Teton Sports is flat out on of the friendliest companies you could ever do business with and they put their words their their mouths are, heading out into the wild as often as anyone could, inspiring everyone to get outdoors. They are the creators of #hikerchat (noon Eastern Fridays), which is a blast of a Twitter chat, though nearly impossible to follow along, like drinking through a firehose. Teton provided us with what may have been the most important piece of gear we brought, the Escape4300 UltraLight Internal Frame Backpack – we used these to carry everything else and they were outstanding. They also gave us all LEEF +20°F UltraLight Sleeping Bags with Body Mapping, though it was too warm to use it for me. I also brought along my Teton Sports XL Sleeping Bag Liner (which is all I needed and took the place of my sleeping bag) and my ComfortLite™ Self Inflating Pillow, which weighs next to nothing but gives me a great place to lay my weary head.
PROBAR gave us their sampler pack, which consisted, I believe, of one at of all their products, so we got to taste across the board. I’ve always been a fan of their bars, but was super excited about their gel chews – it’s been a while since I’ve eaten these types of things, but I was pleasantly surprised at their texture and, more importantly, their flavor – they were awesome! Equally fantastic were how well they worked, bringing several of us (including me) back from the brink of despair and giving us the energy to finish some very tough hiking.
HikerGoo from Foot Kinetics is on of those products that you don’t necessarily want to use, but you also don’t want to make a mistake and end up with blisters. Even though I’m not blister-prone, I used the product each morning of hiking and, I think, reapplied every day at lunch. I had zero blisters and my feet were pretty comfortable all day. One other crew member skipped a day or two and ended up with some painful reminders of why skipping this might not be a good idea.
Tread Labs makes insoles and looks at them in a slightly different way than other companies. I didn’t want to take a chance on on insole I hadn’t tested extensively first, so I didn’t bring them on the trip, though I really wished I had, especially the third day. Our descent into Hells Canyon was so difficult that better insoles than the ones I had might have made a big difference.
I didn’t get to try out my Rocky S2V Dead Reckoning Convertible Trek Pants, as they were just too tight, maybe they run a bit small? In any case, as I lose some of this extra weight, I’ll give them a thorough test and full review. Super cool looking and I believe Scott (Hiking Forward) and Thom (TauSpotting) wore them on the trip quite happily.
Cairn is a company that keeps the goodness coming, every month (or as a one time gift if you so desire). From the box we got I brought a Brunton power pack, which let me charge my phone (I used it as my camera) on the fly. So needed on this trip. They work with reputable companies to create a box of outdoor fun that comes right to your door and contains a mix of consumables and gear for the longer haul.
Ever since I started participating in the Twitter chat #Trailtime, I became a bigger fan of Sierra Trading Post, though I’d always enjoyed saving money with their crazy sales. They provided a spork (unused, I’m moving away from plastic for my eating and drinking utensils) and a small Hyalite dry bag, which was the perfect size to contain and protect my GoPro cameras, backup power sources, and other small items I didn’t want to get wet.
Since I don’t eat fish, I didn’t partake of the fishpeople dinner, opting for some tasty Beef Stroganoff instead. However, I’ve been told that samples will be forthcoming and I will employ other testers, my family, to give me the full skinny on whether these meals are as tasty as everybody says the are.
The water on the trip seemed pure as pure could be, but of course dangerous microbes and germs aren’t visible to the naked eye. Purinize drops have no taste and help keep you safe in the backcountry, so it was nice to have as a backup to the filtering we all did.
After a few days of not showering, there was no way for me to know if I smelled badly (and no one else said anything), but I was covered in dust, tree sap, and just generally felt grimy. Action Wipes came to the rescue – super easy to use (and reuse if needed), these felt like a quick wash in the sink, in wipe form. Nice.
I had planned on bringing trekking poles, but was happy to leave mine at home (yeah, less to bring!) and test out the Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles with Cork Grips. I pulled them out at the beginning of our trek, put them away for the next two days, then was EXTREMELY happy to have them on the third day, with our 6,000′ descent on steep and sometimes very narrow trails. Truly needed and appreciated. They also gave us wool beanies, which I hoped came with a propeller, but were actually simple, comfortable head warmers.
Another product that wasn’t needed on this trip, happily, was the Deter Insect Repellent – except for some annoying gnats and hornets, there were very few annoying insects in attendance. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we live where there is no shortage of flying pests, so we’ve been trying these out and are happy with the results so far.
Idaho Tourism provided us with rooms in New Meadows, our kickoff and regrouping point on this trip. You should really plan on visiting Idaho if you haven’t yet, really amazing place. I now have two emotional connections to this state, one is my love of potatoes (just kidding, though I do really like them). One is that my sister was born in Pocatello and second is this beyond epic bucket trip list I go to take this Summer. I’ll be back (as part-time Sun Valley resident Arnold Schwarzenegger would say).
*Products provided to all crew of HHAR15 at no cost – all opinions are my own.
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