From us here at Hike It. Like It. – A Happy New Year to all. We hope you’ve had a wonderful year with some outstanding adventures. 2014 has been quite a busy year for our family; last year represented a year of house hunting and this year represented a year of projects and new schedules to adapt to. That aside, we were lucky to get a few trips in, try out some new gear, and talk to some of the manufacturers working to bring us more functional and lightweight kits to fuel our outdoor exploration. To wrap up the year we interspersed some photos and random thoughts of the year. Hope you enjoy!
Favorite New Gear of the Year
For hiking trips I would have to give it to my Borah Gear side-zip bivy. I’ve really come to like sleeping in a bivy when I can get away with it. This is the pinnacle of the quilt-sleeping experience since it keeps the quilt contained and eliminates drafts. The Cuben + M90 combination makes for a light, waterproof bottom, and a very light, breathable, and water resistant top. My bivy comes with me most of the time now. I’ve gotta find some time to add a writeup to the bloggy blog.
For running I would give it to my 2XU Thermal Compression Tights. I can’t wear them when it’s warm out, but when it’s cool enough you know I’ll be squeezing into them. The tall sizing is awesome for me and I’m sure it’s part of the reason they fit so well while helping keep my muscles in good alignment and feelin fine.
For photography it would be my Sony RX100, which is the original model of the camera (as of now Mark III). This little camera does a remarkable job capturing the light. Sure it’s no replacement for an APS-C or micro 4/3 sensor, but I can’t take cameras that large on runs or fast day hikes without making some major compromises. The RX100 solves that.
Favorite Trip of the Year
This year I’d have to say it was my trip to Zion National Park to run the Zion Traverese Route. It’s always great to get together with friends and have some type II fun pushing our limits. The scenery though… it literally charged up my batteries, very exhilarating. I’ve been wondering why I hadn’t visited sooner and I’m now making it a point to return with the family. To draw a comparison, Zion is like the Yosemite of the desert. Truly an oustanding place to visit and the folks providing services and amenities in Springdale were some of the most consistently friendly people I’ve met. Great spot. Amazing run. Good stuff.
Biggest Surprise of the Year
My Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock poles surpassed all of my expectations. I hiked with these about half of the time I was on trail this year, the other half of the time was spent with a similar but much more expensive set of poles. When comparing, I can’t really find fault with these poles. Are they the lightest on the market? No. However, at less than $40 per pair these are by far the most economical carbon fiber poles with a cam-lock design that are available. I went on a trip with another hiker this year who was also using these poles and turned out he had done a JMT hike with them. He did break a pole tip on that hike but didn’t fault the poles and ended up buying another pair. Definitely a pole that’s worthwhile taking a look at.
Epic Fail of the Year
I simultaneously ruined my eVent rain jacket and Patagonia nana puff vest. On a shoulder season trip I was alternating between having my back and front facing the fire trying to dry off as it continued to snow. While crouching near the fire with my back to it, I guess I got a little too close. That evening when I went to get into bed, my rain jacket wouldn’t come off. Now, I didn’t drink that much Jameson, so how could this be?? It turned out that a ~6″x6″ area at the bottom of my jacket melted to the shell of my vest. Both are somewhat repairable, but dang it!
Epic Win of the Year
I won an MSR Windboiler from one of their giveaways! Woohoo! Looking forward to spending some time with it and posting my thoughts on the blog in 2015.
Biggest Letdown of the Year
The Solio Bolt solar charger was my biggest letdown this year. Not only did it have a hard time charging in all but the best of conditions, the internal battery completely died from lack of regular use, thus turning it into a paperweight. Bummer.
I picked up a ZPacks Arc Blast 60L late last year, so still “new” to me this year. I’ve spent enough time with it now that a writeup is in progress. Yay, more 2015 content! I also treated myself to a BIG 4400 liter Windrider Southwest pack from HMG. This is going to be a dedicated winter pack and family pack. I’m looking forward to breaking it in this winter.
Best New Bar
The local dive bar is pretty alright, but I’m talkin ’bout trail bars here! There are tons of new bars out every year and I try as many as I can. I have to say I am lovin the Bobo Oat Bars (Coconut specifically) but this is a two-way tie with the Fig Bar (peach/apricot or mango) being equally good but different. One is like a mini meal, the other is like a large fig newton. Mmmm….
Hopefully 2015 will be a year of less projects and more trips! Either way, you can expect to find us here, updating Hike It. Like It., doing our best to deliver quality content. Thanks to everyone who has been reading, subscribing, liking us, and not taking things too seriously. See you on the trail next year! Hike It. Like It.