Are you pulling all of your old gear out of the garage to join some friends on a weekend warrior type hike? You have probably done some research to check out the newest, lightest inventions that the market has to offer, or listened to someone brag about something they bought. A person could spend too much money trying to replace everything.
This is something that happened in my house this past year. Picture me pulling my exterior frame pack out of the closet and straining myself to lift it with everything piled inside. I had no idea how all of the gear changed in the past decade. What I did know, was my budget!
The important thing to do when updating or buying new stuff altogether, is to diligently do your research. There are some areas you might be able to pass by without upgrading, or by buying something cheaper and not necessarily top of the line.
I first checked my pack, sleeping bag, and tent. I was happily surprised that my tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2, was still considered a great choice and was on the lighter side in comparison to the rest of the market. The major difference in tents has been the resurgence of using tarps that are now very light and made of Cuben Fiber. A person can get their shelter weight down easily under two pounds or even under one pound without a bug net. Luckily for me, I would not need to spend the money this year… maybe next year!
I didn’t really have a sleeping bag anymore, losing it to the kids on sleepover nights with their friends. It was not a very great sleeping bag to begin with and so, I was off on the hunt. Considering one of two major types of bags, each having two style options in my radar. Down or synthetic filling and bag or quilt. There are many mainstream companies and a bunch of smaller companies all of them seem to be making great quality, so this will slow you up, sifting through it all. This is where I spent most of my allowance, finding that weight and warmth comes at a great cost.
My exterior pack weighs six pounds empty! When choosing a pack, it is important to check your torso measurement in order to assure a comfortable fit. My decision was, go to an outfitter and have them get the perfect pack. Unfortunately, there are some amazing companies making highly raved options, that are not available at the big stores. I fell in love with a pack at the store sadly not taking any time for the small guys…. next year! By the way, my pack is now only one pound empty.
I will get back to more gear buying tips on another post. Good luck and try not to spend more than you need to.
By: Rudy Giecek