So the BearVault 500 is too big for backpacking. It’s just a beast. The smaller sibling popped up on sale during Covid, so I snapped it up. For just two people, it works great, but for car camping, I bring the 500.
I keep getting told if I want to go backcountry camping in Yosemite, I need a bear canister, so I bought one. It stops bears from getting to your food, but it also slows you down. If it’s cold out, you can really bust your fingers trying to open it. There has to be a better way.
This is my first ultra-light tent. Before this, I’ve always gotten something from Alps Mountaineering or similar. About 3x the price, 1/3 the weight, packs small, and totally worth it if you can comfortably swing the price. The tent weighs nothing. Lifting it felt like how lifting a carbon fiber bike felt the first time. I was shocked they could make something this light. So far I’ve only used it on dry nights, so I have no idea how it handles in the rain, but California is in the worst drought in 1200 years, so that’s not so important.
I did my Colombia trek with the Zulu 40 and it worked perfectly. The pack is made to stay off your back so sweat doesn’t stick to you, which is great in the jungle. I noticed however that the upper compartment on an airplane can easily fit a 65L pack, and not even long-ways, so why go for smaller? Yes, smaller looks neater, but it’s easy enough to tighten the straps and you have the extra room when you have to carry things for other people… so I upgraded. It’s not my go-to summer pack, but I haven’t used it much yet because I broke my leg and well, Covid.
I’m a super cold sleeper, so I went as warm as I could. I also wanted a bag that could open like a blanket. I went overboard. This thing is hot. You can see it here.
Update: this bag is stupid hot. I only ever use it opened up.
For solo, go simple.
Pretty good, but rarely use it.
Great wet/winter pack. Not so many bells and whistles though. Requires some creativity for bringing all your gear for overnight camping while skiing.
Too big to use while skiing and not the right type of pack. Good for winter hiking or winter camping + resort skiing if you leave the bag somewhere while skiing.
Self inflating foam camping mattress. So far good, but not good enough for a girl who has pronounced hips, even if she is long and thin. Will be testing this with another sleeping pad on top of it.
Great in the dry season, wear them almost every day.