2016 Bob Open gearlist

No video this year. The array of stuff is so familiar that writing it out seems redundant, but folks have consistently expressed value in the video versions, and I like them for future reference.

We had a mild winter and early spring in northwest Montana, but the last week has brought record precip, which fell as rain in the lower and middle elevations and snow in the highest.  With temps warming a bit the next two days it shouldn’t be a very snowy traverse, but it will be a wet one.  Forecast is for rain, maybe a touch of snow Saturday and Sunday, overcast skies, highs in the 50s, and lower in the 30s.  Mild temps, but if conditions twist just a bit to the harsh side almost ideal hypothermia weather.  The only mild touch is that in the southern half of the Bob early melt has made the rivers lower than usual, even with a fair bit of rain.


  • Seek Outside Divide 4500 with homemade lid/packraft bow bag
  • Feathered Friends Vireo Nano w/ 3 ounces of overfill in the upper section
  • Thermarest Prolite XS
  • Homemade spinnnaker tarp and Sea to Summit Nano bugnet
  • Homemade trekking poles


  • Patagonia Rock Craft pants, Sitka Core LS hoody, BD Alpine Start Hoody, First Lite Dobson boxers
  • Buff, Coal beanie, Arcteryx visor, Rab Novak hoody
  • Sierra Designs Elite Cagoule, BD Liquid Point pants w/ neoprene waistband
  • NRS Hydroskin gloves and socks
  • LaSportiva Bushido, Montbell gaiters
  • Two pair thin go socks, one pair thick sleep socks.


  • Alpacka 2015 Yukon Yak w/ thigh straps, cargo fly, WW deck
  • Werner Shuna
  • Inflatable snorkel vest
  • 1 cargo fly drybag, inflation bag

The rest

  • MSR Windboiler
  • Food, bear hang rope, food drybag
  • 2x Voile straps
  • Repair and first aid kit, Petzl Tikka XP, Fenix E11
  • Cairn Bob south map, compass
  • Osprey Grab Bag
  • GoPro w/ spare batts and mounts, Ricoh GR, camera drybag
  • Nalgene bottle with Capcap

This will be my sixth consecutive Memorial Day trip across the Bob.  It will be the first such trip were I’ll be carrying a pack I did not make myself.  In the closet I have a pack I built for this weekend, which is a hair lighter and made of a spiffy prototype fabric, but the Divide is just better.  Better built, and better designed.  I can’t improve on the Seek Outside suspension so until I think of a new idea I’m done trying.  The lid isn’t needed for space, but is handy for organization both on the trail and on the water.

My clothing arsenal is geared for everything being wet, at some point.  Everything is well tested and was an easy choice.  Having three hats and hoods on all four upper body garments is not overkill for this sort of trip.

I’m really looking forward to enjoying the enhanced performance and dryness of the 2015 Yak.  Those characteristics, along with unusually low water, is why I’m leaving the foam PFD at home.

The Windboiler is heavy, but after becoming used to its low-drama speed over the past six months I just can’t leave it at home.  During the Bob I’ve always run out of feet and willpower before I run out of daylight, so taking hot food and foot-resting breaks is an efficient strategy.  I am planning on hiking later than normal this year, hence the double lighting for enhanced bear warning.  And yes, there should be a video next week!

As usual, fire away with questions.




  1. Good stuff! I see two fleece pieces, guessing the Core is similar to the Cap 4 stuff? you going to use this as your base layer I take it? any base/mid-layer for the bottom? How large of tarp?

    In light of the change in weather (and expected weather) I completely revamped my kit; went from a very light, semi-running outfit to a more traditional (and heavier) setup. Went from a bivy to a Solomid shelter, larger pack, added snowshoes, heavier jacket (bringing the hooded Strata), I’m also bringing hydroskin socks (hope I don’t need them :)). Brining a hooded Cap 4 and Cap 4 bottoms. Choosing the same pants and windshirt as your bringing.

    I’m wearing LaSportiva Akashas- wish I had more miles on them, but they are my roomiest shoes in light of possibly needed the hydroskins.

    I’m also bringing more food; I can’t help but think the wetter conditions (rain/mud/snow) will make for slower travel.

    Should prove interesting!

    1. The Sitka is a very light (~100 g/meter) poly hoody. Tarp is 7′ by 9′ with one closed end. No baselayer bottoms.

      I was on the fence with regards to two different routes until a few days ago. Rain and soil type pushed me towards one, to minimize mud bogging. I think some folks are going to find sticking to the three day plan quite tough.

        1. They fit better, the material is tougher, and the instep strap is more reliable than velcro (though doesn’t work well with no-instep shoes).

  2. Ahhh- I see they make both a lightweight and heavyweight hoodie- nice looking stuff.

    I fully agree with you assessment; several folks looking for rides on Monday afternoon- short of a helicopter ride, I don’t think a Monday finish this year for me is likely

  3. Can you share any details of your homemade bow bag? What sort of closure did you go with? I’ve been considering something similar but struggling with finding a waterproof zipper. Thanks for any info!

    1. I did not make the bag waterproof. I used a plain #8 zipper with a flap, and put a grommet in the middle of the bottom to drain water. Usually the inflation bag, throwbag, water bottle, and small drybag go in it.

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