Live in IA, but travel to UT and CA for adventures.
I replaced our Snow Peak sporks with two StS long spoons for a recent backpacking trip. The long versions make stirring and eating out of the taller Snow Peak Ti pots easier. I'm pretty convinced that sporks are unnecessary if you are using freeze-dried food. I thought eating noodles would be a little more difficult, but I just broke them up into smaller pieces before adding water and had no issues.
I used to take a small version backpacking, but there are better options if you are concerned about size and weight. The inflatables take up much less space and you don't have to worry about them losing their "fluff" while in the field.
These are basically the best shoe available for canyoneering, but have some flaws. They are bulky, and are definitely designed for those with high volume feet. Sizing can be tricky, especially if you plan to not always wear neoprene socks. I recently did a trip through Death Hollow in Utah, going through basically everything except snow (timber, sand, wet and dry canyon, etc.) and only wore the Canyoneers. They are a little heavy if you are doing high miles, but for sticking to wet or dry canyon walls or stream beds, they are perfect. I had to punch new holes in the straps since my feet aren't high volume, but the straps worked well overall.
This is basically a camp version of the Bialetti Moka pot, so the end product is much the same. Not quite true espresso, but as close as you are going to get on the trail. Its a lot heavier than other coffee making products, but there is some kitchy quality to using one. I agree with the other users, the cup it comes with is not that great, but if taken care of, the maker itself should last a long while. Make sure you don't continue to heat it once the coffee comes out; you can damage the black sleeve and internal gasket. I have long since switched over to the Snow Peak Drip for trail coffee, but still keep this one around.
I have used the Snow Peak Drip for years at home and on the trail, but thought I would give the MSR product a shot. The filter worked ok, but it quickly became packed with the inevitable fine grinds. It didn't impact the coffee too much, but it was a little harder to clean on the trail than expected. The fact that it is super lightweight is nice, but overall I prefer the Snow Peak Drip.
I used a MSR Hyperflow for a couple trips, but decided to try new technology after the Hyperflow became difficult to pump midway into a hike. I generally backpack in areas that have clear but microbially suspicious water, so UV seemed like a perfect solution. The Steripen Adventurer worked well on a recent trip in Utah canyon-country, keeping us healthy even after having to drink from stagnant pools that were very questionable looking. Keep in mind that this will not alter the taste of the water (for better or worse) like filters or chemicals will. UV also works best in clear(ish) water, so in areas with a lot of suspended sediment this might need to be coupled with a mechanical filter of some type. Overall an extremely effective and quick way to treat water.
I wore through a pair of Miuras and bought a pair of Testarossas after reading the great reviews. Couldn't find them locally so I went with the same size (42) as the Miuras. They felt like comfy slippers as soon as I put them on, so I returned them for a pair of 41s and 41.5s. I went with the 41.5s and generally wear a US 10 mens street shoe. So far I have only used them on an Entre-prises "natural" wall, and they performed well. I felt like I could smear much better with the Testarossas, and could stick to tiny edges much more easily. The break-in period has been a little painful, but expected. I can definitely tell that there has been some stretch, but I wouldn't expect a lot of stretch overall. Little expensive, but they look and perform better than cheap shoes.
This was one of the first headlamps to use the CR123 batteries, which have a great power-to-weight ratio, have a long shelf life, and work better in cold weather. I used this headlamp primarily for adventure racing, where every ounce counts, but at the same time you want as much light as possible for nighttime navigation. The battery compartment is a little difficult to open, but I would rather have it that way instead of a non-watertight casing. Quality construction, bright light, low-weight. Buy the batteries online to save money, you can get them for around $1 apiece. Don't bother with rechargeables unless you only have short trips in mind.
I really think the fairing is more for aesthetics than anything else. It might cut wind noise a small amount, but I truly doubt the claims of fairings impacting gas mileage to any noticeable degree. However, that being said, I would never have a rack without the fairing as it completes the look. Subarus should come standard with Yakima racks, it makes them more versatile and they look great.
Bobby- Make sure you try them both on if possible. I was looking at the same decision, but the Atmos felt much better on my hips in the store, and consequently on the trail. Either will carry a 3-day load if you pack well.
My advice is to buy the size you think you need, plus a pair a half-size larger. Try them both on (indoors!) and return the pair that doesn't fit. You will be more confident that you found the right size.
I have worn La Sportiva Makalus on backcountry trips in Utah, California, etc. and they have worked really well for me. These aren't light-weight boots for fast-packing, but top-quality boots for rugged terrain. I originally purchased a pair of Glaciers and a pair of Makalus at the same time to compare, and even though the Makalus are a little heavier, they were more comfortable. The Glaciers were sent back. You are lucky to live in UT, fantastic hiking there.
This is my fourth harness, and by far the most versatile one I have owned. It is comfy and light, but not so pared-down that you feel unsafe. I found this one when looking for an indoor harness with non-adjustable leg-loops, and after trying on similar BD, Petzl, and Camp harnesses, this one fit and felt the best. I own a much lighter harness, the Camp XLH 95, but only use it during races when weight is at a premium. However, I never have felt completely safe in it, and will trade it out in the next race for the 350.
With the non-adjustable leg-loops, sizing might be an issue. I am 140 lbs with a 30" waist, and the small is perfect.
I have washed mine on a warm regular cycle and tumble dried on medium with no issues. The only way to get them to "refluff" to a full pre-compressed state is to tumble dry them, in my opinion. I usually let them air dry for a day or so after taking them out of the dryer in case there is any additional moisture.
I originally purchased this shirt when I was in the military, but have used it in adventure races, while hiking, biking, etc. It keeps me warm by itself down into the 50s or so, but is amazingly cool enough to wear while active up into the 60s. Great as a base layer, and I have found after wearing it every day on a 6 day hike in Joshua Tree in January that it somehow doesn't hold odors.
I bought this for my wife when preparing for a backcountry trip in Joshua Tree NP in January. With temps predicted near freezing, she needed something warmer than our 32 degree Moonstone down bags (which I used). Temps got down to the mid-20's on two nights, which led to frozen water bottles in the tent and frozen condensation on the tent walls. She stayed warm (enough) with just a silk liner and a base layer on. The bag is really well constructed, quite lofty, and seemed to breath enough to not be wet inside when she sweated on a warm night. I was impressed with the weight, it was a little less than my 650-fill 32 degree Moonstone bag. The only issue is the stuff sack, it really does seem to be a little small for the bag.
I'm a titanium junkie, and love the Snow Peak line. The only issue with the 900 is the lid. I also have the SP Mini-solo Combo, and love the lid from that set. I can't imagine using the 900's lid as a little pan, but I also am mostly a water boiler. In order to reduce heat transfer, I made a set of pot insulators out of Reflectix insulation. Virtually no weight, and from my one-time test, I reduced heat loss by 40%. In this picture, the 900 and 900 lid is closest, with the Mini-solo and lid in the background (the Mini-Solo nests in the 900, and the 900 nests in the windscreen). Both are in their insulators.
This thing works, but it has one flaw: weight. I use the titanium GigaPower, and would purchase a titanium windscreen in an instant. I know, its not that heavy, but when the rest of the cookset is titanium, the difference is obvious. It also nests the Snow Peak 900 perfectly (the 900 fits "in" the windscreen, it does not fit in the 900), which is nice.
I purchased these initially for a winter rogaine to keep my feet dry in the snow and they worked well for that purpose. I have since used them in a couple adventure races even though they are a little heavier than my short race gaiters. I have also used them when shoveling snow, and wore them every time I wasn't in the tent during a backcountry trip in Joshua Tree. The under-arch strap has shown virtually no sign of wear, which amazes me, but some thorny trees in JT did create a couple small tears. I have used Merrell and Montbell gaiters in the past, but neither compare to the Mountain Hardware pair.
My wife uses a Talon 33 and I use the Atmos 50. I have used hers on small day trips and in longer adventure races, and between the two lines, I would say the Atmos is the better choice. The suspension in the Atmos helps carry the load better and is more comfortable. Regarding space, the curvature of the back panel in the Atmos does reduce interior room some as James mentioned, but I have carried 50+ pounds on extended backcountry trips and less than 15 pounds on short day hikes with no issues.