All good things must come to an end. It’s been an incredible tour and we couldn’t have done it without this years’ sponsors. For our final Gear On The Go blog, we wanted to highlight our favorite gear that we had the pleasure of using on the road this season.
When it comes to van-ready cookware, Sea To Summit’s Sigma 2.2 Cookset checks all of the boxes. It consists of two marine-grade stainless steel Sigma Pots, two Delta Light Bowls, and two Delta Insul Mugs that all nest neatly inside the largest pot to make the perfect lightweight and compact kitchen set. The Sigma series is Sea To Summit’s most durable cookware option, making it perfect for everyday use in the van.When we’re on the road we’re adamant about making our own fresh and healthy food. The Sigma 2.2 helps make that a reality. Both pots have convenient strainer lids that rest neatly on the pots when they’re not in use. We’re not always able to park on a perfectly level spot to make our meals. The grippy heat-absorbing base ensures that the pots will stay on our two-burner and not slide off. When we’re finished cooking the Sigma is easily cleaned and stashed back inside itself. The Pivot-Lock handle keeps everything nice and secure which we really appreciate on rutted-out mountain roads.
The Skyline UL Stool is the perfect companion for minimalist packers who want to roll extra light or van-dwellers who want to save space. Weighing in at about one pound, this stool packs down so small it fits inside a large-mouth water bottle. This is the smallest addition to the Big Agnes line of camp furniture and your butt will thank you for packing it when you don’t have to sit in the dirt after a long day on the trail.
One reason that the Big Agnes camp furniture line is leading the pack is their hubless design. This feature saves space and makes for stronger construction. The poles that make up the frame are color-coded and shock-corded making for simple setup. The Skyline UL Stool comes with direction printed on the stuff sack, but you won’t need them. We’re impressed by the Skyline UL Stool. It’s small but mighty and comes with maximum size to comfort ratio.
These trekking poles make us feel like super hikers. They are sleek, comfortable and very strong. These are the lightest and most comfortable poles that we have used to date and this year they have updated the locking mechanism. LEKI was founded in 1948 and has been on the cutting edge of ski and trekking pole technology ever since.
The Micro Vario Carbon poles are made out of 100% carbon, making them some of the lightest and strongest poles on the market. Perfect for climbing, trail running or small tours – these “Z” style folding poles pack down and expand in a second and are easy to stash in a crowded van or gear closet. Weighing just eight ounces per pole, these are perfect for the ultralight hikers out there. Everything about using these poles is a breeze. At just 15 inches long when collapsed, they fit perfectly into our gear drawers and are great for taking on a plane. If you have ever used poles while hiking then you know that straps play a huge role in overall comfort. The LEKI Skin Straps used on the Micro Vario will allow you to forget that the straps are even there. The straps are also easy to adjust and lock into place. We’ve used these poles on some fairly aggressive scrambles and they have held up without any problems. With a 20cm adjustment range, they’ll fit almost everybody.
The Eagle is Roofnest’s largest rooftop tent. As a family of three (two humans and a dog) we appreciate the extra space it offers. With the interior dimensions of 6’ 10” by 55” the Roofnest has plenty of room for the three of us. What makes this our favorite rooftop tent is the ease of use. When we pull into a camp spot for the night the last thing we want to do is spend a bunch of time setting camp. With the Eagle, you can go from parking to sleeping in a matter of minutes. This becomes especially important if you need to set camp in high winds or rain. Just undo four latches and the Roofnest pops up and you’re ready for bed. It can be mounted on most vehicles and you’ll be able to sleep comfortably on the three-inch-thick memory foam mattress. We’ve had our Roofnest open during quite a few gnarly thunderstorms and we’ve never had an issue with rain getting in. Every tent comes with a retractable ladder, all necessary mounting hardware, and a condensation mat.
Italian in the backcountry? Mountain House has you covered. Their new Fusilli Pasta with Italian Sausage is a hearty home-cooked meal when you need it the most. The entree consists of “spun fusilli pasta in a rustic tomato sauce made with fire-roasted veggies, garlic, basil, and Italian-style sausage”. This has become a go-to for late-night dinners in the van after long days on the trail. The best part is that it has a clean ingredients list that would make your grandmother proud. Mountain House is committed to using only real ingredients. If you look at their ingredients list (which is listed clearly for each option on their website) you will never find artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Just delicious, ready in minutes food! One thing we’re stoked for this year is Mountain House’s partnership with TerraCycle to offer free recycling for all empty Mount House pouches.
Sea To Summit’s new Aeros Down Pillow is the latest and greatest in Sea To Summit’s line of lightweight inflatable pillows. It combines the supportiveness of the traditional Aeros line with a new luxurious down pillow top that offers unparalleled comfort from an inflatable pillow. Weighing in at just 2.5 ounces, you won’t be sacrificing comfort for weight either. We use our’s whether we’re in the backcountry or just hanging out in a hammock by the van. The Aeros line of pillows really has revolutionized the way we sleep in the backcountry. Long gone are the days of sleeping with our heads on a pile of dirty laundry. Having the down pillow top is just icing on the cake. Perhaps our favorite feature of the Aeros Down Pillow is the Pillow-Lock system that ensures your pillow doesn’t slide around in the middle of the night.
Stio: Eddy Shirt LS (Men’s and Women’s)
The Eddy Shirt from Stio has become our go-to mountain shirt. The water- and wind-resistant long-sleeve can take you from the mountain, lake, or river straight into the office. When you’re on the road and a washing machine is a few hundred miles away this is the shirt you want. It’s hard to keep clothes looking nice in a van, but we store our Eddies in our perpetually cramped drawers and they always look crisp every time we dig them out. Stio is a mountain-inspired apparel company born in Jackson, Wyoming. Their clothing is built tough, and our dirty wardrobe can attest to the durability of their products. We primarily use our Eddy shirts to shield the high altitude sun in the mountains. The Eddy offers a UPF rating of 50+ which helps when you are spending the majority of the day above the tree line. Above all else, the Eddy is comfortable and it looks nice no matter if you are in the mountains or in town – making at a versatile shirt for most occasions.
The Halcyon is a modern take on a traditional mountain pack. Designed with winter in mind, this pack would make a great companion while winter ski touring, ice climbing, and summer rock climbing. The 35:40 liter is large enough to carry your rack, rope, skis, and ice-tools. The Halcyon also is available in a 45: 50-liter version. We’ve used it as an awesome rope bag and will be waiting until winter to put it to its true test. A rope fits comfortable inside, and the side open is great for grabbing snacks without disturbing inside contents. We love the gear loops on the hip belts for easy access tools. We look forward to strapping on some skis, snowboards, and ice axes with the reinforced strap system and pick retainer panel and getting out for a winter adventure.
There is one way for this tour to be a reality– our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to all of our awesome sponsors that make this tour happen: Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Leki, Big Agnes, Stio, Roofnest, and Franklin County, VA. For more info on our sponsors, check out the post, “Live Outside and Play is Back!”