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Staff Gear Favorites: Part 3

Your favorite piece of gear can be like a good friend. You might only see it a few times each year, but it can feel like no time has passed. RRT’s staff has many gear favorites; here are some pieces in particular that have won our affection year after year.

Liquidlogic's Braaap is a staff gear favorite, perfect for running whitewater.

Courtesy of Bart Steen

Sam – Liquidlogic – Braaap

Since the summer of 2016, the Liquidlogic Braaap has been my go-to boat of choice for all things whitewater. Whether you are learning to roll or running your favorite Class V, the Braaap is the right choice. I have run the hardest rapids on my resume and made my happiest memories on the river while paddling this boat. The whitewater boat design and innovation has dramatically changed since the Braaap first came out, however I still find myself wanting another.

The outfitting Liquidlogic uses inside the boat makes for a comfortable ride sunup to sundown and provides comfort walking to and from the river with a boat resting on your shoulder. The design of the Braaap feels sporty, fast, and nimble but provides the volume to manage steep creeks. My favorite rivers for the Braaap are ones with high volumes of water; notably, the Kern River when snow is melting or the Gauley River when the dam is releasing. While living in Asheville, NC I found myself buying boats from Liquidlogic, as they’re designed by paddlers that ran the same rivers as me. If you see me at RRT, please ask about the Braaap and its more playful counterpart, the Party Braaap. 

*Although not a stock item, RRT is happy to order the Braaap or other whitewater kayaks for you given advance notice. Contact a staff member for details.

Karoline's gear favorite is Rab's Electron Pro down jacket.

 

Karoline – Rab – Electron Pro

A love letter to my Electron:

Dear Electron, Thank you for keeping me warm. Through cold bonfires, brisk hikes, and cold days at the crag, you are always there for me. You are truly a cozy little cocoon of happiness. XOXO

 

Karoline's favorite gear is Rab's ultra-packable Electron Pro down jacket.

Rab’s Electron Pro down jacket packs down to the size of a small house cat.

Perry – Rab – Microlight Alpine

On the streets or on the trail, the Rab Microlight Alpine is the first piece out of my closet. Its 700-fill down keeps me toasty when needed, and compacts down small when not. With a wind-resistant and ripstop outer material, this is the only layer I need until the rain starts.

 

Joe C – Rab – Ascendor Light Pants

What if I told you there are men’s pants that feel like yoga pants but look like normal hiking pants? Well, there are: the Ascendor Light pants by Rab. They are so lightweight, it hardly feels like you’re wearing any pants at all! They also come in some fantastic colors. I love using these pants for hiking or climbing because they are lightweight and breathable. It is so easy to move in them you can land the heel hook that makes no sense at all but definitely looks badass. These pants are worth the money and you definitely won’t regret buying them.

Joe's favorite gear are his Ascendor Light pants from Rab.

Rab’s Ascendor Light pants offer the breathability, flexibility, and comfort needed for the gnarliest heel hooks.

All Around Pick – Nemo- Tensor

Incredibly, our staff each selected a different item for their favorite piece of gear. Their favorites covered everything from boats to a poop shovel, but surprisingly enough, a sleeping pad wasn’t listed. That isn’t because we don’t enjoy comfort or because we don’t love what we use. It might just be because we can pretty much all agree on one favorite: Nemo’s Tensor. Fully inflatable, lightweight, and above-average comfortable, the Tensor has been an all-around staff favorite for years.

Perfect for backpacking trips with its small pack size and minimal weight, it’s also been a favorite on packrafting and canoeing excursions. It’s held up to the rigors of the Pacific Crest Trail and was the pad of choice for a staff trip to Alaska. Whether you choose a long or wide version for extra comfort or the insulated pad for frigid nights, the Tensor series will surely meet your demands just as it’s pleased our staff.

 

 

These gear favorites have pleased our staff for years of adventures. Odds are, they’ll soon become your favorite too.

Staff Gear Favorites: Part 2

Your favorite piece of gear can be like a good friend. You might only see it a few times each year, but it can feel like no time has passed. RRT’s staff has many gear favorites; here are some pieces in particular that have won our affection year after year.

Emma – Tera Kaia – Toura High Cut Top

My Toura top from Tera Kaia has easily become one of my favorite pieces of gear since my first The Tera Kaia Toura top is great for climbing and active use. It will soon be a favorite piece of gear for you on any adventure.purchase last year. It’s great for climbing, backpacking, and swimming. It has practically replaced regular bras for me on a daily basis. It gets bonus points for being designed and produced by a small, women-owned business!

Dillan – MSR – Pocket Rocket Deluxe

Let me tell you about the greatest piece of gear you’ve ever seen: the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe! Weighing in at only 2.9 ounces, this ultralight stove will change your life. This stove is essential to any life in the backcountry by providing a source of heat to boil water and cook food. This stove is one of my favorites. For one, it’s simple to use; screw it on any isobutane canister, open it up, press the ignitor, and bam, you’ve got 10,400 BTUs ready to use. Another reason it’s great is how small and packable it is; this stove can easily be stored in a pot with some fuel and takes up practically no space in your pack. The last reason this is my favorite piece of gear is the wealth of possibilities it offers. With this stove you can cook anything your heart desires, from bacon and grilled cheese to Mountain House and instant potatoes. This stove turns the wilderness into your private kitchen. It’s one of my favorites and I believe it’ll be one of yours as well.

 

The Kula Cloth is an essential item for any adventure into the backcountry and is Colleen's gear favorite.

ColleenKula Cloth

The Kula Cloth is the female hiker’s new best friend. If you have ever hiked with wet underwear or a nice, pungent urine smell about you like you’re walking down the streets of New York City but you’re actually in nature, then the Kula Cloth is your girl. I love that it is super easy to clean, antimicrobial, cute, and most of all that it is super functional. I can’t ever go hiking or backpacking again without it.

Sean – Rab – Khroma Kharve

The piece of gear I cannot go without is my Khroma Kharve jacket. Rab’s Khroma Kharve is a packable synthetic coat that is warm but not hot. I have used it as a standalone piece walking through the city and as an outer layer relaxing at the camp site before bed. It has a Gore-Tex Infinium fabric and a DWR coating that make it water repellent. Though it’s not advertised as waterproof, it has a waterproof front zipper and a bill on the hood. I have used it in a downpour and did not get a drop of water on me. With well-sized pockets on the outside and massive gear pockets on the inside, it holds everything I want it to. The final reason I love this jacket is its double zippers. Last November I went climbing at Red River Gorge and it was in the low 40s. My friends were cold, but since I had a jacket with double zippers, I was able to keep my jacket on while belaying. If you want a durable, water repellent, warm, and versatile jacket, get the Khroma Kharve.

The Astral Loyak is a staff favorite for slippery rocks and even just around town

Emily – Astral – Loyak

It was 2016 when I first met the Astral Loyak. I was instantly attracted to its minimal design that would flatter my larger than average size 9.5 feet. For years I struggled with bulky sandals or the unflattering amorphous water sock, but the Loyak was neither of those things. I had never met the perfect kayaking shoe. The Loyak gave me the flexibility I needed to squeeze my tootsies into the narrow bow of a kayak and the support and style to don them around town. They’ve also become my go-to water and camp shoes for backpacking trips. They’re lightweight, dry quickly, and have a razor-siped bottom for extra grip on wet rocks and riverbeds.

 

 

These gear favorites have pleased our staff for years of adventures. Odds are, they’ll soon become your favorite too.

You can look forward to more amazing gear selections from our staff in Part 3 of this series.

Staff Gear Favorites: Part 1

The Mystery Ranch Coulee 25 pack is a favorite piece of gear for day hikes, climbing trips, and urban travel.Your favorite piece of gear can be like a good friend. You might only see it a few times each year, but it can feel like no time has passed. RRT’s staff has many gear favorites; here are some pieces in particular that have won our affection year after year. 

Will – Mystery Ranch – Coulee 25

Toss in a harness, climbing shoes, quickdraws, and high-calorie snacks. Strap a helmet on the outside and drape a rope over my shoulder, and I’m set for a day at the crag. A week later, I’ve got a puffy, rain shell, water filter, and Twizzlers stuffed in the same pack. The Mystery Ranch Coulee 25 carries it all with ease. It’s not often that I meet a do-it-all bag for the crag, trail, or town, but the Coulee falls into that category in a durable, nearly bomb-proof package. I’ve taken this pack to the summits of Katahdin and Mt. Washington, to the rolling hills of Shenandoah, and the cliffs of New and Red River Gorges. I’ve abused and loved this pack for upwards of four years and it still looks like it just came off the shelf. I never seem to be able to stuff it full, but with a rigid, adjustable frame it carries well no matter how many layers I over-zealously, over-cautiously, or over-thinkingly overpack. I know I’ll demand more from this pack in the years to come. With the Mystery Ranch name behind it, I know the Coulee will stand up to every snowfield, talus slope, and ascent I dream of.

Dalton – Rab – Pulse Hoody

Rab's pulse hoody is Dalton's favorite piece of gear, getting him through alpine starts and sunny days on western peaks.

Have you ever run out of space in your day pack and had to leave a crucial layer behind? Have you ever been a bit too cold but too lazy to put on another layer? Did you curse yourself for not putting on enough sunscreen? The Rab Pulse Hoody solves all those problems and more. This hoody has been a major part of my outdoor wardrobe for the past three years. It is an incredibly packable piece of gear, but it is rarely ever packed since I am almost always wearing it the moment I step onto the trail. This hoody has traveled with me for hundreds of miles in more states than I can count. It has been my go-to for summer 14ers, camp pajamas, and multi-day backpacking trips. It is so light I don’t overheat on summer days, but with the sleeves rolled down it gets me through alpine starts without shedding layers.  

*New for Spring 2022, the Pulse has been updated as the Force Hoody

Ben – Helinox- Chair Zero or GSI – Spatula

For camp comfort, Ben packs a Chair Zero as a favorite gear item for any trip.My favorite gear is either my GSI Spatula or my Helinox Chair Zero.  I love my spatula because I can make my friends grilled cheese or pancakes on the trail. It’s also the most extra thing you’ll ever see a guy pull out of his cooking kit on trail. My Chair Zero comes in as a tie for my favorite, because when all the plebes are sitting on the ground with rocks up their butts I’m in a comfy, cozy seat with a dry butt and relaxed legs. It is my luxury item, but it’s for sure worth the extra pound in my pack.

Bryan – Bedrock Sandals – Cairn/Cairn 3D

I have been a diehard fan of minimalist footwear for over ten years, so Bedrocks were an easy choice. There was no break-in period for me. They have been my go-to, day-in, day-out shoe for five years now (winter excluded) on trails, waterways, or towns. It is refreshing to see a company do everything so right, from manufacturing to distribution to function and accountability. The heavy arch-pushing sandal never worked for me, so I’m happy to have my solution. 

Olivia – The Tent Lab – The Deuce #2

I love my deuce for many reasons, but I’ll give you the quick fix. One: it is the proper size to measure your cathole (watch the tutorial on how to dig; it’s worth it). Two: it feels good in the hand and can wrap around a Nalgene bottle to save space. Three: it’s sturdy AF; you could dig a grave with that thing. Four: it’s lightweight and comes in a rainbow of colors.

 

 

These gear favorites have pleased our staff for years of adventures. Odds are, they’ll soon become your favorite too.

You can look forward to more amazing gear selections from our staff in Part 2 of this series.

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