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Online Exclusive: Readers' Choice 2012: Peter Rives's Suggested Packing Lists

Suggested packing lists from our prolific map contributor, who has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and notched more than 90 bag nights while scouting routes for BACKPACKER.

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Peter Rives

Winston-Salem, NC

“Pack sandals for river crossings and for exploring the region’s many swimming holes.”



>> The REI Flash 45 (pack)

Offers good support and great pockets and access—plus, it’s water resistant (sil-nylon) and crazy light.


>> GoLite Quest (pack)

This is pretty much the ultimate pack. If there’s something wrong with it I haven’t found it. Caveat: The torso is not adjustable.


>> Feathered Friends Rock Wren 35 with Epic shell (sleeping bag)

It’s super lightweight and the high-quality down insulates way beyond the 35° rating. The drawstring at the bottom (releases your feet), the arm zips, and two-way center zipper means you can walk around in your carrot suit to entertain the campfire crowd (it’s orange). Another bonus: Guys don’t have to get out of their sleeping bag to pee in the middle of the night. Hike the footbox up around your waist and you’ve got a super warm down parka for unexpected cold snaps. Pair with a synthetic liner (like Sea to Summit Reactor) for cold seasons.

>> Ursack (bear bag)

Light, flexible and spacious. Forget the bears, it’s the rodents I’m trying to keep out and they can’t get my goodies through the Teflon.

>> Granite Gear Air Compressor (compression sack

Light, waterproof, tough, awesome. I’ve had most of mine for 5 years or more and they show no sign of wear.

>> MSR DromLite (water reservoir)

Super strong. Allows you to carry 4 liters (or more if you want). Add a hose and hike and sip all day. The wide mouth uses the same thread as Nalgene bottles (so it’s compatible with filters and accessories). Use the ½-inch opening for pouring and the small flip-top for a narrow stream.

>> Mountain Hardwear Phantom Anorak (pullover)

It’s like a tent for your upper body. Great windshirt weighing around an ounce (I received my first one in 2003 in an envelope). Super deep zip allows for venting and the chest pocket doubles as stow pouch.

>> MontBell Thermawrap (puffy)

Synthetic version of a “down sweater”. Super light and warm.

>> WRIGHTSOCK Double Layer (socks)

They wick really well and I never get hot spots or blisters.

>> Snow Peak TI 1900 (cook pot)

Ultralight titanium and big enough to cook a main course for two.

>> Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 (tent)

My favorite solo tent: It’s bomber, crazy light, fat pitch option, easy set-up, free standing, and camo drab green for stealth camps.

>> Black Diamond Skylight (tent)

I bring this three-man tent when camping with friends. Single wall, crazy light, cheery yellow, freestanding, great headroom and spacious vestibule. Bathtub floor is super watertight.

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