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A Little Advice Please


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Hey all, brand new here and looking for a little advice.

I'm getting into backpacking for the second time in my life and the gear has vastly improved since I was into it the first time.

I'm 58 and here's what I've decided on so far:

I bought a Frost River Isle Royale Jr pack.  Yes I know it's old school and heavy, but I love it and want to at least have one "old school" item that will look better with age.  I've used it a few times and it is comfy but I wish it had a hip belt.  So, I'm trying to save as much weight/space with my other items.

I have a Feathered Friends Puffin Nano on order.  This is one of the few quality down bags I've come across that isn't a traditional mummy shape.  I just can't sleep in a restrictive mummy bag as I'm all over the place when I sleep.

I've decided to get a MSR Hubba Hubba NX when I find one for a great price.  Anybody got any leaads?

Right now I have an old school ThermraRest pad.  It's nice, but again, I'd like something lighter and more packable;  suggestions?

I've also settled on a JetBoil Flash with the coffee press.  They seem to be really well designed.

Also gonna pick up a Steripen, probably the one that uses 123 batteries as it's small and my flashlights use 123's so I might as well standardize.

Are there any other basics that I'm missing?

Let me know if you have any comments/suggestions  on my gear choices.

Go ahead and let me have it on the Frost River pack if you want.  :  )

Thanks all,


Edited by OneEyeMan
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Welcome, and good luck getting everything together. That pack does seem on the heavy side but I'd say the larger issue would be the lack of a hip belt which I find critical for just about any type of backpacking weight and even preferred on most day hikes. 

I'm partial to the Exped Synmat UL7 as far as sleeping pads are concerned, here's our review:


...Hard to go wrong with the NeoAir line as well.

Steripens are nice - I have the Adventurer Opti using the CR123 batteries and use it only on the very rare occasion that I'm concerned about viruses...keep in mind that they won't neutralize the larger organisms in water with complete certainty and what you see is what you get water wise without additional filtration - I'd also probably go with the rechargeable Freedom (Or maybe the updated Classic with Eneloops) if I had to do it again today, at least for my use. Backpacking I've found that with electrical items, it's really nice to be able to know you're leaving home fully charged but you can always take spare batteries. Overall though for water...I prefer filters.

Will keep an eye out for some deals on the tent and after filling in some the blanks I'm sure it will all work out! :) Where's the first / next trip?

Edited by Aaron
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Thanks for the reply Aaron.  I hear you on the weight and lack of a hip belt, but I'm kinda retro and just couldn't resist the style of  Frost River.  Who knows, I might come to realize that I need a modern pack after a few trips.

Anyway, the UL 7 looks like a great pad, thanks for the recommendation.

As for my first trip, I'm in  NW New Jersey so I'll probably start with 1 or 2 night trips on the AT.  Hopefully I can get my kit together and get a few trips in before the really cold weather sets in.  I'm beset with the age old decision of buying everything now on the credit card, or actually saving up for things until I can afford to pay outright for them.

Take care,


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Hi OneEye - welcome to the Forum!

I have the JetBoil with coffee press - used it for the first time two weeks ago and was very disappointed that the coffee grounds didn't stay in the bottom of the press.  We basically ended up with Cowboy Coffee.  Should have brought some Via's as backups.  

Other basics you should get - a bear bag to hang your food, a headlamp so you can see hands-free at night, some good rain gear...

I've found it takes a few trips to see what does and doesn't work - good luck!

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Thanks Jen.

I've read that the coffee press works better if you reverse the screen.


I was thinking of trying that method this weekend - will keep you posted!  Still bringing a Via backup, tho...just in case.

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