Bedding

Closed Cell Foam Pad  Reinvented

Nemo Equipment have ‘reinvented’ the closed cell foam pad. Agreed, it is bulky Well possibly even bulkier – at least than an inflatable) but their new 2 cm thick ‘Switchback’ pad promises much greater comfort still with a very acceptable weight (293 grams in 51″ length and 415 in 72″) and greater durability without the …

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These Down-Filled Quilts are So Light

Filled with hydrophobic down the Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilts start at 272 grams for a 30F/-2C quilt in 5’6” Regular and cost from US229.99 on Massdrop. This would be Della’s size though she would go for a warmer version (20F) at 347 grams which would still save her over 50 grams on the one she …

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Cheap Insulated Pad

US$69.99 (Sept 2018) Paria Outdoors a Texas-based company (Denver) have these excellent mats in stock at almost half the price of a Neoair. ‘The ReCharge UL camping pad is the perfect size (72 x 20 x 2.5 – 189 x 50x 6 cm) and weight (20 ounces – 570 grams) for ultralight backpackers and thru-hikers’. …

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Mac Cat Tarp

If you are looking for a lightweight intelligently designed tarp which will keep you safe and dry in the back country I think you should try one of these. I would probably go for the MacCat Standard Silpro model myself – 285 grams, US$117.95 (including seam sealing – Sept 2018). This low-stretch material which Brian …

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Womens Are Great in Bed:

(US$110.99 Today!) You have probably noticed before how much I have extolled the virtues of Thermarest’s wonderful sleeping pads. I particularly adore this one (the Noeair XLite Womens) as it as light as a feather (340 grams), ‘fits’ me perfectly at 20” x 66” (51 x 168 cm) and is superbly comfortable (moreso I think …

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Thermarest Vesper Quilt

Thermarest have a new down quilt, the Vesper, available soon. It comes in 32F at 15 oz (0C & 428 grams) and 20F at 19 oz (-7C & 542 grams) and  insulated with Nikwax treated down. I would pair one with either their new Uber mat at 8.8 oz (250 grams) for summer or with …

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ThermaRest NeoAir Uberlite

Thermarest has taken up the challenge of Big Agnes 270 gram AXL Air Pad and presented their new offering a 250 gram Uberlite pad at the Outdoor retailer Summer show in Denver. Of course it is also an uninsulated pad and so comes with a R-rating of 2.0 which would be fine for most summer …

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Hands Free Hammock Media Viewer:

The Hangtime Hook: This is a neat little gadget for watching a movie when you are lying back in the wilderness somewhere in your hammock. I can’t say I am so addicted to TV that I do this often, but I have done so a couple of times. It requires a ridgeline, which is a …

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How Warm a Bag or Quilt Do I Need?

I was asked this by a friend of mine who was planning his first overnight hunt (in winter) years ago in an area I often visit too. I have never needed a bag warmer than -1 to -3 C (and weighing just over half a kilo) even though I often sleep out in winter – …

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The Thermal Conductivity of Gases

It appears you can nearly double the R-rating of hiking mats or other gear by filling them with eg CO2 which is cheap and readily available instead of eg air or nitrogen. I can see how this can easily be done eg with closed cell foams, but for an inflatable mat you would either need …

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Pine Down Blanket

Ultralight on a budget. Over at Massdrop they have this interesting 3 season down quilt for just US$99.99 (July 2018). It can be used as a blanket or a quilt due to some interesting innovative features. If you pair it with their Massdrop Klymit Ultralight V Sleeping Pad at only US$59.99 you have a very …

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Exped Synmat HL Winter M

My thanks to reader (Belle) for alerting me to the Exped Synmat HL Winter M (I had overlooked) which weighs 430 grams and has an R-rating of 5.0 at 183 cm long 52 wide (35 cm at the foot) and 9 thick. You do need a 60 gram bag to blow it up, but this …

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AXL Air Down Pad

I am thinking of modifying one of Big Agnes’ AXL Air Pads (by cutting it down say to 5’4″) and adding in approximately 4 ounces of Hyper Dry Down. This should give me a pad which weighs around 360 grams is 4″ thick yet has an R-rating of around 6.0 – so suitable for say …

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No Cold Shoulder Spreader Hammock:

I like the spreader bar on this new hammock from Rei. This would stop that annoying thing where the hammock fabric compresses the insulation of your sleeping bag at shoulder-to-elbow and creates a cold spot. There are several other ways around this eg a wider mat, a pad extender, etc, but I feel that this …

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Massdrop In Stock

Massdrop now have some of their great specials in stock – so you don’t have to wait for a drop. For example, they have the Enlightened Equipment Quilt I recently posted about for US $219.99 (Jun 2018). Their excellent  Fizan compact hiking poles I wrote about here are just US$59.99 a pair. The Massdrop Klymit …

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A Quilt for all Seasons

There is no doubt that a quilt can be lighter, more comfortable, and a lot less inconvenient to enter and exit than a bag. A down quilt can weigh under 500 grams for something which will rate around -10C (providing you have a warm mat), so you can see that you can definitely make one …

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Blizzard Bag

A cheap lightweight reusable waterproof sleeping bag/shelter which will save your life in an emergency. I have had one of these in the bottom of my day pack for over ten years. To date (fortunately) I have never had to use it, though I have come pretty close a number of times. By the same …

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Cold Season Pads:

I have used the Thermarest Neoair Womens for years. It has an (insulation) R-rating of 3.9. I was quite warm enough in it at around zero Celsius with just a Columbia Silver Ridge shirt and trousers and a pair of thin (Holeproof Heroes) wool socks in my – 1C Montbell bag. If it got a …

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Mattresses I have Known:

 I doubt anything else about camping has changed so much as sleeping. When I was a lad I always just slept on the bare ground. As a bit of a sissy, my only concession to comfort was to dig the traditional hip hole (which was derided by tougher-minded types) then maybe lean my head on …

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A Cure for Slippery Mats:

I have just spent a couple of weeks sleeping on my new Big Agnes AXL Air 300 gram mat in Scotland. It is indubitably the most comfortable mat I have ever slept on, but it does suffer from being a tad slippery. I will be taking some of my own advice below. (The dogs as …

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