End of winter season wishes for new gear


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B the Hiker

Well-known member
VFTT Supporter
Jan 31, 2008
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Middletown, CT
We're close to the official end of winter, although wintry conditions may still remain a bit longer. Since my REI dividend arrived in the mail yesterday ($280.330), I have been thinking about the gear I am going to retire at the end of this winter, and also what I need for the up-coming summer season. I'm curious what others need/want.

I'm going to retire my seven-old-pair of MSR Revo Ascents. Each one has lost one of the big teeth, and they don't play well with my new hard plastic boots. I loved the fact they were quieter than my previous plastic-framed MSRs, but now I'm feeling ready to move on to something else. I'm thinking TSL Symbioz Elites.

I also need a new sleeping pad. I had an insulated Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad that I used forever. It finally died on me, long after I felt it should have. I made the mistake of buying a pad that could literally fit into a coffee mug, but it doesn't stay inflated, and for the life of me I can't find the leak. Someone gave me an REI pad, but it leaks at intersection with the plastic mouthpiece, and all the sealant in the world hasn't helped. I'm thinking Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm--although it is not cheap!

I really like the Nemo Zor but they say it's not durable enough. It's worked for me for a few years. I used my REI dividend on them.
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I bought a Mountain Hardwear down jacket in January of 2007. It's been slowly losing down (mostly through the lining of the pockets, but sometimes during krummholz-induced trauma). I'm thinking it's time to start looking at a replacement.

Key features:

1) thick down - maximum warmth
2) mid-thigh length, with a waistcord
3) removable/stowable hood (otherwise it fills with snow)
4) lots of pockets (with zippers), inside and out
5) compresses to under two liters (and comes with a stuff sack)
6) relaxed fit (I like to keep gloves and stuff in chest pockets), long sleeves (for climbing)

Rain resistance and fabric toughness are secondary. I can put a harder shell over it if needed for rain or bushwhacking.

photo of the jacket:
(I still use those boots, but not for ice climbing. The crampons and axes were upgraded long ago. And I just replaced those snow pants about a month ago -- they were mostly duct tape by then.)

I'm also in the market for new skis and boots. Keeping getting compliments on my "old-school" straight skis. Yeah, same ones I've had since about 1986. Might be time to try something wider and lighter.
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I love my Sea to Summit Comfort Plus insulated. Two chambers (extremely unlikely you'll ever sleep on the ground, even if you spring a leak in one chamber - which itself is unlikely). Exceptionally comfortable. I got the rectangle one, it's kind of heavy. That's the tradeoff. Four years, no issues. My kids fight me for it. As if they even need pads to sleep on... I need a good night's sleep now, so a relatively heavy pad is the price I pay for that. (I tried the Neoair and just could not get comfortable on it, slept poorly the two nights I tried it. Totally a personal preference thing, I think).
On another note, I've been doing a lot of gear repair lately. Stringing new bungee in tent poles (the kid at REI gave me a size too thick, which made something that should have been easy a bit more challenging), and lots of gluing. Front pocket on a Marmot DriClime, front pants pocket (outside the pants) on a very old pair of EMS soft shells, stitching the crotch on another pair. I don't like to putter about, but now that it's done, I'm grateful for it.

I tried to repair my sleeping pad (which started this thread), but the leak was at the intersection of the pad material and the plastic mouthpiece, and from the websites I read, they all said it's a lost cause if that's the problem. After several layers of glue later, I can attest to the truth of that.

Have you given any thought to Enlightened Equipment Torrid with Apex insulation? I have both the zip-up and pullover and both have been great for me. YMMV of course...
Have you given any thought to Enlightened Equipment Torrid with Apex insulation? I have both the zip-up and pullover and both have been great for me. YMMV of course...

I'm not familiar with Enlightened Equipment, but the Torrid jacket looks nice. The Wild Things jacket with PrimaLoft insulation still works, but the zipper gives me trouble at times.

I'm also thinking about this one, with synthetic insulation: https://www.marmot.com/sale/men/jackets-and-vests/mens-novus-2.0-hoody/AFS_889169635359.html

So many to choose from.
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