Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Advice from a reader

I used to be really big into the outdoors and I was somewhat of a gear
head. The stove you have pictured, Jetboil, is an awesome stove. MSR
(Mountain Safety Research) just came out with their version of this
stove. It is a little more efficient when it comes to fuel vs weight,
but unfortunately not as versatile as the Jetboil. As for what is the
heaviest item in you pack?...hands down water. Nothing (and I mean
nothing) weighs more than water (not even ammunition). SOG makes a good
utility knife, but Leatherman has been making those knives for years, so
you can never go wrong with a Leatherman. As for sleeping bags, people
always argue down vs synthetic. People say down b/c it is warmer for
its weight (and packs much smaller). Others say synthetic because it is
warm when it gets wet. My answer...sleep in a wet synthetic sleeping
bag and tell me how warm your chestnuts are. Down all the way!!! Check
out a sleeping bag called the Rock Wren (or Winter Wren, depending on
the warmth you need) by Feathered Friends. That bag has multiple uses
and I think that is key for every single item that goes into your
backpack. You must ask yourself this question: do I NEED it or do I
WANT it?

We once made a gravity filter, which is an easy way to purify water. I
will try to find the instructions on how we did that.

There are so many backpacks to choose from these days. If money is no
object, buy a Mystery Ranch. Mystery Ranch packs are made in the USA
for the military (they do have a commercial line). You can NOT go wrong
with these packs. I don't know if you know this website, but look at They review military gear and the site master does
an excellent job reviewing each item.

At the end of the day, the stuff I listed is expensive but it works. If
you are making a B.O.B., then the stuff you have in it (and what is
carrying your stuff) had better work and be ready to take some serious
abuse. Last thing you want is your backpack to bust out (had it
happen), your water bag/bottle to break (been there), or your purifier
to crap out and you end up getting giardia (yup, been there too).