completely new to backpacking gear brands

  1. Reading the thread I know your stubborn about the pack, however my sole comment to you on that would be to at least try out a modern backpacking pack. I did a lot of things counter to the popular narrative when I got into backpacking myself, with the same "regardless of weight or comfort" mindset, and I rapidly switched when I tried out the other option because they're popular for a reason. I guarantee a good pack from Gregory or Osprey won't be a massive change in fit for you from the ILBE, they're very similar in design, but are padded in specific ways and much lighter to make even heavy loads quite comfortable. I started my Thruhike with ~55lbs in a Gregory Baltoro, and while I obviously cut that number down on the way I was never uncomfortable with the weight I was carrying in that pack.

  2. REI is by far my favorite place for gear. The staff is so helpful and patient. The return policies are fair (membership extends these considerably) rentals are affordable. The rewards at the end of the year are a great bonus too.

  3. I agree with your comment, especially REI. They usually do not promote minimalist or an ultra-light mindset, because they want to sell you gear. They are trying their best to help you, but if they haven't thru hiked, they are not the best resource. Thru-hikers learn quickly that they don't need all the gear that Day hikers and overnighters typically bring. Also, the gear that works fine for 5 nights 10 miles per day, doesn't last 100 nights in a row, walking 20 -40 miles per day.

  4. 58 lbs is really, really heavy. The only time I've gotten close to that is on Rainier, with full technical crevasse rescue gear. I overpack, don't do ulta-light and my pack usually weighs about 30 for multi-day sections.

  5. I am mainly doing section hiking for now. I'm planning on doing a large section of about 250 miles in the spring from Damascus to roanoke, so I'll have time over the winter to try out some gear and make changes. I'm not trying to hit the 58lbs, that's just what my pack weighs with its current load out of old crap from my time in the military and hand me down hunting gear.

  6. Are you still using an old military pack? If you are, that is probably the only thing you need to change. NEED. That military gear is made to be sturdy and hold a LOT of weight and gear in specific locations. It is not ideal for backpacking. It’s made for war. Ditch it.

  7. I understand where you're coming from, but im not ditching the pack. Im willing to hear you out on any other piece of gear, but the pack isn't changing. Call me stupid or crazy, but im not changing it. And just to make sure you're thinking of the pack I use, Google "ILBE pack". It's way better than the old Alice packs, and it carries beautifully.

  8. Those thermarests are great! My guys swear by them. I, on the other hand am kinda a princess. Trial and error led me to klymit (spelling is probs wrong) it's an inflatable. Center is v shaped tubes with a rail type edge. My bones never hit the ground. It doesn't slip or "creak". Foods down to something like 4x6, and is light. And I've NEVER rolled off of it.

  9. Your best bet is to visit an REI store. They offer good, serviceable gear. They aren't big into the ultralight stuff - a lot of that is available from small "cottage"" companies and would take some research. But REI would have everything you need at a range of price points, and they stand behind every product.

  10. I absolutely love my flash! My crew with the $$$ packs are jealous of it's ability to move stuff around and the dry bag style closure. On a whim, I got a pair of trailhead pants from coalatree on sale. I now have multiple pair. Rain proof. Wind resistant. Stretchy. The deepest pockets I've ever had. Not the most flattering for women. The leg opening cinches, it's like a second layer of gaiters (gators, idk, I spell bad😆) I swear by them. They worked so well I tried some of their other gear. Camper and tactical (I think, it's the rain/wind one) jackets have lasted me for 3 years so far. The hoodies have a ton of pockets and are so comfy, everything it promises. Kachula blanket, also amazeballs, but is really heavy. The fucking terrible. So, so bad. Sometimes they give them away with x amount of $ spent. Still not worth it.

  11. Well if you want to get a real backpacking setup you're definitely going to want a better pack as far as gear companies go mountain hardware MSR osprey Big Agnes Nemo see the summit gossamer gear. A good backpack 2-400 a good sleeping bag same price a good tent 250 to 600

  12. Thank you for actually talking about what I asked about. I know packs are a big concern for allot of people here, and I understand why for the most part. The main reason I'm sticking with this ILBE pack is because it sits on my body so well, even when loaded heavy. There is also the mild sentimental value. This particular ILBE pack was on my shoulders through some of the nastiest times in my life, especially while in the military. I'd like to keep it around as long as I can carry it.

  13. Are you buying this for a specific trip (like the AT) or just to have on hand because you get the occasional free weekend and go to the woods for a night or two?

  14. I will be doing a section hike of about 2-300 miles in the spring, but this setup is mainly for use on my days off in my local section of the AT.

  15. Don't know why everyone is acting like all of humanity has only trekked across the planet in ultra lightweight gear! Being retired military myself, ILBE is heavy, sure, but spacious, relatively comfortable, and will protect your gear better than any other pack around.

  16. Osprey and Gregory may be good options for packs, if you are open minded to trying them. In the military, you had to, section hiking you just want. So why not make it easier and more comfortable?

  17. Check out Nemo (tents, sleeping pads, and sleepingbags), Osprey (packs) Granite Gear (packs), Cascade Designs (MSR, Platypus, Thermarest, Packtowl, and a couple other brands, water filtration/stove/towel/sleeping pad/misc otger stuff from MSR) Icebreaker (wool), Optimus (stove), Sea to Summit (dry sacks and sleeping pad). Happy to answer questions about these options.

  18. Go to REI or a local outfitter shop, they can usually point you in the right direction. REI brand gear is significantly cheaper than most others but is just as good. My sleeping bag and tent are REI brand and survived an AT thru-hike (and more).

  19. If budget is a barrier, I recommend checking out the rei garage or other used gear websites. That’s where I’ve gotten most of my stuff. It may not be the exact optimal thing, but it’ll be a huge improvement from what you’ve got. I got a ultralight tent from the garage that was literally fine except the person who had it before didn’t know how to set it up properly for wind, $100 off. Know roughly what gear want to improve and find a deal

  20. Dan Durston has some of the best packs and tents in my opinion. Simple, stripped-down, highly functional, lightweight. Then Enlightened Equipment for a sleeping bag. Haven't regretted anything from either company...

  21. I look at Backpacking magazine , there best gear issue. Also visit thru hike forums and see what the most popular stuff people are wearing or using

  22. I’ll just add a backpack suggestion. I know a lot of military folks like Mystery Ranch packs, so you might want to check them out.

  23. If you’re new to brands, use REI’s site and compare different brands! It’s one of the easiest ways to get more familiar with backpacking gear, use the compare feature and it will create a table where you can compare specs for different products. You can also get familiar with one brand’s range.

  24. My favorite site for backpacking gear is They focus on smaller brands that are high quality, rather than the big names provided at REI, for example. It’s where I found my tent that I love, and a bunch of other gear.

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