Spring 2014 Backpacking Gear Guide

Sierra Designs Lightning 2

Backpacking is a great way to get out in the wilderness and get away from cell phone coverage. This guide is full of backpacking gear that will work for both men and women. We have tried to include a few different options for packs, tents and sleeping bags. All in all we have found 18 great products that will help you get out of the house and onto a nearby trail to find some solitude and peace. Happy backpacking!

Sierra Designs Lightning 2 tent

A freestanding, fully-featured shelter with maximum comfort and minimum weight, the Lightning 2 is one of the largest, most livable shelter in its weight class.  With a single, uncommonly wide drop door and no vestibule, the Lightning simultaneously saves weight while allowing two backpackers to sit side-by-side in the doorway to cook, watch the sunset, or wait out a rain shower.  A one piece tent body and fly with external pitch configuration sheds weight while allowing quick and dry set up, even in a downpour.  A massive, covered foot vent creates a venting tunnel between the back of the tent and the door for unprecedented ventilation and condensation management.  Gear closets on either side of this tent eliminate the need for a vestibule while keeping gear accessible from inside or outside the tent.  


• Freestanding

• Large Single Drop Door

• 15" Integrated Awning Poles

• Hybrid Double/Single Wall

• Hubbed Pole Pitch

• Massive Foot Vent

• Minimum Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz.

• Packaged Weight: 4 lbs 5 oz. 

• Number of Doors: 1

• Number of Gear Closets: 2

• Gear Storage Area: 4.1 + 4.1 ft2 

• Interior Area: 29.9 ft2 

• Internal Peak Height: 42.5 in. 

• Awning Height: 36 in. 

• MSRP: $259.00

• http://www.sierradesigns.com/product/lightning-2

MSR Hubba Hubba NXMSR Hubba Hubba NX

Now 9 oz lighter than previous models, the Hubba Hubba NX weighs in at only 3 lb. 7 oz. The Hubba Hubba NX has plenty of extra storage room with two full vestibules and two doors for easy entry and plenty of protected gear storage. The unified hub and pole system with color-coded stake out loops and clip webbing makes for a fast and easy set up. From its optimized, symmetrical geometry and non-tapered floor that maximize space, down to its integrated, adjustable stake-out loops that speed setup, this tent redefines livability. 


• Optimized symmetrical geometry and non-tapered floor

• Large, easy-entry D-shaped StayDry™ door and vestibule

• Side entry zipper orientation

• Rainfly kickstand vent

• Adjustable rainfly (roll-up vestibule & stargazer view)

• Light gray rainfly color (neutral light)

• Adjustable integrated stake-out loops

• Lightweight reflective guy-outs

• Durable high-tenacity nylon fabrics

• Reinforced Infinity bar tacks and lap-felled seams

• Durashield™-coated rainfly and bathtub-style floor

• Compression stuff sack with pull handle

• Min. Weight: 3 lbs. 7 oz.

• Fast & Light Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.

• Floor + Vestibule: 29 +17.5 sq. ft.

• Livable Volume: 43 + 17 cu ft.

• Interior Peak Height: 39 in.

• MSRP: $389.95

• http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents/experience/hubba-hubba-nx/product

Big Agnes Book JackBig Agnes Boot Jack 24°F DownTek Sleeping Bag

The Boot Jack offers a lightweight, high quality bag at a great price. For insulation, the Boot Jack uses high quality DownTek water repellant down. A no-raft zipper and collar keeps cold air from creeping in. But the unique difference with this bag is the Insotect Flow technology. nsotect Flow™ is a flow-optimized insulation system that delivers uniform heat distribution and natural body contouring through its revolutionary baffle design. Flow Construction eliminates lateral and vertical down shifting by using vertical chambers with Flow Gates to regulate fill positioning and density. 


• DownTek™ water repellent down insulation - warm, dry and environmental friendly

• Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners 

• Mate together left and right zip bags

• Nylon stuff sack included

• No-draft collar seals around neck to keep cold air from sneaking in

• No-draft zipper tube insulates along the length of the zipper

• Flow™ Construction: Insotect Flow

• Fill Type: 600 DownTek 

• Fill Weight: 18oz

• Bag Weight: 2lb 3oz

• Shoulder Girth: 60" 

• Hip Girth: 54" 

• Foot Girth: 36" 

• Stuff Sack Size S-7.5"x15" M-8"x17.5" 

• Compressed

• Bag Size 7.5"x8.5" 8"x8.5" 

• MSRP: $179.95 - $199.95

• https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/Detail/Bag/bootjack24

Mira 15 Down BagTherm-a-Rest Mira 15 Women's Down Bag

The ultimate, ultralight three-season women's bag, the Mira sleeping bag is baffled throughout with a layer of down on the bottom for added comfort. Its three-season temperature rating hits the sweet spot for keeping you warm on everything from low elevation thru-hikes to high alpine traverses. A women’s-specific cut minimizes excess space and key features like our Toe-asis™ Foot Warmer, ultralight and compressible 750+ fill goose down, reflective ThermaCapture™ lining and mattress integration assure you’ll stay warmer, sleep better and go farther with less to carry.


• Move Freely: Efficient Comfort Fit gives you room to move without creating cold spots.

• SynergyLink Connectors bring your sleeping bag and mattress together for uninterrupted sleep.

• ThermaCapture™ Radiant Heat Technology

• Sculptured Hood w/ Draft Collar

• Snag-Free Zipper w/ Full-length Draft Tube

• Stash Pocket

• Trapezoidal Footbox with Toe-asis™ Foot Warmer

• Fill: Ultralight, 750+ fill goose down offers compressible warmth

• Weight: 1 lb 12 oz 

• MSRP: $389.95

• http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/sleeping-bags/mira-womens-15-sleeping-bag/product

Kelty PK 50Kelty PK 50 Backpack

The PK 50 is the cornerstone of the new Kelty TraiLogic collection of backpacking gear. The 50-liter PK 50 is a unique, zipperless pack that is compartmentalized for maximum organization and engineered for load-carrying comfort.  A flip-open design with roll-top closures ensures quick packing/un-packing and easy access to all your essentials.  A detachable clothing compartment on the front keeps apparel organized and accessible while allowing the PK 50 to convert to a 35-liter pack for shorter trips.  A stretch mesh pocket is designed to keep your tent (the first piece of gear you’ll need after arriving at camp) highly accessible while a separate sleeping bag compartment is designed to stow your bag with or without a stuff sack.  An integrated rain cover is there when you need it, gone when you don’t.  Two ‘wing’ pockets are prefect for standard tent poles and double as compression straps


• Roll-top opening

• Roll-closure sleeping bag compartment

• Stretch mesh belt pockets, water-bottle pockets and front pocket

• Integrated pull-out raincover

• Hydration compatible

• Ventilating back-panel

• Lumbar support

• AirMesh shoulder straps, waistbelt, and lumbar

• Load-lifter/stabilizer straps

• Single LightBeam aluminum stay

• HDPE frame sheet                                             

• Torso Fit Range:  14.5”-18.5” (S/M); 17.5”-21” (M/L); 14.5”-18.5” (Women’s)

• Volume:  50-Liters (S/M); 52-Liters (M/L); 48-Liters (Women’s)

• Weight:  3lbs, 1oz (S/M); 3lbs, 3oz (M/L); 3lbs (Women’s)

• MSRP: $199.95  

• http://www.kelty.com/p-770-pk-50.aspx

Gregory J53Gregory J53 

The J series features a trampoline-style suspension system to keep the user cool while the pack is on. It comes in a great variety of sizes from 25 to 63 liters. If weight is your biggest concern after capacity, consider the J53 for your long-weekend trips. What this pack gives up in space, it returns in speed, thanks to lightweight construction and ventilated, fatigue-fighting CrossFlo Suspension. Gram-counters can easily cram enough gear in this pack for multi-day treks, while casual hikers will find it ideal for overnights and supported trips.


• Updated CrossFlo Suspension

• Ventilated EVA foam on hip belt and shoulder harnesses

• Top-loading main compartment with quick-draw top closure and full-body front U-zipper access

• Floating, removable top pocket with zippered pocket and key clip

• Under-lid zippered stash pocket

• Front zippered pocket

• Front bucket pocket for quick gear storage

• Two external stretch water bottle pockets

• Dual quick-access waist belt pockets

• Interior hydration sleeve with hose port

• Hideaway ice axe/trekking pole loops

• Side and bottom compression straps

• Quick-attach, integrated color-matched rain cover

• Materials – 210D robic dynagin, 100D robic GR shadowbox, 200D polyester oxford, 265g polyester stretch woven and 190T nylon taffeta

• MSRP: $199.99

• http://gregorypacks.com/en/GM378_cfg.html?dwvar_GM378__cfg_gmp_color=twilight_blue#start=2

North Face Banchee 65North Face Banchee 65

The North Face Banchee Series sets a new standard for North Face in lightweight backpacking packs. Engineered with the innovative OPTIFIT system, this technical, multi-day packs offer unrivaled fit, load-control, and breathability in a full-featured design. The Banchee 65 incorporates an ergonomic T6 aluminum frame with a highly breathable trampoline back panel to provide maximum freedom of movement and airflow. With a fully adjustable thoracic carriage and proprietary hipbelt system, the custom fit optimizes the pack’s – and your – performance over any terrain.


• Foam panels over the lumbar area dampen and diffuse the load for improved control and stability.

• Trampoline back maximizes breathability.

• Perforated foam package provides better movement of moisture through the pads.

• Mesh pocket tops allow air and moisture to pass through the pad and exit the system.

• 8+ pockets

• Dynamic aluminum frame provides superior freedom of movement and load control

• Top loading

• Dedicated sleeping bag compartment with separate entry

• Sleeping bag compartment divider

• Floating lid cinches down additional gear

• Two tool keepers

• Beaver tail expands your exterior storage options

• Patent-pending waistbelt adjustment

• MSRP: $239.00

• http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/banchee-65.html

SleepRite CotTravel Chair SleepRite Cot 

The SleepRite Cot is not going to be for everyone, but for those looking for a great night sleep this is a great option. If you struggle sleeping on a pad or the ground, I would recommend looking into the lightweight cot. The SleepRite cot sets up quick and is comfortable. Under 5 lbs, it is small enough to fit into your backpack, this camping cot has 20 fewer parts than lesser luxury cots. Set up is intuitive and simple. Cross supports are ergonomically positioned to keep you comfortable and off the ground while supporting your body in all the right spots.


• Compact

• Drawn aluminum

• No parts to loose

• Open – 78”x 30”x 6”

• Closed - 18”x 7.5”x 5.5”

• Cot height - 6”

• Weight - 4.95 lbs.

• Weight capacity - 300 lbs.

• Anodized aluminum frame

• 600D polyester 

• Ergonomically designed 

• MSRP: $197.99

• http://travelchair.com/products/sleeprite-cot

GSI Halulite 2 L Pot

GSI Halulite 2 Liter Pot

I don’t know about you but when I go backpacking I don’t want to eat dehydrated meals from a package every day. That is where the Halulite 2 L pot comes in handy. This pot is big enough to boil water, but can also cook pasta and other meals with ease. Integrated straining holes in the lightweight, aluminum lid make straining water simple while the silicone thumb pads insulate hands from the heat. Dual, locking, stainless steel bail handles make for easy handling of the 2 Liter pot. Spiral-turned base grips stoves and grills securely.


• 2 liter

• Weight: 14.3 oz.

• Dimensions: 8.10" x 8.10" x 4.00"

• Hard Anodized Aluminum

• Gourmet Backpacking

• Includes2 Liter Pot, Lid

• MSRP $35.95


MSR 2 Person mess KitMSR 2 Person Mess Kit

Weighing in at only 13.2 ounces this mess kit is small, lightweight and perfect for backpacking. It combines the bowls and mugs from MSR's popular Trail Lite Duo System with two folding utensils. The whole kit is conveniently packaged in a breathable mesh storage bag. 


• 2 Insulated Mugs

• 2 Deep Dish Bowls

• 2 Folding Sporks

• 1 Mesh Bag

• Weight: 13.2 oz.

• MSRP: $34.95

• http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/cookware/cookware-accessories/2-person-mess-kit/product

Cloverware 2.0Alite Design Cloverware 2.0 

The Cloverware 2.0 eating utensils are perfect for enjoying a meal in the outdoors. This 4-in-1 utensil set includes a spoon, fork, and serrated knife. Made from recyclable, high temperature nylon 6, Cloverware 2.0 utensils are both dishwasher safe and 100% BPA-free. Most importantly, the Cloverware 2.0 utensil set is beautifully designed to nest when not in use, making the utensils extremely easy to organize, store, and transport. The nesting functionality also allows the fork and spoon to connect and make an extended cooking tool. 


• Nest utensils for easy organization and storage

• Easy to clean and carry

• 100% BPA-free and recyclable

• Heat resistant up to 400°F

• Dishwasher and boil-safe

• Connect utensils end-to-end for full-size cooking tool

• MSRP: $8.00

• http://shop.alitedesigns.com/cloverware-1069.html

Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid JacketOutdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket 

A hybrid-mapped jacket that melds ultralight waterproof protection in critical areas with a more breathable wind-repelling nylon shell everywhere else, the Helium Hybrid jacket excels at fast-and-light assaults on the trail or in the alpine. At 5.7 ounces, it won’t weigh you down and stuffs into the smallest of spaces. But when the weather turns foul, shoulders and a hood built with uber-light Pertex Shield+ fabric offer waterproof-breathable protection. Lightweight nylon ripstop fabric everywhere else blocks wind but maintains excellent breathability on up-tracks in inhospitable places. Details include critically taped seams, a zippered chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack, elastic cuffs, a moldable wire brim on the hood and a drawcord hem. Men’s/women’s specific styles. 


• Waterproof Shoulders and Hood

• Critically Taped Seams

• Drawcord Hem

• Internal Front-Zip Stormflap

• Water Resistant

• Breathable

• Lightweight

• Wind Resistant

• Chest Pocket Doubles as Stuff Sack

• Reflective Logos

• Elastic Cuffs

• Zippered Chest Pocket

• Water-Resistant Full Center-Front Zipper

• Full Center-Front Zipper

• "Halo" Hood Closure

• MSRP: $125.00

• http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/catalog/product/view/_ignore_category/1/id/41052/s/mens-helium-hybrid-jacket/

Coldpruf WoolColdpruf's 100% Merino Wool Classic Line 

The fine, soft wool of the Merino sheep has been a favorite of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts for years for it’s next-to-skin comfort, moisture management, natural odor resistance and UV protection, but products knit from it have always commanded a premium price. The Classic Layer features a 5 oz. silk weight, tagless labeling and flat seam construction for a smooth fit. The women’s garment is a princess cut with rounded hem bottom and non-binding hemmed cuff for comfort. The men’s garment features self-fabric cuffs, extended tail as well as a modified yoke. All ColdPruf base layers feature true sizing to provide the most accurate fit possible.


• Single-layer jersey knit

• Silk weight: 5 oz. - 170GSM

• 100% Merino Wool

• Men’s and women’s Classic Layer is available in sizes S - 2XL

• MSRP: $64.00

• http://www.coldpruf.com/products/classic/classic-womens-crew-55.html

Princeton Tec SyncPrinceton Tec Sync Headlamp 

For 2014, the Sync is a easy-to-use, versatile, compact and super bright headlamp. At 90 lumens, the Sync features one Maxbright LED spot beam, one Maxbright LED flood light, a single red Ultrabright LED and a burntime of 150 hours. The Sync can activate any lighting mode directly with a convenient power dial. Simple, powerful and sleek, the AAA-powered Sync is just at home with the avid outdoorsmen as it is with a first-time headlamp user. 


• 3-AAA

• Focused Narrow beams

• Focused wide beams

• 90 max lumens

• Bright LED

• Multiple beams 

• Multiple modes

• MSRP: $29.99

• http://princetontec.com/sync

Clif bar Crunchy Peanut butterCLIF Bar Crunchy Peanut Butter 

The Crunchy Peanut Butter bar is made of whole, organic ingredients and tastes great. I have been loading my pack with these bars for the last couple weekends for our day hikes and the kids and I love them. These make a great snack or can be used when you need a little more energy to get you to that mountain lake. 

• MSRP: $15.00 for box of 12

• http://www.clifbarstore.com/detail/CLF+160008

Mountain House Just in Case BreakfastMountain House Just In Case… Breakfast Assortment

This 16-pouch assortment includes: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon (4), Scrambled Eggs with Ham & Peppers (4), Granola with Milk & Blueberries (4), and the Breakfast Skillet (Hash Browns and Scrambled Eggs with Pork Sausage, Peppers & Onions) (4). Like all Mountain House foods, these options feature their well-known one-step preparation process. Simply add hot water, stir and enjoy right from the package in minutes. With no additional cooking or cleanup, Mountain House products are the easiest and most convenient meals in the industry. 


• 4 Pouches - Scrambled Eggs with Ham & Peppers (2 servings per pouch)

• 4 Pouches - Scrambled Eggs with Bacon (1.5 servings per pouch)

• 4 Pouches - Granola with Milk & Blueberries (2 servings per pouch)

• 4 Pouches - Breakfast Skillet (2 servings per pouch)

• 16 Total Cups of Water Required

• Contains 29 Servings

• MSRP: $89.99

• http://www.mountainhouse.com/M/product/0080604.html

Excalibur Food 9 tray clear doorExcalibur Food 9-Tray Clear Door w/Timer Dehydrators 

The Excalibur Food Dehydrators is a great way to prepare food for backpacking. The ability to dehydrate fruit is a great way to make your own trail snacks and meals. Excalibur just launched a new clear door dehydrator in 5 or 9 tray models with a timer (Stainless Steel and Black). The clear doors can also be used as an add-on accessory for current owners of Excalibur’s dehydrators. Excalibur’s new clear doors allow you to watch the dehydration process in action. You no longer have the interrupt the drying process to view progress.    


• 9 large trays, 15 sq ft of drying space

• Clear door made of Clear, Polycarbonate Material

• 26 Hour Timer

• Adjustable Thermostat 105◦F to 165◦F

• 7-inch fan, 600 watts

• 12-1/2"H x 17"W x 19"D

• Color: Black

• Made in USA

• MSRP: $319.95

• http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/dehydrators/9-tray/9-tray-small-excalibur-with-26-hour-timer-clear-door-3926tcdb

PakemsPakems Men's and Women's Packable Shoes

Pakems are lightweight, water-resistant, packable shoes engineered to take anywhere. They feature lightweight rip stop fabric, rubber soles for traction, and a strapped bag for packability. When packed in their bag and waist strap, Pakems weigh just about 15 ounces and can be reduced to a two-inch profile. The make a great camp shoe have backpacking. Pakems is a footwear designed to enhance the time right after a person takes off their technical gear.


• One hand toggle

• DWR treated

• Insulate

• Water-resistant

• Carabiner lop

• Low cut: 598 oz. per boot

• MSRP: $60.00

• http://www.pakems.com/shop/Womens-Pakems-COLORS/Womens-Low-Top-BlueGray.html

Chums Paracord BraceletChums Smokey Fire Starter Paracord Bracelet

The new Smokey Paracord Bracelet is a large, adjustable paracord bracelet which deploys for 16 feet of high-quality paracord and features a firestarting steel and firestone closure. To make a spark, hold the firestone by the paracord in one hand. Place the washer against the firestone. Firmly scrape the washer down the length of the firestone and you have instant flame! Perfect survivalist gear for those back-country backpackers and campers.


• Deploys for 16 feet of 550-lb. parachute cord

• MSRP: $16.99

• https://www.chums.com/category/paracord-bracelets/product/smokey-fire-starter-paracord-bracelet