Welcome! Ultralight backpacking is my passion, and keeping up on new technologies, gear, and techniques relevant to UL backpacking is what floats my boat. I'm always looking for the lightest, most functional gear to improve a lightweight or ultralight backpacking kit, and report my impressions and field testing results here. For hikers wanting to keep up on the latest and greatest ultralight backpacking gear, this is a good place to hang out. Also, there is a lot of information here (and on our informational website Southwest Ultralight Backpacking) on useful techniques and backcountry etiquette -- food for thought for hikers wanting to lighten their load and their impacts.

My goal for Ultralight Insights is to understand, test, and report on new technologies and gear of interest to lightweight and ultralight backpackers. It's a passion after all, so we just plain enjoy talking about it. I hope readers will add their own wisdom and comments, respond to my questions, ask their own questions, and correct me if I get something wrong. Happy hiking! Will

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Outdoor Retailer Winter 2016: ACCESSORIES

By Will Rietveld

Please note that this article simply highlights new lightweight gear of interest, and by no means is it comprehensive of the category or constitute a review of the item. It’s simply a collection of new interesting gear for lightweight backcountry travel.

Bike Touring and Bikepacking by Justin Lichter and Justin Kline. This new Falcon Guide is Trauma’s second book in the last year. He teams up with Justin Kline to produce an informative guidebook for bikepacking. Chapters cover how to choose the proper bike, choosing the right gear, planning a trip, bikepaking overseas, making repairs, and how to survive a long distance trip. USBN #978-1-4930-0968-8, $12.95.
Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight Medical Kit .3 and Survival Medic Kit. These are two of the lightest kits available from AMK. The first provides medical supplies for one person in a watertight pouch; $14, available now. The second basically provides the “10 essentials” for survival, plus a few first aid items; 4 ounces and $15, available now.

DeLorme InReach Explorer. The InReach Explorer is another step forward in personal location devices. It combines the following functions: GPS, digital compass, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, trip statistics, send/receive messages, tracking, and OK/SOS signaling with confirmation. DeLorme uses the Iridium satellites for communications. The GPS function gives your simple location; it’s not a mapping GPS. However, they have a phone app that will communicate via Bluetooth with the Explorer to provide mapping GPS on your phone. Weight is 6.7 ounces and MSRP is $380. Service is either $11 or $15 per month depending on the amount of messaging you want, and does not require a contract so you can start and stop it as needed.

DryGuy Travel Dry DX Boot Dryer. Slip these units inside your boots, plug them in and their heating element and fan will quickly dry them out. They come with two power adapters – AC 120 volts for use at home and DC 12 volts for use in your car. MSRP is $40 and they are available now.

Eagles Nest Outfitters Moonbeam Headlamp. This 1.8 ounce gem serves as headlamp, magnetic clamp light, and tent light. USB charging with integrated battery. The light unit is easily removed from the headband and magnetically attached to a plastic hanger for use other than a headlamp. $35.

Eagles Nest Outfitters Relay Tote. This handy ripstop nylon tote has loads of pockets to organize your items – the main compartment with a zippered interior pocket and stiffened bottom, two mesh end pockets, one side pass-through sleeve, one side zippered pocket with a key clip inside, and carry handles. It could also be used as a carry-on bag. Weight is 13.6 ounces and MSRP is $35.

Light My Fire Leschi Lantern + Flashlight. This is a handy unit that weighs just 1.6 ounces without battery (one AA). The light puts out 110 lumens; $15 and available now.

Petzl Reactik+ Headlamp. This headlamp is on the cutting edge. It automatically adjusts the beam to user needs depending on the ambient light level, it’s rechargeable, and produces up to 280 lumens. Weighs 4 ounces, $110, and available July 2016.

Sawyer Filtration Accessory Pack. This convenient kit includes everything you need to accessorize your Squeeze Filter and Mini Filter. It includes two 32oz. Squeeze Pouches to use as back-ups or just to have on hand as additional reservoirs, the Fast Fill Adapters so you can fill your hydration pack directly from the Squeeze or Mini Filter, Inline Adapters to turn your Squeeze filter into an inline system on a hydration pack, and the Cleaning Couplinga new adapter that allows you to backwash your Squeeze Filter with a plastic bottle; $25 and available now.

Snowline Chainsen City Slip-On Traction Aid. At 2.2 ounces/pr this is probably the lightest slip-on traction device to be found other than one that fits over the toebox only. The chain and spikes are stainless steel and the band is an elastomer that stays pliable down to -76F. MSRP is $25. Distribution in North America is by CAMP USA.

Snowline Chainsen Light Slip-On Traction Aid. At 8.2 ounces/pr the Chainsen Light is the next step up in their line of traction devices. It has a more substantial elastomer harness and more and bigger spikes. MSRP is $60. Distribution in North America is by CAMP USA.

dueNorth Everyday G3 Traction Aid and Rubz Massage Balls. The dueNorth Traction Aid has six small carbide points on the bottom side to get a good grip on ice. They weigh about 8 oz/pr, cost only $20, and are available now. The Rubz hand and foot massage balls are designed to mimic acupuncture techniques to relieve plantar fasciitis as well as relieve sore muscles. MSRPs are $6-$13 and they are available now. Both products are distributed by the Sure Foot Corporation.
Sven Can See Lens Anti-Fog and Lens Cleaner. These products do not contain any alcohol or scents. Simply put one small drop of the Anti-Fog on one lens and rub that small amount onto all lens surfaces. The Lens Cleaner has a mini-sprayer to dispense it onto each lens. Each product is $10.95. Available now.


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