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Hiking gear part 1: The Big 3 & different gear in different circumstances

We have been asked several times about our choices in light weight hiking gear.

Friendly hiker with backpack on a mountain ridge

So we will explain in 4 hiking gear blogs what we hike with and why we have chosen it.

At the end of the blogs you will have our complete list of stuff that we take with us on virtually every hike we go on. Hopefully it will inspire you into bringing down the weight of your backpak so you can have a more enjoyable hike! Hiking is all about having fun, not suffering :-)

We use different gear in different circumstances! High alpine terrain or winter time asks for a complete different gear strategy than desert or summer mountains. Especially on a long distance hike we only want to carry the items we actually need for a specific section. There's no point in carrying an ice-axe through a desert. In those sections we also do not want to hike with a stirdy gore-tex rain coat and a thick down jacket. Lighter solutions are needed there. We also do not hike with very open trailrunners through snow...

On long distance trails we change gear depending on the expected terrain and weather pattern. So we send different gear to different depots along the trail.

Below we only show you our gear that we use in most of our hikes (short and long distance). So not our gear for expeditions or winter trails.

To have a more enjoyable hike you have to bring down the weight of your backpack. It all starts with the Big 3. The BackPack, Tent and Sleeping bag.


Our Big 3

Hiking Backpacks: Vargo T-Arc

They are made from titanium and the lightest outer frame backpacks you can get. We like outer frame packs. With these packs the weight is distributed more to the sides instead of pulling you backward. Which makes you less fatigue. It feels like it is part of your body, and not something that is trying to work against you.

Hiking Tent: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2

We just fit in there so it might not be for everyone. We bought it because it’s one of the lighter tents around that holds up in 3 seasons. We do not like the (sometimes much lighter) tarptents because of the moisture on the inside. On shorter hikes or in dryer mid summer hikes, we sometimes take a tarp. Which is just 1/3 of the weight of the tent (Sea to Summit 3x3 meter ultrasil tarp).

For the tent we make our own footprint from Tyvek which is very cheap, really durable and light weight. There are 2 types. The ultra-light-weight more breathable but not so tear proof version. And the waterproof sturdier one. Which is still very light weight. We use that one, buy it online (3x3 meter) and have it shipped home (some hardware or building stores might sell it too from the role). Just cut it so it is just as big as your tent. Or if you sleep under a tarp, a bit wider than your sleeping mattress.

Hiking Sleeping bags:

Lian: Western Mountaineering Ultralight

André: Marmot Ultralight (bought it recently, had the Western Mountaineering too)

Getting a good rest and let your body heal during the night is probably the most important thing on a hike. All pro athletes will tell you that not having enough sleep kills your performance. So we only want the best stuff out there. With our sleeping bag and mattress we sleep totallly comfortable in all situations and are fully rested the next morning. THIS IS PARAMOUNT FOR ALL HIKES.

These sleeping bags are about 2 pounds each and although expensive, they have the best and finest (cristal) down available. The down is also treated to be water repellent. So no big lumbs of down in your bag due to water. It will stay warm. They insulate very well in low temperatures, but the weight is a lot less than regular sleeping bags. Which makes us very happy :-)

Inside we use an ultralight liner from Sea to Summit. So no body grease and dirt will build up inside your bag. Which is way better for the insulation. Just wash the liner from time to time instead of the whole sleeping bag. Plus, the liner gives you some extra warmth too.

PS. NEVER use compression bags. Especially the ones with the side straps. They ruin your sleeping bag!

Sleeping mattress

As mentioned above, having a good night sleep is extremely important on a hike. So we like to sleep comfortably on any terrain, even on snow. Instead of sleeping on a foam matress, which is lighter, we choose lightweight inflatable ones.

Early spring, autumn, winter or in high altitudes: Thermarest Xtherm

Spring, summer: Thermarest Xlite

Both regular size

Since these are inflatable matrasses, we also take the small repair kit with us that comes with it.

See you on the next blog: Stoves / burners, pots & pans

Greeting from André ‘Morning Star’ and Lian ‘CookieMonster’de Jel

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