By Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We publish our main OR coverage on the Gossamer Gear blog. That coverage omits sleeping pads, shelters, backpacks, and trekking poles due to a potential conflict of interest because Gossamer Gear sells gear in those categories. We publish our coverage in those categories here on our own independent blog.
Note: items featured in this collection of gear will be available in spring 2015 unless stated otherwise.
There were a bunch of new pads this time, including one that is full length and weighs just 6.5 ounces and costs $25 – I’ll bet that gets your interest! For lightweight and minimalist pads, we definitely have more options.
Last summer we reported that we are starting to see two-person double wall shelters in the 2.5 pound range. A year later we are seeing more of them, and even some weighing just 2 pounds, which is remarkable. With the availability of high-tenacity nylon fabrics and coatings that make the fabric stronger, not weaker, manufacturers are less reluctant to use thinner fabrics in shelters. However, these fabrics are more expensive to manufacture, so expect to pay more. Tents made of 10 to 20 denier fabrics are wonderfully lightweight but require reasonable care to maintain their functionality and extend their longevity.
Also, it seems that manufacturers have gone beyond the stage where they were shrinking and de-featuring tents to lighten them. Buyers were simply not very interested in a two-person tent with only one door and little headroom. Now, with the use of lighter weight fabrics and lighter poles or the use of trekking poles, we are seeing more and more tents in the 2 to 2.5 pound range (trail weight) with two vestibuled doors and ample floor space and headroom, which is what buyers want.
Under backpacks I present a potpourri of new models, new manufacturers, and new innovations.
|Lightwave Fastpack 50 and Ultrahike 60. These are not brand new models but they are new to the US via www.crux.us.com, a US distributor. The Fastpack 50 (left) has aluminum stays, stretch nylon side pockets (no front pocket), zig-zig side compression straps, seams are either welded or seam taped for waterproofness, and each side has a ski holder strap at the base; weight is 2 pounds and MSRP is $240. The Ultrahike 60 (right) is a similar design except the side compression is via a zig-zag cord system. Weight is also 2 pounds and MSRP is $270.|
Not a lot new in the trekking pole category, but we did find an interesting technology story.
As a bonus to this installment, I add the Berghaus Hypersmock 2.0, the lightest rain jacket on the market, made lighter for 2015.