Monthly Archives: September 2012

Gear Review: Exped Mira II Tent

September 25, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

Exped Mira II

Backpacking Tent
Exped Mira II
$379, 3 lbs. 14 oz.

Rain, hail, snow squalls, strong winds, temps below freezing, as well as dry, calm nights in the 40s and low 50s—I saw it all in this tent, from Washington’s stormy Olympic Mountains to Idaho’s City of Rocks and Smoky Mountains. Continue reading →

Gear Review: MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

September 21, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

Ultralight Rain Shell
MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket
$249, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: Unisex S-XL

When a violent thunderstorm caught me on the 9,595-foot summit of Eagle Cap Peak in Oregon, and the skies opened up with booming thunder, lightning, and pounding rain and hail, I was certainly glad to have this shell handy. It fended off strong winds and kept me dry through that tempest, as it did in extended, wind-driven rains in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and when I got caught in a sudden June snow squall a pitch off the ground while rock climbing at Idaho’s City of Rocks. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Jetboil Sumo GCS and Companion Bowl Set

September 18, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Jetboil Sumo Titanium Group Cooking System and Companion Bowl Set

Camp Kitchen
Jetboil Sumo Titanium Group Cooking System
$190, 12 oz. (weight not including the measuring cup or the pot support)
$130, 16 oz. (for the aluminum version)

Jetboil Sumo Companion Bowl Set
$20, 6 oz.
Set includes two 23-oz. (675 ml) bowls and one 15-oz. (450 ml) bowl

From boiling water in near-freezing temperatures, wind, and drizzle with two friends in the Olympic Mountains in September, to family backpacking trips in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness in August and Capitol Reef National Park in March, this cooking system delivered everything I want in a backcountry kitchen for a small group: fast, efficient cooking even in inclement weather, and low weight and bulk in my pack. Continue reading →

Gear Review: MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 Bag

September 17, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3

Sleeping Bag
MontBell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3
$339, 1 lb. 7 oz. (regular), $359, 1 lb. 9 oz. (long)
Sizes: regular and long

We tend to buy a sleeping bag based primarily on temperature rating, price, and weight, ignoring a key characteristic that will affect how well you sleep in it as much as its warmth: comfort. I’ve slept in many bags—especially ultralight models—that are cut so narrowly to shave grams that they felt like a straitjacket. Montbell’s UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 provides superior comfort through a simple but unique feature: elasticized baffles that stretch and contract with your movements. The bag effectively acts like a second, much thicker and warmer layer of skin, moving wherever you move without inhibiting you at all. Continue reading →

Gear Review: GSI Pinnacle Dualist Cooking System and Stainless Cup

September 7, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

GSI Pinnacle Dualist cooking system

Camp Kitchen
GSI Pinnacle Dualist integrated cooking system
$65, 1 lb. 4 oz. (without included stuff sack)
Set includes a 1.8-liter pot with strainer lid, two insulated bowls/mugs with lids, two bowls, two telescoping sporks

GSI Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup
$13, 5 oz.
Volume: 18 oz.

GSI Glacier Stainless Cup

Here’s the smartest cook set for two backpackers that I’ve used. At just over a pound, the entire set of two mugs (whose lids have sipping holes), two bowls, and a hard-anodized pot all nest together, with space inside for the sporks and an ultralight butane stove (not included). Continue reading →

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