In 2014 I am heading back to the USA to complete the Pacifc Crest Trail North of Tuolumne (already done the JMT with my hiking buddy, Lee, covering the PCT South from Tuolumne to Mt Whitney). This time I will be solo.
When I read John’s post, I really could not immediately think of what more gear I needed right now. I am pretty happy with my current set up (see my gear list tab) but with the big PCT hike coming up in a different country and weather conditions I have based my 2014 “want list” on this.
Suntactisc Scharger5- As I will be solo and be a few weeks on the trail, communication is important for safety, re supply and gear support (order on the trail to be delivered at next supply drop). Many PCT hikers report good cell phone coverage in many areas along the PCT. A draw back of the cell phone is power supply. A portable charger will also support my GPS, camera and headlight (but probably use an iPhone App as I only need location coordinates). I could also have music and email off my iPhone.
The Suntactic 5 get rave reviews from hikers. It is only 227grams ($US126) and charges any unit with USB connectivity. I would convert my old Tikka plus2 to their new core power supply. This whole set up will make batteries totally redundant.
Railriders Equator HT Top - I love my merino! On the JMT I used a long sleeve 150 merino base Tee with mini stand-up collar and ¾ zip. I did get a bit hot sometimes, but the shirt wicked really well with no stink. I have been toying with trying a long sleeve shirt out for a while. I did get a Kathmandu one and didn't like it - clammy and smelly.
These Railride shirts are nylon (no wicking) and do stink after a days use, but dry quick allowing a nightly rinse out. The are also bug protective. Another draw back is lack of multiple use. A shirt is one layer full-stop and provides no really warmth (not it’s intended use - used to give better sun protection). Where as the merino 150 base tee shirt can be over-laid with my 250 merino 2nd layer. Add to this my Mont Bell Ex Light insulated jacket and I have never needed more in 3 season hiking warmth.
Ursack is a bear resistant food sack made in the USA from lightweight, flexible, "bullet proof" fabric. It's a 179g alternative to traditional canisters. I need to carry a bear barrel in Yosemite park (they will not accept the Ursack) but will return it after I leave the park and pick up the Ursack at first supply dump at Echo Lake. I used the Bearikade barrel set up on the JMT - rented for about $US50.
The carbon fiber barrel weighing in at just under a kilo - ouch! I was a good product and the park law gave me no choice. Outside of Yosemite I don't want to lug another half a kilo for the entire trip. Ursack also has the optional aluminum liner, adding this it weighs less than half hard-sided canisters. Do I need the aluminum liner? More research need and opinions welcomed.
So my list is small for 2014, but hey a manufacturer will come out with yet a lighter version of his/her product and being a “gram freak” I will get sucked into more spending. I am interested in your thoughts especially if anyone has had experience with Railriders shirts and Ursack bear bags.