MSR Hubba Hubba tent
In my view, the perfect 3-season two-person tent is light, roomy, and has two doors. Oh, and two vestibules. And is quick and easy to set up. The MSR Hubba-Hubba has made this dream a reality. It weighs in at 4 lbs., 4 oz. and, as the name suggests, features an ingenious hubbed pole system that sets up in a flash and yields surprisingly ample headroom. Perfect? Well, it could use more guy points for when the wind gets whipping – otherwise, it’s not far off.
More info: cascadedesigns.com/msr/tents
Arcteryx Altra 65 backpack
The Beatles had it right: Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a long time. And with that in mind, you need this pack. The Altra 65 is a five-day backpack that makes carrying that weight a pleasure, thanks in part to Arcteryx’s pivoting Load Transfer Disc that transfers the weight as you move. That may sound weird, but it makes the pack feel less like dead weight and more a part of your body. This makes a surprising difference. The Altra 65 is light (4 lbs. 14 oz.) yet rugged and boasts a wrap-around bottom zipper that makes accessing your stuff (and efficiently packing it) a snap.
More info: arcteryx.com
Mountain Hardware Thermostatic woman’s jacket
Light as air, yet rugged and warm, the quilted Thermostatic jacket from Mountain Hardware is a mid- or outer-layer solution that is easy to love. Weighing only 10.4 oz., the Thermostatic utilizes Mountain Hardware’s Thermal Q Elite synthetic insulation for a superior warmth to weight ratio. Our gear tester was thrilled with the “cozyness” factor and the range of motion that she enjoyed while wearing the jacket.
More info: mountainhardwear.com
Therm-a-rest Altair 4-season sleeping bag
Therm-a-rest broke new ground with their integrated “sleep systems” – sleeping bags that attach to their sleeping pads. This innovation allowed for bags that had less insulation on the bottom, against the pad. And thanks to the straps that bond bag to pad, the bottom is always the bottom. The result is a warmer night’s sleep with less weight. And these bags are roomier than you’re used to, so you can turn over inside the bag (what a concept!). The Altair is a 4-season bag (rated to 0F) and it weighs only 2 lbs., 7 oz. On a recent trip to the Canadian Rockies, it kept me cozy and warm on nights where my water bottle froze solid in the tent.
More info: cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest
Let’s face it: Energy bars are a mixed blessing. Sure, they do the job and add much-needed fuel to the fire when we’re out on the trail (or bike or kayak). But honestly, they get old pretty quickly. Most of the mass-produced bars have a certain bland denseness that is, at best, an acquired taste. Mazama Bars are produced in Bend, OR by Britt and Derek Manwill, the result of a desire that the couple had for a better bar, one that tasted like real food. They are all-natural, vegan, non-GMO and go easy on the soy products. And the best part is that they’re scrumptious. They are big – twice the size of a lot of bars – and filling. The folks at Mazama think of them as meal replacements. I found myself eating a single bar over the course of two days.
More info: mazamabar.com