I spent the last four days obsessing on kit. And geared up.

I have always kept a ready backpack somewhere. Growing up a hippie and moving around a lot inspired a streak of survivalist/adventurer.

I have had several setups over time. My mom made my first backpack out of leftover upholstery material so I could go on a boy scout hike. That did not work so well. With the down bag from the Korean War I don’t think I would have noticed the added weight of an iron skillet.

In secondary school, junior high school in the states, I was placed in “High Adventure.” A pilot program which eventually became Outward Bound. For the first few of those hikes I carried my gear in two opposing shoulder bags like Grasshopper. Picked up a frame pack eventually. No idea where that ended up.

In college, I made a simple canvas backpack by hand. No velcro or snaps or zippers. I also picked up a bunch of scrap polyfill at the Seattle squeaky floor REI and sewed up a sleeping bag seven feet long inside. That bag would serve me for decades until it was stolen from the back of a pick up truck. I also made a cookset out of Revere Ware by cutting off the handles and nesting a frying pan in a pot. Complete with a copper bottom measuring cup. Tied up a knotted bag to hold it all. I have made several of these sets since.

Somewhere in here I pick up a classic Camp Trails frame pack. This is the pack the sleeping bag was in when it was stolen. Complete kit gone. Time to gear up again.

I was blown away by how gear had evolved since my last trip to REI. Among other things, the fabrics amazed me so much I am still trying to get a clothing company going using those modern fabrics in classic style clothes. The MSR Whisperlight had not changed much but the bags and packs and what the hell is this thermarest thing? WOW!

I loaded up a Gregory Palisade with an REI sleeping bag, a therm-a-rest, another RevereWare cook set, a Coleman singe burner, and a Half Dome. Really nice setup served me until this year. It all went as part of the thinning down, simplifying process. I actually justified leaving my sleeping bag, pad, and tent at Goodwill by realizing the new gear I would some day replace it all with would be awesome.

Wow, was I right!

So I have re kitted. I did minimum research and trusted my friends at Second Ascent in Ballard and ended up with a new Therm-a-rest Neoair Xtherm Max, a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1, and a Mont Bell Spiral Down Hugger 800 #3. All of this weighs in at about five (5!) pounds and fits in my Jansport day pack. Any singe piece of my old kit did not fit in this bag. All three of these do with room for the rest of what I need. Laptop, iPad, toilet kit, backup clothes and warms, chargers, headlamp, and field glasses. Even a pair of lightweight shoes.  I feel like a Buddhist monk. If I forgo the coffee kit, more shoes, and an extra suit, I am ready to go with just the Jansport if I am fully clothed.



Update 2017-08-27

I added an MSR Windburner. I have made coffee in it a couple times. As others have said, it took longer to grind the beans than boil the water. I will write about attempting to cook on it soon.



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