From start to finish, the one consistent thing about each year for me is that I use a variety of products to do a number of things. In certain ways, I am a creature of habit and I use certain pieces of gear until they unravel, break or otherwise need to be replaced, because they are either that good or I see no need to upgrade just to upgrade. Equally as consistent, I also receive a variety of pieces of gear to test for a variety of companies; and on occasion, I also learn about products that I want to purchase, or need to purchase for a number of reasons. At the end of the year, I look back on what I did, what worked for me, what didn’t, and make up a list of things that I’d recommend for a last-minute gift guide. As always, if the product made my list, you can be sure that it was tested in a variety of situations over a period of time. So, without further ado, here’s what I’d recommend for 2016 on a variety of fronts:
Other than the ten essentials, one of the most important – and overlooked items that people need for any adventure is a quality night’s sleep. From helping experienced mountaineers to acclimatize or novice hikers to simply rest, a good night’s sleep provides a plethora of benefits, irrespective of whether one is in the front or backcountry. While many factors go into obtaining a good night’s sleep, the main factor is appropriate overnight gear, which in most outdoor adventures means a good sleeping bag. While over the last thirty years sleeping bag technology has advanced with new materials, synthetic materials, and better construction, even in 2016, not all sleeping bags are created equal.
Correspondingly, when I was offered the opportunity to test out the TETON Sports Mountain Ultra 1 a few months ago, I was slightly concerned. The Mountain Ultra 1 was billed as an ultralight backpacking tent; and in my experience, such products were not durable; or not breathable. Nevertheless, I was intrigued as to what innovations TETON had brought to the field as there had been a lot of social media buzz about the tent, so with an open mind I accepted the tent and began the testing process. Several months later, what I can say is this: this is a product that lives up to the hype it generated, and then some. Even further, I can honestly say that this tent is the best one-man backpacking tent on the market in 2014; and perhaps the best one-man backpacking tent that I have used in the last five years.
Disclaimer: as part of my co-hosting duties on In Ice Axe We Trust, I was provided a free Comfortlite Pillow from TETON Sports. On the recent IIAWT expedition to Death Valley, I tried it out. I liked it so much, I decided to write up this promotional bit that you’ll find below. If it doesn’t convince you to get one, I don’t know what will.
Good news everybody! Tonight, there will be another great IIAWT podcast - except this time, the podcast will have a new twist. That's right: on tonight's episode, IIAWT is packing their ice axes and heading off the continent to discuss one of the behemoths of worldwide mountaineering: Mt. Kilimanjaro. On tonight's episode, we will be talking with a long-time friend of the show, JestheCCC about her recent successful climb of the highest peak in Africa. This show will cover everything an intermediate mountaineer will need to know about planning an expedition to one of the seven summits; and it will also cover what one would need to know about how to successfully train for and how to successfully summit the highest mountain in Africa. If you're interested in learning more about JestheCCC and her climb, either before the show; or after the show, read her blog here, about: 1) Preparing to Climb Kilimanjaro; 2) Part One of Climbing the Mountain; 3) Part Two of Climbing the Mountain; and 4) Wrap Up of Climbing the Mountain. Also, if you're interested in learning more about Jes' partners and sponsors in climbing the mountain, you'll want to check out them here: 1) K2Adventures (at Twitter here); 2) TETON Sports (at Twitter here); and 3) Sly Fox Foods (at Twitter here). Tune in here for what will be a great show, or on iTunes!