Remember your roots, they say. Our roots are in ultralight backpacking. We have spread the gospel about ultralight backpacking since a long time, have interviewed cottage manufacturers and used a lot of ultralight kit on our hikes and treks. And even when I nowadays am attending the big outdoor trade fairs like ISPO and OutDoor, it’s the new gear from the cottages that I am most excited about. And so Benjamin and me again set out to ask Cottage Manufacturers about the new gear they have been developing, prototyping and testing in the last months and are now ready to release to you. So here we are, and we wish you a lot of fun checking out the New Gear from the Cottages 2016!
Disclaimer: The information in this article are directly from the cottages. I haven’t seen nor tested this equipment, it rather is a showcase of all the new gear the cottages have been developing over the last months and year. I’m not paid for it, if you like it buy me a coffee or two.
You have a cottage and should be on this list with your new gear? Email me and I’ll add you!
Tschum is the name of the traditional housings of some Siberian natives, similar to the Lávvu and the Kota, and the name of Germany’s newest cottage. Born from the owners wish for a small two person fire tent, that is light enough to compete with modern trekking tents, he came up with the Tschum 2p. After one year of prototyping and testing, the production started in January 2016. Their tents are completely handmade in Germany. They have a transparent cost structure, and share their designs on their website.
As usual in cottages, every single tent is manufactured one at a time to the customers needs and order. After a final quality control the Tschum is labeled and signed by its creator, so it is possible for you to speak to exactly the person who built your entire tent. You know that means you will have to wait for them doing the job, which normally takes them about four weeks. The „Tschums“ are highly customizable, with many options and materials available - Feel free to ask them for more infos.
We also offer different firebowls and stoves that match the Tschum. And currently they are working on a 4P version and are experimenting with ultralight materials.
I’m sad that I need to share these news about LAUFBURSCHE with you, but Mateusz was diagnosed with cancer and now will go through the difficult and hard process of healing. If you’re pondering about how you could help him in this difficult time please keep an eye on his website and this thread on the Ultraleicht Forum. Backpacks will obviously not be made & sold for the time being, but you could still purchase any of the other ultralight equipment he sells.
Revelate Designs News - coming soon!
And btw, if you love Revelate Designs - they are hiring.
Mountain Laurel Designs
Mountain Laurel Designs has some big things coming in 2016. Mountain Laurel Designs’ new 2016 Pro SilNyon is in stock and shipping. It is 30% stronger, 15% lighter and has 3X the waterproofness vs older versions. The WP is well above 5,000mm and this new coating will dramatically increase overall performance, durability and longevity of our shelters in the harshest conditions.
MLD’s entire pack line is now available in a Cuben Fiber/ Dyneema Composite Fabric option. These packs are lighter weight and are fully taped for waterproofness.
The FKT (Fastest Known Time) gear line is growing and includes a Pack, Quilt, Cuben eVENT Bivy and Shelter. Designed for speed hikes and special Outdoor Missions this equipment is SUL. The Quilt and Bivy are already out and the FKT Bivy won an Award from the TGO magazine. It’s the lightest full-feature waterproof Bivy Sack available. It uses a Dyneema Non-Woven (Cuben Fiber) eVENT top and a Dyneema NonWoven Bottom.
The Quilt is similar to the MLD Spirit Quilt and has 2X the insulation on the lower part for fast moving hikers and runners who pack less lower body daytime insulation but need that at night. And the pack will be similar in size and design to the Burn with new features for fast moving adventures, with a late February Release. The shelter on the other hand is a secret still and should be out in late February or March.
The 2016 SuperMid comes in the new SilNylon with extra guy line points in case you want to take it out in galeforce winds. Also all other MLD Pyramids now have updated larger peak vents. The DuoMid XL, as the SuperMid, has additional guyout points on the main ridgelines for really rough weather. There is also a larger SuperMid Mondo for larger groups because our new stronger silnylon make larger Mids possible. All Mids will also have a snow skirt custom option.
If you like cuben (or whatever Dyneema fancies calling it nowadays) the MLD .75 Cuben Fiber/ Dyneema Composite Fabric shelters now have a color option. The standard light green and the new lower cost .75 white option, with a few shelters also having an even lighter .5 cuben fiber fabric option.
Finally, production changes at MLD means they will offer a much shorter wait times versus previous years! So if you want a FKT bivy for that next trip - give Ron a call!
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Hyperlite Mountain Gear has updated their brand & website. I know there’s some nice new gear in the works, but for now they keep their cards close to the chest!
As Tucas from Spain want you to know that their long awaited ultralight synthetic top, the Sestrals, is almost ready. It is a streamlined design paired with their first-class schoeller-ftc fabric and a toasty Climashield APEX insulation to keep you cozy while outdoors. The top will be available in several styles: jacket, pullover and vest, all of them hooded or hoodless.
After years of working with synthetics As Tucas now also offers down! Their Foratata down quilt is after an extensive field testing period almost ready. Their proven quilt design now comes with 900 cuin pure white goose down to offer unsurpassed warmth and comfort in an ultralight format. Available as a quilt, blanket and in poncho styles. Register to get notified as soon as they are ready!
Also new in 2016 are improved designs and a Women’s fit. Most of thier product collections will be revamped in Spring with improved designs and Women’s fit, including their merino wool and insulated garment collections. And because As Tucas likes MYOG, they will make available some of the finest materials currently available, including fabrics and insulation for you to buy and sew your own garments!
Tarptent now offers a two-person version of the ProTrail, the MoTrail, which offers 44% more floor space and noticeably more headroom for you to sit in. It is fully rectangular and the floor fits two wide pads and sleeps two in comfort, even allowing for sleeping with head at the low end. And the Scarp 1 gets a much larger interior and a stiffer 9 mm pole.
HANCHOR is planning to release 3 backpacks with their Two-track suspension system, a minimalist small backpack, and all new built-in chalk sock chalk bag and chalk bucket.
The Two Track Suspension in a Nutshell: The Shoulder straps connect all the way to the back creating a ventilated back panel and providing basic support for a frame less mode in a weight saving way. Two vertical and one lateral aluminum stay can be inserted to stay in the same piece of back panel and add the stability of the suspension system in a weight saving way.
New is the Xeno Ultralight open basket backpack. Think ULA Epic gone lightweight. It is 741 g with the removable hipbelt and sternum strap, the vertical aluminum and lateral aluminum stays add 114 g and 31 g respecively. It is made from TPU laminated Cordura 420d, Cordura 100d and Xpac vx21, has 50 l volume and the Two-Track ventilated suspension system. 2 long daisy chains and two gear loops on the hip belt let you strap on kit, and it is compatible with a dry bag up to 50 l so you can separate your kit. A durable mesh fabric at bottom drains water, which makes the Xeno well-suited for for river climbing, canyoneering, and wet weather condition climbing or backpacking.
The Flint is a simple-designed ultralight climbing backpack with 42 l Volume and is made from Xpac vx21 and Cordura 100d. Again the Two-Track ventilated suspension system is along, which makes this pack 866 g light with the removable hipbelt and sternum strap. And again the vertical aluminum and lateral aluminum stays add 114 g and 31 g respecively, with two long daisy chains, two gear loops on the hip belt and two axe loops to store equipment. The roll-top closure and compression straps help to compress the volume, and the bottom seam binding make this pack easily stand on the ground.
Trail Designs introduced their Caldera Sidewinder Solo last autumn, a budget friendly version of their popular Ti-Tri Sidewinder which has everything you need bundled together including the pot! It includes the patented Caldera Cone, KMart/ Stanco 1.1 liter Grease pot with a formed cone ridge, the 12-10 stove with integrated primer pan, a fuel bottle kit with measuring cup, a Tyvek sleeve to protect your pot, lightweight pot gripper, and a nylon stuff sack to hold it all - all for just $55!
Black Rock Gear
Black Rock Gear hopes to get the first run of Synthetic fill beanies and foldback mitts out soon. Hats and mitts that looks similar to the Black Hat and Black foldback mitts should pop up in their shop during March, so keep an eye out for it if you need something toasty that is not down.
Warbonnet Outdoors has a few cool pieces of kit in the making that they hope to have out later this year: A full-length underquilt for the Blackbird and Blackbird XLC models, a lightweight packable rain jacket made from their tarp fabric and their own custom camo pattern option for all their fabrics!
Enlightened Equipment is in the process of moving to a huge new facility, and once that is done they will have a full time product development team to dream up new ways to sleep toasty warm.
Additionally they recently added 950fp down as an option for all down quilt options. As you know, that is a great choice for those who need the smallest possible pack size (bikepackers love the compressibility!) and lowest weight, and they are also offering DownTek™ water repellent down as an additional protection against moisture.
Recently launched is the Convert. The quilt sizes up the award-winning Revelation, adds a full-length draft-blocked zipper and is sized up to allow a very spacious sleeping bag/ quilt hybrid that is very comfortable, especially for side and stomach sleepers. The drawcord footbox makes adapting to warmer weather quick and simple, and if it’s warmer still, just unzip it all the way and use it as a flat blanket.
Katabatic Gear added a new line of sleeping bags which they are very excited about. Their customers demanded a blanket-style quilt and so they delivered: The Flex Series, which is available in 40°, 30°, 22°, and 15° options, as well as five different sizes. The Flex quilts are designed with the award-winning features you have come to expect from them, like the Katabatic attachment system, a down filled collar and draft blocking foot box closure which guards from the cold. But when you need some ventilation, the zippered foot box allows you to completely open the quilt up to a blanket, which makes for a truly flexible sleep system.
In the Tent world they have a new Tent - the Redliff - coming out, which is essentially a larger Cimarron, and there also we will be some lighter weight tarps for 1 - 2 people and some updates to the inners.
The Packrafting Store remains dedicated to the concept of amphibious travel and in 2016 you will see further diversification and the new accessories from them and Anfibio.
First off is their Anfibio Ultimate in a Multi version, the lightest collapsible canoeing paddle around at ~470 g.
If you look for an affordable paddle, take a look at the new Anfibio Basic 4p which proofs that the entry to Packrafting does not need to be expensive!
As ultralight backpackers we know that small items make the difference. The Packrafting Store offers a variety of alternative grab loops, that allow tailoring your packraft.
And if you follow packrafters on Twitter you probably have seen that packrafting goes fishing. The Packrafting Store now carry packraft specific fishing accessories, starting off with a Floating Fishing Net and a Rod holder.
Most interesting will be the new boats - from Ultralight to Whitewater - as well as new colors (Adventure X2 in Luminous red!) that will be available soon. You can find all that in their New section, and check out their 4th anniversary specials!
Last but not least, we support Hendrik’s #NoGearYear initiative and hold our rental program ready :) Don’t forget we carry most replacement part for all types of packrafts as well as repair supplies and workshop service to maintain your existing gear.
Finally, if you want to go packraft in Africa - take a look at their new destinations page!
Elemental Horizons has some pretty exciting stuff in store for 2016. They are planning the launch of several new products, including a roll top version of the popular Aduro SL pack and an all new day pack in the 20 - 25 l range. These new packs will be available late spring or summer 2016. In the past fall they launched a new shoulder strap water bottle holder. The shoulder strap bottle holder is the perfect size to hold most 20 oz. standard drink bottles, has a draw string closure and has a built in stash pocket on the front to hold small items like chap stick, bug spray or a smartphone. The bottle holder mounts easily to just about any pack shoulder strap and sells for $18.
Tread Lite Gear
Tread Lite Gear is a new cottage out of the United Kingdom, and a search for Tread Lite Gear on ebay should get you to their items. Cuben stuff sacks and wallets, MYOG fabrics and materials and other ultralight gear you can find there, so have a look.
YAMA Mountain Gear
YAMA Mountain Gear has relocated into a larger space in the Appalachian Trail Town of Waynesboro, Virginia. The are now next to the backpackers’ camp where AT hikers stay while they resupply in town! YAMA has also welcomed PCT thru-hiker Greg Arpante to their team to assist with design and fabrication. Gen and Greg are working hard to introduce a new line of backpacks and fastpacking packs, a 1-person version of the Swiftline shelter, and more. Soon they also hope to launch the “YAMA Labs” as a way to foster product development; which is partly a behind the scenes look at product development and partly a demo and testing opportunity. Cool!
GooseFeet Gear has finally officially released their custom down pants! These down pants are custom sized for every customer and use the lightest 10d fabrics available. You can also add such options as box baffling and side zippers to get exactly what you are looking for, and if there are any additional options that you would want, Ben can usually accommodate those as well!
Six Moon Designs
Six Moon Designs has a revamped pack line up which has gone online a few months ago. With these packs they’ve done a lot of fine tuning based upon user feedback and so far all the changes have been well received. SMD has also added a new pack to the lineup, the Flex, which provides a lot of flexibility for those carrying odd loads. Ron want you to know that there won’t be big changes in the shelters for the coming year.
QiWiz UL Gear is best known for their titanium cathole trowels, but also make and sell titanium wood burning stoves, ultralight buck saws, titanium spatulas, and other ultralight cooking options.
Rob’s biggest news for 2016 is that he is no longer a one-person operation. After the last 4 years of rapid growth, demand for the Big Dig and other sizes of titanium cathole trowels has gotten to the point that he has hired a member of his backpacking club to help me with production.
A nice design improvement for the FireFly ultralight titanium wood burning stoves has recently been introduced. They have added a vertical crease in the top half of each stove side for a 3-D shape that adds greater strength with no weight penalty. Rob is really happy that he has even been able to do this with the FlexPort side that allows the user to feed longer sticks into the firebox. The pictures below show the new creased sides next to the previous design that was flat.
Locus Gear will possibly release a modified version of their popular Khufu CTF3 called Khufu CTF3-B this spring or early summer. As Jotaro is still testing it no exact release date has been decided yet. The shape itself is almost the same as the normal version of the Khufu CTF3, but as you can notice ,there is a letter “B” at the end of the name - which stands for advanced bonding technique so that there is no seam line at the main structure except around the zipper. Even the seam line around the zipper is taped over by the same bonding technique as an additional reinforcement. This all means you don’t have to apply seam sealing. Additionally there is a modified air vent and more new innovations in this shelter, so keep an eye out for it!
Secondly, Locus Gear will release a new foam sleeping mat called “Onda” in the spring. The mat has a patented unique waved foam surface combined with a thin flat foam base. The weight is about 250 g in the size of 180 cm x 50 cm x 1 cm!
ZPacks offers a freestanding modification to their Duplex tent for a while, the Duplex Flex Tent. Some “beta” customers have taken it outside already and have provided feedback thus far. Additionally, ZPAcks has moved to a larger building (again) in November and have been hiring a bunch of seamsters to help them meet demand this spring!
KS ultralight gear
Cottage Manufacturers are busy people - some are just now out hiking, other’s are finishing up your gear. That’s why not every cottage is on this list. It’s a living document, though, and likely will be updated a couple of times during the next few weeks while more companies are added. Either check back at the end of the week or follow along on Facebook and Twitter where I will announce updates. And to read this article in German, head over to hrXXLight!
And if you liked this article, buy me a cup of coffee or two =)