Tag Archives: light weight backpacking

Gear Shakedown: New sleep system

I love sleep. On the Appalachian Trail, I can’t say I slept well. Perhaps it was using a zlite for 5 consecutive months (they compress beyond usefulness after only a month or so of daily use) Perhaps it was the 20 degree nights in a 39 degree bag. Perhaps it was my knees painfully knocking together throwing my hip outta whack.

Well enough senseless suffering! For the PCT I’ve upgraded and never felt better. Meet the new system:

Mountain Laurel Designs Bivy

A new addition to the system to make cowboy camping more pleasant. Water proof sil nylon bottom acts as a groundsheet, extra layer of sleeping bag material on top adds 5-10 degrees warmth and protects from winds. Zipper system keeps out bugs and spiders. I LOVE THIS PIECE OF GEAR.

One note: In 30-degree weather, condensation from my breath occasionally builds up on the inside of the bivy, leaving me with a damp face/head if I’m not careful. I often sleep with my head covered, and in that situation, I made sure to sleep so there was at least a little tunnel for air from my mouth to more directly escape through the mesh of the bivy.

Mountain Laurel Designs 28 degree quilt

Lighter than a sleeping bag and just as toasty. Read my review here

Thermarest NeoAir xLite Torso Length pad

Child sized for extra lightness. Blows up quickly. Infinitely more comfortable than zlite. Never had any issues with punctures or loss of air because of my….

Gossamer Gear foam pad

Laid out under Neo lite to protect blow up mattress from pine needle punctures. Also works well as a sit mat!


Placed under my feet to elevate swollen feet and compensate for torso-Lenth pad.

Stuff sack with extra clothes

As a pillow Or between my legs Or to insulate my feet more