Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke

Park City, UT

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Thomas's Passions

Hiking & Camping

Thomas's Bio

I live in Park City, Utah and work for Backcountry.com. I do some biking and skiing, but mostly I am a backpacker. I have been fortunate to be around a lot of the best or at least the most publicized gear out there. I am from Alabama originally and moved out here to work for BC.com a couple of years ago. So, I went from having no legitimate gear shops around to having my pick of the best available. I have begun to be able to distinguish between the must have pieces, the nice to have, and the waste of space gear. I hope that you find my reviews helpful.

Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on March 2, 2010

5 5

It works for what I bought it for - to have a bug haven at the campground. This thing saved my tail on a ill fated trip to the Wind River Range which turned out to be mosquito fest. We spent the night in here and then got the heck out of dodge in the morning. One issue I had was that the wind kept blowing and the bottom of the skirt would lift, so we put branches on it to hold it down. The extra material at the bottom made it easy to do that.Also, one thing you can't really see in the picture is that you can pull back and tie down the screen on the front and back if you just want a sun shade. There are also nylon shades on all of the windows if you want privacy or need to totally block the sun out on one side.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on March 2, 2010

5 5

I have had an Apache bag for about 2 years now and it is my go to. One feature that I would like to call out is the stiff lip that runs along the inside of the zipper which prevents snags. Snags are probably the #1 way to ruin your bag.

Another thing I would like to mention is that when you buy a new bag, be sure to look at 'fill weight' as opposed to temperature rating which is defined by the manufacturer. You will notice that WM's bags come with a higher fill at a particular temperature rating when compared to North Face or Sierra Designs (note that both make excellent bags as well and offer features that surpass WM in some areas). WM bags also tend to weigh a little less than their competitors even with the extra fill.

One last item worthy of being called out is that if you order directly from Western Mountaineering, you can get a left or right side zipper and add 2 ounces of overfill to your bag.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote an answer about on May 15, 2009

Depends on how light you tend to pack. I have a 40L pack and a 50L pack that are all I need for up to a week. This pack is nearly 60L so it depends on what else you have to put in there. Obviously Jetboils and GPS's are extraneous and will require more space. You may also be taking photography equipment, mountaineering / climbing gear, or fishing gear which will require more pack space than general backpacking. The experience you have will dictate how much you 'need' in the backcountry, and the less you take, the more fun you will have while on the move. I think this pack is a good size / weight. My theory on packs is - the less bells and whistles, the better. You definitely want to stay under 4 lbs.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on February 23, 2009

5 5

I once was in love with the Naos series of packs, and after owning one, I decided that it was too heavy for me (had the 70L). I came across a deal on the Acrux 40 and decided to give it a try. I have found that it has all of the features that I wanted in the Naos packs has but with less weight. I use it backpacking for all of my treks where water/rain is an issue. I am able to fit all of my stuff into the 40L of space, but I am not a Jetboil kind of guy so I would recommend that you experiment with packing it before you buy if you are thinking of using as a long distance hiking pack like me which is not it's intended use. I attach my z-lite sleeping pad to the back using the rear bungee. The only thing that I miss from the Naos was the strap that brought the top of the pack closer to my shoulders which made a noticeable comfort difference. So, if you are like me and you want a solid backpacking setup that is neither too heavy nor too cheap (quality wise), I would recommend this pack.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote an answer about on February 17, 2009

I don't believe you would be able to. The zipper does come up to just below the knee and it is pretty narrow from there up to the crotch. I don't think that you would want to run a wet boot through there. I wear what are technically trail running shoes and I don't think I could put my foot through without damaging the pants (the paclite is pretty tough but I imagine you could tear it pretty easily with a shoe). It seems that the main advantage of the zipper is for venting.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on February 10, 2009

4 5

One important thing that I discovered after the first time I used it is that you really should use some tent stakes with it - they are needed to get the effect as shown in the picture. The stakes also help greatly with getting your sleeping pad/bag in there and help when you climb in. I noticed condensation inside but that is pretty much the norm for every bivy out there. I have used it in the rain and it performed very well. One advantage to the thick fabric is that it really helps to keep you warm. I used it one night on a fishing trip last week at Flaming Gorge where the temperature was in the low teens and noticed a marked difference in warmth over the previous night where I was not using the bivy. The only reason i give it 4 stars is because it takes a while to set up and the stuff sack is pretty tight so it takes a while to put away as well.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on February 2, 2009

5 5

If you are truly wanting to get into ultralight backpacking, then my recommendation for a cooking setup is to pair this kettle with a minimalist alcohol stove. If having water boiled in 2 minutes is important to you, then go jetboil or reactor, but if you want your entire cooking setup to weigh in under 10oz + fuel then I would recommend starting with this kettle. I use the Titan kettle and fit an alcohol stove, wind screen, folding spork, and scour pad inside and put a rubber band around it and that's it. My only suggestion for improvement would be graduated measurements on the inside - I made my own to compensate.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on September 18, 2008

5 5

I was fortunate enough to find an Arcteryx Naos 70 on steepandcheap.com last year. It is a fantastic pack. Everything they say about the waterproof fabric is true - you can dunk it under water or float it down a river and everything in the pack will remain dry. The best thing about the fabric in addition to its waterproofness is its durability. It is definitely not going to tear when rubbed against a rock or when passing under a down tree.

The pack is however too heavy for my tastes, so I am going to switch to one of the smaller Acrux packs, but other than that I have nothing bad to say about the Naos.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on November 30, 2007

4 5

I would give it 5 stars if I was a climber which I'm not, but the MX (mixed use) jacket is supposed to be an all around jacket, and it is, but with long sleeves. It does shed water and dry out brilliantly as well as block the wind. It's great for moving around while backpacking and in camp is really nice when used in tandem with a wool base layer. And, of course it helps that it looks really sharp at the bars after a day of shredding pow.

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Tommy Hunke

Tommy Hunke wrote a review of on October 3, 2007

4 5

Very light weight and an excellent price. Kept me dry on a recent rainy trip up King's Peak. Not many frills, but one thing that is nice is the extra large mesh pockets on the inside of the jacket - good for power bars and trail mix. I agree that the sizing is off. I normally wear a large and the XL that I got fits perfectly.

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