Back in February of 2016 I ordered a Mountain Laurel Designs ‘Core 22L’ backpack for use as my primary summer backpack – it was my first backpack from MLD and it will not be my last – quickly fell in love with this backpack!
The MLD Core is offered in two different volumes, a 22L(1300ci) and a 28L(1700ci) volume – I went with the 22L knowing that I could get all of my gear into it and about three days worth of food. YMMV.
One really has to ask themselves what the targeted market is for a backpack as simple as the MLD Core. Let me try to share my thoughts on that.
It seems it is time for the hiking blogosphere to start posting their “Christmas Lists” – I have already seen three or four just in the last week.
I had an article about 95% of the way written, and decided to delete it and do something different. The idea pop’ed into my brain to write up ‘my favorite piece of gear from my sponsors‘, but the more I thought about that, the more I realized I just could not decide on a single piece of gear from a couple of my sponsors. For instance, I have over 2000 days of use with the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and my absolute love for the Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket would make it impossible for me to pick between the two. (opps, guess I just gave away that companies two favorites, doh!). The same could be said of companies like Six Moon Designs and ZPacks. So I figured the only way I could make this happen is if I picked two pieces of gear from each company that sponsors me!
The Mountain Laurel Designs “FKT Quilt” is a synthetic quilt that is uniquely designed to help fill a niche in the quilt market, with a double layer of insulation on the lower half, and a single layer of insulation on the top half, thereby allowing you to leave at home your insulated leggings and insulated booties, for those colder nights.
I have been using the FKT Quilt since it was released. The idea and concept appealed to me so when it was time to acquire another quilt, something able to be used in warmer weather than the MLD Spirit 28 I have and reviewed, I just had to get one and give it a try. So has the idea/concept worked out for me? What are my thoughts on it?
I posted this over on my facebook page, but I have been getting a lot of people saying they refuse to use facebook and are thus not able to see everything I post, so I will likely be posting more short/brief posts here at hikelighter.com to correspond with posts over on facebook.
The Mountain Laurel Designs “Spirit 28° Quilt“, my first synthetic sleeping quilt, has proven to be an exceptional piece of hiking gear. The quality of build, the attention to details, the type of fabric used, and of course the ClimaShield APEX, all make the Spirit quilt my quilt of choice.
Last year when I decided to make the move away from using goose/duck down products I knew that the selection of synthetic quilts to pick from was going to be small. I also knew that I would not even bother looking. The amount of hikers I truly respect that have given the MLD Spirit quilt the highest praise that can be given, just made the decision for me. I was not disappointed. Exceptional, truly exceptional.
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.
I have been using these rain mitts from Mountain Laurel Designs for a few years and absolutely love them.
There are actually very few rain mittss on the list of UL/SUL rain mits these days. The ones off the top of my head are the Mountain Laurel Designs, eVENT Rain Mitts, the Black Rock Gear Overmitts, and the ZPacks WPBCF Rain Mitts. The Black Rock Gear ones are the lightest ones out there (13.6 grams) but also the ones most prone to suffering damage because of their use of 0.34 cuben fiber and they are also the least breathable ones. The ZPacks WPBCF Rain Mitts are mid-weight (23 grams), and are 100% made from WPB CF so their breathablity is better than the ones from Black Rock Gear, but nowhere near as good as the (36 gram) eVENT ones from Mountain Laurel Designs.
As I have written so many times over the last few years, it is always my goal to go as light as possible, yet also strike a balance between weight and usability. This is one of those times when the additional 10-20 grams of weight are put aside for the fact of usability – specifically breathablity.