Like to Try
We're pretty happy with our equipment. It's a good blend of light weight, low cost, and functionality. And when we have more money than brains, we can always find a way to "need" something new. Here are some of the options we're considering for the future:
Ursack—a very light solution to the bear/food interface, where legal. We're a little worried about the fact that rodents can nibble away at it, but the idea of storing your food in an even lighter container is really appealing. And it certainly fits in your pack better than our big bear canisters. But it's not legal in national parks right now...
Down sleeping bags—very lightweight, and very compressible. Sure, they don't work so well when they get wet, but we've never had a problem with our sleeping bags getting wet. These are very expensive for a good, light one. But we can dream. UPDATE: We just got some Sub-Kilo bags on a close-out sale from REI and we love them. Very warm, very light, and very compressible. They cost us less than $200 each, and we are delighted with them.
Down jackets—same as above. UPDATE: P just bought one on sale, so you can expect to read more about that once we've had a chance to try it out on the trail!
And a new kind of inflatable pad that weighs less than a pound, doesn't leak, and is about 2.5 inches thick when inflated. And costs more than $100. sigh. NEO-AIR UPDATE: P bought one of these for M and she loved it. In fact, she raved about this so much that P decided to try it out one afternoon for a nap. Heaven. We now both hike with a Neo-Air full length pad. Weight is under a pound, and they roll up into a package smaller than one of our 32 oz. water bottles. And sleep is a whole new ball game: P can sleep on his side without his arm getting crushed!
You can see them underneath our sleeping bags in the photo above at Island Lake in the Desolation Wilderness a few years ago.
Steri-Pen is system that uses UV light to purify your water. It weighs less than three ounces (our filter weighs eleven) and works in about 45 seconds. Drawbacks? It uses batteries that wear out--although a newer version is rechargeable and should last week. That sounds pretty interesting to us...but they do cost $120. That's roughly $15 an ounce.
Ultra-light backpacks: we've made do with a couple of Eureka packs for the last few years and 500 miles or so. They work well, and weight about 3.5 pounds. But we've found ourselves looking longingly at even lighter packs...something that weighs a full pound less. But they also cost a full $250 or so, and that's just a bit beyond our budget at this point. Still, we can dream...Imagine shaving a whole pound off your pack weight...Imagine spending $250 on a backpack...UPDATE: P just found that Go-Lite was having a sale, and he picked up two packs for $75 each. They are the same size as our Eureka's, and weigh a full pound less! We're still learning how to fit everything into them ( they have fewer outside pockets than the Eurekas) but we do like that light weight!
GPS units that are small enough to take on the trail, but have enough battery life for five or six days in the back country. So far, we haven't seen any that can do this without a re-charge, and that adds even more weight to the pack...sigh.