• make a better tent stake kit / quilts in the cold

    From: Backpacking Light Apr-22-2022 10:55:am
    + gear I loved and loathed in '23 (podcast) ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Access trusted expertise & enjoy the backcountry with confidence:



    together with Enlightened Equipment:
    Ultralight warmth for your outdoor adventures.

    September 10, 2023 • View in Browser

    Good morning. On this day in 1984, Alex Trebek debuted as host of the TV game show Jeopardy!

    Trebek x Trails: Trebek donated 74 acres of open land in the Hollywood Hills to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 1998, doubling the size of the parkland area which is frequented by hikers and cyclists.

    "I'll take Wilderness Wildlife for $100, Alex."

    Answer: At a weight less than 5 grams, it's America's lightest mammal, and can be found in high-elevation bogs in the northern Never Summer Wilderness in Colorado.

    Question: What is a pygmy shrew?

    High alpine bogs in the Never Summer Wilderness:

    In the latest episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast, I discussed nine pieces of gear (or gear-centric practices) I used in 2023.

    They are categorized by gear I liked, gear I didn't, and gear I'm still on the fence about.

    I talk about tent stakes, food storage, upright canister stoves, satellite messengers, hiking shorts and pants, sleeping mats and small packs.

    And you'll hear some opinionated commentary from me about two shelters in particular: the Durston X-Mid Pro 1P and the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid 1P.
    This is a fun this-or-that style of episode, and highlights the execution of my decision-making framework for choosing gear (learn more in our recent Office Hours Live Event (recording now available).

    Enjoy listening to the podcast instead of watching today's Jeopardy! (sans Alex) which ain't what it used to be...

    Happy Trails,

    Ryan Jordan

    Backpacking Light


    Custom Down Quilts for Winter?

    Photo: Enlightened Equipment

    We think quilts are as applicable for winter camping as they are for summer camping. Here's why:

    Variable Girth - By adjusting the pad attachment straps and the location where the quilt clips to the pad, you can effectively change the girth of the quilt, optimizing it for whatever insulating clothing you are wearing underneath. This makes for an incredibly versatile cold weather sleep system that can accommodate your thin summer insulating layers or your mid-winter expedition layers.

    • Draft Control - Modern quilts have perfected the art of minimizing drafts with effective pad-attachment systems, draft collars, and closed footboxes. In the hands of a skilled and practiced user, a quilt can be enjoyed in very cold temperatures.

    • Performance-to-Weight Ratio - Quilt makers are increasingly adopting 7 denier ("7D") fabrics, 950+ fill power down, and customizable designs that allow you to very precisely dial in your use case at the lowest possible weight.

    To enjoy these benefits, check out the Enlightened Equipment Custom Revelation Quilt. It can be customized with 7D, 10D, or 20D fabrics, down fill power up to 950, and a range of lengths and girths (widths) that fit your body precisely. You can even add a draft color, and there's a huge variety of colors to choose from.

    Go as light as possible, and if you're short and thin, you can have a summer quilt that's as light as 9 ounces! Or add more down, more girth, and a draft collar, and you can have a sub-28-ounce quilt that will keep you warm to zero degrees Fahrenheit.



    The Gift of Surprise in the Rawah Wilderness

    James Montavon hikes in Colorado’s Rawah Wilderness, and discusses the differences between using different trip planning softwares.



    It's not your shelter's fault, maybe your tent stakes are too small?

    Tent stake holding power defines the force placed on the head of a tent stake that causes it to loosen from the soil. The lower a stake's holding power, the less tension you will be able to impart to your shelter's seams, ridge lines, and panels, and the less stable it will be in the wind.

    Learn more in our research study on this topic from 15 years ago.

    Ultralight backpackers love ultralight tent stakes. However, ultralight tent stakes are the main reason ultralight tents blow down in the wind.

    Do yourself a favor and pack four (4) big kahuna stakes on your next adventure. Ideally, these are 9" tubular aluminum stakes like Easton Monster Pegs or the new MSR Core Stakes, which seem to solve the recurring problem of tent stake heads popping off of Easton stakes.

    On shelters like the Tarptent Dipole Li or Durston X-Mid, using four big stakes like this and then cranking down the guyline tension on those stakes (assuming your tent geometry is dialed in) means you have a rock-solid foundation that can withstand a reasonable breeze on its own. Or, add more guylines and stakes for additional stability in stormy conditions. But these stakes can be ultralight - the rest of the stakes don't need to have the holding power of the main shelter corners.

    Consider a kit of 12 traditional tent stakes, which gives you the ability to stake out your shelter corners, mid-panel edges, and add additional peak or side-panel guylines. One of the most popular lightweight stakes on the market is the MSR Mini Groundhog. Each weighs 0.32 oz, so a full kit is 12 x 0.32 = 3.84 oz.

    Let's play with this a bit, though - replace four of these stakes with 9" MSR Core tubular aluminum stakes (0.5 oz each), and go ultralight on the rest (figure about 0.2 oz each for ultralight stakes). Now you have a kit that weighs ( 4 x 0.5 ) + ( 8 x 0.2 ) = 3.6 oz. Not a huge difference in weight between the two kits, but the kit with the MSR Core stakes now gives you the holding power you actually need to pitch your ultralight shelter with maximum security in a storm.

    Happy camping! 


    Wilderness Adventures Trek in Rocky Mountain National Park

    This blended program features 6 hours of classroom instruction that includes a meticulously-guided gear prep and shakedown combined with a 24-hour backpacking trip in a beautiful and remote, wild corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. About 3 hours of formal instruction will also happen during the trip (9 hours total).

    You’ll learn about ultralight backpacking gear, skills, and philosophy, with the chance to practice it in the field with seasoned guides and instructors.

    Intermediate and advanced topics will focus on ultralight sleep and shelter systems, alternative clothing layering systems, packing and efficiency, and more with a special emphasis on trekking and camping in inclement weather.

    The RMNP Trek is open to backpackers of all skill levels! You should have a basic level of fitness that will allow you to trek to our campsite while carrying a 25-pound backpack over the course of six miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.


    together with Enlightened Equipment -

    Custom and ready to ship ultralight quilts, apparel and shelters.

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