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Outdoor Gear Reviews: Backpacking, Camping, and Hiking Gear - Trailspace.com
See: Top Picks for Walking Sticks or Hiking Staffs at walking.about.com I like poles with knob on top which unscrews, so you can mount a scope or camera. I built an adapter so I can hook two together to make a long pole for rigging lines in trees.
Folstaf fly fishing wading staf folds to 9 in weighs 14 oz $130
Back country ski poles can double as hiking poles:
Telemark Pole Review
Some also double as an avalanche probe:
Ensolite is a particular brand of closed-cell foam and sometimes used generically to mean closed-cell.
EVA - Ethylene vinyl acetate - Closed-cell foam, popularly known as expanded rubber or foam rubber.
* The first sleeping pad I got around 1970 was egg crate open-cell foam the standard of the day for backpackers. Open-cell is a lighter more fragile foam, that's comparable to a sponge. Because open air cells can squish further, they feel softer and have more "cushion", but as a result have to be either larger or heavier to compensate. They can also absorb moisture. I had the taylor at the Sierra Designs store in Berkeley make me a cover with water resistant nylon on the bottom and less slippery cotton on the top.
The only open-cell foam pad I found was the Dual Foam Camp Mat, but 1.25 in it is not enough padding to be comfortable. You can get a 1.5" full size foam mattress topper from Bed Bath & Beyond ($25) and cut it in half to make two pads.
Air mattresses were the standard for car campers.
Backpacking air mattresses are light and provide more cushioning, however they are subject to leaks and are poor insulators. However they are becoming more popular because of their compactness and new models add some insulation.
The preferred pad today is the self-inflating air/foam, a combination open cell foam enclosed in an air-tight cover, you roll it up compressing the air out of the foam for carrying and open a valve to let air in to inflate it for sleeping.
Comments at BackpackingLight.com Forums
In one 5 night Grand Canyon trip this past February, filling my Exped UL7 with a pump, I condensed enough moisture to watch it puddle on the inside when held vertically.
Several methods of removing moisture were listed at the above forum. Most involve getting warm dry air in to absorbe the moisture.
The problem with inflatables is they are subject to punctures and pure air mattresses are cold.
For expeditions that involve camping on snow or glaciers, a combination of "blue foam" (the closed cell foam) and an inflatable. That way we get the advantage of the softer inflatable, which is on top of the closed cell foam that provides the automatic backup if the inflatable develops a leak (a flat inflatable is really cold and really miserable on the rocks and sticks under the ground cloth).
Forum comment on Air vs Foam: "The real question should be "which will keep you more comfortable" on the ground (warmth being only part of the equation). I'd go for foam personally. I find pure air mattresses to be annoying because of the way they feel under me, too bouncy. A 3" thick foam pad will keep you very warm and will feel like a real bed. It may even be warmer, I don't know. The air mattress has no conductive material inside it, except air (which will initially sap your heat). The foam pad has almost as much air plus a support system of foam that not only insulates you from the ground but holds your heat close to your body.
Note: The new Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pads have two sets of tubes one on top and one on the bottom to give an R factor of 5-5.7.
Inflation pumps for air mattresses:
The Exped Schnozzel Pumpbag $30 works like a bellows
Do it yourself inflation bag using a garbage bag.
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