This year was dedicated to buying gear that was affordable, lightweight, high quality, and to making my backpacking experience more comfortable. Comfortable in my world means staying warm. As a hiker living with Raynaud’s Syndrome, the air temperature feels 20 degrees cooler to my inner thermostat. Being so sensitive to the cold means beanie hats in the summer, wearing a down jacket to the movies, and keeping extra layers and gloves in the car.
I wear wetsuits to swim, neoprene socks when kayaking, and I understand that a sleeping bag with a 20-degree temperature rating is really a 50-degree sleep sack.
In 2016, I slept comfortably on the back seat of my car, discovered a new outdoor gear company, found a sleeping bag that keeps me warm, and experimented with two new lightweight tents. Listed below are my top six gear purchases.
BACK SEAT INFLATABLE MATTRESS $40
In less than three minutes, this inflatable mattress turns the back seat of your car into a rather comfortable bed. Great for long road trips, especially when you’re tired and need to pull over for a nap.
NATUREHIKE EIDERDOWN SLEEPING BAG $138
A dream sleeping bag for a cold sleeper like myself. At just under three pounds, this sleeping bag’s is 90% eiderdown with a waterproof exterior.
MOUNTAIN WAREHOUSE BIVY BAG $30
Weighing 11.9 ounces, I have been using this bivy bag as a protective cover and as an extra layer of insulation for my down sleeping bag.
NATUREHIKE WILD WING TWO PERSON TENT $74
Less than $80, will get you a silicon coated two person waterproof tent. Yes, that’s right! Why pay two to three hundred dollars for a tent, when you can purchase the Wind Wing. This tent has two side entry doors and offers enough vestibule space for your backpacking gear. I had the opportunity to test drive this tent during my backpacking trip in Zion National Park. The tent provided great ventilation and protection from the elements.
When you order this tent from GearBest, they also include the official tent footprint.
NATUREHIKE CLOUD UP 2 PERSON TENT $80
Weighing in at 3.4lbs, the Cloud Up 2 was my first NatureHike tent purchase. It’s high-density mesh and silicon coated fly make this tent breathable and waterproof.
I had the chance to test this tent over the summer on Santa Cruz Island. Snug for two people, however very spacious for a single camper.
NEOPRENE WATER SOCK $12
Having Raynaud’s Syndrome, I am constantly managing cold feet. These 3mm anti-slip bottom socks have made my kayaking experience far more enjoyable.