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Favorite Purchase

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby KathyW » Tue May 28, 2013 4:14 pm

oldranger wrote:My Exped DownmAT 7 UL LW. When you get to medicare age a goodnight sleep is hard to com by under even optimal conditions. The downmat is as close as it gets when backpacking.

Mike


I agree - I'll spend the extra money for a more comfortable night's sleep. I love my Downmat 7 UL. I had problems with leaking around the valves on the regular Downmat (which Exped fixed for free), but I'm into my second year with the UL version and haven't had any problems.

This past weekend I packed the Thermarest NeoAir by mistake. I like the Thermarest NeoAir too, but I only use it in the warmest weather because it's not made for cold nights. The Thermarest did the job; so I guess I'll use it most of the time now until the end of August or early September.

The trick with the air mattresses is not to fill them all the way.



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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby longri » Tue May 28, 2013 6:52 pm

maverick wrote:What piece of gear has been your best/favorite purchase to date?

A $10 2qt aluminum pot I bought in a little store in Bridgeport during a 1998 ski trip. With the plastic handle removed it beats every titanium pot I've looked at in terms of weight to volume ratio and certainly in terms of price. It's a bit dinged up after all of these years but still holds water.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby KathyW » Tue May 28, 2013 8:01 pm

My favorite purchase - actually purchases have been my Feathered Friends Sleeping Bags. I have had the oldest one for about ten years and the newer one for 7 or 8 years.

My sleeping bags are the Petrel and Grouse Bags - they let me pick out my colors and they even have different sizes for women. My feet would get cold in bags that were too long for me.

I was cooking while in my sleeping bag once and I leaned over the stove and burnt a hole in the Petrel bag. I put some duct tape on it and sent it to Feathered Friends. They added down to it, patched it so that you can't even see the patch unless you know it is there, and cleaned it before sending it back in a new cotton storage bag. Very good customer service - they only charged for shipping.

I also have Feathered Friends Down Booties that are about 9 years old now - they have a couple patches on the outer shell now and when I inquired about buying new outer shells they told me to just ship the old ones in and they'd fix them up like new. I haven't done it yet.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby cloudlesssky » Tue May 28, 2013 9:02 pm

Montbell EX down "jacket". I got it on eBay ($99 NWT!) a year ago intending it as a very lightweight (6 oz), compressible summer insulation layer. It fits under my rain jacket. Turns out it's also real comfortable and just about perfect around town in the winter. I've ended up wearing it a lot and it still goes in my pack on each trip - it's too light to stay behind.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby oldranger » Tue May 28, 2013 9:05 pm

Kathy W

it may be a woman's thing about not fully inflating mattress. My wife doesn't fully inflate her downmat 9 and I assume it has to do with hips. I like my 7 inflated to the max for my back comfort. also if I forget to add air just before I go to bed I will notice the lack of insulation if the mattress deflates a little due to cooling and the full insulating distance is lost.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby Scouter9 » Wed May 29, 2013 8:35 am

:) It's not a women's thing with pad inflation, but rather a train of thought that seeks to maximize the comfort of the user on the pad and extend their lives (the pad). The thinking is that you inflate your pad only enough that it feels firm and tight once you're on it, rather than before. This gives the most support for the back, reduces strain on the seams and works best with the newer, thicker pads than it does with the old Thermarest style pads that pretty much need to be cranked in order for one not to press-through to the ground with a hip, etc...

I would never do this with the now car- and scout-camp "self inflating" Thermarest or REI pads, but have been super-stoked with the comfort and reduced "bounce" when using the slightly-less-than-full method with my 2.5" thick Big Agnes inflatable. I'm getting my best sleep in the high country, ever.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby schmalz » Wed May 29, 2013 4:32 pm

My dog's Ruffwear backpack :)

Making her my sherpa never stops paying off.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:33 pm

I don't know if I really have a single favorite purchase, but one that comes to mind is the first ice axe I bought myself (in contrast to one my dad bought) in 1978. It's still stashed away somewhere under all my gear and I haven't used it since 1995 or so, so I don't even recall the make. Even in my old pretender-mountaineer days I didn't use snow and ice gear that much, so it hasn't seen much use. However, the circumstances surrounding its purchase and one particular self arrest I made with it, are what gives it sentimental value to me.

First of all, the circumstances of its purchase. I was an undergraduate in the dorms at Berkeley. As of 1978, I recall there were only two REI's in the Bay Area, the first and biggest of the Bay Area REI's (Berkeley) and the 2nd one in Sunnyvale. My dad had been mail ordering from them as far back as the 60's. I remember that an REI sale was a huge event in those days drawing huge crowds. For those of you who know the Berkeley store at Gilman and San Pablo, the sale lines in the 70's would form prior to door opening and reach to Gilman by the time they opened the door. In any case I had decided I would go to an REI sale (was this annual back then? don't know, but pretty sure it was in the fall). I rode my clunky 3 speed bike from the dorms to the Berkeley REI. I stood in a pretty long line and got in at door opening. I decided that this particular ice axe on sale was just what I needed--I recall the price was something like $29.88 (.88 was the REI sales suffix price back in those years, apparently) which was about what I paid for my basketball shoes back then (basketball shoes have inflated much more than ice axes in the years since then).

In any case, in most other cities, I figured I'd attract some strange looks, or worse, if I rode through the streets on my bike carrying an ice axe. In Berkeley, I figured nobody would think this was odd or abnormal. I was right. The only comments anybody made (from cars or as pedestrians) were pretty much the same: a few separate folks simply shouted out "nice ice axe!"

The next spring the ice axe made its debut on a spring (early May) ascent of Mt Brewer. On the descent I tried a very ill advised glissade down the headwall on the E Ridge, fell, and took off flying down the steep but very soft spring snow. Initially the tried and true self arrest didn't seem to work and I was pretty stressed as my point slices through the snow like a hot knife through butter. Eventually the self arrest was successful with about 100 feet left before the the snowslope plunged over a 500 foot cliff. I had made self arrests before (and since) when the consequences of failure may have been moderate injury, but the Mt Brewer fall was a true do or die self arrest, so this particular ice axe is my sentimental favorite.

Most recent favorite purchase: Without a doubt my Asolo TPS 520 boots. These were the replacement for whatever I had as my designated death march backpacking boots. They have the combination of protection (from those side hits from corners of rocks etc.) I need for the off trail rocky stuff I do so much, plus terrific balance (no boot I've ever had gave me support like this on those long steep sidehill moves), yet much lighter weight than the old tank-like boots I wore on death marches past, and a much higher degree of comfort. As much outdoor stuff as I do, I have tended to have traditionally had three "grades" of boots: my most rugged stuff for death marches, my "medium" stuff for other Sierran hikes, and my lowest grade stuff for low altitude field work and leading my students on field classes. It is true that some of the field areas I have my students work in are quite rugged, but having somewhat flimsy boots acts as an added handicap that slows me down some so I don't have to wait as long for most of my students to catch up with me when I lead them between outcrops (my crummy boots kill me when I sidehill, for example). However, because I haven't been going on death march backpack trips lately, I've been using my Asolos on somewhat easier Sierra hikes as well as using them for my most rugged personal field geology work (usually in the Coast Ranges). It was in the latter that they've really made a huge difference, particularly in some nasty areas where I have to deal with thick brush, loose class 3, funky sharp edged talus, and steep "baked dirt" covered with gravel, all on the same slope.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby Flux » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:46 pm

Marmot Helium bag. Changed my life. I used to wing it with a cheap synth bag and was always cold. I paired that up with a large size thermarest Xlite and I now sleep very very well. Never underestimate the effects of a good night's sleep in the backcountry. I spent too many dawn hours tossing and turning and waiting for the sun to come up so I could end the misery.

I toiled back and forth between the WM versalite and the Helium, but the helium went on sale and it was a no brainer from there.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby artrock23 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:10 pm

Close tie...

Osprey Aether 70 pack. Plenty of space, two ice axe loops, and most importantly, very comfortable.
Grivel G10 crampons. These opened up a whole new world to me. They are easy to mount to ones boots, have very effective anti-balling devices, and with optional 'long bars' can be modified to fit a size 13.5 boot. I just upgraded to a new pair of G12s.

Flux wrote:Marmot Helium bag.


I recently got one... love it, so far. :D
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby venturefar » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:25 am

Dr. Shade glacier glove sun gloves. Protect your hands from sun, bugs, abrasion, and wind burn, You can even tie fishing knots wearing them. Best $15 ever spent.
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Re: Favorite Purchase

Postby ndwoods » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:36 am

Ditto WM bag!
When I feel really really crappy sick, I put mine on the couch and crawl in.....ah, comfort "food."
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