses trekking poles for set up ? I realize that you probably have not used this tent but from the looks of it, do you think it would hold up in wind and rain on a wilderness trail if stuck in heavy rain storm? I imagine condensation rolling off the walls may be a problem if everything is buttoned up tight while sleeping in a rain storm. The ZeroGram Company states on their website that the (Zero 1 Tent) weighs approximately 22.25 ounces or 1.4 pounds, and it is made of Silnylon. My biggest issue is that I am 6′ 2” tall and when stretched out would only have about 2 inches left in the length of tent likely the end of my sleeping bag would get wet from condensation.. Besides that issue, the tent has a pup tent style front door with outside storage for pack and shoes, and a small side door too for optional entry into the tent. The side door would be my other concern if it leaked during a heavy rain storm which may lead to a cold miserable night for the occupant. ZeroGram company has a nice video of the {Zero 1 Tent) on YouTube but I have not been able to find any other reviews on internet. In your opinion, would you spend the money on this tent or keep on looking? Thanks. Tom Culton, Lakewood, California.. 12/30/2015. P.S Happy New Year..

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tom,

      Sorry for the late reply… As for your question, you are correct, I have not used, nor seen this tent before. To be honest, I had not even heard of it. Considering this, I can’t give an honest suggestion about it… However, I will say, that for the same amount of money, and considering silnylon, I would look at some of the TarpTent offerings. The ProTrail is similar to this particular tent, around the same price, and is from a very reputable backpacking company. As well, these are also made in the US…

      Anyway, sorry I didn’t get back to you very quick. If you haven’t already, I hope this has helped you some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  14. Scott says:

    Sticks, I’m fairly new to backpacking and have questions about shelters and don’t want to ask someone that might be swayed by companies sending them gear. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and follow you on YouTube and your blog and have watched most of your reviews. What I’m wondering is what is you favorite shelter & why? And your pros and cons of the Yuma vs. Zpacks hexamid? I’ve had a free standing rei tent (great but heavy), tarp tent contrail (like the concept but didn’t like the 1 person or how it sloped toward the feet) and currently have zpacks triplex (like it but pricey and need big sites to pitch).

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Scott,

      Sorry for the loooooong delay… You may have the questions answered already, but I will offer my two cents anyway… 🙂

      Keeping in mind, I have not had many shelters to try, and my backpacking experience has been a bit limited as far as region is concerned, but if I HAD to choose 1, I would go with my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp and Hexanet. Of all the shelters I have tried, it suits my particular needs the best. It’s lightweight, enough room for me and my gear (all inside), easy to set up, and I have options as to how I want to set it up: Hexanet only, tarp only, or both. Of course too, if I opted, I could leave the Hexanet behind and just carry the tarp for around a 10 oz weight savings (counting extra stakes too). Saying all of this, I given the option, I would swap my older style tarp out with the newer style tarp. I like the doors better on the newer one…

      As for the YMG Cirriform, it was an awesome tent, and the only fault I could find was that I prefer side entry to front entry. Otherwise, in all honesty, the YMG tent was aesthetically more appealing in that the craftsmanship was flawless. Not that the ZPacks is bad, but it isn’t near as pretty as the construction of the YMG. I believe that the YMG would offer a bit more protection from heavily blown rain. It was easy to set up, and had even more room inside as far as length and width, but less head room (the downfall of most 1 person front entry shelters…) I really regretted letting it go…

      If you liked the Contrail except for the fact that the foot end sloped downwards (a bit much, I agree), then maybe check out the ProTrail, the Contrail’s replacement. Or if you didn’t mind spending a little more money, the YMG would be a nice choice.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Mike H says:

    Merry Christmas Stick, Enjoyed reading your blog over the years

    Like

  16. Cheri says:

    Hey Stick,
    I am looking at a thru hike of the AT in 2017. Can you recommend a tent to take along? Can you maybe recommend one as if money was no object then one or two for those who have a realistic budget? It would be for one person. Weight is a bigger issue, due to age and injury I need to keep my pack weight down. Am willing to budget in a Zpacks (or other manufacturer) type tent if recommended but not even sure which you would take along on a 6 month hike. But sure would like to spend less if possible. Also, I have seen “whats in your ditty bag” but wonder if your first aid kit differs if you are on a thru hike compared to a shorter duration hike.

    I am thankful for your willingness to share your knowledge and have enjoyed your down to earth videos.

    Cheri

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Cheri,

      If money were no option, and I were looking for a tent for an AT thru for myself, at the moment, my money would go to the ZPacks Duplex. It’s a solid tent that weighs 20 oz (+ stakes), set’s up all at once, and is spacious (actually a 2 person tent). This would allow you to have plenty of protected living space in which to somewhat spread out and sit out those rainy days/ nights (which is frequent on the AT).

      If I were to lean towards a more traditional tent, I would likely look at the BA Fly Creek. It’s light, but not exactly roomy (unless your a little person) and while it’s not truly “free-standing” it is pretty close (the back to corners require staking out to make full use of the interior space). The BA Seed House is another option, although, it’s a little heavier, but also a little lighter. REI makes a lightweight tent too that got a lot of talk when it came out, but I can’t say much about it.

      Another option is to go with a tarp, or a tarp and an inner (such as my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp & Hexanet). With stakes and all mine is around 19 or 20 oz total. This is a nice option as it allows me to set up one or the other, or both. The trade off is that there is a little more fiddle to get it all set-up (but to be fair, it’s not hard either, and after doing so a few times, it’s like clock work).

      Or you can opt for a flat tarp. This is light and highly versatile (as opposed to a shaped tarp like my Hexamid which can only be set up one way).

      As for materials, I love cuben, but it is costly, at least more so than other materials such as silnylon. If you wanted to go with a sil shelter though, I highly recommend checking out TarpTents. The weight is only slightly more, but the price’s can be quite a bit less. Some that I would suggest looking at in particular are the Moment (34 oz/$295), the Notch (27 oz/$285), the Rainbow (34 oz/$259) or the ProTrail (26 oz/$209). I would also suggest to either pay an extra $20 and let them seam seal it, or do it yourself (I can’t stand seam sealing tents…)

      Of course, there are so many tent options out there, and it’s hard to recommend one. In reality, today there are a number of “lightweight” options to choose from. I personally wouldn’t want to go with anything that weighs more than 2.5 lbs for a single person shelter, and would really prefer to stay around 2 lbs, but that is just me. Being that your hike isn’t till 2017, you have plenty of time, so you can wait out for sales if going with a more traditional tent (especially at big box stores like REI, Backcountry, Camp Saver, etc… The cottage shops also have sales around big holidays too, but not all of them.) With this in mind, I would suggest sitting down and thinking about what you need/want out of the tent. How much room do you need (keep in mind, if you use a thick air pad, it can really eat up room at the head/foot area), any sort of features you want in particular (pockets, zippers, free standing, trekking pole set-up, etc…) and weight. I would put costs last, especially since you have plenty of time to save up. Sure, $600 is expensive for a tent, but if you are going to be living out of it for 6 months, AND carrying it on your back, the right tent can easily be worth more than $600 when it comes to using it!

      As for my ditty bag, I do have an updated video/write up of mine, but in reality, it varies from hike to hike. To be fair though, it is mostly the same most of the time. The only time it really changes is if I am going SUL and I cut out some of the things I wouldn’t use for sure. My suggestion here is to take only what you will need! If you don’t know how to use it, don’t pack it.

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by, and hope this helps some. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  17. Dave Snyder says:

    Stick,
    Thank you for your help. I ended up adding the adjustable torso hight in medium option. I should have no problem getting a proper fit now. The hard part is now the six to eight week wait.

    Happy Trails
    Dave aka “Miles2Go”

    Like

  18. Dave Snyder says:

    Stick,

    I want to buy the Arc Blast backpack but I need help with picking the torso hight. I currently use the Granite Gear Blaze 60 backpack. I did what Zpacks web site said to do and measured off of my pack. From the bottom of the Blaze hip belt (it is 4.25″ wide) to the top of my shoulders I get 21″. Now do I go with the 21″ torso or do I need to factor in the 2.5″ recommend arc on the Arc Blast backpack. I don’t mind if the shoulder straps wrap slightly over my shoulders.I have been emailing Matt at Zpacks with the same question but I’ve not sure he understands my question. Any help or insight on getting the correct fit for the Arc Blast would be appreciated.

    Sincerely
    Dave Snyder

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dave,

      To be honest, I haven’t looked at how they measure their packs in a while, but I will say that I don’t believe you should figure in the extra 2.5″ for the Arc in your total figure. While the pack does indeed Arc out, that is not where your back will rest, instead it will rest against the mesh trampoline back panel, which is straight. Also, the amount of Arc can vary, which is another reason that number should not be figured into your torso height.

      Hope this makes sense and helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  19. Erik says:

    Hey Chad! I’ve been a follower of your site for a while now and have learned quite of bit from your posts and the links you’ve provided…thanks! I was just wondering if you were in the Linville Gorge NC over the past weekend? I could have sworn I heard you walking past my campsite although it was early and there was no way I was jumping out of my shelter and running to catch up 🙂 If it was, I’d really enjoy ( and I’m sure others as well) reading your take on the area. If it wasn’t you, well then I guess I’m just hearing things. Anyways, enjoy the trails!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Erik,

      That’s funny… and as much as I wish I could say it was me, it wasn’t… I have never been to the Linville Gorge, but if I remember right, isn’t it a popular hammock hangout?

      And yeah… I have been peening to get out for a hike… I haven’t been since April and it’s tearing me up! I have a good hike coming up in July, but it still seems forever away… Dang work getting in the way…

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and happy hiking! Maybe we will run into each other one day…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  20. Jennifer says:

    Hi Stick! I’ve been following you for quite some time, although I am a lurker. One question that you can hopefully help me out with…..do you have a gear list for two? I love using your gear list as a template and reference for myself. I can find a ton of info for one but my husband has an interest in going with me and I don’t know about shelter and cook system that is efficient for two. Thanks!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jennifer,

      I have done a few hikes with either my wife or my son, however, I usually just load their packs with things they will use. I carry all else, or shared items.

      As for shelters for 2, I have used a Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo, my (older) ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus TENT, an 8 x 10 Flat Tarp, and my MLD Duomid. No terrible stories to tell of any of them, but here are some general thoughts.

      The Lunar Duo is a palace, and reasonable weight, but I hated the floating floor. Too many times we woke up and found the floor slid and was afraid that eventually the mesh that connected the floor to the canopy would rip off. I sold it.

      The Hexamid TENT is actually a 1+ person tent (to be fair, it is not a 2 person tent). My wife and I was a little close (ok by me) but I wouldn’t want us both to be in it in a storm. I wouldn’t recommend the Solo Plus for 2 people.

      My son and I used the flat tarp in some light – moderate rain and was actually pretty comfortable in it. Flat tarps are great in that they can be made to adapt to so many different situations, however, there is a bit of a learning curve, and there is no mesh to separate you from bugs. Some folks don’t like that fact…

      My son and I used the MLD Duomid (tarp only, no inner) and it worked, but I don’t like it for 2. The person in the back has to crawl over the person in the front (which can be messy in less than ideal conditions) and the person in the front or their gear will get wet if the door is opened due to the design.

      Both my children have used the BA Copper Spur UL2 an it works great for them. It is a nice tent, but it’s not the lightest…

      There are of course many 2 person tents on the market for reasonable weight (3.5 lbs or less). As you may imagine though, they can be tight (which I don’t find to be a problem if I am using it with my wife or son), so if you are looking for a roomy tent for 2, then I suggest looking at 3 person tents (although, this will increase weight…)

      Big Agnes makes some great lightweight traditional style tents. For some really great weight to size to cost ratio, I suggest looking at the offerings from TarpTent. They even have a few double wall set-ups.

      For me, for 2, I will be purchasing a ZPacks Duplex tent. For me, this is a very lightweight (20 oz + stakes) 2 person tent (about the same amount of room as most other 2 person tents). It is a single wall shelter (which I am fine with), and it offers 2 doors and 2 full vestibules. But, it’s not a freestanding shelter (I am fine with this too…), and it’s not the cheapest option ($600)…

      Lots of options out there… Do you have any particular shelter that you are interested in?

      As for cook kits, my favorite 2+ person cook kit is my 1.3L Evernew Cook Pot with the Trail Designs Sidewinder Cone. I have used this set-up with alcohol, Esbit, and even wood fire, so lots of options here. Also, 1.3L has been enough capacity to cook basic meals in the pot for 2, and I have even used it to dry bake muffins for me and the kids on some hikes. It’s not the cheapest option (a little over $200 for everything), and in some places, all 3 of those fuel sources may be illegal… In this case though, I still recommend the pot for 2.

      I have also used the Jetboil MiniMo for my son and I. In my opinion, it works best for boiling water and adding to FBC meals. Even though it has a 1L capacity, that is a bit close for actually cooking in the pot for 2. Recently, I was able to make 1 box of Mac and Cheese in the pot, but it was very full… I had to divide it out for each of us before I could add the chicken because there just wasn’t enough room in the pot for it all…

      Another option is to use a simple canister stove and pair a good size pot (such as the 1.3L Evernew pot I keep talking about…) with it. I am not a huge fan of these canister stoves though as they can be finicky in the wind, and in these situations also be very fuel inefficient. I currently have a Snow Peak LiteMax and it’s just ok… I haven’t brought myself to actually carry it on a hike though…

      Anyway, I hope this helps some. If you have any more questions feel free to let me know and I will try my best to help!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  21. Bears12th says:

    Stick,

    Doing a small 4 day section hike up here in CT/MA in late May. Right now i have a Therma-rest Antares sleeping bag (liked it on my other section hike) but am thinking about pulling the plug on a quilt, perhaps the Katabatic Gear Palisade 30 or the ZPacks 30 degree quilt. Thinking quilt as I am a side sleeper and have found the hooded bags as a drag and would like to cut some pounds – starting the evil dash down the grams cutting path, uh oh. Probably purchase a down hood from ZPacks but then we are talking some serious coin for these things and as you know, these kids ain’t cheap too. What are your thoughts on quilts, perhaps these specifically if you have any experience with them, and the ZPacks hood if you have touched that as well. Is the over $500 bucks, in your opinion, worth the 32oz Antares trade for the 18oz Katabatic Long quilt/down hood combo or the over $400 bucks 17oz ZPacks Long quilt/hood combo? Also, when it comes to ZPacks bags, if you have experience with them, it says 6’1″ for the Long, I’m 6’1 1/2″ to almost 6’2″. What do you think. Go with a Long bag up to 6’1″ or push to the XLong 6’5″(leaning this way I think”. No worries if you haven’t touched these products and I haven’t searched your site all the way down yet to see, but thought I would try.

    Enjoying the posts recently and hope the new, warmer season greets you well. Can’t wait to get out hiking here in the Northeast! You ever going to hike around up here?

    Thanks,

    Bears12th

    Like

  22. Peter Knight says:

    Hi Chad,

    My name is Peter Knight, and I’ve been mountain walking for most of my life – veering towards lightweight backpacking as I get older. I’ve about to launch an outdoors product (my first), the Compass Caddy, which is a clip designed to hold a regular baseplate compass to the shaft of a walking pole. It’s designed to make looking at your compass as easy as looking at your wristwatch. You can find out more on my website, http://www.compasscaddy.com. We plan to launch via Kickstarter in April.

    I believe that the Compass Caddy is something that the readers of Stick’s Blog might be interested in (well, the lightweighters – perhaps not the hardcore UL crowd). I was hoping that you might consider writing either a “First Look” review or a longer blog post about it – or ideally, both.

    In return, I will of course supply several Compass Caddies when they are in production, either for your own use or to use as “give aways” on your blog. I can also do an interview now or in the future if that would help. I am also open to any ideas you might have by which I could help out your blog.

    I should say the purpose of the Kickstarter project is to raise funds for a Plastic Injection Mould. As such, no production examples of the Compass Caddy exist as yet. All of the prototypes have been produced by 3D printing. I would be very happy to mail you a prototype of the Compass Caddy for you to evaluate. In fact, I would really appreciate it if you would be prepared to give some informal feedback on the pre-production prototypes, whether or not you felt able to blog about my project.

    I have read and understood your guidance for gear reviews on your “Contact Me” page, and it’s all fine with me. I hope I have complied!

    Thanks for your attention, and I hope to hear from you.

    Best wishes,

    Peter Knight

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Peter,

      Thanks for the message, however, as I mentioned at the top of this page, I am not accepting items for review, for the time being anyway. I have a lot of things going on as it is, so I simply don’t have the time to take on new items for the purpose of a review. I am sorry I can’t be of any help, but I will leave your message up with your link for others to follow the link, unless you would prefer me to take it down. As well, once the Kickstarter is up, feel free to share the link and I will also share it on my blogs FaceBook page to help reach others that may be interested in it.

      Thanks again for thinking of me, and good luck with your project!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  23. HillbillyHanger says:

    Hi Stick,
    Really enjoy the videos. I’m a relative noob to hiking and camping. Reallly like to hammock camp, but I also do ground camping. In some of your videos/post you talked about the quilts you got from Tim, but I’ve also noticed that you tend to mostly use a sleeping bag. Do you ever use the quilts in your Hex setup or did they not work? Just curious as I work to improve my setups. TNX.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hi, and glad you hear that you enjoy the videos. Thanks for your support!

      As for your question, yes, I do use my quilts from Tim, however, since my wife got me the Montbell Down Hugger 800 #3 for my birthday last year (June), I decided to use it for the past fall & current spring seasons, and of course I used my Marmot Helium for the colder winter season. Before this though, I used my (older model) Prodigy for fall & spring, and I will still use my custom carrot quilt from him in the warmer months. They are great quilts and they have worked well for me, and I highly recommend them, assuming a quilt is for you to begin with…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  24. Vince Varriale says:

    Thank you for the help my friend. It does help!
    Keep up the good work
    Vince

    Like

  25. Vince Varriale says:

    Stick,

    I know you had a SM skytrekker tent a few years back and you mentioned that you make a pex tube for the ridge line.

    1) How did you know what angle to bend the ends?
    2) How did you fit it through the sleeve once the ends were bent? or did you use an alternative method.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Vince,

      The tubing, even when bent, was still a bit flexible, so getting the angle perfect wasn’t an issue. The strut that came with the tent wasn’t set to a specific angle either, just some flimsy material with a hard strut in the center. It needs to be somewhat flexible though because the angle is decided when you set the poles out, which should be about the same overtime anyway…

      Fitting it thorough the sleeve in the top of the tent was simple, just slide it through.

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  26. lena says:

    Hello! I am writing you from Venezuela. I bought a Singer Simple 2263, sometimes the bobbin jams but I fix it. Really is a good machine. My problem is that I want use the twin neddle, but I can not sure where put the second spool pin, because what appears to be the hole is sealed. How I can open it? I went to some authorized agents Singer and they can not help me because that model not sold in their stores. Please, help me and thanks a lot.

    Like

  27. Mike M. says:

    Hey Stick,
    Love your blog I check it regularly. I am curious a while back you had a few posts on hammocks and I was wondering if that was something you were still dabbling with. I’ve been looking in to hammocks for a while now but haven’t been able to pull the trigger. I’m looking for better comfort I not sure if a hammock will provide that or if I should try a neo air. What are your thoughts?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Mike,

      I find hammocks to be quite comfortable, however, I still have not sunk the money into it to really get a set up I would be happy with. I had planned on doing so this year, but instead have decided to save for a MLD Duomid to give a try instead… I have wanted one for the last few years, and while I still absolutely love my Hexamid Tarp & Hexanet, I think for really cold, windy months, the Duomid will block more wind and be a little bigger to spread out in. Also, I am in the very early planing stages for a hike next summer out west with my son, so the Duomid will work for 2 of us…

      Anyway, I still also love my NeoAirs… But air pads are subjective… some folks love them, so hate them. Me, I love them! If at all possible, I would suggest to try to find one in a store and spend 30 minutes or so just lying on it and seeing what you think about it. There is of course other air pads you could try at the same time too.

      For a hammock, you cam make them really easy, or pick up some from Grand Trunk for almost nothing. It would be a good way to see what you think about hammocks to begin with, then can take it from there.

      Hope this helps, and good luck with your decision!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  28. Hank Bishop says:

    Stick:

    Thanks for you post and video on the Zpacks Duplex. It’s a great choice and I truly see why you picked it. I’m interested in the Altaplex Tent as well and have wondered if you considered it as well? It appears that it may be a better choice for a single tent vs. a duplex. I’d be interested in your comments. Many thanks, love your efforts and very informative comments.

    Hank

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hank,

      I have actually never owned the Duplex, although, I do think it is a nice tent…

      I own the Solo Plus Hexamid Tarp & the Hexanet, and I love it. I’t around 20 oz for everything (including a cut to size polycro ground sheet), and flexible. I can set up just the inner on clear nights, the tarp only on bug free trips, or both if desired. It’s not spacious inside, but it’s the perfect size for my needs.

      Saying all of that, if I were to set out on a thru hike along the AT, the Duplex would likely be my choice. It’s about the same weight as my current set-up, yet offers a larger interior space. I could lay out all of my gear (to some extent) inside the tent, and on the top of the floor. This would be worth it to me during extended periods of rain… Being able to lay my stuff inside my tent with me, off the wet ground, and still having room to sit up and actually move around in would be appreciated…

      Saying that, from my point of view, the Solplex or the Altaplex are nice tents too, however, they aren’t as spacious (obviously) as the Duplex. The one thing that I do like about it over my Hexamid is that the entrances are a little taller, and the doors close up closer to the ground, which could be nice in heavy, wind driven rains. But in those situations too, the Duplex may be a bit nicer to me since I could move farther towards the middle…

      Anyway, hope this helps some, but since I haven’t owned any of them it’s hard for me to do anything but to speculate on them…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  29. Enjoy your blog. It’s one of my favorites. Great gear and trip reviews. I’m going to be working on a trail guide (new experience). Part of the task involves sending the publisher a GPS download of route and elevation data. Did a quick search of your blog and didn’t see any GPS reviews. Have you used one you’re pleased with? Do you have any contacts who might have GPS and mapping expertise. Hope you’ll come do a section of the Ozark Highlands Trail with us here in Arkansas! Take care.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      So far, I have yet to use any sort of GPS while hiking. TBH, I haven’t found myself in a situation where I even needed one… Maybe one day I will though… Sorry, I can’t help you much here. But good luck on your new guide!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Hey Ozark I hope you don’t mind me throwing in my two cents worth on this one. I have used a lot of GPS’ over the years. They are nice. However now all I take is my phone. If you have an android you can get an app called Back Country Navigator that will import trail files and give you satellite images like google earth. I still always take maps and compass just in case. Anyway as ultralight goes my phone is a navigation, communications, book, camera, and emergency flashlight. I know all the anti technology guys would cringe at bringing their phone but there is very little that is as useful.

      Like

  30. Greg Behrens says:

    Stick,

    Thanks for replying to the question between the Circuit and Z Blast Arc. I appreciate your honest opinion and well thought out views on both Back Packs. You hit the nail on the head; it is a weight issue for me, so I believe I have answered my own question with your help. If I was just looking for one pack for one major AT thru hike, it would be the Arc Blast. However, I have some years before the projected hike and many small trips between now and that projected date for Springer. If I could bother you one more time; can you expand on your thoughts and see if my thinking is correct. My current pack weight hovers between 17 to 21 lbs. as I purchase lighter options and replace older items. Of course that is without food or water. So if I add those, I am looking to land between your high end pack weight of 24 lbs.and the Circuit’s recommended 30 lbs. Because of this, I am thinking my best option may be the ULA Ohm 2.0. I like some of the options on the Ohm but have some reservations about the padding and fit, because the Circuit is more similar to my past pack experience. Yet it may be just the step to get me closer and more confident in the Arc Blast, while saving a little $. Wondering if this make since or if you feel that the Ohm is a good middle road choice based on your experience. Thanks for a great site and the videos!

    gbolt

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Greg,

      As you may know, the Ohm 2.0 is the perfect blend of the original Ohm, and the Circuit… It is the pack bag from the Ohm, and the suspension from the Circuit. So, if your gear is a bit too small to really fill a larger Circuit, but still routinely about 25 lbs or so, the Ohm 2.0 would be a good option. A good way to kind of figure out what size pack volume you may need is to fill a box (as tightly as possible, as it would be inside your pack) with all of your gear, and then measure the height and width of the box, up to the point in which it is filled, and then multiply those numbers, and you should end up with a rough cu in weight.

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  31. hpb42 says:

    Chad,
    Thank you, I just placed an order for the liners. Happy to see he’s up and running again. Hope he’ll continue to provide liners.

    Hank

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hank,

      At this point I think he intends on keeping the liners available, however, that will likely be all. But it is good to know that these are still available… They are my favorites.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  32. hpb42 says:

    Stick:
    What size are the ones you are now using?

    Hank

    Like

  33. hpb42 says:

    Stick,

    Here’s a source for Nylofume Bags containing 20 bags, 20″ X 36″ @ $25.00 per bag. Is this the size of the bags you had purchased? Apparently, they are used extensively in the fumigation industry to protect foods etc.

    http://www.quantumtermite.com/search?filter_tag=nylofume%20bags

    I assume no responsibility for these as to there ability to do any given job you might choose to use them for. Suggest you look into what they’re designed to protect if you intend to use them.

    Hank

    Like

  34. hpb42 says:

    Thanks Chad, yep I was very interested in the pack liner material. Do you happen to know who the manufacturer is? Did you feel it held up well, it certainly is light enough.

    Thanks,

    Hank

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hank,

      I am not sure where he sourced them from, but I have messaged him and asked him… if they are still available I will let you know what he says.

      As for durability, I am still using one of the first ones I started with, and it is fine. I would say that they are every bit, if not more, as tough as the contractor bags that many folks use. But, it is a bit lighter… only 1 oz vs the reported 2.2 oz of others…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  35. Hank Bishop says:

    Stick:

    What’s happened to Litetrail.com I’m unable to log on to the site?

    Love your efforts, always interesting and informative. Thank you,

    Hank Bishop

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Hank,

      LiteTrail was a side job for Jhaura. So, when his primary job started getting busier, he had to close down the shop… I believe that he said that some of the items, such as the liner bags, would be available from another source though… I haven’t looked into it lately though, so I can’t say for sure…

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  36. Paul says:

    Stick, I also have the Hexamid Solo Plus tarp and the current version of the Hexanet. I am seriously considering sending in the tarp to zPacks, having them add the netting to turn it into a tent, and selling the Hexanet. My thought is that it will be a simpler and more compact setup, albeit with less flexibility. But I recall that you made the opposite transition–from tent to tarp/hexanet. Can you shed some light on why you went from the tent to the tarp/Hexanet combo? It might help me decide since you have had both in the field.

    Thanks!

    Paul

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Paul,

      Yes, I did go from the tent to the tarp & Hexanet. I didn’t like the mesh on the ground, particularly when it was wet. It would collect quite a bit of water, and if set up on a dirt pad when it rained, mud would get splattered into the mesh. Other than this though, I loved all the space it offered.

      What I like about the tarp & Hexanet though, is that I can set up either/or. Plus, the mesh is not directly on the ground to absorb water, or collect all the mud from splatter. (Also, to be fair, anytime I suspect rain, I try to set up on a grassy spot as opposed to a dirt pad.)

      Some folks did send their tents back and had them cut out the mesh around the floor, and then sew the floor right into the mesh. I personally wouldn’t like this as it would mean a worn groundsheet would be a lot harder to swap out when sewn in. To be fair again, it is the same way with the Hexanet, although, not quite as expensive. Also, I do make it a point to use a small, cut down sheet of Polycro under the cuben floor to extend the floor’s life.

      Saying all of this, if you are in a dry climate, the tent would likely be a great idea since you wouldn’t have to worry about all of the wet issues I had. Also, obviously, there are plenty of others that are fine with the tent version and the mesh…

      So, for me, this is really great set-up. Versatility, a true double wall shelter, and lightweight to boot. Although, I will also admit, I would like to get a cuben Duomid and a solo inner for really foul weather use, or when it is really cold…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  37. Dan Gregerson says:

    Hey Stick
    I wanted to ask a couple follow-up questions to one of you old videos — specifically was wondering what you think now of the skyscape trekker you had back in 2011. I’m pretty close to pulling the trigger on this on (and saving $ by avoiding the temptation of the skyscape X), but had concerns regarding two issues: 1) it seems likely that my feet will touch at the end (I’m 6′ and have a long bag), do you get moisture coming through with the silnylon when it’s raining? 2) it also looks like inevitable that water would enter the main compartment when the fly drapes during entry/exit in the rain — is that right?
    Any other thoughts you have after using this tent? Thanks in advance and thanks for all the great videos — much appreciated!
    Dan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dan,

      I ended up selling the Skyscape before I even used it in the field. It is a ok tent, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. Also, I have never had the X version, so I cannot comment on that one… but functionally, they should be the same.

      As for length, IIRC, you would probably be ok at 6′, however, that also depends on your pad. If you are using a thicker pad (such as the 2.5″ thick NeoAir, or the 2.8″ thick Exped) then it is more likely that the foot end of your sleeping bag will rub against the tent as it is sloping towards the foot end. But, I do remember that you can scoot way up into the head end (at least as far as your pad will let you due to the pointed/triangular head end). One thing that I have done in those situations though is to drape my rain shell over the foot end where my bag may come into contact with the tent. Just don’t drape it over too much though, otherwise you could end up with condensation between the rain shell and your sleeping bag.

      I cannot comment about water coming through the sil, but it does condense on the material, as does any material. I will also say that I hear a lot of talk about misting with sil, from all manufacturers, however, some speculate that it is not that the rain drops are going through the material, but instead the rain drops are knocking the condensation on the inside loose, causing it to splatter. I can say that I have witnessed this phenomenon myself with other sil shelters/tarps…

      Also, yes, in rain, due to the door design, water can enter… so it is best just to be fast.

      Anyway, I know this probably doesn’t help much, but maybe it does some. The best advice I can give though, is, if it’s not the tent you want, don’t get it. Save for the tent you want… otherwise you will just kick yourself until you end up getting the one you want anyway…

      Good luck!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  38. DMarsh says:

    Stick,

    Your blog is a wonderful resource and fun to read. Keep it up!

    I was wondering about your opinion on the difference between 1.43 oz and 2.92oz cuben fiber from Zpacks. I am considering purchasing an ArcSlim without many features and using the 1.43oz fabric. For a while I was planning to get a Zero but recently I’ve converted to the idea that the Zpacks frame is simply worth the weight. My thought is that this setup would be similar to getting a Zero with a frame. Will the lighter Zero fabric hold up to the use with the frame? Or do you think the ArcBlast fabric is just worth the weight?

    I do mostly overnight hiking but have an eye on a thru hike once my kids get older. I tend to be gentle on my gear and it tends to last for a long time. My base weight is 7.2lb and I live in the PNW.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      DMarsh,

      My set up consists of an XSmall and a small Zero in the 1.43 oz/sqyd cuben fiber, another small Zero in the hybrid material (and with slightly different feature sets from the regular cuben version), and an Arc Blast in hybrid. My reason for this is, the XS Zero is purely summertime SUL type use. It will not get a ton of use, and the use it will get will be very lightweight oriented. My Arc Blast is a 60L pack, and in hybrid material. This pack will get a good deal of use, and with the heaviest loads that I will carry. The more durable material made sense to me in this application. Then the 2 small size Zeros… I have used the one in regular cuben for the past 1.5 – 2 years, and it was my go to pack. I loved it, and while it did not show any signs of distress, I decided I wanted one the same size, but with a few different features, and being that it was a go-to pack, I figured I would up the durability with the hybrid material. And I am quite happy with my options… 🙂

      I know that may not help a ton, but maybe give you an idea of my thoughts on the materials, and sizes of the packs. Most of my hiking is on trails, but sometimes those trails can be grown over, and I have been off trail a few times too… I wouldn’t want to spend lots of time off trail with the regular version though.

      In my opinion, if you just want 1 pack, I would suggest the Arc Blast with the Hybrid material… For a thru hike, the 52L is enough size for many folks, but something to consider is the 60L version is only 0.5 oz heavier, and can be rolled down to accommodate smaller loads. (And not knowing which trail you plan to thru, IIRC, each size of the Arc Blast will accommodate a bear canister – could be wrong though…) Anyway, with gentle use, and light loads, a regular cuben pack will last you for a long time, but, if it were me, and I were stepping out for a long hike, I would opt for the Arc Blast in either the 52 or the 60L size…

      Hope this helps, and good luck with your decision!

      Happy Trails…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  39. Chris says:

    I’m having trouble commenting. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Or worse did I say something to be moderated 😦
    Anyway, love your posts, videos and Facebook page!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      No, I got it. The way the comments are set up is that if you have not left many comments in the past, or never, the comments will have to be moderated by me before they show up. Also, if you post a comment with links embeded, I must moderate them before showing up. This just helps with the SPAM….

      Thanks for stopping by though, I appreciate your support!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  40. Dan says:

    Hi Stick, I stumbled across you treating your clothes with primethrine, as I I have some clothes that I am going to treat. I am treating mine primarily for chiggers and ticks (although I am not adverse to the idea of keeping other insects away from me). I am curios to know if you noticed a big difference at keeping the bugs at bay….how about mosquitoes? I can be in a group of a hundred people and all those blood suckers will prefer to bite me than the others. Thanks, Dan.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dan,

      Permethrin isn’t really supposed to repel anything other than ticks, but IMO, it does seem like the flying insects aren’t quite as attracted to me as when I am not wearing treated clothes.

      Saying that, I haven’t found bugs to be that bad of an issue when on the trail, at least not like I do when I am at home. I can walk outside to take the garbage out, and if I am wearing shorts, I will come back in with a bite, or more… it’s awful. Then again, I am not wearing that treated clothes here at home either…

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Hi Dan. I hope you don’t mind me giving my two cents worth. I have seen mosquitoes land and bite through my pants that have been treated with permethrin. None the less I am convinced it does help to fight mosquitoes but it does not protect as long as it does for ticks. In other words after a couple of washings mosquitoes will be more likely to bite but it still does a great job of keeping ticks away. I buy the stuff for carpenter ants and cut it to the same dilution as Sawyer. It is a lot cheaper to do it that way and allows you to dip your clothes in a 5gal bucket and get them completely soaked. Now I am not recommending anyone do what I do. I wear gloves when doing this by the way. The way I read the MSDS sheet for the stuff I buy it is just permethrin with other inert ingredients. Just way more concentrated so I mix 20 parts water to one part permethrin. But don’t listen to me I am no chemist and am probably going to be patient zero in the zombie Apocalypse for doing this.

      One last point is that mosquitoes prefer type O blood. If you have type O you are four times more likely to get bit than someone with AB. I have type O and I feel your pain. I will be covered with a dozen bites when other people say they got one or two. There is some research that shows the ultrasonic echo location sound a bat makes scares mosquitoes away because they don’t want to be eaten. I am hoping we see something from this research that can help people like us.

      Like

  41. Whitney Cooper says:

    My best friend and I hike a lot in the Great Smoky National Park area (our last expedition was a thru hike of the Art Loeb Trail). We’re doing the thru hike of the Foothills Trail in July and were wondering what the difficulty level of the trail was to you- we see strenuous in a couple of areas- but from what you’ve written up, it doesn’t seem on par with the worst part of what “strenuous” could be—- we’re just trying to gauge overall trail difficulty to set a reasonable daily mileage goal. Any help/ advice would be much appreciated!!! We trying to hit the trail 5 days/ 4 nights and not be completely beat up at the end.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Whitney,

      At a 5 day pace, I don’t think any parts will be strenuous, although, there are some sections that are a bit tough. Unfortunately, when my buddy and I started out to do it in 3 days, we had to bail at the 50 mile section. I don’t think either of us was quite ready to do it that fast, but I still think it can be done pretty easily in that time frame… so long as you are ready for it.

      Anyway, I think the toughest part for me would be all the stairs, which we bailed right before them. I am not a fan of stair at all… I would rather it just be uphill instead…

      I picked up the book and the map from the Foothills Trail site, and they were helpful, but we were going the opposite way that the book was laid out, so it made it kind of tough to keep track of it that way. I think that they would be great to get before hand and study up on, but for the actual trail, I would suggest to pick up the Mapdana map on it (at Antigravity Gear). These are inexpensive, waterproof, and tough map profiles with a good amount of info loaded on them, and it won’t matter which direction you are headed.

      Also, I would suggest contacting “Fire in my bones 86” for any info. He was a great help to us, even hiked part of the trail with us, and shuttled us too. I think he even helped produce the Mapdana map that I linked above. Anyway, he should be a lot of help!

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck on the trail! (We are actually going back to do it in the same time frame later this year… can’t wait!)

      ~Stick~

      Like

  42. colin says:

    Hi Stick, have just stumbled upon your blog, looking at reviews for the Montbell UL down jacket. I can see i’m going to be spending quite a bit of time reading your whole blog which i can see straight away is going to be a great read and very helpful. I still consider myself to be a novice although i’ve done The West Highland Way 3 times and the Great Glen Way once, Cotswold Way this September. The reason for my instant enthusiasm of your blog??……. The umbrella. I too discovered the benefits of using my pack to go “hands free” in the rain. I normally wear a light beanie hat to cushion the umbrella stays. When I first did it i said to myself “hey it’s not a fashion parade” it’s about being comfortable. My aim is to go as lightweight as possible for future expeditions so will enjoy your reviews.
    Cheers
    Colin

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Colin,

      That is great to hear that you have enjoyed my site! I am glad that it is both helpful, and enjoyable for you.

      As for the umbrella, it really has become a welcome piece, especially in the right weather. I can’t say it will be on every trip (that is the benefit of taking shorter trips… I can usually tell what kind of weather to expect…) but it definitely has a spot in my pack on most trips!

      Anyway, good luck on your transition to a lighter weight pack!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  43. Jay Gatton says:

    Stick, I was wondering if you have any preferences to any new cameras for ultralight backpacking. I own a dinosaur phone so that wont be the camera most would use, so I am looking for a camera in the 100-200$ range that would be appropriate for traveling ultralight on the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks for the help,
    Jay

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      I am partial to the Panasonic Lumix line of cameras. I have used an FH20, and an SZ7, of the 2 though, I liked the FH20 better. I feel like the FH20 took better pics, had better battery life, and the video seemed to be better… at least to me, although, I am not an enthusiasts by any means. Anyway, I have since went to a Panasonic Lumix GF2, which I really like, but it is a step above the P&S camera’s. Anyway, the 2 P&S’s I mentioned can be had for around $150.

      There seems to be a good deal of talk about the Canon Powershots, the Nikon Coolpix, and some of the Sony’s too, but I have never used any of those.

      I think a big thing to consider though is battery life. It seems now that most will all take good pics, but the battery lives are a bit different… Some folks like to use cameras that take AA or AAA since something else they are carrying also usually requires the same battery. Some like a camera that can recharge with a USB because they carry battery packs, or solar chargers. My cameras take proprietary batteries, which I am fine, and I simply buy a few extra batteries. I have 3 for my GF2 and can get a week of moderate – heavy shooting, both pics and videos.

      Anyway, I know this wasn’t too specific, but I hope it helps in some way…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  44. evan eisentrager says:

    Stick,
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the Duplex looks sweet. If I my wife backpacked I might consider it, even with the hefty price. Didn’t realize you had already sold your Fizans. If you get a Duplex let me know if you want to sell your Hexanet. I want to get the solo plus tarp in .74 cuban when I get one. I left my hexamid twin set up once and went on a long day hike and came back to find a small slit in the ceiling. Don’t know how it happened but I think the .51 cuban is a little too fragile for me.
    Happy Trails,
    Evan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Evan,

      I agree, the Duplex looks like a great tent… and IMO, even for a solo hiker. Saying that though, even if I do get one, I plan to keep my Hexamid tarp & Hexanet. As I said, it is a great combo, and is more versatile than the Duplex… which is something that really attracted me to this set-up. Also, that is a bummer to hear that you found a slit in your tent… wonder how it happened? That sounds a bit strange… Ah well, I think you would be just as happy with the 0.74 cuben too though.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • George Streeter says:

      Hey Evan, I just got back from my first weekend with the Duplex. So these are my first impressions. First the good. The tent is huge compared to what I am used to. I am 6 foot and can sit up in it with room to spare. I am using it solo but unless you have two really wide people you should have not issues with two people in it. It was nice to bring my pack into the tent and have room to spread things out. Because of the height it was easy to get in and out of. Of course the weight is freeking amazing. To have that much room for so little weight you just can’t beat it. Really nice compared to my BA Copper Spur U1.

      Now the down side I only really have two. First is it has a fuss factor with setup. Sure Joe makes it look simple in his video and the second time I set it up was much better than the first but it still takes a lot more tweaking and messing with to get right. I am thinking with a little more experience I will be as good as Joe is but don’t make the mistake I did and try to set it up the first time on a trip. The second issue is not as big an issue if you get the first one right. That is the sloping sides put the tent close to your head. If pitched correctly this is not as much of an issue. However even with that being so close to your head it gets condensation easy when it was cold like it was where we were Friday night. It was below 30 degrees. Even leaving a flap open I still got a fair amount of condensation. Now every tent I have ever owned would have had that but being as your head is so close it tends to be easier to brush against than my Copper Spur.

      I guess one other thing worth mentioning is if you are used to a free standing tent like the Copper Spur you find how important staking is. The first spot the Shepard hook stakes would not hold in the lose ground. It was no big deal I just carved some long ones out of dead branches. If the ground is too hard or too soft you may have to get inventive with pitching it.

      With all that said I really like the Duplex and would buy it again. I think the Copper Spur might still be my cold weather go to tent but the Duplex will be what I normally take for a summertime tent. Anyway if you have any questions just shoot and I will try to answer them.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      George,

      Thanks for coming back and providing some of your initial experience with the Duplex. Not using the tent myself, I agree with your feedback. Getting used to setting up a tent like this (read: non-free standing) takes some getting used to, and is always best to set it up a few times before taking it out (although, I understand sometimes time doesn’t always allow this…) The overall design of the Duplex though is a little similar to the SMD Lunar Duo, which I previously owned. But, I understand what you are saying about the canopy being close to your head on the foot end. One way to help improve that (if you didn’t already) is to use a stick to pull the panel tie out up, as opposed to staking it out straight down to the ground.

      Anyway, I am sure that you will be out playing with it more, and in that you will get the hang of setting it up a bit faster and more correctly… have fun though… I always enjoyed this part of a new tent… heck, I still take my tents out in my yard and just set them up to play with them, and to keep myself familiar with it. Of course this helps though when I need to set my tents up fast on the trail… 🙂

      Thanks again, and have fun with your awesome new tent! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  45. Evan Eisentrager says:

    Hi Stick,
    Love your blog, thanks for all the great videos and info. I have gone from a Rayway tarp to a Zpacks solo Hexamid to a Hexamid twin and now I want a Hexamid solo plus tarp and Hexanet like you. Seems like the perfect system, versatile,light, and roomy. Anyway, haven’t seen you using your Fizan poles lately. Let me know if you want to sell them.
    Thanks,
    Evan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Evan,

      Thanks for the kinds words, and I am glad to hear that you enjoy my content! I appreciate your support! 🙂

      I gotta say, I am really happy with my Hexamid Solo Plus and the Hexanet. It’s definitely a great combo… but I gotta admit too… I have been eyeing the Duplex pretty hard. Pretty close to the same weight, more interior room, and doors that looks like will provide a little more coverage since they are longer. Also, the Duplex has a taller entry/exit, which would also be welcome. Saying all of this though… the Hexamid tarp & Hexanet is still a nice option as it provides a little more versatility…

      As for the poles, I actually sold them some time ago. They were nice, but I love my LT4’s, and have actually moded my Black Diamond Alpine Carbon poles with the Gossamer Gear grips… very nice!

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  46. BSP says:

    Stick –
    I’m headed to the Smokey’s in May and I’m going to try to hike from Clingmans Dome down to Newfound Gap… how hard is the trail?.I’m in decent shape for a 55 year old… my 25 daughter will be joining me…

    Like

    • Stick says:

      BSP,

      I hiked this section in July 2012. y buddy Joe & I had planned to hike the Smokies from Fontana to I40 in 2.5 days, however, he became quite ill in the middle of the first day and we had to bail at Clingmans on the second morning. This cause us to have to discontinue our hike though, however, the next morning my wife dropped me back off at Clingmans and I hiked up to Newfound Gap that morning. It was actually a pretty easy hike as far as I remember. I would say that you should not have any issues with doing this section, and it is a rather enjoyable section on a pretty day…

      Check out this post for some video on it… scroll down the page to the “GSMNP AT Hike (Part 3) video for this particular area:

      GSMNP AT Hike

      Hope this helps some, and enjoy your hike!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  47. Lorenzo says:

    Stick,

    Thanx so much for your input re: pros and cons of the UL tents. Very helpful.

    Hopefully we’ll cross paths on the AT one day. i have yet to do the parts south of approx. Damascus. Lately i’ve been section hiking 200-300 mile pieces, usually in the fall. i’m (sorta) hoping to accomplish the world’s slowest completion time of this grand trail….. i started on it in 1980 (as a 20 yr old). Gosh, now that i think about it….maybe i oughta slow down. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Lorenzo

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Lorenzo,

      No problem, and hope it helps! And I hear ya… technically, I started “section hiking” in 2009 and have to the north side of the Smokies completed, and a few spots above… I got a ways to go myself… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  48. Thanks Stick,
    At this point do you worry about the durability of the cuben floor, or is it proving to be fine?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I will continue to use a small cut down polycro ground sheet under the Hexanet floor, so I don’t really have any concerns on it having any sort of issues.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  49. Dan Hammer says:

    Hey Chad, I’ve been watching your videos for a year now as I prepare for a PCT thru-hike this summer. thanks for all your hard work! It seems like you’ve tried a lot but never indicated your favorite. What I really want to know is what shelter would you use? The hexanet is looking pretty good, or what about a hybrid yama bug tent with a zpacks rectangular tarp?
    Thanks,
    Dan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dan,

      First off, good luck on your PCT thru hike! The PCT seems like an awesome trail… I wish that I could make it out that way to do at least some sections of it… maybe in time…

      As for the tent, it’s hard to claim one as “favorite” however, if I had to do so, at the moment, my ZPacks Hexamid Solo Plus Tarp & Hexanet is likely it. Of course though, I still wouldn’t claim that it is the perfect shelter (and none are), but this set up fills many of my needs. It’s light weight and versatile. And despite many folks concern, I feel like it is more than durable enough.

      I don’t have any experience on the PCT, but it seems like this would be a good set up, although, maybe not in white… From my understanding, the first several hundred miles of the PCT (NOBO) is all desert, so it seems like folks are usually looking for some sort of shade, and TBH, the white cuben won’t provide so much (although, it will some…) However, if you were to set a white cuben tarp up, then drape a quilt over the top (likely won’t need it during the day anyway) then it should provide a good bit of shade under the tarp…

      Also, for those clear nights, just setting up the Hexanet will provide all around views, allow maximum ventilation, and keep the bugs off. As well, for me (5’10”), it is plenty of room to sit up and change, and not feel all that crammed inside.

      Anyway, as i said, this is my “favorite” set up at the moment, and honestly, while there are others that tempt me, I am really not tempted enough to change them out.

      The A-Frame set ups are nice too, however, they are generally less roomy (in terms of headspace) than mids… And again, while I have zero experience on the PCT, I can’t help but think that a tarp plus inner would be an ideal set-up…

      Hope this helps some, and thanks for checking out my site!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  50. Lorenzo says:

    Stick,
    First just wanna thank you for your most excellent reviews. They are soo helpful!!

    I’m looking to pick up a UL tent and notice you’ve owned my top contenders (Hexamid Solo-Plus Tent; Solo-Plus but with Hexanet; and SMD Skyscape, which i’d get in Cuben). I’m wondering what you’d buy now based solely on performance and comfort/enjoyment factors if you were going to have just one of them? From my point of view the weights are all pretty similar since my current tent is nearly 2 1/2 lbs as carried. It looks like you’ve settled on the Solo-Plus with Hexanet, is that right? It looks really nice but seems so much smaller than the Solo-Plus Tent (did the bugnet floor just not work for you?).

    Hope i’m asking this in the right place.

    Thanx,
    Lorenzo

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Lorenzo,

      Yes, you are correct, I have settled on the Hexamid Solo Plus tarp & Hexanet. Mainly because it is more versatile than the 2 other options you mentioned in that I can set up the tarp only, the Hexanet only, or both. I like the fact that it is a double wall shelter, easy to erect, and IMO is durable (considering it’s a tarp, which doesn’t take much abuse).

      I will admit, there is a bit more room in the Hexamid tent version, but, for me, I didn’t like the mesh floor so much, especially in wet situations. Not that is isn’t manageable, but it was more than I wanted to deal with. Also, again, the tent is a single wall shelter, and I am ok with that, but like I mentioned, I also like that the tarp & Hexanet is double wall…

      Saying this, for me, if I weren’t using this set-up, I would likely be using either the ZPacks Solplex, or likely the Duplex (face it, it is still very light, but offers tons of room inside). But, for now, the versatility of the tarp & inner is what is keeping me set on my current set-up instead of going with one of these…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  51. andy says:

    stick… I am actually just trying to find out how far it is from Sassofras Gap Shelter to the nearest International Airport and how easy it would be to find a ride, shuttle etc. Plan on thru hiking the AT in a few weeks and a friend wants to start with me but only has a week of hiking. I thought Sassofras would be a place we could reach from Springer and am wondering if there are any easy outlets to the nearest highway from there? Thanks. andy

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Andy,

      I assume that you are talking about Sassafras Gap Shelter in NC? If so, the distance from Springer to Sassafras is about 140 miles. This could be done in a week, but it would be pushing it… this is at least 20 miles per day… unless you both are active hikers, I would say that this may be a bit much… Also, starting a thru, I have always read that it is best to start a little slower (even if you can go a little farther). Break in easy… maybe 10 miles per day for a week, and then add in a couple more miles for a week and so on until you get to a nice comfortable pace. There are lots of folks that break out of the gate with huge miles and end up hurting themselves because of it…

      But, if you are set on Sassafras, that is easy as the NOC is a few miles south of Sassafras. The NOC is a pretty happening place, and likely to have lots of traffic through the area. There are restaurants and a gear shop there. I would suggest stopping here and getting a shuttle. As for how far to the nearest airport, I can’t tell you that… I always drive up but am far enough away that I don’t know the surrounding areas much.

      OTOH, if you did decide to take it slower, Dicks Creek Gap is about 67 miles north of Springer, and would hit your 10 miles per day pace for the first week pretty well. It is a pretty busy road, and there is a new hostel that is opening on March 1st, 0.5 miles down the road from where the trail crosses. He will be doing shuttles into Hiawassee, and I feel sure that he would be able to help you with at least figuring out how to go about getting to the nearest airport. Check out this video for more info:

      I would also suggest going to WhiteBlaze and asking these questions. WhiteBlaze if a internet forum that is dedicated to the Appalachian Trail, although, they do discuss other trails, and all the other typical forum discussions too… But, there are lots of folks there that could also help you out with figuring out the airport thing…

      Hope this helps some, and good luck on your thru!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  52. Jay Gatton says:

    Hey Stick, So I am looking for an ultralight warm layer and I have been running into a problem. I of course will be getting a montbell down but the problem I am having/question is that I am wondering if its possible to also use the down garment while hiking because I dont really want to add a fleece layer simply for those times when I need more than just a hardshell to cut the cold winds. SO my question is, would it be possible to use a 2oz wind jacket underneath a down garment to keep the sweat off of it so I could hike in those particular moments? Maybe not and I just need a second insulation layer, I am not really sure. Any tips would be great!
    Jay G.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      Depending on the windshirt, wearing it under the down layer could help keep moisture from being absorbed into the down. Of course, some windshirts are a bit more breathable than others, so the less breathable ones would help to retain that moisture closer to you rather than the down. However, if it is cold enough that you need to wear down even while hiking, I would say to make sure you don’t overheat so much that your inner layers get too wet with sweat… Eventually, they will need to dry out, and that will be tough in super cold temps…

      Maybe the best way to figure it out will be to wear the layers as you explained on some shorter hikes (with your pack) around home. This should give you an idea of how well it will actually work…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  53. Brian says:

    Stick I’ve been following you for some time now and you do a really good job on your reviews. I know u love your new Arc Blast pack and I want one but I purchased the hip belt pockets to try out first and I just don’t like them and I am someone who doesn’t like to go without. Have u found any other pockets that would work better with this pack? My thoughts are they could be just a bit smaller and not have the top buckle enclosure.

    Later,
    Brian from the PNW

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Brian,

      I am going to see about getting one of the older, zippered hip belt pockets from ZPacks to replace the fold over ones that I have… Maybe email them to see about getting those?

      And yeah, I was very impressed with my Arc Blast on my hike… although, it was only for 14ish miles…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  54. Thanks.. Thought maybe you had. A group of us are headed there in March, wanted to see if it was worth the drive. There have been several posts I’ve read online that said it was a frustrating place to hike due to trails not being marked well. Guess I’m going to find out… Have a safe and happy holiday! C

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I hadn’t heard that…. maybe I have just heard folks mention it… That is a bummer though… unmarked trails are a pain! Anyway, hope it all works out well for you.

      Happy hiking!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  55. Have you ever hiked Linville Gorge?

    Like

  56. Sky says:

    Hey Chad… long time listener, first time caller… 😉
    I know that you’ve expressed your opinions a bit here and there about your replacement Neo Air but I was wondering if you had done a review of it yet? I am looking at picking up an Xlite in the Large size for the extra 5″ width it provides over the Regular and was wondering what you thought of yours as well as your opinions on some of the other common concerns… crinkle issues, bottoming out, head & foot tapering etc… I recently picked up the Klymit Static V in both insulated and non ins. versions, (which I don’t mind horribly), but I think I prefer the weight/R value ratio of the Xlite over these… just haven’t decided to punch the ticket$ on one yet.
    I know you are quite stoked on your Prolite4/GG 1/8 pad combo right now, but if you can, I’d appreciate hearing your scoops on your 16oz Neoair Xlite.
    Cheers
    ~S

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Sky,

      Hi, and thanks for being a long time fan! I appreciate your continued support.

      As for the pad, I have talked about it in a few post hike gear talk write ups/videos, but not in a dedicated post. Maybe someday I will though. As for my thoughts on it, I love it, but I will admit, I was happier with the Original. Why? Because it was as big as I needed it to be, and weighed less than the large XLite. I am not happy that they literally cut corners to cut weight as this (to me) actually cut a bit on comfort. So, in order for me to make up that comfort, I had to get a bigger pad, which weighs more… So, in this light, the XLite is actually heavier than the Original. But, they are very comfy for me, and I value a good nights rest, so I will just have to suck it up and carry the extra weight… unless TAR decides to go back to the Originals…

      Also, as you noted, I do have a ProLite, but you are probably thinking of my ProLite 3 rather than the ProLite 4. I do have a PL4, but I haven’t used it (for backpacking) in a few years. I recently picked up the small PL3 though, and I love it. My sleeping pad system has now become the XLite in the winter when I “need” a full length pad, with a slightly higher R-Value, and the PL3 the rest of the time. This way I save weight and still sleep just as comfy.

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  57. Kyle says:

    Concerning your “one cook kit to rule them all” ( nice LOTR reference) YouTube video: why do you hole punch the wind screen? Obviously it allows more oxygen, however, I was just wondering if you tested this and found the most effective amount (spacing) of holes. Thanks for your time & videos.

    Kyle

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Kyle,

      On my cook kits, for the most part, I have really mimicked the holes in other kits. I have done some minor testing and revamped some of my kits as far as holes in the windscreen, but this is a rather intensive experiment though, and will vary, depending on the particular stove, screen, pot, pot stand and even fuel that you use though… Then again, that’s the fun in it, right?! 🙂

      Hope this helps some, and thanks for stopping by.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  58. Tom Termini says:

    Awesome writing, great blog, and some really useful info. I hope you clock many more miles out in the woods, and tell us about it!

    Like

  59. Jay Gatton says:

    Stick,
    So at the college I am attending I was sitting down to eat at the food court, and I saw they had replaced their utensils from the plastic forks to wood forks,knifes and spoons! They are produced by Aspenware and are made of ultralight hard wood. It would be a great method to be going ultralight and staying “green” since their products according to their website will “break down in around 50 days” when being disposed of. Here is a link: http://aspenware.ca/about/ . So far the use that I have had out of them has been with around 5 meals and they seem pretty dang tough! Thats all for now.
    Jay

    Like

  60. dracobushcraft says:

    Hey Chad. I have enjoyed your videos. Have you considered looking at the Luke’s Ultralight Critter Bag? I only found one video and it did not really speak to if the bag is really critter proof. It is super light. I know I will still take the ursack if there are bears in the area as I know the Luke’s is not intended for that. Anyway just a push to get you to spend the money and buy one so I can figure out if it is worth me buying one. LOL

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Draco,

      Let me say that Luke makes some great stuff! I have been impressed the craftsmanship of each piece I have seen from him, as well as my own sil rain jacket. He is also a great guy to deal with.

      As for the Critter bag, (not trying to take anything from it) it is simply a roll top bag made from the cuben/nylon hybrid material. I have read reports of others that stated they have watched small rodents try to chew through the 1.42 cuben with little to no luck, so by using the somewhat tougher hybrid material, I figure it would be a little more effective. I wouldn’t put my trust in it fully though, which is why I would still recommend hanging your food bag. But, for those pesky circus mice that can still get to it… maybe it would be a little extra to keep them out…

      I honestly think that it is a good idea, however, I have been just fine with using either my 0.51 Granite Gear 10L cuben dry bag, or my 1.42 ZPacks Blast Food bag and don’t personally feel the need to go with anything more…

      As far as vs the Ursack Minor… I am not positive, but I would say the Ursack Minor would be slightly tougher, but at a little more of a weight penalty… That is just my assumption though…

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  61. Jay Gatton says:

    Hey stick, this is Jay again. So, a completely random note.. I just got the Thermarest ultralight luxlight cot. the 2lb 12 oz. and I must say this was for the super short hikes with friends and such where weight wasn’t a consideration. However After getting it, I am sending it back. It is SUPER loud when adjusting on it, and the even more determining factor was that with all the “bows” placed with the twist bows and everything when laying on my side I compress the cot to the point where there is literally less than a quarter of an inch from the ground (on flat flat ground). I am 175 lbs and it says its supposed to take up to 325 lbs (ha.. no way). SO its headed back to REI. I decided on the M90 material for the cot after talking to you and the guys from Borah. Thanks a bunch,
    J.

    Like

  62. Jay Gatton says:

    Stick,
    So I just got back from another trip and I found out the main issue to the sleeping bag coldness. Its high winds. When it blows super hard which it seems to have been a lot this year in the sierras and trinities here in California I can feel the wind cutting through the sleeping bag. This past trip I had a full length sleeping pad R value 3.2 which was much warmer, but still needed extra warmth when the winds were extremely high, (20-40 mph gusts). So since you refereed me to the Borah bivies (which are well within my price range), you said the M90 was the material you thought would be best. However the M50 is more waterproof and I am running a 5×8 tarp so I was wondering if this would be a better choice simply for more rain protection? It did rain on us which was a complete surprise since the day before it was in the 80s and the weather reports said 0% chance and such. So really I guess I was just hoping to get some feedback if the M50 (which I think is the material you have on your borah) is not breathable (to the point of wanting a different material). Oh, and one more question, the trials are dirty, dusty, sandy, and really brushy in the local areas I hike at (Lassen National wilderness and trinities) and I was wondering what gators you would recommend because I am tired of digging grit out of my shoes. Also on a side note, I found a great coffee concoction: 3-1 trader Joes (2 packets), 1 packet of dark roast Starbucks, 1 packet swiss miss hot coco… The most epic morning drink in the mountains to date for me! 😀

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      Sounds like you figured out what it was, great job! Other than the bivy, is there another configuration that you can pitch your tarp in in order to block some of the wind?

      As far as the bivy, mine currently has M50 on top, however, if I were to do it again, I would go for the M90. It is still water resistant, but more breathable than the M50. Granted the M50 is more water resistant than the M90, but that comes at the cost of breathability. So, this is where we each have to decide what is the best for us personally.

      I actually moded my bivy by cutting a rectangle out of the middle of the M50 and sewing in some bug netting. I have woke up to find a great deal of condensation between the top of my sleeping bag & the layer of M50, so by adding in the netting, some of that moisture will now be able to escape and result in less condensation inside the bivy.

      However, I would suggest contacting John from Borah Gear and explain to him what your expectations & plans are and let him discuss the options with you…

      Hope this helps some, and good luck getting it nailed down!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  63. Jay Gatton says:

    Stick, So I have been thinking more about the sleeping bag issue trying to figure out what went wrong for me. I was using a half pad and I did up getting cold spots on my legs at night so I put my backpack underneath it but truthfully it wasn’t optimal so I am going to probably go back to a full size pad since I think my place to splurge on weight is going to be in sleeping (after having a treck without enough haha). The bag is EN tested to 45 degree F, which the EN tested rating limit has worked well for me prior. I also own the Marmot Helium which I think you have also and I actually took that 15 degree bag into the zero degree range and have been ok (though that was a freak storm in Tahoe Ca). I also on my last trip in the 45 degree bag I did not bring a down Jacket on the trip (or any insulation out of a hardshell upper and lower), and well lets just say at about 2am every morning I would get cold and put on ALL my gear. Hardshells, socks, a Patagonia balaclava, my shorts I hiked in and then would be “warm enough” to sleep. I may have been more dehydrated going to bed than usual so I will keep an eye on that aspect making sure to drink enough. I also don’t think the temps outside were below 40 at night so the 45 should have been close to comfort. The fabric is 15 denier so maybe the light breeze or wind was cutting right through it? Thanks for the info on the water treatment, I am going to have to try them out next time which should be next week to Lassen National Park! alright, thats all for now.
    Jay

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      It sounds like the bag has worked for you before in the same temperature range. However, as you noted, it doesn’t sound like you had enough insulation under you, which can be a huge factor. I have had nights where I experimented with different set-ups, and can remember lying there shivering because I was cold on the bottom… For me, I found that it didn’t matter how much insulation I had on top of me, but if I didn’t have enough under me I would get cold.

      Also, you said the wind was blowing pretty good, and you were under a tarp, which is likely breezy. This very well could have affected how warm you were. Have you used it in the same situations (under the tarp and windy) before and it kept you warm?

      As for the materials, being 15D, it is likely that it is a fairly breathable material, so this could have also been part of the issue.

      Anyway, good luck figuring it all out… unfortunately, this is one of those things that ultimately you will have to learn for yourself through trial and error… but then again, that can also be a fun part! I have done lots of this type of experimentation in my front yard…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  64. Jay Gatton says:

    Sick,
    I should start off by saying thanks for spending the time to have these conversations with me. It has helped me in many ways to increase hiking and camping comfort. So about the chemical treatment… which is your favorite? I have used iodine and chlorine before but would like to hear what you think about the comparison of the two, and why one works better for you. As for the sleeping bag, I was using a tarp so I had lots of ventilation so condensation was not a problem. However there was a light breeze all the way to hurricane winds on the trip and maybe the wind was cutting through the ultralight material causing me to cool down. I am a side sleeper and I am a bit of a restless sleeper who rolls around a lot so maybe I just squish all the loft out of the bag by morning also? The bag did get time to dry each day because we had from 4pm-9pm each day of rest sitting at lakes and such (while I fly fished) so It did have time to dry out if there was any condensation. Well thanks for all the help, I still haven’t made the effort to order any hawk vittles, but hope to soon. Oh and just in case you are in a pinch and need backpacking food for an unplanned trip, I tried out the Mountain House “Wraps” meal and it was delicious! Just hike in some tortilla and make a burrito of goodness. Haha… anyways, thanks for all the help.
    Jay

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      No problem! I enjoy the conversations! Plus, maybe it will help others that have similar questions. Glad to hear that they have helped you though.

      As for the chemical treatments, my favorite is the MP1 tablets, and then the Aqua Mira drops. I like the tablets simply because they are easier to use than the AM drops, however, don’t get me wrong, using the AM drops is very easy, and actually less expensive. If you go with AM drops, I suggest getting some smaller bottles to repackage the AM in (such as these) and then a mixing bottle (such as this one). This way you can premix a days worth of AM in the black mixing bottle, so when you stop to refill water, the AM is ready to be added to the water.

      Don’t use iodine… it’s not a good thing.

      As for the bag, it sounds like it had time to air/dry out, so the loft should have been ok. It sounds like the quilt may not be warm enough for you though in the conditions you used them in. However, before getting rid of the quilt…

      Were you hydrated before going to bed? Being dehydrated = less circulation = less warmth
      Did you pee before going to bed? A full bladder takes up energy to keep warm too…
      Were you fed well? Food = energy = warmth
      Did the temp rating for the quilt match or exceed the temperatures experienced?
      Is the quilt wide enough for you?
      Did you use the straps to close up the quilt around you?
      Did you have the neck hole cinched up tight?
      Were you wearing a hat?
      What sort of clothes were you sleeping in?
      Socks?
      Is your sleeping pad adequately rated for the temps you experienced?

      You mention the materials on the quilt; what materials are used for the shell?

      You also mention that you toss & turn; did you remain under the quilt the whole time?

      As for the Hawk Vittles… I love them. It’s great stuff, although, I am sure that it wouldn’t suit everyone’s taste buds as they do mine… If you ever get around to ordering them, I hope you have the same experiences that I have with them!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  65. Jay Gatton says:

    Hi stick, I tried out the Wise food company free sample 3 nights ago on the trail. I had the Lasagna pack and well lets just say I wont be buying any products from them ever. It made the mountain house meals taste like gourmet cooking the next night. Anyways, here on the PCT in the northern california section is mostly views of smoke from fires. Hopefully it clears a bit in the next few days or I will be in the smoke again. Check out “trinity alps alpine route” its a no trail route that a guy put up a while back. I don’t know of anyone but him doing the trail. Here is a link if you are interested. (I should not the significance to this route)… Its like the John Muir Trail without the people. So if you get the chance to backpack in california its a must do!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      Yeah, I wasn’t too impressed with the Wise Food meal, at least not the one I tried (TBH, I cannot even remember which one that was now…)

      I will check out that route soon. Hope the smoke clears off for you and you continue to enjoy your hike!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Jay Gatton says:

      Hey stick, just got back from the alpine route in the trinities. The smoke was so bad every morning I would wake up with a sore throat. Anyways, since I just got into the ultralight style I am not very good at it yet. I used the Frontier pro filter for a week and it left me really wanting more volume of water to drink quickly (instead of the intense sucking pressure required). Is the Sawyer Squeeze water flow much better? Also, I have a 45 degree phantom sleeping bag by Mountain Hardwear and well It left me cold around half the nights in the last 7 days on the trail. Would a 5-7 oz bivy be the best route to bring the warmth rating up a hair for summer routes and such? Alright, well my legs are sore so I am going to go take a nap. Thanks for the help and info on everything thus far.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      Bummer to hear about all the smoke. I know talking with John Abela, he has complained of lots of smoke too… I hope that they can get them under control soon!

      As for the FP filter, I would always use my in conjunction with chemicals, however, I would only use the FP filter if the water looked questionable. Otherwise, I treat with chemicals and am good. Also, I never drank through the filter, instead, I attached the filter to the top of a Platy bottle and then filtered it through the filter into a clean drinking bottle.

      However, if you are looking at the Squeeze, I would say go for it, or better yet, wait a couple of months for the Mini Squeeze to be available. It is the same 0.1 Absolute filter, but in a less robust cartridge, so it weighs less at 2 oz (vs 3). Also, these should be going for between $20 & $25, so not a bad cost either. However, I am curious to see if they (Sawyer) will be able to keep up with the initial demand…

      Anyway, as for the flow, it is great. I can easily filter 1L of water in about 30 seconds or less (from the time that I actually start rolling the bag to force the water through the filter).

      As for the bag leaving you cold… did you experience much condensation, and did you allow the bag to sit out and dry on occasion.

      As for a bivy, it will definitely help increase warmth some (how much is hard to say though), but be sure that you get one that is appropriate. My pick woould be one of the Borah bivies with M90 on top, and the side zip option.

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  66. Jeff Whynot says:

    Hi Stick,

    I’ve enjoy your blog and have gotten a lot of good advice from it. I noticed you have a lot of experience with the ZPacks Solomid Plus (tent and tarp). I’m thinking of getting one with the ZPacks poncho groundsheet. I’d love to get your thoughts. Do you think the groundsheet can stand up to the campsites in the Northeast which are not exactly clean or soft? Also, I know you sold your Solomid tent because of stuff collecting in the mesh floor. Do you see that as a problem? Any other thoughts you have are appreciated because this setup is a lot of $$$.

    Thanks, Jeff

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jeff,

      To be honest, I would be a bit leery about using a cuben ground sheet that I was also relying on as my rain protection, especially with nothing between it and the ground/rocks/roots/whatever… I think that going with the poncho ground sheet is a great idea to save weight, but I would still want to have something to put under it at camp such as some polycro or something.

      As much as I love (and endorse) cuben fiber, I will also admit that it’s weakness lies in abrasion. It does not do well when rubbed against objects, and can rub though, fray, and result in a hole.

      My suggestion is to use something under a cuben groundsheet to preserve as much life as possible with cuben.

      As for thoughts on my Hexamid Solo Plus (not “Solomid”… that is MLD) I have lots of thoughts on them. Too many to try to retell here though… just check out any of my Hexamid or Hexanet write ups or videos for those. Ultimately, I love them though, but I have my own personal reasons for that. Yours may vary…

      Hope this helps, and good luck with your decision.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  67. misterfloyd says:

    Stix,

    enjoy your blog and your information @whiteblaze.com

    I have a six moons skyscape, and I have troble getting that advetised “bathroom floor. I looked at you videos and saw how you did it. Not comfortable with getting the the stake 3 inches off the ground, especially in windy conditions. Any other suggesstions?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Misterfloyd,

      To be honest, I am not sure that there is a good way. Some likely less than ideal options are to tie the tie outs to trees rather than stake them down, but this would mean finding three perfectly spaced trees, or carrying longer than usual guy lines. Another option may be to find some small sticks shaped as a “Y” and prop them up under the guyline next to the tent. This may help to push the guyline up and help create the bathtub floor, but you must be careful that you don’t damage the tent on these sticks pointing up near your tent…

      You may can head over to HikeLighter.Com and ask John about this too. He has owned a few of the Skyscape X tents and may have some better ideas.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  68. Jay Gatton says:

    Hey stick, I have what maybe an odd question. I have done tons and tons of miles backpacking and recently have gotten into the ultralight backpacking since my distances have been increasing on the trail. I have never done a re-supply because I usually call a trip over at around 80 miles which I usually do over a 5 day period many times by myself. My issue that I have is my food has been either great but too heavy or not so great but light, (Mountain house meals ect…). My question is, since I am planning on doing a 220 mile hike on the PCT without refueling (because I am not sure refueling is ever going to be a style of backpacking I want to do), I was wondering if you have tried Hawk Vittles Breakfast meals, since I am thinking about getting every other day breakfast meals with Hawk Vittles since I don’t want to eat outmeal for 12 mornings straight. So really my lead question is, if I eat Hawk Vittles for Breakfast, and Dinners will I be unhappy with this decision? And I should say my comfort level of food backpacking has always put up with Mountain house meals and other freeze dried heavy sodium products. I guess what I am looking for is just some more advice about Hawk Vittles, since Ive never gone through them before but I sure am excited to try!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jay,

      I have not tried the Hawk Vittles Breakfast meals, but have ate a few of their dinners, and have been very happy with them. I actually have a few of them in my pantry now for an upcoming hike!

      As for breakfast, I tend to like something a bit lighter (on the stomach) and faster to prepare. My go-to breakfast foods are oatmeal (in the colder months), pop-tarts & those little mini muffins (my favorite choice)… and of course a cup of Joe. These have been fine for me.

      Also, when it comes to eggs… I have had a very bad experience with MH eggs… it really did kinda ruin any kind of thoughts of eating eggs again on the trail unless they are the real deal…

      Anyway, sorry I couldn’t be more help. And if you do get some of the HV breakfasts be sure to let us know what you think of them… I may just have to give them a try… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  69. KC says:

    Love your blog, it has become one of my go-to blogs for backpacking information. I recently sold my old tent and picked up a new one from SMD after waiting patiently for it to come into stock. Given the tent weighs about a pound, I want to get some light stakes for it. I have a gift card I need to use and the MSR Carbon Cores look attractive. How have your Carbon Cores held up? Any thoughts on the Groundhog Minis? Thanks.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      KC,

      Glad to hear that you have enjoyed my blog! I appreciate the kind words and your continued support.

      As for the stakes, my Carbon Cores are holding up very well, however, I don’t fine myself pounding on them to get them in the ground. For the most part they go in well, or I can find a different spot to put the stake in. However, I have read of others that use these stakes that have had to pound on them say that the heads have come loose from them.

      Considering this, I would say it depends on the typical soil conditions that you find yourself in most of the time. If you are already having to pound on your stakes to get them in, I would say go with the mini groundhogs. If you can generally get them in with just a little effort (such as by pushing with your palm, or with your foot) then the carbon cores may work for you.

      I also have some of the mini groundhogs, but never take them. For me, 2 of the carbon cores and the rest ti shepherd hooks have suited my needs.

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  70. Charles verfuerth says:

    Hey stick love the blog, just ordered cirriform sw tent have you had any condensation problems, I have a new big agnes scout ul2, love the tent but condensation is a problem

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Charles,

      The fact of the matter is, all tents are susceptible to condensation. With double wall tents, it is not so much of a concern since the condensation will collect on the fly, and there is still a wall between you and the wet fly. With single wall tents, the same thing can happen, the difference is that now there is not another wall between you and the wet…

      When using any single wall tent, it is ideal to pick and choose your campsite wisely. Don’t pitch next to streams; don’t pitch in a valley; don’t pitch beneath an open sky, especially in a grassy field. Where some single wall shelters shine above others is in their abilities to ventilate well. Naturally, you need a low & a high vent. The cold air enters through the bottom, and the hot air is pushed out of the top. The better the vent’s, the more air flow created, which means more condensation in the air is carried out of your tent.

      As far as the YMG Cirriform SW tent, so far I have had good luck with it, however, I have only used it a few times. There is mesh strips along both sides of the tent, and there is mesh high at the head and foot end. So far I have noticed that this design does allow a moderate amount of air circulation, however, this is assuming that the surrounding air is circulating, such as the wind blowing.

      On a still night with high humidity though, most tents will suffer condensation. With single wall tents, the best thing here is too have enough interior space to stay away from the walls or canopy. In this respect, there is plenty of floor room both in width and length for even my large size XLite to be centered and away from all 4 walls. However, it is not as tall as other tents, so when I sit up, I must be careful not to brush the ceiling with my head.

      Saying all of this, I am happy with the YMG Cirriform SW tent, and at this point have no reason to part with it.

      Hope this helps,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  71. jeffrey armbruster says:

    Thanks, Stick. I’m really looking forward to the Hexamid. I’ll be mostly using it solo, with a twin cuben floor. I’ve been more of a tent guy than a tarp guy–I use the BA fly creek ul1. So I’m used to a 2 wall tent, and good breeze protection. But the weight savings of the Hexamid have sold me. (Also, the zippers on the BA fly creek keep blowing out.) I’m thinking of using a polycro ground sheet beneath PART of the Hexamid netting, where I sleep, on dry nights to keep it from getting dirty/wet.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jeffery,

      You should notice a significant amount of change in “breeze protection” with the hexamid as there is plenty of breeze that comes through the hexamid! IMO though, it is nice because it is “cooler” in the warm months, and being so breezy, helps minimize the amount of condensation inside.

      I would not recommend using the polycro under the netting floor, at least if it looks like rain. If so, water can get trapped on top of the polycro and will result in you lying in a puddle. However, I have heard others talk about it (not sure if they actually have though… it may have just been talk…), but I never felt it would be beneficial… if it rains, the netting will get wet, period.

      Enjoy your new tent! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  72. jeffrey armbruster says:

    Hi Stick: this is a bit off topic, but anyway: I’m about to receive a Hexamid solo plus tent and wondered if you found that your GG LT 4 pole was substantial enough to use with this tent. (Obviously I use the LT4’s). Thanks for your reply.

    I do see that you’ve moved on to a different tent. I’ve watched most of your videos on the Hex. I’m also getting the pole boot from GG. Any final comments on the tent?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jeffery,

      First may I say congrats on your new tent! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

      As for the LT4’s, yes, they are more than adequate for use with this tent. You don’t have to use the boot, but if you would like I don’t see why you couldn’t.

      And I wouldn’t say that I have “moved on” to a new tent, as much as I have just added more options in my gear closet! However, I did sell my Hexamid “tent” and replaced it with the Solo Plus “tarp”. I have also recently ordered the solo plus Hexanet to use with it, but it hasn’t made it to me just yet.

      Anyway, have fun with your new tent!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  73. Rick says:

    Stick,

    Just getting into the whole backpacking game. I see a lot of multi-plier tools, ie Leatherman. Are they necessary and if so what have you used them for, thanks.

    Rick

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Rick,

      I personally haven’t used them. Just a knife has been fine with me. However, I have said that I wish one could go to the SAK site and choose what pieces you wanted and build your own. If so, I would go with simply a small knife, scissors & a toothpick. A flat head screw driver might make it in (this comes in great for adjusting flick lock trekking poles).

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  74. Scott Haddon says:

    Hi Stick, Interested in hiking this coming weekend? I’m available Thursday through Sunday mid-day. My setup is similar to your setup with some small differrences. I carry around 7.5 lbs base and have always wanted to hike the whole AT but being a restaurant supervisor, husband, father to 2 daughters and a house mortgage that still has to get paid monthly…I have to hike on long weekends when I can. That being said, I have managed to hike from Springer to Fondana Dam in sections which is why I’m contacting you to see if you were up for a hike? I live in Statesboro, Ga so it will take me a few hours to drive north. I have been looking to hike the Georgia Loop which is 55 miles. Here’s a link… http://www.bmta.org/imgs/GA-60-Mile%20loop.jpg If you can’t come that’s OK too. would appreciate a response either way please. Happy Trails, Scott Haddon

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Scott,

      Thanks for the offer, however, I won’t be able to make it. I have to request off of work well in advance, and I already have the rest of my hikes in for the rest of the year. I only have 2 more this year, one next month and then the Wonderland Trail in September. Me and a buddy plan to hike the 76 miles of the Foothills Trail in 3 days… looking forward to that! 🙂

      Anyway, good luck on your hike and sorry I couldn’t make it.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  75. Michael Harvey says:

    Stick: Thoroughly enjoy your blog; I’ve been following for some time. I do have one question though concerning a recent gear list. You had (I seem to recollect) mentioned a obsession w/ keeping gear dry and gone with a Zpacks pack liner. I note in a later gear list, you’ve gone with the NyLo liner from LiteTrail(?). Your rationale? Weather? No stream crossings? I too am a compulsive gram counter, but I keep longing for the dry bag. I’ve trade a Sea-to Summit (nylon) liner for the Gossamer Gear/MLD liners and have ordered the NyLo liners, but am constantly drawn – like a moth to flame – to the Zpacks liner. I can hear the wallet opening as I type. Anyway, thanks for the input! See ya out there (Duff)

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      I still use the ZPacks pack liner on occasion, but I have went with the LiteTrail liner simply due to weight. I take a few precautions with my gear inside my pack to keep it dry, so I felt it was ok to go with this style pack liner. I always carry a pack cover when it is cold and I can’t afford to get my stuff wet, so even though it has its limits, I still carry and use it. Besides, it is only 1.2 oz. Then of course my packs are cuben, which is a waterproof material, however, water can still seep in through the seams, which is where the pack liner comes into play.The pack cover will keep the top half of the pack dry, and the liner will keep any water that gets in the lower half from my items. As well, I have also been known to stuff my bag/quilt into a dry sack, which sits on the very bottom of the pack, so if water does seep in the pack, and then into through the pack liner, the bottom layer is still protected.

      Of course though, in the dead of summer, I don’t carry a pack cover and just rely on the liner.

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  76. Rachel Borchardt says:

    Not your typical comment…I have been collecting light-weight gear over the last year for backpacking and I have really enjoyed your thorough reviews with well-positioned video. I recently came across a video from a year or so ago you’d done on the NF Verto wind jacket, and I couldn’t help but notice the ‘thousand foot krutch’ T-shirt you were wearing. Awesome. Not sure where you’re at, but sharing faith even in the smallest of ways can open up possibilities for God to touch people’s lives. Maybe you were given this audience on purpose. Thanks for keeping things real!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Rachel,

      Thanks for supporting my site and for the kind words, I appreciate it! And yes, you are not the only one that has commented about things such as this… I used to use music in my videos, and most of if was Christian, and a few people picked up on it… As far as TFK… they are awesome! I love them!

      Thanks again for stopping by,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  77. Jim says:

    Hey Stik. Really enjoy your blog. As you have a ultralight following, I found something just this week you might want to review. I got some Kentucky Fried last week. The container for slaw was very robust and indicated reusable, dishwasher safe, and leak resistant. I think it makes for a great item to protect crushable small items, and would be immune to all but direct immersion. Re-sealing the lid requires a little nuance, but otherwise no issues. I am going to keep my Vias and sugar for coffee in one….simply because the shape will make it easier for me to find in my pack :). I did some further web searching and the containers have actually received green awards (link below). Check it out. Jim Grob

    http://www.greenerpackage.com/reusability/kfc%E2%80%99s_sustainable_sides_container_sogood

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jim,

      Great minds think alike… I don;t eat at KFC often, but the last time I was there I got my mashed potatoes in one of those and thought the same thing, however, I ended up throwing it away before I left. For a small, lightweight bowl/cup I now carry an 8 oz Ziploc bowl, of course I leave the lid behind. The weight is 0.35 oz.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and for your support, I appreciate it!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  78. Carolina Girl says:

    Hi Stick, Thank you for your kind answers to my questions. I have been able to see your video on the bottle holders. You do a great job explaining how to make them.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      No problem Carolina Girl, I m glad that you saw the video! As I mentioned, a number of people have asked me about the water bottle holders, and it was a quick easy video to do, that I figured would be helpful.

      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to help. 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  79. Tim says:

    Sure does i’m in no hurry to purchase a watch so may see how it does i’ll be watching for updates .. Thanks Tim

    Like

  80. Tim says:

    Hey stick enjoy your vids check them every day.Looking to get a watch wondering how you liking suunto core.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      At the moment, to be completely honest, I have mixed feelings with the Suunto Core. To be quite honest, the (cheaper) High Gear Axio max that retailed for $150 less than the Core, and that I just sold for a whopping $65 did about 90% of the stuff that the Core does. The features the Core offers over the HG, that I care about, is that I can lock the buttons, and that I can lock either the altitude or the barometer so that which ever is unlocked, any changes will reflect on that setting.

      With both watches, I had/have issues with hitting the buttons while hiking, or even walking around. This means that when I looked at the watch for a reading, I was hardly ever on the screen I left it on, and that I wanted it to stay on. As I said, this happens with both of these watches, however, I can lock the buttons on the Core, so this now becomes a non-issue.

      As far as the other feature I mentioned, I like that I can lock the altitude reading when at camp at night, so any changes in the pressure will be read as barometric changes, then during the day when hiking I just lock the barometric reading and changes will show up as altitude readings. With my HG watch, I could not do this.

      So far though, the Suunto seems to stay a bit more accurate as far as altitude changes than the HG was, but not by much. And just so ya know, the altitude is the biggest feature I want in these watch (next to reading the time of course).

      My biggest upset with this watch is that the light will not work below a certain temperature! The first night that I stayed outside the temp got down to 26 F. I left the watch off of my body, and laying next to me under my tarp so I could check the outside temperature. Around the freezing point, the back light came on but then went out sooner than it should have. Then it didn’t come on anymore. I could shine a light at it and everything else appeared to still be working, just not the light. So, I pulled it in my sleeping bag with me and once it warmed back up the light started working again. The next morning I came in and googled this, and come to find out there was a thread over on BPL with a number of people saying the same thing, or similar about this watch. I called Suunto and she told me to change the battery… I will try that eventually, but I really feel like this will not help. I think it just doesn’t work out in subfreezing temps…

      This is a bummer to me, especially considering this is a $300 watch. To be honest, if I had known this one thing about the light before buying, for that amount of $$, I would have stuck with what I had. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the watch, but that one little issue does bug me. But, at this point, the watch is mine and I don’t think I could return it. I feel like selling it would result in another loss in $$ that I am not ready to take a hit on. So, for now I will hang on to it. Like I said, everything else on it works, and the altimeter should be a little better than my other watch. As far as the light not working at night, on cold nights I will just keep the watch either on, or in my bag.

      So, I can’t say I would recommend it, but I also can’t say that I would not recommend it. Suunto is known for quality (as far as I understand…it is why I bought this one..) I know that many hikers have used the Vector and love it. It is a tried and true watch, and less expensive than the Core by about a hundred dollars. I will use it for another trip or 2 before I do a “review” on it…

      Hope this helps some,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  81. Chad Petroff says:

    I was wondering about that myself, getting the the twin groundsheet with the solo plus? I remember your video when you added xtra groundsheet for a second. Though my wife might only venture out with me once a year, I’d like to have that option…..And I agree with George on Skurka’s comment. Kind of off base. I’ve learned a lot from your videos and this blog. Everyone in the SUL/UL community I’ve been turned onto so far never approaches it in a weight first manner? Anyways, keep it up and thanks! Chad

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Chad, glad to hear that you like my stuff. And as far as the Skurka comment, oh well, I guess he has his way and I have mine… Doesn’t make either of them wrong I guess… as long as they work for us personally. 🙂

      As far as the groundsheet question, I went back and answered this in George’s comment… I forgot to comment on it… doh…

      But, if you ever plan to use the tent with 2 people I would suggest to use the twin size ground sheet. If it had been raining then we may have gotten a little wet… However, another alternative is to grab the Solo Plus and some Polycro and take a larger sheet of Polycro for when it is 2 people. This is a cheaper option and may be more appealing if it is rarely needed, such as it is in my case.

      Hope this helps and thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  82. George Turner says:

    Hi Stick. I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I really enjoy reading it and watching the videos. The GA, NC sections of the AT are some of my favorite places to hike. Your blog has helped me reduce my base weight significantly and enjoy hiking even more.
    I was reading your June post about your SUL kit and really enjoyed it. Then I read the comments by Skurka and it sort of made me mad. I am not a “professional hiker”. I started hiking and camping when I was 7 or 8 years old with scouts. I am now 62. (Although I have not been active in hiking all those years.) I love the UL, SUL etc classifications. One main reason is because its great FUN. I understand his rather simplistic point. (I have also read his book). Maybe there are UL and SUL hikers that are to “stupid” to understand basic safety when planing a hike but I doubt it. Anyway, sorry for the rant.
    I do have a question. I am interested in the Heximid solo plus. Do you still like yours? Do you have room on the Cuban solo plus bathtub floor for your pack and other gear or should I get the twin Cuban floor. (I am tempted by the Six Moon Skyscrape X thanks to John Abela’s review but it won’t be in stock for several months.) Thanks.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      George,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad to hear that my site has helped you reduce some of your weight too! That is awesome!

      As far as the comment, yea, I was a bit disturbed by his comment too… To be honest, I was stoked when I saw he commented on my site, but then after reading it wasn’t sure how to take it. I realize that he has been there, done that, for sure, so I am not sure what was going on. I admit, I have nowhere near the experience he has, but I did have some experience, and I have worked my way into this “weight” rather than just jumping into it. Anyway, I don’t know though… On another note, I have read his book and really liked it. I even included a write up of it on my blog since I enjoyed it so much, and I feel that it is a great read for any backpacker. Of course though, there are some things that I don’t agree with wholeheartedly, but that is ok. No 2 hikers are the same and will have a different perspective. That is cool with me…

      Anwyay, as far as the Hex Solo Plus and the Skyscape X, I think that you would be happy with either. John is a great guy and has done a great job with his write up about the Skyscape X (as he does with all of his write ups). Of course I have had the Skyscape Trekker also, so I agree, it is a sweet tent. I would say though that I found the Skyscape to feel more like a tent, whereas the Hexamid is more tarp like, so if you prefer one or the other… Also, I will admit, the Skyscape is easier to enter/exit being a side entry, with a nice, high, door…whereas the Hexamid is not as tall. In my opinion, the Hex Solo Plus is roomier than the Skyscape. My only real downfall with the Hexamid is that the mesh floor can hold a good bit of water when it rains. I have also learned that if I am expecting rain, then set it up in a grassy area. This will keep muddy water from splashing up into the mesh, and the grass will also absorb some of the impact and keep the splashing to a minimum. Set-up is slightly easier on the Skyscape, but that doesn’t mean that the Hex is difficult. Even with the 10 stakes, I can set it up pretty dang quickly.

      EDIT TO ADD:

      I totally missed part of the comment…sorry…

      Concerning size, the solo plus ground sheet has been a good size for me by myself and my gear, although, I don’t typically have much. My backpack is usually under my pad and if there is any extra clothes, or rain gear, etc… it will go beside me on the ground sheet if it is raining. However, if it is not raining, it goes on the mesh.

      But, I now have a large NeoAir XLite, which is slightly larger than my original NeoAir, and I have not used it in the Hexamid yet, so we will see, although, I still think it will be fine.

      With 2 people though, no, the solo plus is not big enough and I would recommend going with the twin size (which will still fit in the solo plus tent). Or, you can make a ground sheet from some polycro, of course though unless you get creative, it will not have the “bathtub walls.” When my wife was with me, I laid out my CloudKilt and my pack liner along the back edge so that both of our pads was able to be on the ground sheet. It is wide enough in the middle for 2 20″ pads, but the ends of the ground sheet taper and this is where it is not big enough. To be honest, this kind of makes me want to get a twin ground sheet to take for times I know I will use it for 2…

      Anyway, I hope that this helps some, and thanks again!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  83. Ryan Irvine says:

    Hey chad, love all the info. been hinking for about a year now and looking to lighten the load. with the cuban fiber packs why would you need a liner if they are waterproof? Thanks

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ryan,

      Thanks for following my blog, and glad that you enjoyed it! As far as your question, the reason I still use pack liners is because the cuben fiber packs are not waterproof. Cuben Fiber itself is 100% waterproof, but when these packs are built, they are sewn, and all of those tiny little holes will let water in, even if they are filled with a stitch. The stitches become wet and will let water come right through. For this reason, I use a pack liner. But, if you are worried about the weight of the liner, I highly suggest you to go over to Lite Trail and check out their liners. They only weigh 1 oz each, are see-through, strong and are only $5 for 2, which will last you quite a while. They are my favorite pack liners so far.

      There are a few packs that do claim to be waterproof, and while I cannot argue the point since I do not have any of them, I would be very hesitant to rely on them to be 100% waterproof. I would still take the 1 oz weight penalty and use one of the above mentioned liners.

      Hope this helps some. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  84. Brandon says:

    Stick,

    Long time reader of your blog. I really enjoy insight and adventures! I had some questions about platypus bags. Do you know of any good ways of cleaning them out and then drying them? I usually just put a couple drops of bleach in mine, with a full bag of water, if I’ve carried dirty water in it, pour it out and then hang it up for a few days. Do you know of a better way to get all the moisture out? It will take about a week of hanging it to get all the moisture out and I’m always afraid I’m gonna store it with some moisture and have a mold farm growing when I get it back out!

    Thanks, Brandon

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Brandon,

      Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting, I appreciate the support.

      As far as cleaning out your bags, I assume that you are talking about the same Platy’s that I use? The ones with a small mouth? Regardless, I pretty much do the same thing that you do. I wash it out with hot water and a little bleach, however, I can never get mine completely dried out, no matter how many days I leave it sitting out, pouched out and with the lid off. So, I just wait a few days, then put the lid back on and roll it up and store it. I figure that there is a trace of bleach left in it so as often as I use them it would be hard for mold to start growing… If I ever did notice mold though, I would definitely chunk it and use a new one.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • David Cook says:

      One way of drying out a platypus that I read on Jason Klass site http://jasonklass.blogspot.com/2009/07/drying-hydration-systems-quickly.html is to use a fish aquarium pump. You can buy one for about $10. Just put the tube in the platty, turn on and the pump will circulate air. I brought a pump but haven’t had a chance to test, but seems liked a good solution.

      David

      Like

    • Stick says:

      David,

      I also saw that as well, but haven’t picked one up. If I had a fish tank I would be more inclined to do so. However, I found that if you blow into it to puff it open, leave the top off and set it outside in the sun it will also completely dry out. Be sure to leave it standing up though with the opening up, otherwise the moisture will just collect on the topmost surface inside the bag.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  85. mondayheadache says:

    Do you have a favorite 2 or 3 night trip recommendation?
    Thanks, Chad

    Like

    • Stick says:

      mondayheadache,

      I can’t say that I have a favorite 2-3 night trip…so far I have thoroughly enjoyed each trip I have been on, for one reason or another. I will admit though, I do like to center my hikes around the AT one way or another though… I also enjoy doing loops in the Smokies, but getting the reservations for shelters/sites can sometimes be a headache, and then with the new system coming in starting next year, I am not sure how that will be…

      However, I will say that the Roan Highland section we just did was a nice change of pace. (By that I mean we hiked across lots of open balds with great views as opposed to the typical green tunnel that I am normally on…)

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • mondayheadache says:

      I really appreciate you getting back to me on all of these questions I keep throwing at you (Here and YouTube). Thanks. Your blog and vids are always great…….. I hiked in the Smokies for the first time a few weeks ago and loved it. I have big plans of hitting it up hard all next year. Trying to start planning my routes now.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      No problem at all! I enjoy talking and sharing with others. And the Smokies is a beautiful place… I enjoy going there myself… Good luck with your plan to hit it hard next year! Enjoy it!

      Like

  86. kevoutdoors says:

    Hey Buddy. I first found your channel on YouTube and quickly after visited your blog. I’m totally new to the whole SUL or even lightweight camping scene spending most of my time learning and teaching bushcraft. I love your channel on Youtube buddy and your blog and I’m currently undergoing a new project to make Bushcraft SUL and all because of your Youtube channel and blog. Keep up the good work!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Kev,

      Thanks for stopping by, and glad that you enjoy my site(s)! I appreciate the kind words.

      I am more than sure than I could benefit from some of the bushcraft techniques…however, I have been having to much fun relying on all this “fancy gear”… 🙂

      Anyway, I will check out your site and look forward to seeing how you mesh these 2 worlds together!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  87. Joe (Two Tents) says:

    Hey! I just discovered this ramen. Man is it good! They say it is the crack of the ramen world. At an oriental store near you. Indomie BBQ chicken flavor ramen noodles. After the noodles are done it gets drained and 5 ( yep, 5) packets of spices, crunchies and gooey goodness go on it ! Mmmmmm! Just sayin. Peace, Two Tents.

    Like

  88. randyamos1 says:

    I just wanted to say great Blog. I really enjoy reading it and enjoy the many reasorces that i am able to reference from your site. It is so funny to read your blogs from 2010 and see so much of the same things my wife and I are going through right now.

    You have actually inspired me to start a blog of my own. I have gained so much from the many blogs out there I hope some day I am able to pass someithng on to others starting out.

    Thanks again
    Randy

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Randy,

      Thanks for stopping by and complimenting my blog. As well, I am glad that you were able to take something away from it!

      It is funny that you mention reading my entries from 2010, because that is a huge reason why I made this blog…so I can go back and see where I came from, and track my progression.

      Anyway, good luck to you and your wife’s endeavor! It is a fun one for sure. And good luck with your blog. I will get over and check it out sometime soon!

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Greg Behrens says:

      Hey Randy, I follow both your blog here and subscribe to your You Tube Channel. Love them both and thanks for your candid opinions. Now to a question. I saw a three part series on your ULA Circuit; however, it was after I watched your latest review of the ZPacks Arc Blast. (I also watched all of Red Beards Hike and his post hike review of the Arc Blast). Because of this, I myself, am fighting between which pack to purchase. It would be awesome if you could possibly do a side by side comparison and give an opinion on which pack you beleive would win out and why. Of course the obvious one is the ZPacks is lighter but cost $100 more. The Circuit appears a little more rugged and adjustable with a couple more option. Also, can you comment on how well the Z Pack Cuben Cover works on the Circuit or the Blast (If necessary)? PS I would imagine you definetly need the Medium Hip Belt on both packs, now – Great Job all around!

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Greg,

      I am not sure who Randy is , so I assume that you were intending for this comment to be directed to me?

      I actually sold me Circuit about a year or so ago. I wanted to keep it, but with my Arc Blast, there was no reason for me to keep it. I haven’t needed a pack to carry more than about 25 or 26 lbs at most in the last several years, so the Circuit was way overkill…

      Saying this, I think it is unfair to try to do a side-by-side comparison of the Arc Blast and the Circuit though. They are similar in some ways, however, they are built to do 2 different things. IMO, the Circuit is a minimalist pack that is suited for folks wanting to carry between 30 – 40 lbs. Of course though, you can carry less weights in it too, and it will work just fine, but it just depends on ones needs. Another thing to think about too though is water weight… for those that hike in the desert and need to carry a lot of water, a lot of times, the Circuit is a great pack for that too… Also, the Circuit is a pretty bullet proof pack… if you want something that will stand up to some rugged use, the Circuit is the pack for that.

      The Arc Blast on the other hand is a bit less in that the material, while tough, is not as tough as the Circuit. As well, the Arc Blast excels in carrying weights ideally under about 27-ish lbs, but can handle loads of up to 30 lbs, so long as it isn’t all the time… I also like that the Arc Blast is 100% customizable, which is worth the extra cost in itself, IMO. It is nice to be able to choose exactly which features you want, or don’t want, on your pack…

      For me, as much as I liked the Circuit, and wanted to keep it, I just wasn’t going to ever need it… My total pack weights are low now… even for 7 day hikes, with no resupply, in down to freezing conditions, I barely broke 24 lbs… But, I whole heartily feel comfortable recommending either pack. They are both top notch when it comes to quality, materials, and customer service. Honestly though, IMO, the first thing I would consider is how much weight will you be carrying normally… if it is 25 lbs or less, I would really look at the ZPacks… if 30 or more, I would really look at the Circuit…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

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