If you are on facebook and would like to follow me, head over to: 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!
This is a first look introduction to a new sleeping pad from Klymit called the “Static V Ultra Light“, a collaborative design between Klymit and Massdrop.
Many of my readers are probably familiar with the “Static V” sleeping pad, which has been around a couple of seasons and has gotten a good size loyal following.
So what exactly is the “Ultra Light” version of the Static V?
It is a collaboration between Klymit and Massdrop, that introduces a significantly lighter weight fabric, a 20d, instead of the fabric Klymit has pretty much always used on all of their sleeping pads, a super tough 75d fabric.
For all intents and purposes, that is the main and only difference.
I have written a lot about Klymit products over the years, perhaps more than anybody else in the hiking industry, and over the years I have been saying that I would love to have Klymit make a version of their sleeping pads in lighter weight fabric. After all, some of us just do not need 75d fabric on our sleeping pads. Those of us who use ground sheets, put our sleeping pads inside of shelters, or inside of bivouac, already have enough ground protection that we do not need that heavy weight fabric for our pads.
I am not sure how the folks at Massdrop was able to talk the folks at Klymit into making a version of the Static V in a lighter weight fabric, but regardless of how, it has made me happy.
So let us take a look at the specs of this new sleeping pad.
Weight: 366 grams (mine, on my calibrated scale, is 352 grams, with stuff sack)
Length: 72 inches / 182.88 cm
Width: 20 inches / 50.8 cm
Thickness: 2.5 inches / 6.35 cm
When it comes to sleeping pads, those five specs above are pretty much all that most people cares about. Having used over a dozen sleeping pads over the last few years, including almost every sleeping pad that Klymit makes (one that they make was designed based on my feedback to them) I have sort of gotten to a place where I can just lay down on a pad and know most of what I need to know about it.
While I understand most folks care about the above five issues, here are the five issues I really look for in a sleeping pad:
- Do I bottom out when on it?
- Is it wide enough?
- Do I slide off it?
- Does it have a fairly small pack volume size?
- Is it close enough to something I already have that it is just not worth buying?
To me, those are the five questions and answers I always try to resolve when picking/considering another new sleeping pad on the market.
I wanted to take a moment and share my thoughts on those five topics when it comes to this new Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ sleeping pad.
- This is a two part question. (a) do I bottom out when getting onto it? Yes, I sure do. But the same can be said of every sleeping pad I have tried with the exception of the Klymit Static V Luxe and the Therma-a-Rest Evolite Pro. (b) do I bottom out when laying down on it? Not while back sleeping. If you are in that minority of people that are back sleepers, you should be good to go. If you are a side sleeper, you might bottom out a tiny bit on your hips if you happen to be on a bit of hard packed ground.
- Is it wide enough? For me, no. I really do need a 25″ sleeping pad, due to the way that I sleep. If you are one of those folks that can fit into a 20″ wide pad, I absolutely envy you.
- Sliding off this pad is absolutely not an issue. A few pads the last few years were so slippery that after just a few minutes of laying on them, I was well, almost no longer laying on them. This 20d fabric is not slippery. And, while not something that bothers me, but I know it does others, I did not find this sleeping pad to be noisy.
- The pack volume of the Static V Ultra Light was a rather surprise. It came in well below what I was expecting it to be.
- Lastly, regarding the issue of whether it stands out in any major way, I think if a person already owns something like the TaR NeoAir, there is very little reason to buy one of these. If you do not already own the NeoAir, which lets just face it, is the defacto #1 pad of long distance hikers, than the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ is something you should give serious consideration too! It is significantly less expensive, comparatively impressive on the scale, as comfortable as the NeoAir, requires about the same amount of effort to inflate, and did I mention it is significantly less expensive?
The Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ sleeping pad is an impressive pad for the price point of $50 bucks.
I think for those who are on the large/big size and are side sleepers, it might not be an ideal pad, but for those who are either back sleepers and/or on the slimmer/smaller size (be it weight or shoulder/hip width) the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ should be a very appealing new sleeping pad on the market.
While I am now on the slimmer side (after years of weight loss) I still highly prefer a 25″ wide sleeping pad, and am absolutely looking forward to a time when Klymit is able to bring to market a slightly wider version with this significantly lighter weight 20d fabric.
I know some of you are going to be wondering about modifying the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’. As some of us have – myself included – with other Klymit (and even TaR) sleeping pads, the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ is manufactured like all of the other Klymit sleeping pads, that is, with a heat pressure machine. This means that you will easily be able to cut down the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ from the standard 72″ length to something in the shorter range, with the 48″ typically being the sweet spot. Just grab a razor blade or really sharp scissors, cut it to length, grab a cloth iron, and heat pressure seal the seam you cut. Have not done it with mine, but highly tempted to give it a go to make a short little pad.
Regarding inflation, it seems to take me between 14 and 16 breaths to fully inflate the pad. Around what it takes for a NeoAir. Like all these type of air pads, it is usually a good idea to inflate it before going to sleep, and letting it sit for 10 or 20 minutes, and then just before going to bed giving it an extra puff or two of air. This simple step can keep your pad from getting too soft while sleeping.
Where To Buy:
The Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ will be available August 03, 2016 exclusively at massdrop.com
It will be available to buy on this Massdrop page.
Disclaimer: Massdrop sent me the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ and Pillow for testing and review, before they have been brought to market.
The Vargo Titanium BOT has been a favorite within the outdoor community for a few years.
Recently the folks over at Massdrop worked with Vargo Outdoors to introduce a smaller version of the Titanium BOT.
This new, exclusive to Massdrop, Titanium BOT is a 700ml pot, with handles and a lid, and is called the “BOT 700“.
While not all that much lighter in weight than it’s big brother, the BOT 700 makes for an ideal solo hikers all-in-one storage container, cooking pot, water carrier, and anything else that you might want to put into it, and not have it leak out all the goodies inside.
The weight of the pot & lid is 126 grams (4.44 ounces), with the lid hitting the scale at 41 grams and the pot itself at 85 grams.
It has a total capacity of 700 ml (24oz) and is 10.5 cm (4.1 inches) in diameter.
The screw top lid can be turned upside down and used as a lid while cooking — doing this is important because there is a silicone o-ring on the bottom of the lid (which, duh, makes it watertight) and you want to make sure that the silicone o-ring does not come into contact with the fuel flames. So, a good idea if you are using wood for fuel is to probably not use the lid at all.
When I first heard about this being brought to market my comment was something along the lines of “sounds like a great way for long distance hikers to be able to reduce the amount of containers that they carry – the all typical Glad/Ziplock plastic bottles for doing cold soaking, and a cooking pot.”
The way I see my use of this is exactly that. As a mostly no-cook hiker, the ability to have a single container that I can put say, some soup, or cold soak noodles for later in the day, or to throw some oatmeal into it at night for breakfast the next morning, just really appeals to me, as well as having a single container that I can also use to make some hot tea or coffee with, or the very rare days when I want to warm up some food.
In my limited use with the Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot, it has performed very well. The 700ml volume is a bit more than the Evernew EBY-265 that has become a mainstay within the SUL/XUL community the last few years. But it means no more having to carry an additional container to cold soak my oatmeal at night and noodles, beans, whatnot after lunch.
The Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot fits on top of the gold standard of canister stoves, the Snow Peak LiteMax very well. If you have the stove turned up really high you can get flames over the sides of the pot, but not by a lot. Check out the video I have below to see this.
The Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot fits very well on the love crazy-popular BRS-3000T stove without any flames going up the sides of the pot.
The Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot also works very well with the much beloved Zelph Starlyte stove + wire stand.
Boil times with the Snow Peak LiteMax are between 8 and 9 minutes.
Boil times with the BRS-3000T are right at 10 minutes.
Boil times with the Zelph Starlyte are 12-14 minutes.
All of those boil times are with 700ml of water inside the pot.
All in all, these are acceptable times for most hikers.
The handles on the Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot are sturdy and do not feel flimsy or like they are going to pop out. As always, keep the handles separated (not touching each other) when boiling/cooking and you will be able to pick up the pot via the handles without them being OMG crazy hot. That said, the lid can be OMG crazy hot after the water has reached a boil. Word to the wise on that one.
I think the only thing that might get a down score on this pot would be a result of the lid groves at the very top of the pot, on the inside. If you are cooking food inside the pot and it is a bit of a messy dish (say, mac&cheese) trying to get the stuff out of those lid ring/grooves can be troublesome. Now, most of us long distance hikers are just use to pots that are quasi-always-dirty. You thru-hikers know what I am talking about.
Aside from that minor detail, I am thinking that the Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot is going to be a seriously tempting option for thru-hikers, and for all the weekend hikers out there as well, especially if you are like me and usually carry a ‘soaking container’ and a pot with you – that alone justifies giving the Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” Pot a serious bit of consideration for buying.
One nice thing about this being a seal-tight container and with it being titanium is that you can cold soak food in it and not have to worry about mice, raccoons and other night-nuisance creatures getting into your cold-soak food, allowing you to keep it in camp and not wake up in the morning with your food/container gone or eaten into (such as can happen with a PB container). Obviously it is not going to be bear proof, but critter proof, for sure!
Videos with different stoves:
Where to buy:
The Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” is, as of the time of this writing, only available via Massdrop:
Disclaimer: Massdrop supplied me the Vargo/Massdrop “BOT 700” for purposes of testing, before it became available to purchase. Which was really cool of them. Have loved using it!
For reasons I can only explain as “because I wanted to try it” about four months ago I decided to try consuming the pre-made liquid version of Soylent, called “Soylent 2.0“, on a near 100% consumption level, supplemented with some solid food in the form of Greenbelly Bars, bananas, avocados, artichoke hearts, pickles, and whatever fruit I could get my hands on – pears, peaches, plums.
I had already been consuming the powdered version of Soylent, usually a couple of bags per week, for a few years. When the liquid version of Soylent came out I ordered a single box of it, 12 bottles, to see how I would like it. After throwing it into the fridge overnight, the next day I had some for lunch, and I found it to be totally acceptable in flavor and texture.
As a long time user of the powdered versions of Soylent, the idea of having it pre-made, I have to say, excited me more than it probably should have.
I am trying out a new pair of trail sandals, the Unshoes ‘PT Sleek‘ and thought I would post some photos of them. I will also use this post in the future for reviewing the sandals, once I get some usage on them.
I have been a big fan and wearer of the Luna Sandals “Oso” for three years, but somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to go with an over-the-toe style instead of between-the-toe style sandals.
The Unshoes ‘PT Sleek’ is basically the same as their much more popular ‘Pah Tempe’ except it has narrower webbing. That said, the webbing on the PT Sleek is wider than what the Luna sandals have (bummer) so I can only imagine that the Unshoes Pah Tempe must be along the same size webbing as what Teva and such must use.
I went with a 6mm outer and 4mm inner, so I could have as thick of shoe as possible. To compare, the Luna Oso is 11mm thick and it has served me well on trails for the last three years.
The weight of the PT Sleek in the configuration I have them are 165 grams (per sandal), which is 5.82 ounces – not bad for a 10mm sandal, and a smidgen lighter weight than the Oso (185g.)
The last photo shows the Unshoes PT Sleek on my left foot, and the Luna Oso on my right foot.
I do not have any thoughts on them at this point, I just got them. I will update this article once I get some use on them.
It took 10 business days from the time I bought them to them showing up.
Unshoes sandals are hand made in Cedar City, Utah, USA.
Two Week Later Update:
Well after two weeks of trying to get them to fit me correctly, these sandals are just not working out for me. No matter what I have done to try to keep my foot secure, I have just not been able to get them to stay secure on my feet. I have been emailing back and forth with them and nothing seems to work. Because they were taken outside twice (once to take the photos used within this article, and once to take photos that I sent to them to show how I had the straps tightened), with less than 20 feet of walking outside, they deemed them as no longer being “in new condition” and thus would not take them back in exchange for a larger pair without there being a “partial credit toward a new pair” – wow, just wow. So yeah, I will have zero future business with this company.
I am now super happy to announce that the Black Rock Gear Synthetic Beanie is available to buy!
In September of 2015 a conversation between myself and Evan, the owner of Black Rock Gear, started happening about the possibilities of him and I working together to bring to market a synthetic version of the crazy popular Black Rock Gear Down Beanie.
The concept was simple:
keep everything that is awesome about the animal down version of the BRG beanie, but introduce a synthetic insulation version.
The “why?” is simple too:
- it would allow BRG to have another product in their catalog
- because some adventurers find themselves in situations where synthetic gear is of additional benefit
- because some folks have either medical and/or ethical issues regarding animal down products
- because, well, I wanted one as I have switched to using synthetic gear (with exception of feathered friends down booties) and while Evan was able and willing to make a one-off for me, when I posted photos of it, a fair amount of people showed interest in buying one – enough so that Evan/BRG felt it was worth try to bring to market an initial production run of synthetic beanies.
Here are some updates on different gear that I have been using and testing. As previously mentioned in a few different past articles, instead of waiting until I have 200, 500, 1000, or even 1500+ days of use with a specific piece of gear to write up a detailed review, I would instead post minor updates on the gear in shorter durations, so, here are some gear updates.
Hope everybody is having a wonderful May. Crazy that the year is almost halfway gone.
First up is some gear for sale. I have listed all of this gear within the facebook “SUL/XUL Gear Swap” Group, but wanted to post it here for those that do not do facebook.
If you are wanting to buy any of the below gear, please contact me.