John Muir once said, "In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware." To me this really says a lot about being a hiker and writer.
A couple months ago I was up at the Six Moon Designs offices, just South of Portland Oregon. While I was there I had a chance to check out their latest backpack, the ‘Minimalist‘ – and they even allowed me to share a picture of it on my Instagram page.
They asked me if I would like to try one out when they got in stock and I said sure, of course, testing out new packs on the market is something that I love to do. So a few weeks later one showed up at my house. Free of charge, which is always cool. It is super rare for me to accept free gear, but at the same time, there are just so many new packs on the market right now that buying all of them has gotten to be too blasted expensive. Thankfully a few friends have sent me a few backpacks to do some testing with (such as when I did the initial-look of the Pa’lante Simple Pack, and another buddy is sending me his Pa’lante V2 to do the same, woot!) but anyway, yeah, full disclaimer, Six Moon Designs sent me the Minimalist free of charge, and with any obligations beyond reporting directly back to them my thoughts on what I like and did not like.
So onto my insights into the backpack, and down at the bottom of this article will be a video that I did while out on the packs maiden voyage.
The Black Rock Gear “Foldback Mitts” just got released on Massdrop this morning!
Looks like the lowest price is going to be $69.99, if 20 people join, which most likely is going to happen, they are normally $85 bucks.
Looks like this is for the animal down version only.
These things are awesome! I have been wearing BRG Foldback Mitts (both animal down, and more recently the synthetic) for over five years.
My layering approach: Underneath them, put on some PossumDown gloves, and over them put on the Mountain Laurel Designs ‘eVENT Rain Mitts‘. This will give you one awesome cold and wet weather hand protection!
I was recently at the Six Moon Designs office hanging out with them for a couple of days when their shipment of their new 2018 Gatewood Cape finally arrived from whatever port it came from.
After giving their staff some time to get the goodies out of the boxes, they let me grab one of each of the two new color capes and two of the old ones so I could take some side-by-side pictures of the new vs old.
They released this new version of the Gatewood Cape on March 07, 2018.
Below are the pictures – and thanks to the SMD staff for letting me take – and share – these pictures, even before they were released.
Earlier this morning, March 03, 2018, our good friends over at Vargo Outdoors released their second generation ‘ExoTi’ backpack, called the “ExoTi AR2“!
In almost every way the ExoTi AR2 is the backpack that many of us Vargo backpack fans have been waiting for!
The first generation of their “ExoTi” lineup, the ‘ExoTi 50‘, has been a backpack that has gone with me on numerous trips when I was in need of a larger volume backpack.
Of course, before the ExoTi 50 was the ‘Ti-Arc‘, a backpack that was loved by some and questioned by most others. None the less the ‘Ti-Arc’ set the groundwork for a new generation, a new evolution, of the modern day lightweight external frame backpack.
The Ti-Arc had a few initial things that needed to be changed, which Vargo addressed with the ExoTi 50. Now, with a second generation of the ‘ExoTi’, they have once again listened to their customers and made some changes.
A new backpack called the “Minimalist” was just announced. It is, as I am reading things, SMD basically taking their previous, and well-known-to-be-too-damn-heavy backpacks, and getting the weight down to be closer to many of the other comparable backpacks on the market these days… yet still using their ultimate class-defining, and what I feel to be the finest load weight distribution on the market, harness suspension system.
I have been using the Enlightened Equipment ‘Copperfield Wind Shirt’ for a bit over a year. I have been getting questions about it so I thought that I would write up a few brief thoughts about the wind jacket after my first year of use.
I was lucky enough to get mine about 9 or ten months before they hit the market so that I could do pre-release R&D / T&E on the garment. So while mine is slightly different than the current on-the-market version, the changes they have made since I and other testers got ours, have been really nice to see. I think all of the changes that I recommended, with the exception of one, a larger #zipper, made it into the final production version.