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HikeLighter on Facebook

Just a reminder that you can find me on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HikeLighter   I tend to be fairly active on my facebook page, often posting two or three times a week. Sometimes I talk about gear that I am working on developing, if I see a cottage company make updates to their gear I try to post about that, sometimes it is simply sharing an awesome articles or videos I have come across, sometimes it is updates on my hiking adventures, and sometimes just about what is going on in my life. I encourage everybody to follow my facebook page if you want to keep up with what is going on. Once you have clicked the “Like” button, please be sure to move your mouse over the updated “Liked” button and a menu will drop-down, and be sure to click on the “Get Notifications” option! Thanks everybody!

Written by John B. Abela

February 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

Posted in News & Updates

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Cottage Updates, Nov 24, 2015

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Here are some updates related to the cottage industry over the last few days:

  • I decided it was time to address the issue of the cottage industry offering “signatures required” options for shipping.
  • Black Rock Gear is having a 15% off and free shipping on their Sports Pack.
  • ZPacks is offering $25 off Plex tents, sleeping bags, and a rain jacket+pants combo!
  • Mountain Laurel Designs introduced some ‘Dyneema X Packing Cubes‘ this morning, and some cuben-fiber+eVENT Rain Mitts.
  • Mountain Laurel Designs is offering 50% off on the cost of their balaclava if you purchase a Spirit Quilt + Balaclava.
  • Both Montbell and Cascade Designs (MSR, Therm-a-Rest, Platypus, etc) are offering free shipping on all orders (normally have to spend $100 to get free shipping)
  • Suntactics has their awesome sCharger-5 available for an insane $99.95 right now.
  • TarpTent has announced they they are offering a $50.00 discount on the Squall 2.
  • Six Moon Designs is offering 20-50% off all of their backpacks and shelters (minus cuben fiber shelters).
  • Vargo released a video today showing off their Titanium Converter Stove.
  • Check out this post over at reddit for additional holiday deals.
  • ZPacks is now installing LineLoc3’s on the entire parameter of their Plex tents. My videos on me doing this (and other mods to the Plex tents) have obviously resulted in a lot of you seeing the wisdom in this and asking ZPacks for the same thing… they started getting so many requests for this that they just decided to do it as standard. Oh, they are also, now, apparently cutting the guylines and pre-attaching them!
  • MiniBullDesigns has introduced a new variation of his crazy popular “QMH pot” (if you have ever seen a video by shug, you have probably seen the QMH, he loves it), called the ATP, which is a flat bottom slightly larger variant of the QMH. Check out this video of the ATP, and here Tinny call me out as a “super super gram weenie” – grin/smile.

There is probably a lot more that has been announced over the last few days that I have missed, so welcome any holiday sale announcements (within the cottage industry) within a comment, if you know of one/some!


Written by John B. Abela

November 24, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Cottage Updates

Mountain Laurel Designs, 2-Layer Rain Mitts (CF + eVENT)

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I posted this over on my facebook page, but I have been getting a lot of people saying they refuse to use facebook and are thus not able to see everything I post, so I will likely be posting more short/brief posts here at hikelighter.com to correspond with posts over on facebook.

Early last week Mountain Laurel Designs posted a very brief message (on facebook) that they had released a new 2-layer CF + eVENT version of their crazy popular, and much loved, Rain Mitts.

They have just sent me to share with all of you.

I have been using my MLD Rain Mitts for many years and are one of the absolutely must-have items in my backpack.

I have used them at least a dozen times so far this month.

The new CF+eVENT version of the Rain Mitts are half the weight of the 100% eVENT mitts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

November 23, 2015 at 8:23 am

MSR WindBurner Stove System, Part 2

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This is a follow-up to my original MSR WindBurner Stove System review.

Since I posted my original review of the WindBurner, a bit over two months ago, I have had to chance to put it to use a lot more as the end of the summer season and start of the shoulder/winter season starts up.

This will be a brief follow-up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

November 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

Posted in Gear Modifications

Tagged with ,

Questions & Answers, #1

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Questions & AnswersEarlier this month, over on my hikelighter facebook page, I posted that I was going to start doing some Q&A posts, so, here is the first one :)

Throughout the year I get a lot of questions from fellow adventurers, mostly via my contact form and facebook private messages. I try to get as many answered as I can, time dependant. Usually during the winter season I get caught up, though that does tend to mean some folks have to wait awhile before I get back to them. Hopefully they are not offended by the long response times.

I am not sure how many Q&A posts I can get published on any given year, but I am going to give it a go. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

October 30, 2015 at 2:45 am

2015 Gear of the Year

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Greetings adventurers!

2015 has been a truly amazing year for outdoor adventurers – be it weekend hiking, long distance hiking, trail running, ultra running, FKT’ing, fastpacking (whatever it is we are suppose to believe that is, on any given month), and of course packrafting and bikepacking and beyond!

We have seen some amazing new fabrics hit the market. We have seen some the movement of old school designs merged together with new technology (yes, you are welcome.) We have seen companies making drastic changes to their catalog of products to usher in a new wave. We have seen big name companies bring big name hikers into their folds to get real trail experience on their design teams. Perhaps the greatest of all has been the massive cross-over of products from different adventures types to different adventure types – garments that use to be used exclusively for hikers are now being used by trail runners, ultra trail runners, and beyond – and probably more importantly, vise-versa. Shoe companies are starting to see fast moving hikers using footwear used by ultra trail runners at an insane rate. Companies that traditionally only sold to hikers have expanded to entirely new outdoor markets. And the list could go on.

For this year, in my “Gear of the Year” article, I want to focus on just a few very specific pieces of gear. In previous years I have covered a broad swath of different gear I have used throughout the year. However I decided that for 2015, I am going to keep it very specific – to focus solely on those pieces of gear that I have felt are the top of the line pieces of gear – gear that will be going with me on my 2106 adventures – and really, is that not what is most important… gear worthy enough to make it onto the trail another year!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

October 24, 2015 at 3:57 am

Posted in Gear Reviews

GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker

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GSI UL Coffee Filter + Montbell Double Wall Ti Cup

GSI UL Coffee Filter + Montbell Double Wall Ti Cup

Been hesitant to write about something as common and possibly inconsequential as a method of making coffee while out on the trail…

So why write one?

Meh, do not really know. Perhaps this GSI UL Coffee Filter has just impressed me enough to spend the thirty minutes writing this up.

I use to drink Starbucks Via both on the trail and at home. I would buy the 50-count House Blend off amazon. But I eventually got to the point where it was just not all that pleasurable.  Every Christmas I still buy a few boxes of the Christmas blend but that seems to be it these days.

I am not some kind of coffee connoisseur but I sure do love the flavor of a couple of brands of coffee. The first is Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry (amazon) and the second is New Mexico Piñon Coffee ‘Dark Piñon’ (amazon).

I have bought a number of different drip filters for hiking with, including a Finum Gold Filter that I used for about four years. When it finally gave out I was going to buy another one, but the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip (amazon) caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

September 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Gear Reviews

Tagged with ,

MSR WindBurner Stove System

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The MSR WindBurner. A WindProof Stove System

The MSR WindBurner – An Amazingly Windproof Stove System!

Greetings Adventurers!

The MSR WindBurner is quickly becoming one of my favorite stoves systems. In a market that is continuing to get more and more myopic by companies flooding the market with nearly identical products, it has been a refreshing change to see MSR actually try to solve some problems and not just put to market something that is the same’ol’same’ol that everybody else is spewing out.

I remember when the MSR WindBurner was first announced and the internet was being flooded by hikers complaining about the weight of the system – comparing it to xyz-other brands, without even stopping to consider some of the advantages of that extra bit of weight – but, that is just typical hiker hyperbull and ignorant attacking that seems to be all too common these days by hikers, I suppose. It was a shame that those folks focused so much on the weight, yet utterly failed to stop and really take a look at the design.

Yes, when it comes to talking about gear, the purpose of the hikelighter.com website has always been to focus on some of the lightest of the lightest weight gear out there. But as my readers well know, I have on many occasions been a hiker that is willing to stand up and say that sometimes adding weight in order to get a better performance, experience, durability, and quality of life while out on the long trail, is a perfectly acceptable decision.

Over the course of this article, and future articles on the MSR WindBurner, I am going to be clear and honest about exactly how I think the MSR WindBurner is when it comes to that statement.

While the MSR WindBurner is a tad bit heavier than most other all-in-one systems on the market – and this really is key to understanding why the MSR WindBurner deserves some serious consideration — MSR put some serious thinking into solving problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John B. Abela

September 16, 2015 at 5:33 am