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:

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” ;-)

MLD Announces The Initial Release of a Cuben Fiber TrailStar Shelter!

I just got word about two hours ago that Mountain Laurel Designs has formally announced an initial product release of a cuben fiber version of their hugely popular TrailStar shelter called the Cuben TrailStar!

This is some pretty sweet news for those of us that are SUL hikers because it takes the weight of this tarp (MLD calls it a ‘shelter’, I consider it a tarp, as it is not a fully enclosed “shelter”) from 482 grams (17 ounces) down to 283 grams (10 ounces). Ron Bell, the owner of MLD, noted that if you remove the 10 LineLock 3’s that it has you can save around one ounce, so you could end up with a very sweet 255 gram (9 ounce) tarp!

Online at:

The price on the Cuben Fiber TrailStar is $335 USD.

One of the many awesome features of this tent is that it is made up of five panels of the same length, and each panel is 7 feet long. Hikers around the world have been putting the TrailStar to a test over the last few years and every single report I have read about it says its the most rock solid tarp they have ever seen in the wind – and a lot of reports out there documenting its very strong in snow too!

Here at HikeLighter.Com I prefer to focus on gear that is SUL/XUL in nature, obviously, so it should be safe to say that MLD bringing the TrailStar into the Cuben Fiber world I do not think there are very many SUL hikers out there who are going to argue the fact that this new Cuben Fiber TrailStar is going to be a serious contender in the SUL tarp industry for a rather long time to come!

It is made, like all of the MLD Cuben Fiber tarps/shelters, using 0.74 cuben fiber. The 0.74 CF has been proven to be the sweet spot for tarps – it holds threads very well, it resists water permeation better than the 0.51  cuben fiber. It will last long, will probably never tear if a pine cone lands on top of it (with the possible exception of a Pinus lambertiana cone), and while most SUL hikers have gotten over a need for privacy, the 0.74 provides a little bit more see-through protection than the 0.51 does. Not that that matter of course, right ;)

The TrailStar gives you a whopping 50 sq/ft of space underneath it. The one chance I have had to see a TrailStar I was amazed at the room it provides. Another neat thing about the design is it gives you the ability to really set it up in some unique ways. I remember seeing some photos awhile back of a guy that had setup the TrailStar in some really unique configurations – possible because of the five equal sides. With enough guyline and a tall enough piece of wood you could have this be a raised shelter for a group, or you can put it all the way down to the ground for some serious protection in hard driving rain.

As you can see in the photograph above there is the ability to use one of the five sides as a raised entrance. Just use a second pole or stick and you got yourself a nice entry that can also give you some nice air flow to reduce condensation. Or, close the door for if you find yourself getting pounded by hard wind or driving rain or snow.

All in all, if you are looking for a tarp that will give you a serious amount of room that is under 284 grams (10 ounces) you should be giving this new Cuben Fiber TrailStar a serious about of consideration!

(disclaimer: I do not own this tarp, I was not paid to write this article. This is one uber sweet tarp and thus I am announcing it to my readers!)