Darn Tough Socks Review on the Pacific Crest Trail

I have been wanting to write a darn tough socks review for several months now. Please know that I was never paid or encouraged to write this review about Darn Tough hiking socks. Instead, I wanted to give an honest account of my personal experience with these socks on my long distance trek.

As you may know, I finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail recently and went through several pairs of hiking socks during this time. However, aside from my darn tough hiking socks, I tested four different brands. I won’t name these brands but just know that each one is an extremely well known company with a solid reputation. In fact, I was gutted to find that my socks fell apart so quickly and this is mostly the reason I wanted to write this darn tough socks review.

My Darn Tough Socks Review

I purchased my first pair of Darn Tough hiking socks in San Diego just a few days before hitting the trail. On first impressions, I thought the socks looked rather uninspiring. Walking around town that day, I could tell that they had more cushion than what I was used to wearing but at the same time, it was impossible to make any kind of assessment. However, I would wear no less than five pairs on the Pacific Crest Trail so needless to say, my darn tough socks review is based on a hell of a lot of experience.


Darn Tough Vermont

About Darn Tough 

Darn Tough is a sock manufaturer in Vermont, USA. According to the company, every item to leave their backyard is hand crafted and made to withstand all kind of weather. While many hikers outside of North America may be unfamiliar with the brand, rest assured they are well known in this part of the world. Darn Tough hiking socks are produced with hikers, bikers and the ski industry in mind.

Specifications of Hiker 1/4 Sock Cushion

  • Weight – 2.3oz
  • 65% Merino Wool, 31% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex
  • Price: US$18

Darn Tough Socks Review

Wearing Darn Tough Hiking Socks on the Pacific Crest Trail

Overview – Simply put, my Darn Tough hiking socks were far superior to every other I tested on the trail. It was incredible what they were able to sustain. Although they eventually met their demise, this should be expected after more than one thousand miles. Comfortable and lightweight, they seemed effortless compared to my previous socks. Also, the holes that appeared in the socks were the result of me clipping my ankles when I was hiking.

Comfort – Without doubt, these were the most comfortable socks I had on trail. In fact, the only time I did not wear my Darn Tough was when I went to bed.

Appearance – As I said, my first impressions left a lot to be desired. Hiking is far from a fashion show. However, I feel that their creative team should be able to come up with something that looks a little more appealing.

Price – Honestly, I would pay the price for Darn Tough hiking socks everytime. At the same token, it does seem like a lot and even just $3 or $4 less would make me feel much better about the purchase.

Guarantee – Okay, let me explain in the next section about this incredible guarantee.


Darn Tough Guarantee & Customer Service

Darn Tough Guarantee

Darn Tough offer the most impressive lifetime guarantee I have ever encountered in the outdoor industry. Without strings and without any conditions, if they are not comfortable or if they do not fit properly, they will replace them immediately. In the case of you not being within reach of a store, you can also send the socks by post instead.

Ironically, I needed to contact their customer service team by email during my hike. Within minutes, I received reply requesting that I take a photograph of my damaged socks. Less than an hour later, I received confirmation that they had just placed my new socks in the post.

Special Guarantee for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers

I do know that this is not the first time Darn Tough have taken this approach. I spoke with three other thruhikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and they all had the very same experience. Apparently, the company is deeply appreciative of their popularity on the trail. For this reason, they make an exception for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.

With this in mind, they have got to be the best socks for the Pacific Crest Trail, right?


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these socks and I purchased my own socks. I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. 

The Best Backpacking Tents for Adventure in 2019

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, the best backpacking tents was a hot topic. However, it was also clear that every thruhiker has a slightly different taste. Many outdoor suppliers have entered the fray in recent years which means there is even more variety but at the same time, variety can make things complicated, right? And this is precisely why I put together this list of the best backpacking tents for 2019. As you will see, many characteristics are taken into account such as the cost, weight, interior space, weather protection and durability.

Either way, I hope this post can help you decide among the top backpacking tents and choose whatever seems the most approapriate for you next adventure.


Quick Answer – No Time to Read On?

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Zpacks Duplex 2 Person Tent

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek UL2


Things to Consider When Choosing a Backpacking Tent

SIZE – Most tents exagerrate when it comes to sizing. In other words, if you see a “four person tent”, it will likely fit two or three people at most. There is no set scale in the industry so think of it this way; the capacity of a tent is often the number of sleeping bags you can fit side by side.

WEIGHT – Are you an ultralight backpacker? maybe a mountaineer? The weight of your pack matters and this obviously includes whatever tent you decide upon. However, ultralight comes at a premium in terms of price – so be warned.

DURABILITY – Unfortunately, choosing a lighweight tent is going to mean sacrificing the durability somwehat. For this reason, remember that backpacking tents are not designed for extreme environments.

WEATHER – Most backpacking tents are three season which should keep out the wind and rain. However, they are not suitable for heavy snow conditions or storm force winds high up in the Andes. In warm weather, you might want a tent with extra ventilation. However, if you need something to withstand the winter, you should be looking at a four season tent.

PRICE – The best backpacking tents are most often not the cheapest. However, if you plan to use this shelter more than once or on a long distance adventure, price should not dictate the quality of your new home.


Important Features of the Best Backpacking Tents

SETTING UP – Most backpacking tents are especially east to set up. At the same time, some brands use colour coding to make the set up process even more straight forward. Also, the larger the tent, the longer it usually takes to set up.

DOORS – Sharing a tent can be quite a challenge and this is certainly true if there is only one door. The best two person backpacking tents have at least two doors but this is also optional – so long as there is enough space inside.

VESTIBULES – As with the doors above, vestibules can play an important role for a backpacking tent. Afterall, this is your storage space and something to leave your backpack, shoes or maybe wet rain gear. Most tents will have a vestibule but choosing a backpacking tent without one is a risky decision.

DESIGN – Price is not always a good indicator as to the reliability of a tent but choosing the cheapest option available is likely to end badly. Afterall, if subjected to unexpected weather, price is a small sacrifice to pay for your safety.

SPACE – Interior space is hugely important on a long distance adventure. Of course, preference is different for every individual but as a rule, the more space in a tent, the more comfortable you are likely to feel.


THE BEST BACKPACKING TENTS FOR 2019

 

 

Big Agnes Tent in Ireland

Best Backpacking Tent Overall – Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Trail Weight: 2lb 12oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 88 x 52/42 x 40in

Size: 2 Person

Okay, this is my tent but please know that I was not paid for this review. I cannot tell you the number of times when other hikers have complimented my Copper Spur UL2. The shelter is extremely lightweight and spacious inside which are just two reasons why this is probably the best backpacking tent for 2019. Although the bright colors are not for everyone, they brighten up the mornings.

What I Really Like: Bright and cheerful colours. Spacious, light and packs down to a small size.

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Big Agnes Flycreek

Best Budget Backpacking Tent – Big Agnes Flycreek HV UL2

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W x H): 86 x 38/28

Size: 1 Person

What I Really Like: The Flycreek is super cheap and packs down to such a small size.

Check Best Price

 


Nemo Hornet

Best One Person Backpacking Tent – Nemo Hornet 1P

Trail Weight: 1lb 11oz

Dimensions (L x W): 87 x 40/31

Size: 1 person

Large side door offers more vestibule space and easier access in and out of the tent

Extremely fast and easy setup, thanks to a single hubbed pole with ball-and-socket end tipsTriangulated guyouts increase interior spaceTrue tub floor construction reduces seam construction and seam tape, increasing the longevity of the tentState-of-the-art fabrics and premium hardware create an ultralight, yet highly livable backpacking tentDurable, advanced DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles weigh less than nearly any other poles on the market

What I Really Like: The Nemo Hornet 1P is slim and lightweight. However, the material is a slight upgrade from similar tents in the same category.

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MSR Hubba Tent

Best Two Person Backpacking Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

Trail Weight: 3lb 7oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 84 x 50 x 39in

Size: 2 Person

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX has a slightly more durable physique next to many alternatives of the same weight. It also has two vestbules and two separate doors which make it an ideal tent for couples. When it comes to compact two person tents, there is often a shortage of room but the Hubba Hubba NX has a lot more height and room to manouver than most. Finally, this offering from MSR is also known to be watertight and reliable in heavy rain or wind.

What I Really Like: Lightweight tent with durable material. Compact and reliable in all sorts of weather.

Check Best Price

Backpacking tent for Microadventures

Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent – Z Packs Duplex 2 Person Tent

Trail Weight: 1lb 3oz

Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height): 100 x 45 x 48in

Size: 1 – 2 Person

Z-Packs was one of the most popular tents on the Pacific Crest Trail this year and with so little weight, it’s easy to understand why. However, this is not a freestanding tent which means you will need two trekking poles to set it up. I must also admit that this is quicker to pitch than my trusty Big Agnes and it features an extremely watertight design.

What I Really Like: Ultralight and extremely quick to set up.

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Have I missed anything? Do you know of any other top backpacking tents? Please let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these tents and I purchased my own tents. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

I wanted to publish a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 review – my tent for the Pacific Crest Trail.

You may not have heard about Big Agnes, unless you live the United States and camping or hiking is your cup of tea. That is to say, this hugely popular brand of backpacking tent is largely unknown in Europe and I can only suspect that this is due to the fact that established brands do not want you to know about it. Why? Because it’s amazing.

Anyway, while I do like the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, I much prefer the design, color and features of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2. Hence, this was my choice in terms of the best tent for the Pacific Crest Trail and I also believe this is the ultimate tent for Microadventures or multi-day hikes in general.

However, I would like to be more specific so here is an outline as to why I believe this is the best tent for hiking the PCT:

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Review

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 Outdoors

Needless to say, when you see the weight of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2, you can appreciate why this is an incredibly popular tent for the PCT. In fact, this is the lightest two person tent on the market – that I know about.

In case you might be asking yourself, taking a two person tent on a long distance adventure is extremely common. In short, one person tents are often too small and most thruhikers grow tired of such a confined space. Furthermore, two person tents provide enough room to store your backpack and when it comes to sitting out the storms – there is just enough room so as not to feel cramped.

Comfort of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

As already mentioned, this is a spacious option but certain features also make this a very convenient tent for microadventures. For example, there are two entrances to the tent and large vestibules on both sides. If you wish to leave shoes, bags or items outside, this will help but the overall benefit is extra space.

Further, two mesh pockets are located far enough away from the fly sheet so as to keep items safe from harm. Up above, there are also several places to hang a headlamp while the rectangular size is highly practical for keeping everything organized inside.

Simply put, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 is the most comfortable tent in which I have ever spent the night.

Setting Up the Big Agnes

As you may know, the Big Agnes comes with a hubbed design pole system which means that the poles are attached to each other. Unlike other tents, these poles are rather simple to pull apart and slot seamlessly together. A small pole also attaches easily to the top which acts as support for the flysheet. I can put this tent up in just a few minutes and the fly sheet clips into place using a colour coded system. Again, this is the easiest tent I have ever attempted to pitch. My only issue, Big Agnes should provide at least four more stakes to tie down the fly sheet guy ropes.

Performance in Weather

After taking the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 through some fairly extreme weather, it showed no signs of weakness. Also, in particularly cold weather, aside from droplets on the mesh, there were no leaks or issues with moisture inside. What I will say for anyone considering the Big Agnes, this is not intended as an extreme weather option but it still qualifies as an ideal tent for long distance adventures or microadventures. In the wake of some very wet evenings, the tent also dried out incredibly fast with just a few minutes of sun.

Durability of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Big Agnes Outdoors

I would say that the lightweight nature of the Big Agnes is the most attractive quality for hikers but at the same time, this is also the potential downside. After all, this light material also means that it can tear or damage a lot easier than standard material. I believe this should be expected and purchasing a groundsheet is a good idea to reduce the risk of stones or debris damaging the underside. On the Pacific Crest Trail, I had a sheet of tyvek as a groundsheet and the tent did not incur a single tear or damage of any kind for the duration.

All considered, this is the one area in which the MSR Hubba Hubba NX can possibly claim a slight advantage over the Big Agnes, for the material is slightly more durable.

Weight

With a weight of 2 lbs. & 12 oz., this ultralight two person tent has no rival. Indeed, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX comes close but every ounce counts on a long distance adventure and the Big Agnes is certainly lighter. Also, the tent packs down to a very small size and can be easily compressed into a relatively small backpack.

Value

If you plan on heading out camping for the first time, this may not be the right tent given the price point. However, if you take outdoor adventures often or intend on hiking the Wicklow Way anytime soon, I really like the idea of taking a Big Agnes along for the ride. Sure, this is one of the pricier tents on the market but in truth, ultra light tents come with a cost and this beautiful tent has a proven reputation on the trail. Although you will not find this baby in any outdoor stores in Ireland, you can easily order the tent online and rest easy in the knowledge that you picked a solid backpacking tent.

Conclusion

I have hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and can see why this is often considered the best tent for long distance adventures. It is extremely easy to set up and pack down but more importantly, it provided a safe and spacious shelter in challenging weather conditions. Finally, with such an incredibly small size and lightweight frame, I can safely recommend the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 as an ideal tent for microadventures or long distance treks.

YOU CAN BUY THE BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR UL2 HERE

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Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review this item and I purchased this tent myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that this tent works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

5 Best Tents for Microadventures

Are you looking for the best tents for Microadventures? When I embarked on my very first outdoor adventure, it would be a first in every sense. After all, I decided to ride a bicycle through Africa without any prior cycling experience. At the same time, I was also extremely inexperienced when it came to camping or choosing the most reliable and adequate outdoor gear.

You may have noticed, for the past two years, I have been carrying a small green Vango Banshee 200 as my shelter. Although it was never the case that this Vango was the best tent for Microadventures. In fact, I just knew very little regarding alternatives. However, I have spent the past twelve months researching the best ultralight backpacking tents and there have been many on my radar in this respect. That being said, there are very few which can rival the following options which I believe to be a good shout for the best backpacking tent for Microadventures:

Best Backpacking Tents for Microadventures

MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent

MSR Hubba TentMSR have finally created an ultralight tent which is not red, luminous orange or any other colour that looks rather bizarre in the midst of nature. Either way, this is also an extremely smart tent which weighs just over 3lbs. It features plenty of space for sleeping inside and two large vestibules on either side for your backpack or outdoor gear. This particular tent is also one of the best reviewed you will find online and a safe option for a long term tent for Microadventures.

Read more about the MSR Hubba Hubba NX here

 


Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Big Agnes Tent in IrelandThe Big Agnes Copper Spur is one of the most popular tents for long distance thru-hikers in the United States. Why is this important? It’s not but I thought you might be wondering why you never heard of it. While there is a lighter version (Fly Creek), the Copper Spur UL2 is a nice spacious option for the solo hiker. Yes, it was originally designed for two people. However, this is a tight squeeze which is why I recommend it as an excellent option regarding solo backpacking tents for Microadventures. Featuring durable material, lightweight poles, and ample space inside, this is my dream ultralight backpacking tent on the market.

Find out more about the Copper Spur HV UL2 here


Vango Banshee 200

Vango TentWhen compared to other backpacking tents for Microadventures on this list, it must be said that the Vango Banshee 200 is a bit behind. While reasonably lightweight and compact, the Banshee 200 is very small in terms of the interior and the side vestibule is also quite small. That being said, the tent has a low centre of gravity. This feature enables it to withstand windy or rainy conditions, while the material is solid and the set up is extremely fast.

Read more about the Vango Banshee 200

 


Naturehike Double-layer Backpacking Tent

Again, this may not be a long-term option or a tent for a long distance thru-hike. However, it is certainly a great choice regarding a backpacking tent for Microadventures. Weighing just 3lbs 7 ounces, the lightweight nature is a big plus for hikers. Furthermore, it can also fit two people a lot better than the previously mentioned Vango. Either way, as far as lightweight and affordable tents for Microadventures are concerned, this is right up there with the best options.

Just a side note, I had a lightweight Naturehike sleeping bag for two years. It was certainly not suitable for cold seasons or outdoor adventures where conditions are likely to change. Yet, it was perfect for the hot climate in which I was sleeping at the time.

Read more about the Naturehike Backpacking Tent here

 


Z Packs Duplex 2 Person Tent

Backpacking tent for MicroadventuresArguably the most popular ultralight backpacking tent for Microadventures and long distance thru-hikes is the Z Packs Duplex Person Tent. While you will need two hiking poles to set this one up, take comfort in the fact that this tent weighs in at just 1.25lb. Yes, you read that right. Featuring an extremely easy setup and a very watertight design, this is the lightest and most adaptable tent I have ever come across. It just depends on whether you use trekking poles or not.

Find out more about the Z Packs Duplex 2 Person Tent here

 

 

Have I missed anything? Do you have a favourite backpacking tent for Microadventures? Please let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these tents and I purchased my own tents. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for the product, I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.