Tomorrow, I leave on an ice climbing trip to Iceland, so am frantically trying to finish packing. For a gear intensive sport and action packed trip, it’s hard to keep the balance between manageable weight and not forgetting anything. While not every single item is shown in the photo above and I won’t bore you with the details of each, the following are a few key pieces of gear I am psyched about.
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffle ($119): I will be taking a couple of internal Icelandic flights on tiny propeller planes where weight restrictions are tight. This durable duffel weighs around 2.5 pounds so won’t add much to the limit and with 120L of storage capacity can easily fit all my gear. The backpack straps make schlepping through airports and hotels easier and best of all, unbuckle to get out of your way when packing.
Nemo Aria 30 Long sleeping bag ($250): When climbing up in the Westfjords, we will be staying in a kind of climber’s bunk house and huts. Since I don’t need a -40°F sleeping bag to winter camp, a lighter 30-degree one will do just fine indoors. I like the spoon shape of the Nemo sleeping bags as I am a restless sleeper that needs to move around a lot and the combination of 550-fill, water-repellent DownTek down on the top of the bag and synthetic insulation on the bottom offers the best combination of warmth, low weight, and packability.
Petzl Nomics ($299 each): Not sure exactly what kind of conditions we are going to face in Iceland but I know the Nomics can handle just about anything–whether mixed, steep ice, or alpine terrain.
Petzl Dual Connect Adjust ($60): I know many people have a philosophy of carrying no single purpose gear, but the Dual Connect Adjust makes multi-pitch climbing just so much easier. One arm clips into the anchor and lets you easily and safely lengthen or shorten your distance without ever having to undo the locking carabiner and the other end is all ready to set up your rappel. Many climbers are moving away from static slings as personal anchor systems for safety reason so the use of a dynamic rope in this system is reassuring.
Arc’teryx Satoro AR: Dropping Fall ’16, this medium-weight base layer is made from a new fabric technology called Nucliex–180 gram weight merino wool is wrapped around a nylon core that adds 20% more burst strength and 50% more abrasion resistance. There’s a laminated zipper pocket on the sleeve for storing lipbalm, hair ties, etc.
Kora Azog Hooded Jacket ($270): Made from a combination of yak wool on the inside and synthetic Sorona on the outside, this high-tech midlayer deliver warmth while remaining highly breathable and protecting you from the elements. This has made a great skiing midlayer so far this winter and I expect it will be my outer layer on approaches and then serve as a midlayer when climbing in Iceland.
Black Diamond First Light Hoody: A Fall ’16 piece, this versatile midlayer/outerlayer is perfect for high-output, start and stop activities like ice climbing. The jacket is stuffed with PrimaLoft Silver Active synthetic insulation and the stretch Schoeller face fabric is treated with NanoSphere technology to repel any spindrift or water running down a climb. Really excited about this piece.
Columbia OutDry Extreme Jacket: When the weather gets really windy, cold, or snowy, I will most likely throw on this shell. I don’t have to worry about the OutDry Extreme fabric wetting out and because of its superior breathability, know it won’t leave me a sweaty mess when pushing up a climb.
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Down Jacket: Another Fall ’16 product, this will serve as my belay jacket as the stretch material will fit over however many layers I have on underneath and the 750-fill Q.Shield Down (hydrophobic) insulation will keep me warm.
Mammut 7.5 Twilight Dry Ropes–70 meters ($190 each): One of the thinnest and lightest climbing ropes that meets both the half and twin standards, the Twilight feeds nicely through a Reverso belay device (not too small on rappels either) and since dry treated, won’t soak up water in wet conditions, potentially leaving you in a dangerous situation with frozen ropes. Each rope features a center mark to help with short rappels or to indicate to your partner how much rope length remains. At just 38 g/m, you don’t get as much rope drag on lead and your arms will thank you after hours of pulling up rope. Using two different colors helps me remember which rope is right and left and which one I clipped last.
Skhoop Skirt: Made from the new Gore Thermium, the Supreme Thermium Short Skirt ($259) blocks the wind from hitting your backside while repelling snow and rain. Lined with 80 grams of insulation, the skirt adds a nice layer of warmth for walking around town, fat biking, cross county skiing, or belaying at the ice crag.
Tune in to our Instagram feed (@thegearcaster) where I will post tons of photos of Iceland over the next two weeks. And fingers crossed the Aurora make an appearance or two….