Backpacking Gear Notes

Last week was my first time using a good deal of backpacking
gear I acquired over the last 6-9 months. 
Some of it worked out great, some worked as expected, and some I am

I am not new to camping, I’ve camped as long as I can
remember, and am an Eagle Scout.  But lightweight backpacking is
a new ordeal for me.  Everything else I’ve done
in the last 20 years has been car or motorcycle camping.   While motorcycle camping is still somewhat
light weight, it’s not on my back so I am much more loose and fast with what
gets packed.   To give an example, last
year for a 9 day motorcycle trip, my bike had 100lbs of gear on the back of it
(that is including 25lbs cases, and then more for tools, camera gear, bigger tent, a 5lb camp chair, etc… ) For this new hobby/adventure I bought almost everything new, and replaced many parts of my existing gear.

Notable items were:

TarpTent Moment DW Tent –

Enlightened Equiptment Revelation Down 30* Quilt

Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated sleeping
pad –

Sea to Summit Ultralight Pillow –

Osprey Aether 70 Pack

A Water purification system (Aquamira Drops +
Sawyer mini filter)

What Worked:

The Tent worked
   We didn’t get any rain, but the
tent was good.    It was pretty cold and
damp in the morning so there was condensation in the tent.    But I forgot to open the vents at the peak
before going to sleep so that was my bad.  
It was quick and easy to dry the fly with a REI micro towel before
packing the tent.    The Moment is a
small 1P tent.  There was enough room for
me, my sleeping gear, and a few other tems in the mesh.   Everything else chilled on top of my pack in
the vestibule. 

I am not claustrophobic, so the tight confines of the tent didn’t
bother me.    The tent still had enough
room to sit up and get dressed in the morning easily. 

Setup and take down of the tent happens in minutes.   I believe I was able to set the tent up in
about 3 minutes.  There are only 2 stakes
and 1 pole.

The Quilt/Sleeping
I am a hot sleeper typically,
so I went with a quilt which gives a lot of flexibility in how you sleep.  A quilt is just as it sounds, it can be laid
flat (for many models), as a blanket, or can partially zip up at the feet.  You sleep directly on the sleeping pad for
most of your body though.   For this
reason you need a sleeping pad that has some good R Value in cooler
weather.   The sleeping pad worked great,
it was warm, comfortable, and quiet.   
The quilt worked great once I figured out how all the draw strings
worked to keep heat in.   The weather was
in the low 40’s the night we camped out, and the 30* quilt worked great and was
very very warm. 

The Pack.   This is my first modern frame pack for use
with backpacking.   My last frame pack
was an external frame pack was a Camp Trails McKinley back in the 90’s.  A pack that weighed over 6lbs, but was also
made to handle 70+lbs of gear.   How packs have changed.     The Aether
70 had more than enough room for an overnight, to the point I am unsure what I am
going to fill the pack up with for shorter summer trips.     But it’s nice to have that kind of space
when you need it.    

The pack was comfortable when I remembered to keep adjusting
things.   My shoulders would get sore, so
I would readjust the hip belt, change the load lifter setup, etc…   Overall, awesome pack, and the materials are
top notch.   I tried the Atmos 65 AG, and
really didn’t like it, it didn’t fit my body, or load the weight properly for

I had the pack loaded with about 30lbs max, but it was still very comfortable.

What Worked OK but I
need to work with it more:

Water Systems.  Sterilizing your water sources is
important, and nice to not need to haul a ton of water with you if you don’t need
it.   I went with 2 systems for this
trip.  Aquamira Treatment Drops
which work reasonably fast (~30 minutes), and are quick and easy to
prepare.   And a Sawyer mini filter/squeeze

Sawyer –  this worked
awesome at filtering, and leaving the water tasting good.   Just takes a LONG time to get any quanitity
of water through it.   I brought a  4L Platypus water bladder to fill, and then
distribute water to where it needed to go.   
The Sawyer would screw right onto the bladder easily, but to get any
speed of filtering or flow, you needed to put an insane amount of pressure on
it.    But for the sub 2oz weight, you
cant go wrong with it in your pack. 
Especially for turbid water sources.

Aquamira – this is the opposite of the Sawyer.  It works fast, easy, and low fuss.   But leaves the water tasting slightly stale,
and doesn’t filter.  So if you have
debris in the water you don’t want to drink you still need to filter it.   Fortunately the water we were drinking on
the trip was potentially clean enough to drink straight, so filtering wasn’t even
a concern.    I personally didn’t mind
the taste of the Aquamira drops. 

I now just need to figure out the best ways to use both of
these going forward.  But for a total
weight of just about 3.5oz for both systems in my back… I have both sides

What didn’t work:

Sea to Summit UL pillow.
I am a side sleeper, and a stomach
sleeper.     This pillow was supposed to
work well for this, but it didn’t. not tall enough for me to sleep on my side,
and too big to sleep on my stomach because it really blocked me from being able
to keep the quilt sinched down and sleep comfortably due to its size.  I ended up deflating it to almost nothing and
folding it onto itself to do anything.  
I am returning it for a smaller model.

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