Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Objectsphere...(Backpacking Edition)

We all rely on various things to facilitate the things we do and to improve the quality of our lives. I read an article once that referred to the realm of things as the "objectsphere." I thought it might be fun if I shared some the stuff I own and opened up my objectsphere. This is the Backpacking Edition.

1. MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove

I love this little stove. It doesn't boil water as fast as a Jetboil and you need to shield it from high winds, but at only 3 ounces (before fuel), you can't beat it. It heats up real fast when there's little or no wind. I know some people swear by alcohol stoves, and I appreciate their D.I.Y. ethic, but this stove is just about as light as an alcohol stove and more convenient.

2. Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest - Not a fancy piece of equipment, but perfect for desert hiking. It's lightweight and easy to carry. It beats inflatable pads because it can't be punctured. I've seen my friends sleep on the hard, cold ground because an agave or prickly pear popped their pad. I've had my RidgeRest full of spines and needles and all I had to do was pull them out with my Leatherman pliers and go to sleep.

#3 - Mary Jane's Farm - Lentils, Rice and Indian Spice - O.K., so maybe you could argue that food isn't exactly the same thing as an "object," but we don't really want to go there, do we? MJF makes the best commercially available vegan backpacking food. Period. Beats Backpacker's Pantry (which is still alright) by a mile. The Kettle Chili is awesome, but the Lentils, Rice and Indian Spice is my favorite.

#4 - Leki Makalu Ultralight Trekking Poles - I was a unbeliever in the necessity of trekking poles for a long time. They kind of look silly. But then we learned that you can borrow a pair from Summit Hut and try them out free! Letting folks borrow a pair is a fantastic idea to sell these poles. They save your knees and hips and keep you upright. They are great for moving spiny acacia branches out of the way and knocking cholla pears off the trail, too.

If you aren't familiar with the teddy bear cholla a.k.a. jumping cholla, count yourself lucky. They're the nastiest cactus around and they drop baseball size balls of spikes all around them. They hurt like crazy (or so I've been told; I've avoided a run in) and they're really hard to get off. If you kick them, they don't go anywhere - they just get stuck in your boot.

#5 - Ratty old, nasty, Abercrombie Corduroys - I've had these pants for years and they've seen a lot. From the asbestos filled basements of abandoned mental hospitals to the top of Humphrey's Peak, if these pants could talk...they'd probably ask me to stop wearing them to so many hazardous places. They'd probably appreciate it if I donated them to Goodwill. That's not going to happen so long as they have only small holes and working buttons.

Most of the other backpacking gear I own is either flawed or in need of an upgrade. My Northface Tadpole tent is ripped and could be lighter. My Katadyn pump could be smaller and lighter. I have two packs - a Gregory and an Osprey. The Gregory is comfortable but could be bigger; the Osprey is a good size and weight, but could use more shoulder padding. I have a lot of modest, adequate gear. Someday I'll upgrade everything.

How about your stuff?


sympotein said...

You can't beat the Pocket Rocket, that little stove has helped me out so many times, never fails.

BillyPru said...

Cool stuff. We need more cool hiking stuff!

Sarah and I did get some pretty sweet ocean kayaks this past summer.

Eric said...

@ Sympotein - It's simplicity is its cardinal virtue. I have run out of fuel before, though, which was my dumb move.

@ Damien - Sweet! Have you done much kayaking with them?