Today I’ll continue on with gift ideas for backpackers, but before I do that, we got a great suggestion in the comments from John Ladd. The Midland HH50 Pocket Weather Radio is an inexpensive way to get alerts regarding bad weather. Not a bad thing to have when you’re going to be in the middle of that weather with only a three-pound tent and some clothes for protection.
This time, for the suggestions around $100, the links are to REI.
A Good Night’s Sleep. A few years ago I had a bad experience with an inflatable sleeping pad. I swore then that I would never again wake up in the middle of the night on a flat mattress. I may break my rule and try the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Pad. The reviews are almost universally positive, and the thickness (three-and-a-half inches!) is enough to provide plenty of comfort. The weight isn’t ultra-light (25 to 36 ounces), but it is reasonably light. (From $120 to $180, depending on size.)
A Hot Supper. During my last thru-hike of the John Muir Trail I didn’t eat a single hot meal while camping. I felt it just wasn’t worth the weight of the extra food, stove and fuel. Next year I intend to eat a lot better. I still intend to keep it simple, and relatively light, by indulging in the latest in tasty, dehydrated, just-add-hot-water meals. Everyone seems to agree that the Jetboil Flash Cooking System is the quickest way to boil water, and it looks as if it will be my choice. All the components, including the fuel canister, stores inside the serving cup, and at less than one pound, its contribution to my quality of life should exceed the trouble of carrying it two hundred miles. ($100)
A Tool Kit. A good multi-purpose tool is all about compromise. The large ones are heavy, but come with lots of tools. The small ones are light, but are light on effectiveness as well. The Leatherman New Wave Multitool splits the difference pretty well, and seems to be skewed towards a backpacker’s need for cutting, carving and making small repairs. Eight ounces may eat up a little more of your weight budget than you want, but, like most precautionary items, when you need it, it’s well worth the trouble. ($85)
If you have an idea that comes in around $100, include it in the comments. One more list to come in a week.
Good hiking, Ray