Mike St. Pierre’s Gear Check
Mike St. Pierre is the founder and CEO of Hyperlite Mountain Gear. His passion for the outdoors and specifically for the ultralight approach to the outdoors drove him to found HMG and now drives HMG to continue its mission to create the most innovative, efficient, durable, ultralight outdoor gear on the market.
Read on for Mike’s tried and true advice on how he selects his own gear.
The lightweight and ultra-lightweight approaches to hiking and backpacking focus on efficiency in terms of distance covered and wear and tear on the body. Done right, this approach to your gear will benefit any level of outdoor enthusiast, from the novice to the experienced guide. Lighter is simply more efficient, more comfortable and as a result, more fun.
But getting into the light approach to the outdoors can sometimes be challenging – especially when you’re up against old habits and the continuous stream of heavy old fashioned gear coming from the major gear brands. To help you think about your gear list, here’s some information on what I carry when I’m in the outdoors.
“The Three Heavies” (heaviest essential items) in the world of hiking and backpacking are your pack, shelter, and sleeping system. Reductions in weight made to these three pieces of equipment yield the most significant changes in overall weight being carried. The following items are ones that I always have with me on my hikes:
- Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad 12 to 16oz depending on a regular size or long.
- Feathered Friends Hummingbird Nano 20 Sleeping Bag Reg. 1lb 12oz or Long 1lb 13oz. Note that this might be a little warm for summer outings. I carry a 1lb 45 degree bag for most summer trips and use the Nano 20 for the colder seasons.
- HMG Reversible Pillow I fill it with a puffy jacket and then at night turn it inside out. During the day it doubles as a stuff sack. At night I flip it inside out and the soft fleece liner gives me a great spot to rest my head. These pillows now come in two sizes.
- HMG Windrider Pack If you were to go with all the gear I’m recommending, you should be able to fit into a 2400 cu/in pack (our next size up is a 3400 cu/in)
- A pair of HMG Cuben Fiber Jumbo Stuff Sacks One Jumbo for your sleeping bag and one for food.
- HMG Large Stuff Sack For a clothes bag.
- One additional large and one small HMG Stuff Sack for other odds and ends
- HMG Echo II Ultralight Shelter System Your shelter need not weigh any more than 2lbs. The Echo II comes equipped with a detachable mesh tent insert for complete water and bug protection and gets your there at just 1.84lbs (with guy lines). We also recently added the HMG UltaMid to our shelter line. The UltaMid comes in both two person (16.6oz) and four person (20.8oz) sizes.
And then there’s the rest. The “heavies” will be most of your load, but some careful planning is also important for the rest of your gear. Here are the key components of the other gear that I almost always carry with me:
- Optimus Crux Stove An ultra-lightweight stove weighing in at just 3.3oz and capable of boiling water in just three minutes! The amount of uses that a simple stove has on the trail makes it an invaluable item in any hikers pack.
- MSR Titan Titanium Kettle A kettle or pot is very important to bring on a hiking trip. Being this is an all in one bowl, water boiler, and cooking pot, it is usually the only cookware item I bring with me. This model weighs a mere 4.2 ounces and holds up to 28 fluid ounces.
- Spoon. Long ones work better if you are going to eat dehydrated meals directly out of the package. Spoons at ems.com
- GravityWorks H2O Filter Comes with dirty and clean water bladders. 4 liters of potable water in 2.5 minutes. Weighs 10.6 oz.
- Rain Gear (jacket at least). I look for one that is about 8-10 oz in weight. A company called RAB makes some really nice jackets that fit into this weight range. RAB Jackets at backcountry.com
- Clothes. I will usually only bring two shirts (one to wear and one to sleep in). One pair of shorts, three pairs of socks, and a thin insulating jacket. If you get cold,you can always wear your rain gear.
- Footwear. I prefer to hike in trail runners such as the inov-8 Roclite 295. They are much lighter and dry much faster than any kind of boot. I don’t bother taking off my shoes when I come to a stream crossing. I do not recommend getting Goretex for footwear as they tend to take a long time to dry once water has gotten inside them.
- Trekking Poles. Telescoping trekking poles are also a good idea. I always carry two as they are the supports for my tent, but I usually only hike with one and stash the other on my pack.
Remember, you should never sacrifice safety for lighter pack weight. And keep in mind that the above is my basic set up. You’ll definitely need to add a little weight (4-5 oz.) for small personal and safety items such as a lightweight compass, utility knife, toothbrush, etc. Also, if you’re going into specialized conditions (winter, alpine, etc.) or will be out for an extended expedition, you will definitely want to carefully consider what additional equipment you might need and build that into planning your gear list.
When you’re planning your next gear purchase or your next expedition, come check out what’s new at HMG. We’re there because I want to get our customers outdoors faster, lighter, higher and in greater comfort. See you on the trail!
Mike St. Pierre
Posted: September 18th, 2013 under Gear Tips and Suggestions, HMG News, Spectacular Photos.
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