I do an occasional video of my hikes and such, and often talk about some of the stuff I’m using. I thought it might be handy to have a place to list and talk about those items, giving my thoughts, etc. I’ll link to where I got it when I can, or alternates. I don’t have any sort of affiliate accounts, so these are just basic links. Consider this page a work in progress, and check back for updates.
Last updated: 06/20/2019
My all around favorite, every day wear boot is Danner Tachyon. They are light, comfy, and great for street or trail. They are similar style to a military jungle boot, so they are not any sort of water resistant. The main downside is that the soles are soft and wear down relatively quickly. I wear the soles down long before the uppers wear out on me. Correction, out of the half-dozen pair I’ve gone through over the years… a couple of them, the rubber where the toe of the sole wraps over the top of the boot started separating. I used a bit of glue, and it never became more than just the edge, but was a bit annoying when it happened. Unfortunately, I can’t get the tan ones anymore, these are part of their military line and the coloring reflects that. Right now that means black, sage green and coyote. I have sage green right now, and will probably get a pair of coyote at some point.
When I wanted to move to something a bit beefier, I stopped by the Danner outlet in Portland and picked up a pair of Tanicus Dry (the waterproof version). I wore them the next day to do about 8-9 miles at Mt. St. Helens, and wasn’t sure I was going to like them. Took a few more wears to get them broken in, and they are my go to winter boot for snowshoeing and such. My main issue with them is the stiff ankle area can make them difficult to slip on and off, I really have to shove my foot in there. Once on though, they’re very comfy. And their water proofing really works… well, at least until you submerge the boot.
Looking for something in between the Tachyon and Tanicus, I got these on sale at REI, the Oboz Sawtooth Mid BDry boot. They are the boot I probably wore the most during the warmer months during 2018 and into this year. Until the laces started busting. The outer layer started cutting against one of the metal lacers, and in the two hikes I took after replacing them, I ended up with blisters on my heels both times. The only thing I can think of is I somehow messed up the fit when relacing them. I want to get it figured out cause I like these boots too much to just give up on them.
Recently, I purchased a pair of Merrell MQM Flex Hiking Shoes from REI. I’ve put about 25 miles on them as of this posting, and I like them. I was looking for something light like the Tachyon’s, but in a shoe, not boot. I know the soles will wear quicker than my hiking boots, but I’m ok with that trade off. I wanted these to wear backpacking so I wouldn’t need to also carry a pair of camp shoes to wear after taking off my boots at the end of the day. These breath great, are easy to slip on after getting out of the hammock. My main issue right now is they have been very slick on wet rock/wood.
This wasn’t my first attempt at using a lightweight shoe, about 2 years ago I bought a pair of La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX hiking shoes. Overall, I liked them… but after putting on about 30 or so miles, they just weren’t fighting right. I ended up taking them back to REI, and it was close to 6 months before I ended up getting anything else.
When I first moved to WA, a friend gave me an REI 27 Liter day pack. It served me well for a few years, but I wanted something 1) a bit bigger that I could use on an overnight, and 2) something with a bridged back for ventilation. That led to me getting the Osprey Stratos 36. While classified as a day-pack, it’s been plenty roomy for me to do a number of overnight trips with now. I’ve also used it for plenty of day trips, though I’ve found something lighter to use for those trips these days (see below).
Overall, I love this pack. I can fit what I need in and on it. I will likely get something larger if I start doing multi-day trips, but this is going to be one of my main packs for a long time. I would make a couple changes/additions though. The side access zipper should zip from top down to make it easier to access stuff at the bottom without fully opening the zipper, and some tie down loops for putting stuff like my snowshoes on the back of the pack.
I was looking for a nice, light weight, minimalistic way to carry the essentials with me on shorter hikes. I was especially interested in checking out a drop-leg style. I finally settled on this one on Amazon. I wore it along with my regular pack on my first backpacking trip. I’ve since trimmed my packing down that I don’t need it, but I may do similar again if I do a base-camp trip, where I hike in a short way, set up base camp, then drop off my gear and do some more hiking. This then becomes my “day pack”. I like that it doesn’t sit on my back, which in warmer weather is really nice. But having it stick off my leg can be tricky in tight situations, like some log bridges, where I have to be careful not to smack the rail as I’m crossing.
I added a couple pouches to the belt, this one for holding a water bottle, and another small one that I had laying around for putting a couple other small things (like my lensball, maybe some candy/protein bar). I will also sometimes wear a couple of paracord bracelets I’ve made on the back of the belt, and use those to hold my long sleeve shirt or such when I get too warm. I’ve debated on also picking up a roll-up dump pouch, like what hunters use for spent shells, to have something I can roll up and wear on the belt, but open up if I need to stash something.
More recently, I added this Rover Sling Pack, and it’s becoming my main go-to for short day trips. The capacity is a bit larger than the drop leg pouch on it’s own. I’ve also used it for my personal item during a trip to Tampa for some meetings. With the molle system, I am able to expand the capacity a bit as needed using the pouch I also wear with the drop leg system.