My Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Want to be comfortable and sleep well when on the trail?

I recommend this very expen$ive quilt / sleeping bag.

It was the most popular sleeping bag or quilt for those spending months on the Continental Divide Trail 2021.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I really like their strap system.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I opted for the 20 degree (6C) 850 down fill version. Regular length. Wide. This should keep me warm and comfortable on all my typical outdoor adventures. Even Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland.

Enlightened Equipment gives you hundreds of options. You can custom order exactly what you want.

Though it’s down, apparently I will be able to wash this bag.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Magnetic Cutlery for Travel

Full Windsor sent me a sample set of their Magnetic Flatware.

And I’m impressed.

High quality. Durable. And the magnetic coupling is super slick.

There’s no way I could possibly bend or break the spoon as I’ve often done in the past with metal and titanium. The knife has a serrated edge that could cut wire!

Details.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’ll be doing a detailed video review on my next multi-day adventure.

Helly’s LifaLoft jacket – my review

Kraig Becker sent me an early prototype of a Helly Hansen LifaLoft jacket for my 2019 trip to Patagonia. I wore it non-stop for a couple of months cycling and hiking in wet, windy and sometimes cold weather.

LIFALOFT™ is not down. It’s arguably lighter and warmer.

The idea is to trap a maximum amount of air in a small space. And due to the hydrophobic properties of LIFA®, LIFALOFT™ has an inherent water repellency that should keep you warm, even when wet.

It worked for me as advertised.

Glacier Vinciguerra, Ushuaia, Argentina

Cerro Guanaco trail, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina under a rain shell

The best test came when I got caught in a surprise downpour while hiking without my shell. I was worried.

But next morning the LifaLoft looked and felt 100% perfect.

UPDATE:  I bought two more LifaLoft jackest – in different colours and sizes.  I often wear two rather than a heavier down jacket.  

I machine washed and dried one jacket.  It come out looking like new. 

Kraig sent me this to replace my FAILED Columbia OutDry down jacket. It was useless after 7 months.

The Helly Hansen is far superior. The Colombia failed — I think — because it couldn’t handle being frequently compressed into a stuff sack. The HH LifaLoft seems much more durable.

In Patagonia Helly Hansen is the go-to brand for serious sailers and outdoors-people. Developed in Norway, HH is tested under the worst weather conditions.

For future hikes in moderate weather where weight is a big consideration, I’ll be carrying the LifaLoft and just a waterproof ultra-light Frogg Toggs shell.

My NEW Trek Checkpoint ALR 4

By BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

I’m considering FUTURE trips to Iceland, Norway, northern BC and/or Yukon. Great hiking. Bad weather.

For transport to trailheads, I’ll fly with my own touring bike.

Though it wasn’t easy during the pandemic, I did locate an appropriate ride IN STOCK. For the past week I’ve been testing my 2021 Trek Checkpoint ALR 4.

So far, so good.

This gravel frame is aluminum, not steel. Base weight 10.12 kg / 22.3 lbs — though I’ve already customized it with a number of add-ons.

The fewer flats the better. SO added heavier Bontager HARD-CASE ULTIMATE tires.

Having had racks fail in the past, I added Bontager DELUXE MIK pannier racks front and back.

Good lights. Fenders and kickstand.

Click PLAY or check it out on YouTube.

I’ll use a Sportneer 7mm, 3.2ft-long, combination bike lock. Not the most secure lock available, but convenient and only 1.57 pounds.

Nitecore NU25 headlamp review 2021

I needed enough light to cycle in the dark as well as for hiking / camping.

After reading good reviews, I went with the Nitecore NU25 headlamp.

I like it.  Comfortable, adjustable headband.  

Four settings for white light.  Three for red.

In addition, a three second press of the white light sets off the well known ••• – – – ••• Morse code sequence.  

Simple design.

  • rechargeable with micro-USB (from battery or solar if necessary)
  • maximum output of 360 lumens
  • max. Beam Distance 81 m
  • indicator reports remaining battery power
  • lockout to prevent accidental activation
  • 0.99oz

Headlamps have turned on accidentally during transport in the past.  That won’t happen when you lock out this one.

It will work while charging from a portable battery, if needed for many hours.

 

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Here are other recommended headlamps in 2020.

The NU 25’s main limitations are its short battery life (in our testing, the NU’s burn time was much shorter than listed) and the fact that it’s hard to keep the light from shining in your camping partner’s eyes due to its wide beam pattern.

Trail Runners v Hiking Boots

Cam Honan posted the best summing up I’ve read:

1. Why choose trail running shoes over boots for three-season conditions?

2. When are boots preferable to trail runners? 

3. “Wearing Your Fears” – Examining the commonly-held belief that boots provide a greater degree of protection for your ankles than low-cut footwear while backpacking.

4. “A Piece in the Puzzle – Why your choice in footwear should be considered an integral piece of an overall lightweight backpacking strategy.

5. A list of 15 of the top trail running shoes in today’s market.

Click through for Cam’s summary.

THE HIKING LIFE – Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots:  A 30 Year Perspective

I’ve tried most everything over the years, ending up with something in-between runners and bootsapproach shoes — most often Merrell Moab2 Ventilators.  Normally without a Gortex layer.

I go with Merrell as they are available online in very wide sizes.  I have bunions.

I go with trail shoes as I like the durability.

Cam finds he can get about 800 mi (1,287 km) out of a good approach shoe; as opposed to trail runners which normally need to be retired after 500 mi (805 km).

I’m loath to suffer stubbed toes so prefer footwear with good protection up front.

Like Cam, I wear low-cut footwear as my ankles are healthy and I’m agile enough not to bash into rocks.

For something VERY rugged — K2 Base Camp, for example — I would take high tops or boots.

The downside of approach shoes is weight.  And the smell.

After a hike where my shoes get wet I need bake them in the sun.  For days.

related – Cam’s more comprehensive post – Hiking Footwear Guide

 

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