Kovea Spider @ Massdrop for $35 bucks!!

Massdrop​ has the KOVEA​ ‘Spider’ stove available again – priced at $35 bucks.

Awesome little stove that I have come to understand why everybody has raved about this thing!

If you need a windscreen for it I recommend the Flat Cat Gear ‘Bobcat Kovea Windscreen’ (stainless steel) or a carbon felt windscreen.

Get the Kovea Spider here!

Peak to Plateau, Kailash 1/4 Zip

Peak to Plateau, Kailash Quarter Zip - Front

Back in November of 2016 I posted over on my facebook page about a kickstarter project for a Yak wool baselayer, from the company Peak to Plateau, called the ‘Kailash 1/4 Zip‘.

Being one of the few people in the long distance hiking community, it seems, that has really invested time and money into putting to the test Yak wool garments, it was hard for me to not back this project.

Earlier today the garment showed up. As anybody that has done kickstarter knows, any non-digital kickstarter that shows up, is a good thing, and at five months past the Kickstarter estimated date of delivery, that is something that does not bother me all that much. Small start up companies, trying to get all the cogs in order, working with products (in this case, yak wool) outside the normality, well, they deserve some leniency.

So to get into the specs of this garment…

Continue reading “Peak to Plateau, Kailash 1/4 Zip”

Six Moon Designs (2015) “Fusion 65” Available For Pre-Order

Six Moon Designs (2015)

Hey all, a very brief post/announcement:

I rarely do product announcements via my website (half dozen times at at the most since I started hikelighter)… but the second generation Six Moon Designs “Fusion 65” backpack was just made available for pre-order a few hours ago.

The Fusion 65 backpack has been, without question, the #1 backpack that I have been waiting for – and if you are wondering why, go read my thoughts about it on my “Gear of 2014” article.

I placed an order for mine as soon as I saw it become available.

Selected the “Gray” option with the “S-Curve” Shoulder Yoke!

This is going to be the backpack that goes with me on my Mojave Trail hike later this year – and likely throughout the 2016 hiking season (non sub-2267 gram trips of course).

Anyway, super excited about this backpack being released… just wanted to share the news with everybody.

Head over to: http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/packs/104-2015-fusion-65.html

(updated: Sept 14, 2015)

My backpack has arrived and here is a quick walk-around video of the pack:


Here is an excellent video overview of the 2015 Fusion 50 by Tom Willard:

ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack

ZPacks "Arc Zip" Backpack
ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack

Greetings Hikers,

Very happy to share the news that ZPacks has released the “Arc Zip” backpack, which has been a collaborated design involving myself and Joe Valesko, the owner of ZPacks, since I initially approached him with the idea of working together to build a front panel cuben fiber backpack, back in September of 2012.

The “Arc Zip” is a fully featured backpack that utilizes an old fashion front panel loading design. Simply put, it was time to bring an old school design into the world of new school fabric and modern day lightweight backpacks!

The “Arc Zip” is being offered in three different volume sizes:

A 47L (2,850 cubic inches) weighing only 19.0 ounces (539 grams).

A 54L (3,300 cubic inches) weighing only 19.5 ounces (553 grams).

A 62L (3,800 cubic inches) weighing only 20 ounces (567 grams).

The Arc Zip features a traditional full-U shaped zipper making up the front panel loading pocket. Sitting on top of the front panel is a high volume ‘front pocket’ that is solid fabric giving it a very clean look. Designed without a roll top closure, it uses a top compression system that allows you to compress down the top of your pack as you eat through your food or if you just do not need the extra volume. It features two internal compression straps to help keep your gear in place and give the pack extra durability for those times when you have to carry a lot of gear.

The Arc Zip, like all of the Arc backpacks designed by ZPacks, includes the Patent Pending Flexed Arc carbon fiber frame, solid fabric side pockets (5 Liters / 300 cubic inches), side compression straps, top and bottom straps, hydration ports.

Continue reading “ZPacks “Arc Zip” Backpack”

Mountain Laurel Designs LittleStar

It Has Arrived! The Mountain Laurel Designs LittleStar - the solo version of the TrailStar!
The Mountain Laurel Designs LittleStar!!
The solo version of the MLD TrailStar!

Greetings All,

Here is something a lot of us have been waiting for… the Mountain Laurel Designs LittleStar – the solo version of the crazy popular MLD TrailStar!!

I know I am not alone when I say I am very excited to see shelter hit the market.

The Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar has been one of, if not the, most desired and awarded cottage made shelter over the last few years. Its ability to handle horrific wind conditions has proven to hikers around the world that it is a shelter to be contended with.

For some of us though, we felt the original TrailStar just had to big of a footprint. I know I am not alone in that. Every time I have seen a TrailStar setup I just went “wow, that sucker is huge”. Those of us who have felt that way have been long waiting for MLD to release a smaller version of the shelter, and now they have done so.

Mountain Laurel Designs is stating that the LittleStar has a 15% smaller footprint.

They have also indicated that it “will handle wind as well or better than the larger TrailStar“, which of course makes sense as there is less material for the wind to sit and pound against, due to its 15% smaller size.

Continue reading “Mountain Laurel Designs LittleStar”

Black Rock Gear Introduced Entire Line Of Winter Season Gloves!

An entire new lineup of gloves from Black Rock Gear!
An entire new lineup of gloves from Black Rock Gear! The Fingerless Foldback Mitt, the Expedition Grade Liner Mitt, and the Hybrid Gauntlet Mitt.

Greetings All,

Super excited about this announcement!

One of my sponsors, specifically Black Rock Gear, based out of Seattle, Washington, has just introduced an entire line of winter season down gloves – and these are awesome looking!

Many of you that are BRG fans might remember that they previously had in their product lineup a very sweet pair of undermitts (which most of us have been buying/own) and earlier in 2013 they introduced a pair of gauntlet mitts which have apparently been huge sellers for them!

On August 30, 2013 they will be making available for purchase an entire new catalog of winter glove products for the 2013/2014 winter season – check them out at http://www.blackrockgear.com/mitt_splash.html

In addition to their existing gauntlet mitts, they are introducing a new Expedition Grade Liner Mitt, which they are indicating are the warmest mitts they have ever created, and a pair of Foldback Fingerless mitts, which feature a fingerbox that can be folded back to help you have quick access to your fingers without taking off the entire glove.

Being Black Rock Gear, quality, durability and attention to producing the lightest possible gear, are of course the mainstay of these new gloves.

Continue reading “Black Rock Gear Introduced Entire Line Of Winter Season Gloves!”

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System (SP128)

Sawyer Squeeze & Sawyer Mini - photo credit Brian Green.
Sawyer Squeeze & Sawyer Mini
photo credit @Brian Green (thanks!)

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System (SP128)

Sawyer, the company behind the Squeeze water filter (see my initial review, second review, third review of the Squeeze) have announced they will be releasing a new version of their 0.1 Absolute Micron filter sometime in the 2013 Fall season (Sunday, September 22 through Friday, December 20). Note: It was officially released the fourth week of September 2013.

It will be called the “Sawyer MINI Filter”

It will be within the 2 ounce range. They are not providing much further detail on the weight and what that stated weight includes (caps, label, etc). As it is, the existing Sawyer Squeeze Filter is 63.25 grams (2.231 ounces) without the cap or label, so what exact weight they have reached by doing away with the heavy plastic around the entire unit is totally unknown at this point. We would really have to hope that they have not made it heavier by adding all of the little new stuff to it. It appears they have molded what is presently the “adapter kit” right onto the ends of the filter. IF Sawyer has actually made the MINI heavier by doing this, that is just going to be… well, disappointing. Hopefully they will be at the Outdoor Retailer (summer) next week and somebody there can squeeze out some more information about this (ok, that was a really bad pun, sorry).

Continue reading “Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System (SP128)”

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.

Zia Titanium Pot Supports

Earlier this week I was looking around the BPL website and came across this post posted by Zia-Grill-Guy. He is this awesome guy who makes awesome things with small rods of titanium. Some of you might be familiar with his Titanium Grill – which is the lightest weight grill in the world (TTBOMK) for cooking fish and such on while in the backwoods – it is the same one that BPL use to sell directly from their store. Anyway when I saw the post by him for a titanium pot stand I just had to check it out!

Here are some pictures that were included on his post, check out these awesome little guys:

The one on the left is made of 0.09″ titanium, and the one on the right is made with 0.062″ titanium.

He actually had two different type of materials for linking them together, some silicone tubing set and an aluminum tubing set.

Specs on those ones: Continue reading “Zia Titanium Pot Supports”

Product Announcement: Black Rock Gear HadronS

Hey All,

One of my all-time favorite cottage companies, Black Rock Gear, just notified me that they have released a brand new version of their uber-awesome down filled hat called the “HadronS“!!

It appears that this first run of the hats are only available at the TiGoat website, so check out this new hat at: http://www.titaniumgoat.com/HadronS.html

It appears to be using some sort of waterproof silicone coated SevenDS fabric for the outter material – whereas the normal Hadron uses standard SevenD – which is making it the very first Black Rock Gear down hat they have ever released with this high of a water resistant factor.

I pretty much wear my Hadron 24/7/365 and cannot say enough about these things. I wore my Original until I got my Hadron, the only real difference being that the Original is for a bit colder weather and its a bit lighter. I still pull out my Original when I know its going to be under 40(f).

If I am reading the TiGoat website correctly, it looks like the weight of this new HadronS is around 18 grams for the regular size. That is less than 2 grams heavier than the Hadron, which means you are getting a highly water resistant version for less than 2 grams more weight. This must be some seriously magical silicone coated fabric!!

The Original is priced at $65 at the BRG website and the Hadron is listed at $85 at the BRG and this new one over at TiGoat is priced at $90 bucks.

John B. Abela

(disclaimer: At the time of publication I do not own one of these, I have never seen one of these, I was not paid to write this review… but if somebody wants to buy me one of these I would publicly say “thanks” ;-)