Links and Resources
DIY Gear Sites:
Websites that offer information, resources and materials for making your own gear and giving you ideas:
- Jason Klass’s Gear Making Site: If you enjoy making lightweight gear, go see Jason’s site.
- Backpacking Videos: If you like watching You Tube and you like backpacking….
- Zenstoves: How-to DYI information on making stoves.
- Backpacking.net Gear’s Section: I have made some of the items listed, if you enjoy tinkering, go see.
- Green Pepper Patterns: They make great outdoors patterns.
- Seattle Fabrics: An excellent online resource for silnylon and other outdoor fabrics, plus any kind of toggle or clasp you can dream of. If in Seattle, visit their retail shop!
- Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics: A good selection of patterns and supplies.
- Thru-Hiker: Basic sewing information and a number of how-to’s on sewing UL gear. Click on the links to see ideas for backpacks, stuff sacks, shelters, etc.
- Ski Pulks: Ever wanted to have a light pack for winter backpacking? Build a ski pulk and go snowshoeing.
- Quest Outfitters: Patterns, kits and fabrics for UL gear.
- Light Trail Food Yahoo Group An email list for talking about backpacking food, recipes and ideas.
- BPLite Forums for the DIY stove and gearaholic!
Cottage Gear Industries:
When I first started backpacking, all my gear came from what I considered name brands. And at the time, all the gear made by these companies was heavy. Yes, it would take a beating and last for many years, but it was heavy and over built for what most people used their gear for.
As the years have passed, more mainstream companies have attempted to get into the “lightweight” mentality, but sadly, few of them actually achieve it. The issue is that companies want the gear designed for the lowest IQ idiot, and that it will survive what they do to it. Making gear “bombproof” adds weight, no matter what you do. And adding in all sorts of bells and whistles also adds weight. From my experiences on the trail, most hikers who go UL (ultralight) or lightweight, they love their gear and take care of it. It is more than love for some, rather an obsession. We want to share how we lost 5, 10 or maybe even 30 lbs out of our packs. And we want you to have the same benefit of not backpacking stooped over, with a 45-60 lb pack on your shoulders. We love to show our gear and how it works.
My first backpacking trip I carried over 45 lbs for an overnighter, in good weather. The trip was 6.3 miles round trip. And it had an elevation gain of maybe 300 ft. I was in so much pain. I swore there had to be a better way out there, and I found it over the years. I don’t know if I will ever have a true UL pack weight, but I reside in a happy lightweight area of 17-30 lbs, where I have the gear I want and need. I have a tent, clothes, good sleeping bag and pad, and a few luxuries. What I don’t have is a 6 lb backpack and a 3 lb sleeping bag anymore. Or a 6 lb tent. It still takes my breath away when I come across backpacking books with a gear list that is two pages along. A certain outdoor school still requires these massive lists of gear. While they teach a great curriculum, I don’t think I ever want to carry group gear, ever in my life again. Or 4 pairs of underwear…….
Some of the best gear has come from small companies, made here in the US. Cottage gear is usually what it is considered. Made in someone’s house or garage, maybe they have gotten big enough to have a store, or have a small factory going-but they are making cutting edge gear that will take you farther with less weight on your shoulders. One of the things about them is that unlike a big company, these gear makers will take time to talk to you, work with you to get what you want. Actual customer service!
- Henry Shires Tarp Tents
- Gossamer Gear
- ULA Packs
- Mountain Laurel Designs
- Z Packs
- Six Moons
- Fanatic Fringe
- Integral Designs
- Brasslite Stoves
- White Box Stoves (Carried here on our website)
- Bozeman Mountain Works
- Titanium Goat
- Mini Bull Design Stoves
- Taiga Gear
- Trail Designs (The Caldera Cone Stove System)
- Simblissity Ultralight
- Trek-Tech Lightweight camera staffs
Hiking & Personal Links
- Adventure Matters – Kim’s site on hiking
- Eyehike – my friend Drew’s site on hiking in the PNW.
- Rim To Rim
- Source To Sea
- Simple Hiker
- Post Holer
- Best Hike
- Yosemite Trails – Lots of information on Yosemite.
- Gear Samples – Buys on sample clothes & gear.
- Trek Tech – Lightweight camera staffs.
- Small World Treks
- Hammock Forums – for those of you who like to hang, not lay around!
- Nature Skills
- Plants of the Northwest
- Floralore – Steve’s site on Flora and Fauna in California.
- Colorado Edible Wild Plant Recipes
Washington State Trail Sites:
- Mountains to Sound – Greenway that follows I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass.
- Washington State Trails – Advocates for our trails.
- Issaquah Alps – Cougar, Squak, Tiger and more. Urban “wild” hiking.
- Trail Talk! WTA
- WTA Blog (Signpost) – The WTA editor’s blog.
- Two Heel Drive
- Lighter Load
- Trail Journals – Long distance hiker journals.
- Light Hiker – A very nice read!
- Laughing Knees
- Ryan Jordan’s Backcountry
- Brett On Stuff – NW UL hiking blog.
- Frank In Oz – An Aussie’s view!
- Best Hike’s Blog
- Hiking Blogs
- Out There With Tom
- Backpacking The Northwest By Eyehike
- Jason’s Gear Talk
- Guyrope Gourmet – If you ever car camp or do luxury backpacking, take a read.
Books On The Outdoors:
Lighten Up!: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking (Falcon Guide) by Don Ladigin and illustrated by Mike Clelland:
It is a very humorous book, and Mike’s drawings are the best around!
- Simply Organic – Mixes, low sodium bullion and dried vegetables.
- Just Tomatoes – Organic and regular freeze dried vegetables and fruits.
- Harmony House Foods – Excellent dried beans, vegetables and other items.
- Minimus – Carrying nearly every single serving item you could need.
- Taste Adventure – 6 types of instant soups (yum!) and instant refried beans. Great source.
- Packit Gourmet – Everything you need for creating your meals. This is our go-to source for hard to find items!