MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 313
edited February 2023 in OUR STORIES

We've all got that one tenured item that has earned its place at the top of the "Never Leave Home Without It" list. What's yours? Take a pic, tell us why you love the thing so much, and share your most cherished memory with it. Time to pay tribute to your favorite piece of gear!


  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 100

    It's not a "never leave home without it" item, but when it's cold outside, I absolutely love my Patagonia Grade VII jacket. Almost all of my adventures are in the Southwest, so I'm not doing alpine belays, but I decided a few years ago that there is no reason to be cold, and I was going to do something about it. My wife had a conference in Reno, and she was willing to stop by the Patagonia outlet to see if they had anything on my wish list. When she enquired to see if this jacket was available, the store worker said, "You know that's what they use to climb Everest and stuff?" Appropriately, my wife responded with an eyeroll and, "It's what my husband wants."

    Since then, I've used it on many winter desert backcountry trips (top), and also to play hide and seek with my nieces and nephews in the front country (above). It keeps me nice and toasty, has a bunch of pockets, packs down small, and weighs in around 1.5 pounds. My most memorable experience with the jacket was on a December packrafting trip where we didn't follow the fine print and bring wetsuits. A pair of "medium riffles" swamped our boats and soaked our clothes. While we were all cold and surprised, one friend needed some assistance. On an ensuing portage, I broke out the Grade VII for him to wear, and combined with a Snickers and some movement, he was able to warm up. We learned our lesson, and I've made safer packrafting decisions since then.

    Unfortunately, the jacket has been discontinued, and I've heard mixed reviews about its replacement. Hopefully, it's just a small snag, and future revisions will get a different jacket back to the same warmth - which I will get for my wife so she will stop borrowing mine.

  • Teamgreen
    Teamgreen Member Posts: 3

    Great article on staying warm. Some folks really underestimate its affect on trip outcomes.

    When you go on a backpacking trip staying warm is not an option.

    When i looked back on over 50 years of backpacking trips during the four seasons i asked myself how many of those trips could i say I was warm on?? How about almost none!!

    I believe there is what I call an exposure quotient involved here which is to say exposure to the elements is cumulative . The more times you are cold the closer you get to fatigue which of course affects your trip outcomes and decision making ability in the Alpine environments .

    Its hard to say one item of my Kit towers over another as its all part of a system . Each part must be the best of breed and work top notch or the trip can be handicapped or fail altogehter . However one recent addition i have made is my down hood . Im a Hammock sleeper so a normal mummy bag comes up a little short in the length dept. Thats where the down hood comes in to keep the vital head toasty warm . It really is my Ahhhh moment of warmth.

    Hope this helps,Teamgreen