Gear Review

 
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WoolX

I bought a long-sleeve lighweight layer and the midweight Anna's Funnel Neck layer for my 2018 Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. I went with Woolx because I wanted to try using merino wool on a hike and Woolx was reasonably priced compared with competitors. I wore the lightweight layer practically everyday for 2 weeks on my hike with only hand washing it in a sink once. I never thought the shirt smelled bad. It was light enough to wear in the heat at lower elevations and warm enough layered up with the Funnel Neck top for colder elevations. I was pleased with both tops and would buy from them again

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Frogg Toggs Pro-Lite Rain Suit

I bought this just for the rain jacket for my 2018 Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. Frogg Toggs is a smaller company from my home state of Alabama. I'd heard about them for years and saw their gear on the AT. I ended up buying this due to the lightness and cost. A much cheaper product compared to bigger brand name gear. The jacket is lightweight due to being made from L83 nonwoven bi-laminate materials. I wasn't sure about how waterproof the jacket would be and I figured I would test it out on this hike. On the hike I was never in a downpour but did wear it in rainy conditions for hours as well as on a super windy day. I stayed dry and didn't get too hot when wearing it at lower elevations. I think this product is flying under the radar and has the potential to become very popular as a must-have on any long distance trail.

 

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Luna Mono 2.0

I bought these as camp shoes for my 2018 Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal. I used the customize tool and mine are two shades of blue. I wanted lightweight sandals because my Chaco's are too heavy to take on a backpacking trip (even though I took them last year on my Camino hike). When first receiving the sandals I initially did not like them and seriously considered returning them but didn't have time before my trip to find replacements. I do not like how the fabric straps twist at the base and how the strap goes under the sandal. I figured it would get rubbed off by walking and fall apart (this is not the case). The second tech strap seems superflous and I removed it. Walking around Kathmandu I had to constantly pull up my back strap (the tech strap must keep it pulled up). Overall I had to tighten the strap many many times so the sandal wouldn't fall off. I had to tighten it so tight that the buckle digs into the top of my foot. The sandals are not easy to just slip on and I imagine even more difficult with the tech strap. Overall, the sandal is comfortable but the constant readjusting is annoying. I would not buy them again. 

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OUTDOOR RESEARCH SOUTHBACK MITTENS

I bought these for my 2018 job working all day outside at a ski resort. I also needed them for skiing. I was told mittens are warmer than gloves because your fingers can touch. One of the requirements for new gloves/mittens was to have a wrist leash. I'm always worried when I take my gloves off on the ski lift that they are going to fall off, which they have before, so this leash is great. These are my first pair of mittens and I am enjoying them. They keep my hands very warm while I work all day outside in 30 degree weather.

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MONTBELL superior down parka- women's

I bought this jacket because I love my Montbell sleeping bag (see review -->) and I figured I would love their jackets. I love the color and I like the diamond baffles because they're different than the normal puffy horizontal baffles. It's probably not as warm as my previous down jacket but it makes the cut. I also would prefer it to be less shiny.

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montbell down hugger 650 #0

Probably top 5 favorite purchases I've ever made. Sleeping in this bag is like sleeping in a cloud. I normally toss and turn all night and this bag doesn't get me all twisted up due to their warped seam lines. I sleep cold so I wanted to get a very warm bag for nights in the 20s and 30s; this bag does the trick. I bought this specifically for my Long Trail thru-hike in 2016.

SEA TO SUMMIT AEROS PILLOW

I purchased (summer 2016) this pillow after long consideration and talking with other hikers on the Appalachian Trail. I always used my clothes bag as a pillow, on my thru hike and ever since. However, I found that I couldn't get comfortable and I couldn't sleep well cause I was constantly adjusting the clothes bag. The clothes bag was lumpy, smelled bad from my dirty clothes, the material of the bag would stick to my face, and lastly when I wasn't carrying many clothes there wasn't anything in the bag. So I talked to several hikers about what kind of pillows they use and the majority was Sea to Summit. I saw hikers carry big ones, small ones, and soft ones. I knew I didn't want a big one and I wanted one with soft fabric. So I went to the closest REI and picked the Aeros, regular size. My review: it's great! It's the perfect size and even has a curve to fit my neck. The softness is nice and cozy on my cheek. The inflation and deflation process is super fast and efficient. I like how you can inflate it as much as you want. For instance, I used it while using my hammock and deflated the pillow slightly which made it much easier to use while in the hammock. The only scare was when I washed it (cold water) and went to blow it up the first time and it didn't blow up in the right shape. I recently washed it again and didn't have that problem. All in all, I highly recommend the Sea to Summit Aeros regular pillow. When you're hiking all day you need to get lots of rest, and I can sleep much better with this pillow.

Specs: weight-2.8oz, price ~$43, inflates to 5in thick.