With 9 days to go it’s time to start choosing gear. Let’s start with the 3 majors:
1) Backpack – Osprey Exos 46. I’ve tested many brands with Granite Gear & GoLite coming out on top. I’ve been keeping an eye on Osprey at Outdoor Retailer and have been impressed with their direction in ultralight packs. I picked up 3 models to test this year, the Exos 46, the Talon 22 & Talon 11. I took the Talon 22 to Mexico in March and was thoroughly impressed. It’s time to really put an Osprey pack through its paces.
2) Tent – REI Quarter Dome T2. A lot can be said about shelters, but that’s best saved for another post. After much testing, my hiking partner and I prefer a tent with full shelter, providing superior weather and bug protection. Adding a pole across the top and making walls vertical with plenty of room to sit up, and no condensation to drip onto your bag is brilliant in design. Credit goes to MSR for their innovation with the Hubba Hubba Tent. We tested the Hubba Hubba in Patagonia and unfortunately it couldn’t stand up to the winds, with poles snapping during the night. After returning the Hubba Hubba, we decided to go with the REI version. Cheaper, roomier, lighter, and with REI’s exceptional customer service, it was a no brainer. So far in one season of testing, the tent has been flawless.
3) The Sleeping Bag – Montbell SS UL Down Hugger #3. Montbell makes incredible ultralight down products. I own 3 of their jackets. And now, I own their latest creation in sleeping bags – exceptional lightweight down with Super Stretch technology. The bag allows you to spread your arms and legs while inside. It stretches and contracts. Most ultralight bags are very restrictive, this being the exception.
There you have it. The 3 most important pieces traveling with me to Scotland to journey on the West Highland Way.