This pad has kept me warm on a snow floor and comfy on a mountain ledge. The regular is just perfect for my 6ft 1in, 200lb frame, and I love the 1.5in of expansion compared to most "light" pads that only have 1in. I recommend buying the Thermarest "green" (expedition short/trail short 5x22) stuff sack for it instead of the one that was made for it. Simply because you can roll it narrower in width, because you don't have to fold it in half before you roll it up. Which means it can be easily stored on the side of you pack.
I went through two other tents before this one, and this is the winner hands down. I was toying between the MSR and another, and the only thing making me think twice about MSR was the price. I was dying to try it out, so I took it snow camping where it got down to 5F at night. It did fine. I was especially amazed of the space in comparison with the one I was going to buy. I bought the fly and gear loft for a complete set up. I cooked inside the vestibule and had zero problems (just make sure stove and pot are centered inside the vestibule). After using this tent a couple of times, I admit I would buy it over the one I was thinking about despite the price. My wife likes it as well and it fit us both with our gear superbly (I am 6ft 1in). It was a breeze to set up even in wind/snow gusts. Sure it may not be the ideal tent for winter but it didn't condensate either. For a tent that has this superb of fit & finish, space, ease of set up, dry entry, and weight savings you can't go wrong. Quit looking at tents and just buy this one. You be glad you did.
The Hiker Pro is a good, solid, lightweight water filter that will not leave a bad taste in your mouth. I bought it just because of the quick disconnect features but got a whole lot more in return. It is easy to use and is compact enough that it doesn't take up a whole lot of room in your pack. There aren't a lot of parts to it, so field maintenance (if needed) is a breeze. I recommend it highly and have convinced several of my friends to get one of their own.
I have had the Whisperlite for 13 years now and all I have ever done to it is replace the o-rings at around year six. It has countless miles yes it still rocks. I even used it in the desert when I was in the Army. I made many a soldier espresso on it with my mini espresso maker and/or heated up meals with it. Simple design and easy set up. Pot stability is fair, and you can "simmer" with it if you don't put as much pressure in the bottle. Like 1-3 pumps for a 22oz MSR bottle. My 11 year old son has since inherited my stove as I have upgraded to a Dragonfly. But he has had no problems setting it up and using it. The way I see it if a stove can withstand 13 years if hard use on a regular basis and still fire off and cook like it just came out of the box than it has to be good.
I have the 03 version of the 2nd Dimension it came without the draft collar which I think I would like to have. It seals in your body heat well, but the newer ones probably does a better job. I have used it in single-digit weather and it held up ok. I had to put on my polypro once it got down to about 10F. It tends to generate some cold spots that alarm you when you roll over. But, in its normal range rating, it does just fine. I like it because my big feet (size 12) have plenty of room to wiggle in the foot box, and the expander makes a nice regulator when things get a little to warm, or you are backpacking with varying tempts and elevations and need that regulation power. Plus it expands well enough to be able to insert another dimension bag in it. It is light enough to be carried for the long haul and compresses nicely. I had to by a regular compression sack for it because it only comes with a stuff sack and cotton bag. All in all a real good and sound all around backpacking bag for the money.
After going through several packs the Keeler (large) fit the bill. I needed a pack to carry the extra gear/food for when I go out with my boys on a 3-4 day or a weeklong with adults or solo. I have comfortably carried 60lb at times, and it holds up fine. It has enough storage areas to avoid the abyss hunt of some packs. The only complaint I have is the extremely annoying squeak that the suspension has when under load. I fixed that by putting a "slicker" surface between the back panel and the harness/belt points.(duct tape).Exchanging the Wilderness harness for Flow Foam II may do the trick as well.
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