So, having been aware of Hill People Gear for the better part of a year, I finally decided to shift some of my budget around to upgrade some of my current equipment. After much consideration, I ultimately chose to purchase a Tara and a Serape. Although I seriously considered an Umlindi (which would probably work better for what I'm doing in the backcountry and hills of TN), I chose the Tara for one big reason. I run outside. A lot. Like, 1-2 hours a day 3-5 times a week, usually on trails. And I get thirsty, especially during the summer. My current running set up involves a small 1.5L Camelbak pack (like a ten year old version of this), and quite frankly it isn't big enough. On my longer runs, during the summer, I'd really like (need) to carry 3 liters.
Anyways, that's mostly my justification for buying the Tara, since I run way more than I get out in the true backcountry. So, I'm trying to make it work.
Here's my old 1-2 day hike kit:
Hidden Woodsmen Haversack, 50 feet of paracord, 50 feet of bankline
Jetboil Flash with 8 oz fuel, 2 mountain house meals (total ~1000 calories), iodine and iodine neutralizing stuff, 6 nescafe instant coffees, 3 decaf green teas, 2 English breakfast teas
Bahco Laplander, stainless Mora, Leatherman Wave with a bunch of bits and a bit extender, Worksharp Field sharpener, ferro rod and striker
Suunto MC-2 compass, work gloves, Thrunite TN12 flashlight, no-brand headlamp, spare batteries, Rite in the Rain memo book
Total weight: 12.5lbs
It holds everything fairly nicely, but is a total pain to carry. I've learned I hate haversacks with any sort of appreciable weight, so apart from gear storage (holding the kit in a ready-to-go easy-to-access semi-organized way), I don't use it. My biggest beef is lack of ability to carry insulation or water, and the minute I slap that hammock on there it becomes an even bigger pain to carry.
Which leads me to what I've done to my Tara:
This Tara is carrying the hammock in the 717 bag on the back and a MS strapped to the bottom, while holding everything in my haversack, while also holding a 3L bladder. All told, the weight was at 20.5lbs. So almost exactly 8lbs heavier, but holding 3L of water and a MS. I had thought of sliding two Oasis canteens into the Tara side pockets, but with all the kit and the bladder, its too full to put much in those pockets.
Now, when I first got my Tara yesterday, I slapped that sucker on (empty) and immediately hated the shoulder harness - it kept cutting into the back of my neck. I was immediately questioning my purchase ... Until I loaded that thing full and put it on and man oh man does that carrying 20lbs nicely - and no more digging into my neck. So I'm mcloving it. I can't wait to get it out on the trail.
I plan on running it later today with 3L in it, see how it handles running. But for a 1-2 day hike, I think this is pretty awesome for how I roll.
(Note: I've always heard people hate on bladders for leaking, and I've used bladders for well over a decade with no leaks, including during my time in the Army infantry. That being said, I loaded my bladder and full kit in the tara, left for work, and when I came home? Everything was soaked...)
Anyways, if y'all have any thoughts or comments, I'd love to hear them!
This post fueled by caffeine and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."