Trying some ultralight gear

As a certified (certifiable?) gram-weenie, I’m always looking for lighter gear. One area that can always be made lighter, while hopefully retaining warmth, is sleeping gear. After a lot of thought I ordered a synthetic 45 degree quilt from Mountain Laurel Designs as well as one of their light weight bivy sacks. The bivy sack was both to increase the temperature rating as well as to be more weather proof when using a tarp.

So last weekend I had a chance to try it out during adult scout leader training. (sort of like car camping – so I could have a backup bag in the car).

It worked! more than that it worked very well. I used the etowah designs tarp shown in several other posts. It rained quite hard, and was otherwise blustery, but I was snug and dry. The foot of the bivy was wet on the outside from blowing rain (and my sliding downhill out of the tarp), but I didn’t feel it.

I used a 3/4 length light weight thermorest – because that’s what I had – a full length thing like the neo might be better. I wore my usual sleeping gear (polypro’s plus a hat and warm socks).

The tarp system is adequate for reasonably nice weather, but strong winds and cold rain are probably pushing it. I love the space under a tarp – relative to a smaller shelter like the luna solo, but it isn’t quite as “bomb-proof”. I’ve also ordered a trailstar shelter from MLD, which has just arrived, and will report on that after I’ve tried it.

One thing to remember about ordering from small manufacturers like MLD is to be patient. This gear is “bespoke” gear which means that you can count on a two month lead time. So far it has been worth the wait as it has lived up to my expectations. I will probably take the quilt/bivy to Philmont this summer as it is half the weight and volume of the REI nooksack I took before – while being just as warm if not warmer.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,gear lists,outdoors,scouting |

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