Gear Makeover Contest - Meet the Winners! - Backpacker

Gear Makeover Contest - Meet the Winners!

These six readers convinced us their gear needed an update! Look for their full makeovers in our January 2012 Readers' Choice issue.


Box Primus stoves, down coats from the 1970s, and runny cheese … these readers convinced us they needed a gear makeover stat! So we’re sending them cooking, apparel, and lightened-up gear galore.

Dress Better 


It’s obvious that Regina Payne, 71, has more hiking miles in her, but she needs to update her wardrobe and supplies in order to complete her life’s dream: finishing the Appalachian Trail. We’re tossing out the old pack, synthetic sleeping bag, and well-worn Dunham Waffle-Stompers in favor of warmer, better-fitting equipment.


New mother Angela Hayes was too busy juggling food, filters, a hand-me-down carrier and her ever-growing baby to enjoy the Grand Tetons looming in her backyard. We’ll leave the parenting concerns to her, but we’re more than happy to replace her father-in-law’s 30-year-old down jacket.

Go Lighter 


Matt Kilcoyne admitted his gear closet looked more like an Army surplus store meets K-Mart display than the lightweight accouterments of an aspiring trail maintenance worker. It’s time to put the 6-pound tent and 4-pound lantern in the garage sale. BACKPACKER to the rescue!


Deterred neither by too-heavy gear (including a box Primus stove) nor pancreatic cancer, wizened camper Chuck always has a smile on his face even though his bulky gear has slowed him down. Chuck’s friends entered this contest on his behalf, and we’re more than happy to outfit their beloved hiking partner with some lighter gear.

Eat Better 


The five members of the Cafferata family love sharing their love of the outdoors with others; they’d just like to feed them something other than the boiled noodles and instant oatmeal typically on the menu. We’ll help them bring wilderness gourmet know-how to their fellow-campers.


In the past, any package that made it into college kid Nick Sutton's backpack was mandatorily marked with three qualifying words: "just add water." Now, with a little help from BACKPACKER, he's ready to go gourmet and get rid of the Ramen on his summer treks to Kings Canyon National Park and Arizona's West Clear Creek canyon.