Whitney “Allgood” LaRuffa
Whitney "Allgood" LaRuffa grew up in rural NH where he forged his love of the outdoors and activities such as fishing, skiing, and his true love backpacking. His time spent in Boy Scouts helped him hone is outdoor skills as he worked his way to becoming and Eagle Scout and fueled his passion for long distance hiking.
Whitney has hiked over 6,000 miles with his K-9 companions over the years. After finding a dog on the Appalachian Trail in 1996 his life was forever changed. Whitney and his first dog Erwin (named for the trail town Erwin, TN) worked on the Appalachian Trail in the 1990’s as Ridge Runners after their thru-hike, where they provided education and support to a variety of trail users. Whitney has hiked many long trails in the US but is most proud of his recent pioneering first thru-hike of the Chinook Trail, a 293 mile route through the Columbia River Gorge in WA&OR.
After many years on the trail, Whitney is a sought after speaker, teaching people about responsible backcountry use with their dog through his business Allgood's K-9 Adventures. Whitney is also the President of The American Long Distance Hiking Association-West (ALDHA-West). When not helping others learn about hiking, you find Whitney walking the trails around the US in need of a shower, a cold beer, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's.
CDT Blog: http://thedagodiaries.com/
The MVP of my clothing kit on the SHR. The Tachyon Anorak is the perfect layer to wear on a chilly morning or windy afternoon as you hike. I keep this item on the outside of my pack for easy access as I wear it at break time to conserve my energy by warding off a chill. The DWR finish is by far one of the best on the market and I often wore this piece during light rain events. I also use this jacket at night as my sleeping shirt as it increases my warmth and also helps to keep my sleeping bag cleaner inside.
Over all I cannot recommend this piece enough to anyone looking for a wind shirt. At 2.6oz is by and far one of the best items of warmth and comfort per oz. The biggest seller for me with this jacket is the hood, I often wear it over my fleece hat at night to prevent condensation form getting me wet when my head touches the inside of my tarp.
The Versalite Pants are the best 3.6oz solution for a pair of pants to keep you dry and warm when the weather turns foul. While Hiking the Sierra High Route I encountered a few days of hail, rain and snow. The Versalite pants kept me dry, provide extra warmth and even after being in the rain all day, dried quickly once in my tent. One thing I love about these pants is that I can easily take them on and off without having to remove my shoes. The cut is true to size and there is no baggy fabric hanging to get caught on anything. I found the pants breathed well even when hiking for hours in them. I highly recommend these pants as a great piece of gear for anyone backpacking kit as they are the perfect balance of weight, warmth, and price.
The Thermawrap saved me from getting too cold a few days on my Sierra High Route adventure. Even after completely soaked in my pack the jacket still provided me warmth. I am most impressed with how much warmth it provided considering its loft is much less than my down jacket. The reduced bulk makes this a great layer under a rain jacket when needed and being synthetic there is no fear of the insulation getting wet and not providing warmth. The fit is a nice loose cut allowing for easy movement when worn over other layers and it can also be warn at night to sleep in and the material breathes well transferring moisture away from your body.
The Down Hugger 900 #2 is the most comfortable and roomy sleeping bag I have had in years. After 7 years of sleeping with an Ultra-Light Quilt by the now defunct GoLite, it was time for a new quilt as mine had lost its loft. Going back to a sleeping bag from a quilt was not an easy choice, and I feared it would be an uncomfortable and slightly claustrophobic experience, but after the first night in the bag my mind was changed.
The Down Hugger allows for natural movement throughout the night, the stretch baffles allow you to turn over easily and even accommodate sleeping on your side. The stretch baffles allow enough space that I can sit up in by bag crossed legged and be warm and comfortable while I relax in camp or write in my journal.
The DWR coating on the outer fabric resisted condensation well; this is a very good thing when sleeping in a single wall shelter which tends to produce a large amount of condensation. The bag also does well transferring moisture from your body to the outer layer during the night. Like all Mont-bell products this bag combines an ultra-light weight with a good value price, making this a great choice for the weight and budget conscious backpacker.
Overall if you are looking for a good down bag for 3 season use that is less than 2lbs, I highly recommend the Down Hugger 900 #2.