The Backpacking Gear OF Highline

Carrying 15-20 lbs of camera gear meant  we had to keep our survival necessities below 20 lbs including food and water. read that right.  Shelter, clothing, food, water, EVERYTHING had to be under 20lbs.  We had one resupply, on day 4, but we still had to carry 7 days of food for the last stretch.  Luckily we live in a day and age where you can do that without making much of a sacrifice.  






Most of us carried the Zpacks Arc Haul (weight 23.3oz)

The nifty arc frame design offers a substantial amount of support which Chris pushed to 43lbs on the longest stretch (7 days) without any issues.  It's also large enough to fit tons of camera gear, tent, sleeping bag, etc.   And yes, it fits the Bearikade weekender bear canister with room to spare. 





The Uinta Mountains were known for serious storms, so we carried tents that were both strong, reliable, and light.  The single person Zpacks Plexamid (15.3oz) and 2 person Zpacks Duplex (19oz) tents were easy choices.  Both are storm worthy, fully enclosed for bug protection, and remain breathable.

Some of the guys preferred the larger Duplex, but honestly the Plexamid is plenty big for one person with room to spare.





The 23.7 oz Zpacks 10 Deg Classic was Chris and Gordy's sleeping bag of choice.

Thought more UL guys like Joe Valesko and Matt Favero (Who actually work for Zpacks) prefer the 19.3oz 20 Deg Classic.

Both weights above are based on size med, standard width.  Note that these bags don't have hoods, which isn't an issue if you wear a parka or warm beanie to bed on cold nights.  





Chris and Benny's favorite insulation layer is a custom parka made by  They're a small cottage gear manufacturer that makes super high quality down products that seem to defy physics.  Chris's orange parka (pictured) is 8.5 oz total, with 5 ounces of 850fp downtek fill.  Crazy warm!  





In search of the best camera case for backpacking, Chris tested a dozen options from the LowePro Top loader to the expensive Peak Designs capture clip.   By far, the best was the lighter, more affordable and compact Zpacks Multipack at only 2.9oz!  That's easily solved by adding a piece of reflectix.   See above.  The Reflectix curls along the bottom to provide good protection and rigidity for only .5 oz.   Make sure to carry a gallon zip lock just in case of heavy rain.

Other necessities


Pack liner dry bag 1.8 oz

Smaller dry bag for toiletries  .49 oz

Shoulder Pouch .49 oz

Medium dry bag .71 oz

Top side pouch .49 oz

Side belt pouches  .74 oz

Food Storage 3.4 oz

Water and Cooking:

Sawyer Lightweight water filter 2oz  

BeFreeLightweight filter with better flow 3oz

Water Storage (Just use smart water bottles, or gatoraid bottles) these're cheaper, lighter, and seem to retain less icky smells compared to Nalgenes.

Soto Windmaster stove 2.3oz

.6 liter pot 3.3 oz

Cooking Pot Stuff sack that fits perfect .14oz

Other stuff:

Sat Phone that saved our butts 7.1 oz. This GlobalStar phone  is fairly affordable, has great battery life, and worked reliably for Chris in the Uinta Mountains, Sierra Mountains, Colorado, Oregon, and many other places. 

Black Diamond Headlamp 3.25 oz. 

Tent stakes  .3 oz ea 

Tent stake bag .09 oz

Sit Pad 1 oz  Most of the group used these.  Though Chris didn't need it.  The world is his sit pad. ;)

Cordage .5 oz Made by a small cottage manufacturer called Lawson Equipment.  

Thermarest Neo Air Xlite Mattress 12oz. 4.2R value.  Pretty standard these days for backpackers.


Super warm BlackRockGear UL Beanie .5oz  (As seen on Benny's head during the film)

Best UL rain pants  Only 3.4oz!

Vertice UL rain Jacket 6.2 oz   

Another rain jacket option if you dont mind the extra $70 4.4oz

Palisade hiking pants Chris used and swears by (expensive though) 10.6oz

Smartwool T-Shirt Chris used but kind of hates 5oz-ish These don't last long. Looking for a better option.

Thermal Weight Baselayer Hoody - Chris used the MEC T3 which is now discontinued.  This Patagonia version is basically the same thing.  He uses this as an active warm layer or under a shell for wet conditions. 7.7oz

Thermal Weight Bottoms - same story as above.  You can get these instead.  Bummer Patagonia costs so much more. 4.7oz

Best socks ever 1.9oz. Defeets last long and have good odor resistance too.  Much better than Smartwool or Darn Tough.

Underwear 2.3oz. These Arcteryx underwear are light and dry fast, but they're pricey and not amazing.

Best wind jacket 1.7oz 

Neck gaiter 1.1 oz  Can be worn as a neck warmer, face cover, used as a bandana, etc.

Chris's favorite sun shade hat 2.8 oz. Though others preferred this Zpacks trucker hat at 2.4 oz


Everyone's feet are different, so it's harder to pick a "best" item for that.  Here's some notes that may or may not be helpful.

-Chris loves his Brooks Cascadia 12 trail runners.  (now discontinued, but he stocked up with 10 pairs). They held up well and he had no blisters on the hike.

-Gordy hated his Brooks Cascadia 12 Gortex edition.   Ironically, the breathable waterproof gortex made his feet sweat so bad he developed many bad blisters.

-Some of the others used the Brooks Caldera's, which were destroyed by the rocky Uinta terrain.

-Benny and Matt love their Altra Timp 1.5's.


Tiny UL disposable toothbrush thingies .1oz  Though some of the others like Redbeard preferred this instead.

Nifty disposable baby towels .1 oz each.   These are stronger than paper towels.  Not as big though.

Soap:  A brand called Basic H2 is Chris's favorite. It cleans well, and doesn't leave residue like Dr Bronners. 

Toilet paper:  Just use your sleeve.  It's ultralight and reusable.   


Here's a link so more gear lists from each of the guys

Disclaimer:  Some of the above links are affiliate links, which add no additional cost to you, but provide a tiny bit of income for us.  Maybe.  Not entirely sure it's working.  We're new at this affiliate thing.