Cottage Updates: November 2012

Greetings Hikers!

First of November, wow. Thus ends another hiking season for me. A huge thank you to all that have supported me over the 2012 year – with a special thanks to the cottage companies that provided me so many unique, hand man, crazy light weight gear!

It has been awhile since I have done a cottage update and I have seen a few new updates from a few different companies so I figured I should put together another cottage update article! By no means an all-encompassing list, just a few things I have seen and thought I would pass along.

Black Rock Gear – They have put together a very limited run of a “Skittle Green” of their hat that is crazy bright green! BRG has also added a new version to their lineup called the “Nobul” If you are a fan of their Hadron and need something warmer, this could fit the bill.

Bearikade – Wow! A major update to their website has taken place!! Very very nice website. I was just browsing through their website and noticed they linked to a video I did a long time ago.

BushBuddy – It looks like the BushBudy Ultra is back in stock. Seems like every time I went to buy one they were not in stock.

Enlightened Equipment – Word on the street is that EE has started getting a lot of their back orders shipped out. Very good news!!

Klymit – I had somebody send me an email saying that Klymit was perhaps making a down-filled version of their “Static V” sleeping pad. I attempted to confirm this with the guys at Klymit but it appears that their kickstarter product is going so well they are no longer responding to requests about gear. Or, it could just be I have asked a few times to many for a T&E of their vest. Regardless, taking the Static V and throwing some insulation in it could be a rather interesting, albeit heavy, direction for Klymit.

Gossamer Gear – Looks like they have all of their primary backpacks back in stock including their “Murmur” which I reviewed awhile back.

HyperLite Mountain Gear – They have released a crazy amount of backpacks this year. I picked up their “Stuff Pack” a while back to see if I could use it as a summer XUL backpack.

LiteTrail – Just got a message that their updated Ti cooking system is now back in stock. There was a lively discussion over at BPL about their original setup having a non-tray winged esbit stove/stand. So they went and ordered up some with trays. They also custom ordered the stands with a concave to support the pot better – very nice move!! At ~83 grams this is one very sweet esbit setup!

MinibullDesign – Tinny has released a very interesting new lid called the “Gravity Cap” that I very much want to pick up for my new Squirrel Cages.

Mountain Laurel Designs – (post-publication update) MLD on Nov 13, 2012 made the following  announcement on facebook: “About two months ago we invested is a new foam for our pack straps and hipbelts. We spec’ed it and had it made for us… It is over 35% thicker than the previous foam. It is a lot more cush and rebounds faster, basically better at forming to fit your hips and shoulder bones without pressure. it will also last longer than the old foam. We even had to modify sewing machines to handle the increased thickness. It is the very best! … The new foam has been shipping in all packs for about 2 months now. In the whole pack {it adds} maybe + .3oz

Six Moon Designs – Awesome things going on over at SMD. Two nights ago they updated their website with this message, “Thanks to many of you, we’ve had an enormously successful 2012 season. As a result we’ve had to up production significantly. We expect to finish the products currently in the production queue by the end of November. At that time we’ll start up the Cuben Haven’s and Skyscape X’s. I apologize for the delay. However, we are working hard on solutions that should minimize delays between Cuben Fiber product runs in the future.” As a huge fan of the Skyscape X (I have bought two of them, read my review) it is really awesome to hear that word is getting out about these amazing shelters! SMD is ran by one of the best guys in the business. If Ron says he is working hard on solutions, you can absolutely guarantee it that he is! Check out this awesome video of how they are cutting the cuben fiber for their shelters!

ULA – In a move that shocks me, ULA has announced that they are now making backpacks in “Realtree Advantage Max and Realtree WP, also Marpat Woodland“.

QiWiz – Our good buddy over at QiWiz is continueing to evolve his FireFly wood burning stove. If you have a larger pot, this is a nice little wood burner.

Zelph Stoveworks – My favorite bear can pot looks to be back in stock. The “Zelph 2 cup flatbottom pot” is my favorite bear pot/cup/whatever of all times!

ZPacks – It appears that they have pulled their “Exo” from their backpack line-up due to the advancement in design of their “Arc Blast“, which I have finally ordered to see how it might work for a long distance thru-hike. ZPacks has also, recently, started offering their hybrid cuben fiber in a white material, in addition to their original tan. I have seen a whole lot of guys giving a huge thumbs-up for this white material. ZPacks, like a few others, are now also offering water resistant down within their hoodless sleeping bags.

Biggest news:  Simblissity is back!!! I honestly had all but given up hope that he was going to get back into making gear. Whatever changed, this is very awesome news! Those of us who are huge LevaGaiter fans can now rejoice and restock!! The unquestionable best gaiters I have ever used!

Everynew Water Bags: Everybody can just give up trying to find these. I have contacted every company I know that sells these things to see if they have any hiding in a back room and when they will be getting some more in. Everybody said they did not have any and only one person gave me a possible date that they will be back in stock here in the USA, and that is around March of 2013. It appears that myself and the two or three other hikers that discovered they work really well on the Sawyer Squeeze resulted in a massive move by hikers to buy them. I know of three suppliers that sold out all of their bags (including the largest supplier in the USA) within 72 hours after I posted my last article about them.

Speaking of which, Steve the owner of Suluk46 sent me an email that he is on vacation. Opps!! I try really really hard to never write an article when I know a company is going to be closed or when the guy making the custom gear is on vacation. With my recent review of the Suluk46 Ti Stove, it appears I failed to drop Steve an email before I hit the publish button. Sorry folks! The good news is that Steve said there were “a TON of orders”. I have no idea how many that is, he said he would drop me an email when it gets back from vacation with further details, but yet again, all of you out there reading my articles are doing your part to help the cottage hiking companies!!

Totally not new, and totally not SUL, but a product I saw at my favorite  local outdoor store and I just had to try it, and freaking fell in love with it… the “Grand Trunks Micro Stool“. Ten ounces, but wowzer comfortable, even for my big butt.

Anyway folks, this is probably the last cottage update until January when the Winter OR show happens and we get to see some new gear being released!


November 13, 2012 -- Updated section on MLD after an announcement from the owner of
MLD that they updated their foam padding within their backpacks.

12 thoughts on “Cottage Updates: November 2012

  1. Thanks for the roundup, John! Your articles have really become a go-to source for me. I now have a BRG hat, a ZPacks Hexamid Solo, a Suluk46 windscreen, a Sawyer Squeeze, and I even managed to find some Evernew bags! You’ve cost me a lot of money!

    1. Haha! Same here! I think John might be working for the government to help the economy! Last year I discovered this site and and made some purchases based off his recommendations. I’m at 6 lbs base weight and COMFORTABLE with full rain/weather protection, all essentials, NEO Air large, down sleeping bag with NO tarp, I actually have a tent. Well anyways, next year I’ll be doing the JMT in 9 days and my goal is to shave another 1-1.5 pounds to be SUB 5 lbs! Based on John’s articles, I’ll be able to accomplish this by investing $1,400 dollars.John, thanks for emptying my bank account but also for making my backpacking more and more comfortable! I TRULY think I can get to under 5 lbs without sacrifizing comfort, that’s the key.

      1. Hey guys, thanks a bunch for the comments. It is always nice to know folks are finding value in some of the gear that I have found to be exceptional hiking gear. I am sure that the cottage companies out there are thankful for your purchases – and of course you guys are buying some top-notch gear to go hiking with!

    2. “ULA – In a move that shocks me, ULA has announced that they are now making backpacks in “Realtree Advantage Max and Realtree WP, also Marpat Woodland”
      Why shocking? Those of us who also hunt are always looking for ways to lighten our loads as well.

      1. Hey Mike, I think you are reading my comments in a negative manner, which would be wrong. What shocks me is that ULA has enough hunters buying their backpacks that they are able to invest the rather big bucks into purchasing the Realtree material – it is not a cheap investment.

  2. I am a HH trying to work into UL and I appreciate all of your insight and experience that you share. I am gradually testing and buy new gear to see what works best for me.

    FYI … Shhh this is a secret, but has all sizes of Evernew Water Bottles in stock. I just ordered the 600, 900 and 1.5L last night.

      1. I called Great Outdoors Depot yesterday about my shipment and they said the Evernew water bottles are on back order for a couple of months. Sorry for the bad information. I guess I’m in the same boat as everyone else.

  3. John, surprised you didn’t mention the BackCountry Boiler by Devin Montgomery. I finally received mine today and plan to use it on a backpacking trip to Point Reyes on veteran’s day weekend. I understand you had some issues with his start-up program though.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, even though I am not a true ultra-light backpacker, I enjoy your blog, like your writing style, and respect your opinion on gear. I will definitely check out that hat by Black Rock Gear, after all, I am Irish–Slainte!

    1. Hey Bird Legs, putting aside my issues with the BBB kickstarter project, I do not mention that product within HikeLighter because I do not see how an 8-ounce stove is considered a SUL/XUL cooking system. There are a half-dozen to maybe a dozen 5 ounce, and lighter, wood burning stoves on the market that perform just fine. SparkMade is a cottage company, but like many other cottage companies, they product gear that is heavier than what I feel should be focused on within the HL website. Another such example would be the fact that I use to love buying gear from warbonnetoutdoors, but from a sul/xul perspective, the gear that they make just does not really fall into the category of what hikelighter is focused on.

      1. Good point John, I understand what you are saying. Sometimes I forget the SUL/XUL focus of your site. Keep up the good work in any case!

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