Posts Tagged ‘alpine’
I received word yesterday from the North American Operations of Montbell that I have been accepted as a sponsor of Montbell. This is a very exciting new sponsorship for me. Montbell is one of the leading companies in ultralight hiking gear and to be accepted by them is truly an honor and I want to extend a huge thank you to those involved in this decision at Montbell.
I have never made it any secrete that I have a special place in my hiking heart for Montbell. I have done extensive testing and publication on their gear over the last few years and their gear has continued to stand up to all that I have demanded of it.
One of the most popular articles I have written has been on the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – a truly amazing piece of gear that I have worn for over two thousands miles of hiking. Dozens and dozens of hikers have read my article on these pants and bought them and sent me an email saying thanks, and I have even come across a few hikers on youtube that have mentioned my article when talking about them buying these wind pants. I can honestly say that I have never encountered any other pair of pants I would prefer to be out hiking with… be it sunny and hot, raining like crazy, or even in the snow. These pants have been with me everywhere.
I have also written a Long Term Review: MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Hugger – a sleeping that I have over 250-nights of use with. I recently bought my second U.L. Super Spiral #1 sleeping bag and have been using it over the winter season with a huge smile on my face.
Just before the start of the 2012/2013 winter season I purchased the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka. It has been one of the best parkas I have ever purchased. I acquired mine just before their Mirage Parka came out, so I look forward to giving it a go over the 2013 hiking season. Those I trust the most have been telling me the Mirage is a dream come true jacket for them.
And of course my long time readers know all to well my long standing love with the Tachyon Wind Jacket. It was the wind jacket that introduced me and a lot of other hikers I know to the fact that wind jackets have a serious place in a UL/SUL/XUL hikers backpack. Their new 2013 version has hit the scales at an insane sub 50 gram mark.
When talking with other hikers I have often said that Montbell is one of those rare companies that exist that have given me the means to reach the weight levels that I have over the last few years. As a primarily SUL hiker I have used a lot of gear over the last few years and there are very few pieces of gear that have made it from one season to the next season — and not because I am hard on my gear, far from it, but rather because so much of the gear made today by companies claiming to make SUL gear, have simply not been able to design, develop, test, and bring to market gear that actually meets the needs of my style of hiking. I can truly count the companies that I consider to be top end companies for SUL hiking gear on one hand. Montbell is among them.
To be granted the opportunity to be a sponsor of Montbell is a huge honor for me. I am going to keep using their gear that I have already proven to be solid, test their new gear to see how it holds up, and I will continue to invest the time to write articles where I share my honest thoughts about the gear I use from Montbell. I have never bought a piece of gear from Montbell where after using it I went “Hmm, I wish I had not bought that“. That alone pretty much says it all.
Again, to those of you at Montbell, thank you very much and I look forward to developing a further relationship with Montbell over the years ahead. Continue to strive to make the gear that you make!
Just before the 2012/2013 winter season I placed an order for the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka, one of the best ranked parka’s from gear reviewers that I have encountered in a very long time. It has been rated the #1 or #2 parka for a few years by just about everybody. For the last few years I have been using the Montbell U.L. Down Parka, and it is a great inner parka, but it started loosing its loft and I was looking for something a bit warmer, and the Alpine Light Down Parka really seemed to be the next best option out there.
A fellow hiker, gear reviewer, and friend, Stick, had one that he sent out to me with some other gear that I was wanting to trying (and at the same time, I had sent him a whole bunch of gear he wanted to test that I had) so I had a chance to put it on, give it a try, determine size and fit, and so forth. Here in the Redwoods of Northern California we only have one decent outdoor store and they are not able to do specialty gear such as what Montbell offers, so any chance I can get to try Montbell gear I take, and huge thanks to Stick for letting me try this/his jacket.
I ordered my Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka from Moontrail.Com in size Large.
It is 470 grams (16.57 ounces / 1.036 pounds) total.
The parka itself is 453 grams (15.97 ounces / 0.998 pounds), and the stuff sack is 17 grams.
It uses 30-denier Ballistic nylon material on both the inside and the outside.
It has a wonderful micro-fleece lined collar – a feature I have read other hikers did not like, but I really found this to be nice.
It has the standard hem draw cords for adjustment, which are hidden in the pockets. You can really tighten up this jacket to keep 99.9% of the wind from getting in.
The medium size has 4.3 oz (121 g) of down fill, so I am going to guess that the large that I bought has around 4.5 ounces of down – I just do not know, as Monbell does not seem to include this information anywhere I have looked.
This past weekend myself and a few close friends went on some short hikes. This was my third time out on the trail using the Black Diamond “Alpine Carbon Cork” trekking poles. I have been on the quest for some more durable four season hiking poles, so earlier this year I sent an email out to a few long distance hikers I know, most of them triple crowners, asking what they thought the best four season hiking poles presently on the market are. Much to my surprise all of them that responded said the same thing, these Black Diamond “Alpine Carbon Cork” trekking poles. After doing some further online research about these poles I decided to order myself a pair and see how they would work.
I think it is important, from the very start, for me to say that it is just not fair to compare these hiking poles to the likes of the Gossamer Gear LT4 hiking poles or the Ruta Locura Carbon Fiber Yana Poles as neither of these poles are considered four season hiking poles. Yes they can, and have been used, within four seasons conditions but they are just not designed as four season hiking poles. In all ways the LT4’s and the Yana’s are night and day different in regards to weight and features. Where those two poles, and others in their weight categories, are all about getting hiking poles to be as light as possible, a pair of four season hiking poles are all about providing high shaft durability, easy to use while wearing gloves, and locking mechanisms that are at the very top end of locking systems. So by no means should this review be compared to my reviews of those other two sets of hiking poles. Read the rest of this entry »