So long as you're below 30lbs, or close to it, this is a perfect pack. The waist belt is comfy, solid and tightens nicely. The straps come extra long but roll up and fasten with velcro. These velcro strap fasteners do tend to get snapped on clothing, either snip the straps short or learn to master the velcro. Two small fabric tears did develop, not from rough handling but just from being overstuffed. They didn't enlarge so weren't a problem but I was surprised to see the nylon fail at all.
RCA Pearl mp3 player
This is the only mp3 player that runs off a single AAA battery (same kind as my headlamp.) You can drop in microSD cards which weigh nothing makes for a library of music and books on tape you won't exhaust
(though loading them and labeling each does take time.)
Bear-proof food canister: Bearikade Expedition MKII
A bear did try to get into our canister and was denied; it worked great! This can was easy to use and fairly light. Luckily we were able to borrow this piece of equipment from a friend so saved some $$ as the price tag is quite high. There may be several places that rent this piece of equipment. It fit enough food for the two of us for the whole trip. Pilastr carried the food and every day we would take out the meals for the day and I would carry them in my pack.
My Sage Launch 590 Fly Fishing Rod - 4-Piece, 9’ 5wt fits neatly into a lightweight lamp protector from Tapp's. Just be sure to get *two sets* of end caps from Tapps as well. I wrapped duct tape around the tube to reinforce it and the end caps needed a bit of tape so branches couldn't scrape them loose. The tube tucked nicely into the external pockets (and under the buckle-snap compression strap) of my Meridian Vapor pack.
I kept my Sage 1650 reel wrapped inside my SealSkinz waterproof socks for cushioning. When hiking away from streams, I tucked it in my pack above the bear can with no problems. Waterproof socks are great for extended time in cold streams, I used them inside my Keen Venice sandals.
I had checked out one of those fly fishing lanyards but they're cumbersome and pricey. It's not at all hard to keep forceps and clippers on a recoil line attached to your shirt pocket, then float-all, tippet, an extra tapered leader or two, plus a foam flybox in your pocket. My foam box is tiny, so I broght spare flies in a baggie and just reloaded my flybox as necessary.
Mosquito Head Net and Mittens
Nice for evening hours and fishing in the middle of 'squito nurseries. We didn't suffer the cloudswarms we'd read about, in fact what few mosquitoes we met seemed to have weak, squishy beaks that couldn't penetrate clothing. Even when they did bite, we didn't itch for long.
These do indeed stay cool, but more than that they serve very well as an absorbent towel after swimming (essential in windy conditions!) They're also very sturdy, soft, and seemed to always feel clean. We wore them constantly around the neck or doo-rag style. The only drawbacks is that they're $13 and when they dry out become as rigid as cardboard. Some mornings we had to hike awhile with stiff cardboard in our hands until we reached a stream to resoak them.
DriDucks and Ultralight Rain Chaps
Goretex is a joke, pricey and prone to lose its waterproofness (hard lesson I learned while hiking in Scotland's sleet.) DriDucks breath just as well as GoreTex, weigh less, and cost nothing. Drawbacks: NO POCKETS. Also, we should've sent ourselves a new pair in resupply because gathering firewood will immediately shred a DriDuck. At $15, a new pair or two is still a bargain. Lucy's DriDuck pants were shredded from simply sitting on rocks and trees. Sitting can't be avoided so I was happy I brought my rain chaps instead. Because we didn't see ONE DROP of rain though, I can't attest to how well either of these perform in storm conditions.
Revo polarized sunglasses
I'd never before used those straps that keep shades around your neck. They're good except the rubber sleeves meant to attach to the glasses split after awhile and didn't repair easily with tape. The Sunglass Hut salesperson swore that plastic lenses had improved their scratch resistance. She invited me to return them if they got scratched. They did, so I did.
- Sun Hat - Tilly Airflo hat would've been ideal, but I was fine with the heavier cheaper REI "Explorer" knockoff
- Warm hat - Mountain Hardware beanie
- Gloves - Manzella "Expediter" (nobody makes a flexible lightweight waterproof glove.)
- Long sleeved ExOfficio shirt
- Short sleeve base-layer shirt
- Khul Coyote convertible pants.
- DriDucks rain shell top and Equinox rain chaps
- Ultralight parka
- One pair wool heavy hiker socks combined with thin liner socks worn OUTSIDE the wicking hiker socks.
- SealSkinz waterproof socks for fishing.
- ExOfficio briefs are the best, but pricey. I usually avoid the ones that fit tight around the thigh but for hiking, that's exactly what you need to avoid extremely painful chaffing. Do not underestimate the painful potential of chaffing. Spend the money for Assos Chamois Creme, aka Crotch Joy and each person must carry their own lip balm. The best is Mentholatum SPF30.
Gear we thought about but didn't take