Woven Dyneema®: Bombproof, Foolproof, H20Proof Fabric for Outdoor Gear

Coming this August! Hyperlite Mountain Gear to stock Summit Packs, Ice Packs and a brand new 140L Duffel Bag made of 100% woven Dyneema® /non-woven Cuben Fiber laminated fabric. Stay tuned to our social media or emails as we’ll be offering a 15% discount on all Dyneema® products the day of launch only.

Ambassador Angela Wiemeersch.

Ambassador Angela Van Wiemeersch.

When elite ice/alpine climber Angela Van Wiemeersch got her first 100% woven Dyneema®-reinforced Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ice Pack, she didn’t know what to expect. “The friend who gave it to me insisted that I take this pack for my expedition to Alaska,” she says. “I took the challenge, and that three-year-old pack that had already been across the world exceeded my expectations.” Not only did she put up the new route, “Thicker For Thieves,” on Alaska’s Mount Hayes, but she also “dragged it up walls” from Red Rocks to Zion National Park, followed by a season of climbing hard ice. Now one of the company’s ambassadors, she brings a Dyneema® pack on all adventures.

“Dyneema® is practically indestructible,” explains Hyperlite Mountain Gear CEO Mike St. Pierre. “While our existing line of ultralight Cuben Fiber packs are ideal for very active users, the Dyneema® line will better serve the most hardcore athletes who are toughest on their gear.” Dyneema® fibers are stronger than steel and seven times lighter by weight, and they are the fibers from which Cuben Fiber is made. It’s the foundational technology for all Hyperlite Mountain Gear products. But what exactly is Dyneema®? Learn more about Dyneema®!

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Mid-Life Is Wonderful

Photo by  Bayard Russell, a mid in Alaska.

Photo by Bayard Russell, a mid in Alaska.

Chief Washakie and family, 1870 photo by Henry Jackson

Chief Washakie and family, 1870
photo by Henry Jackson

Thanks to our long-time Ambassador and multi-sport adventurer Forrest McCarthy for letting us reprint this excellent historical overview and review of the pyramid tent, aka the “mid tent,” aka the Hyperlite Mountain Gear “UltaMid.” Read our recent interview with Forrest, or check out his blog report on Tasmania’s Overland Track.

History of the Pyramid “Mid” Tent

The basic design of a tipi or mid-style tent has been around for millennia. For good reason: they are easy to set up, remarkably durable, and use space efficiently.

For centuries nomadic people around the world have used the tipi or pyramid style shelters.  Their widespread use by North American Indians, especially on the Great Plains, is well known. Their use (even today) by nomads in Central Asia is lesser known.

For more than a century a variation of this basic tipi design has been used for polar expeditions especially in Antarctica. Known as the Polar Pyramid or “Scott Tent” these tents have proven incredibly sturdy structures designed to withstand winds in excess of 120 miles per hour. Like the traditional tipi, the Polar Pyramid has multiple poles along the walls. Unlike the cylindrical Indian tipi, the Polar Pyramid has a square foot print that requires only four poles—one for each corner.

Read the rest of the article here!

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Stripped Down: Gear Check for Thru Hiking/Backpacking

Mike St. Pierre’s Summer Gear List

HMG's UltaMid pyramid shelter at camp in the Weminuche Wilderness in Southwest Colorado.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s UltaMid pyramid tent at camp in the Weminuche Wilderness in Southwest Colorado.

Photos & text by Mike St. Pierre

Going lightweight (or ultralight) is not just a goal for my backcountry travel; it’s how I live my life. I believe embracing lightweight translates to going further, faster and suffering less in general. Less gear equals more adventure. In terms of outdoor escapades, the first thing I did to lighten my load was address the “Three Heavies”: my pack, shelter and sleeping systems. This article outlines what I take with me on the trail during the warmer months. Plus, I offer some recommendations for stoves, clothes, filters, shoes and more.

Read Mike St. Pierre’s list here.

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Gone Light, Part IV: Bring Your Brain & Other Thru-Hiking Tips

Annie MacWilliams on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Annie MacWilliams on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Stripped Down With Guest Blogger Annie MacWilliams. This is the last in Annie’s blog series of thru-hiking tips & tricks for women.

Bring Your Brain: Really, most backpacking and thru hiking gear is gender neutral–tents, sleeping pads, cook gear, etc. But with each other these items, it’s important that you choose the right gear for you. Your brain is the best piece of gear you can bring, so know everything about your gear before you head out. Learn how to pitch your tent in different ways, in the worst conditions you can practice in. Anyone can pitch a tent in their grassy lawn on a sunny day, but a rocky hillside in sideways freezing rain? I failed that test on the Pacific Crest Trail and ended up getting a new tent shipped to me while on the trail. I needed my gear to work in the worst conditions, and user failure resulted in a very cold and wet night. Can you patch a leaky air mattress? Fix a zipper? Tweak a broken stove? If not, learn how. Read the rest of Annie’s final post!

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Chris Brinlee’s “Brutal” Adventure on The Sierra High Route

Chris Brinlee Jr on the "brutal" Sierra High Route

Chris Brinlee Jr on the “brutal” Sierra High Route

Writer, photographer and adventurer Chris Brinlee recently returned from hiking/climbing the Sierra High Route with Gilberto Gil and Olivia Aguilar. The team used our packs, the Echo II Shelter System and the UltaMid, plus a bunch of stuff sacks. The route, Brinlee says, stretches 200 miles through the Sierra Nevada, and most of it is off-trail. It took them two weeks, and they had to navigate dangerous, unmarked terrain. Of the trip, Brinless says: “Brutal. That’s how I’d describe my experience on the Sierra High Route. Each day was a constant physical and mental barrage. We’d fight as hard as we could to stay on track — but often lagged one pass behind schedule each night; only to make up the time, distance, and elevation early the next morning.” Read his article and check out his stunning photos on Indefinitely Wild.

Gilberto Gil standing in front of his Echo II Shelter System, photo by Chris Brinlee

Gilberto Gil standing in front of his Echo II Shelter System, photo by Chris Brinlee

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Ultralight Backcountry Breakfasts

Mike St. Pierre cooking breakfast in the White Mountains.

Mike St. Pierre cooking breakfast in the White Mountains.

By Max Neale

Starting the day off right is crucial for extended ultralight backpacking, thru hiking or mountaineering adventures. Waking up, your body is deprived of protein and carbohydrates and needs nourishment for the day ahead. Two of my favorite ultralight backcountry breakfasts are hot chocolate oatmeal (ideal for cold weather and slower starts) and energy bars (for hitting the trail quickly). Read the rest of the article here!

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Gone Light, Part III: Safety, Hygiene & Women Hiking Solo

Annie MacWilliams high in the Sierras.

Annie MacWilliams high in the Sierras.

This is the third of four posts from our Stripped Down series, authored by Guest Blogger & Triple Crowner Annie MacWilliams. 

When you break it all down, there are some gear swaps you can make to lighten your load and some skills you can hone in on to better adjust to long-distance treks. But becoming a good thru hiker really comes down to your mental strength. I personally feel females make stronger long-distance hikers due to the ability of a woman’s body to delegate limited resources (think pregnancy). Plus, females tend to have a lower bar for the acceptable level of risk, and we have a higher bar for hygiene.

Read Annie’s latest Stripped Down post!

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Raising the Stakes: How to not lose your tent stakes

An aluminum stake from the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultralight Stake Kits.

An aluminum stake from the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultralight Stake Kits.

Having trouble keeping track of your super ultralightweight stakes in the wilderness? They’re easy to lose. Here are some tips & tricks to keep track of your stakes.

By Steve Graepel

Last summer I spent a chunk of time grinding my way from southern Idaho northbound to Canada. The rhythm of traveling through across varied ecosystems–rivers, deserts, mountains–was cathartic. It was also exhausting! We were going so light, that forgetting even the smallest item could yield punishment 10-fold. Simple tasks became burdensome and we chewed precious time double, triple checking our preflight list.

To cut weight, we chose to bring titanium shepherd hook stakes–nearly 1/2 the weight (and much stronger) than their aluminum counterparts. But we lost one breaking camp after the first night, leaving us to improvise every night thereafter. I’ve since found several options that help me keep track of my stakes. Read the rest of the article here!

Posted on by Steve Graepel / Posted in Gear Tips, Our Gear & Gear We Like | Tagged , , , , ,

Gone Light, Part II: Sleeping Bags & Clothes

Annie Mac thumbs up

Annie Mac thumbs up

This is the second of four posts from our Stripped Down series, authored by Guest Blogger & Triple Crowner Annie MacWilliams. This series targets female thru hikers and backpackers, but most of the info applies equally well to aspiring male hikers. 

As I mentioned in my first post, female solo hikers carry the same things, such as clothes and sleeping bags for backpacking, as their male counterparts. You need shelter, a pack, a cooking kit and stuff to keep you warm and dry. So this series of articles is useful for either gender getting after it in the woods. However, there are some things I recommend to aspiring female thru hikers. After all, women are smaller, they often sleep colder and they can wear dresses in the woods. Read the rest of the article here!

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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite: the best ultralight sleeping pad

Photo by Glenn Charles.

Photo by Glenn Charles.

Editor’s note: We originally published this in 2013, but this timeless sleeping pad is still our favorite! 

By Max Neale

Looking to lighten your load? Check out Therm-a-Rest’s brand new NeoAir XLite sleeping pad. Weighing 12 ounces in regular size, the XLite is 15% lighter and 28% warmer than the original NeoAir. It’s better than all other ultralight inflatable pads, the Klymit Inertia X Frame and Nemo Zor in particular, because it’s warmer, more comfortable, and more versatile. Check out a review of the XLite on Outdoor Gear Lab here. Read the rest of the review here!

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The Best GPS Device (You Already Own It!)

Max Neale GPS use

Aerial imagery is useful for avoiding cliffs and pour-overs in canyon country. Smartphones’ gigantic storage capacity allows you to download imagery and their large screens display imagery much better than traditional GPS units.

Photos & text by Max Neale

Three years ago I was sitting in a white plastic lawn chair in a small, budget-but-delicious Thai restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. A gaggle of young gearheads and I were talking shop—the best this, the worst that, materials, companies, trips, etc. Eventually, someone asked, “What’s your favorite piece of gear?” then added, “And you can’t say your smartphone!”

Why did he exclude the smartphone from my possible responses? Because the smartphone is obviously the single best piece of outdoor gear, especially as a GPS device (and/or as a camera)! Outdoor industry gurus knew this even three years ago. Today, phones and their apps are much better. The greatest improvements for backcountry adventurers are the camera and GPS apps. The latter has greatly enhanced the ease with which I move through a landscape. Read the rest of the article!

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Gone Light, Part I: Thru-Hiking Pack Info For Women

Annie Mac mugThis is the first of four posts from our Stripped Down series, authored by Guest Blogger Annie MacWilliams. This series targets female thru hikers and backpackers, but most of the information applies equally well to aspiring male hikers. A triple-crowner, Annie has nearly 10,000 miles of thru-hiking experience.

Over the course of my colorful career in the woods, I have experienced the sick satisfaction of hefting a pack nearly half my body weight for a wilderness therapy job filled with med kits, wilderness survival tools, radios and 10 liters of water. The mileage was never high, mostly due to the disgruntled participants, but there was a small sense of pride in carrying so much weight. I can almost understand why some people want to prove something by carrying big pack. It makes you stronger, tougher and more eager to get to camp.

On the flip side, when I’m not recreating for a paycheck, I prefer to keep my pack considerably smaller. As a long-distance hiker, I have tallied almost 10,000 miles hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail, along with countless other shorter trails. The lighter the pack, the easier the miles, the more food I can carry, and the less stress I put on my joints and muscles. This seems logical enough; yet every year I see prospective thru-hikers start long trails with behemoth packs towering over their heads, dangles and doodads hanging off every attachment point, and inadequate gear for the environment. Some hikers are resistant to change, as are some non-hikers, but many more are eager to learn about the new technology, skills and hacks to make life easier.

As a female solo hiker, you are essentially carrying the exact same gear as a male hiker, but are more likely to have a smaller frame and less mass to carry that weight. For me, the correct fit on a backpack is critical to carrying weight comfortably. If I have to take these hips hiking with me; I might as well use them for the long term. You must find a pack that rests comfortably on the hips, is the correct length on the spine and has straps that rest comfortably around the chest and shoulders. I know plenty of male hikers who hike without a hip belt because their hips barely flare out enough to be an advantage, but their shoulders, back and neck take a beating. Additionally I have seen many females use a male-specific pack (myself included) that is misaligned with the spine. They subsequently struggle to find a comfortable fit. Load a pack with the weight you expect to carry, and wear it around. Let the weight settle on your hips. We’ve all carried heavy backpacks on our shoulders for a short while and felt fine, but anything longer than a walk home from the school bus is too long.

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The Real Deal: Your Adventures

Greg Hanlon Alaska Packrafting trip

Greg Hanlon recently returned from an incredible adventure through wild Alaska. Check out a full gallery of his awesome packrafting, thru hiking and mountaineering photos below. Thanks Greg!

We love hearing about your big adventures. Please share your photos and stories with us by emailing info@hyperlitemountaingear.com. Also let us know your favorite piece of Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Right now we’ve got friends embarking on numerous backcountry trips, including:

  • David Weinstein and friends are heading to South Greenland to packraft and hike cross country later this summer. David is carrying our 4400 Southwest Pack;
  • British big wall free climber, Leo Houlding, and his climbing partners are packrafting and hiking through Renland in North East Greenland, with the objective of putting up a first ascent of a massive granite formation called the Mirror Wall. They’re using our UltaMid4 and UltaMid4 Insert, the Ultralight Stake Set II, a wide variety of CF8, CF11 and Roll Top Stuff Sacks;
  • Greg Hanlon just returned from a packrafting, mountaineering and thru hiking adventure through the remote Gates of The Arctic National Park and Preserve (see awesome photo gallery below; all pics courtesy of Hanlon). Greg used our 4400 Porter Pack; and
  • Author and adventurer Chris Brinlee Jr., Olivia Aguilar and Gilberto Gil are thru hiking the 210-mile Sierra High Route, which runs loosely parallel to the John Muir Trail, joining it for 28 miles. Chris is using our UltaMid 2, Gilberto is using our Echo II Shelter System, and the whole team has a full assortment of CF8 Stuff Sacks.

Read the rest of the post & see photos here!

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Kurt Ross: The French Route, Mount Hunter

need caption

J.D. Merritt and Kurt Ross tagged the summit of Mt. Hunter after ~52 hours from base camp. “The clouds suddenly cleared, allowing us to descend the West Ridge instead of retracing our steps to rappel the North Buttress.” -Kurt Ross. Photo by J.D. Merritt.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ambassador Kurt Ross recently returned from a mega-successful climbing adventure to the Kahiltna Glacier, Denali National Park, Alaska. Please see Part I to read an overview of the five routes he climbed. Below is his personal report of climbing The French Route on Mount Hunter.

I rappelled to the end of our ropes, slammed in a couple of screws, and yelled, “I’m off!” to my climbing partner, J.D. Merritt. While I threaded our next rappel, the rope didn’t move. I screamed a few more times, pulled aggressively on the lines, then gave up. I slumped onto the slings attaching me to the face and dozed off, as I had done at every other moment where my wakefulness couldn’t help our progress. I was happy for the opportunity to take weight off my feet. Keeping them sealed in soggy boots for the past few days waterlogged my skin, making them feel blistered all over. After an indeterminate amount of time, J.D. buzzed down the rope and we continued.

Somehow, after three full days on the go with only a couple hours of rest, we didn’t feel out of control. Of course we were extremely tired, but we could still think clearly enough to problem solve our way through the terrain. It’s scary to think about how we would have dealt with a bad storm or messy fall, but pushing ourselves this far didn’t feel reckless in the situation as it was.

We were descending the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter after climbing the Garison-Tedeschi (A.K.A. French Route) on the North Buttress of the mountain, a route Mark Westman calls, “the proudest and most intimidating line on the wall.” We decided to try The French Route instead of any other one because we figured it might be more intact than any other line on the face after the long spell of warm temperatures that we’d had on the Kahiltna. The hard-man Slovenians, Luka Lindic and Ales Cesen, also encouraged us; they had climbed the route to the top of the buttress a couple weeks prior. The only real beta we had on route was the finger-point directions that duo had sprayed at us in base camp. Read the rest of the article!

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Killing it on the Kahiltna Glacier: Kurt Ross’ Climbing Report

"We watched another sunset on Mt. Hunter while nearing the top via some beautiful ridge climbing between the cornice bivi and the summit plateau." -Kurt Ross  Photo by J.D. Merritt.

“We watched another sunset on Mt. Hunter while nearing the top via some beautiful ridge climbing between the cornice bivi and the summit plateau.” -Kurt Ross Photo by J.D. Merritt.

This past May Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ambassador Kurt Ross climbed the Southwest Ridge of Mount Francis, the West Face of Kahiltna Queen, an unreported route on the South Face of Peak 12,200, Bacon & Eggs on the Micro-Moonflower, and the French Route on Mount Hunter with various partners. Accustomed to climbing steep technical terrain, Ross says he learned to move efficiently on the “moderate” low angle ice, cracked glaciers, snow ridges presented on all these routes.

“People have only been asking me about the North Buttress of Hunter, but I doubt I would have felt ready to attempt it if I hadn’t bailed off of it twice and climbed those other moderate routes earlier in the trip,” Ross explains. In an 80-hour push, he and J.D. Merritt tagged the summit of Hunter

“The French Route was by far the biggest, most wild and most memorable route that I’ve ever tried,” Ross says. “It was a huge step up for both J.D. and I, requiring every bit of experience and skill that we’ve gained by climbing less committing objectives.” Read the rest of Part I of Kurt Ross’ Alaska Adventure here!

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A Woman in the Woods: First impressions of hiking light

Two months into her hike, Christi “Deva” Holmes finally “Lightened Up!” An avid hiker, Deva embarked on an adventure to hike the AT and, with help from Hyperlite Mountain Gear, she reduced the weight of (and waterproofed) her thru hiking load for the first time. Read a chronicle of her adventures by clicking here.

Deva on the AT.

Deva on the AT.

June 1st was my first day with the new gear. I left Harpers Ferry late, hammering out 30 miles before dark. And the next day, I did 30 more! The first thing I noticed with my new, ultralight Windrider Pack was that my knees stopped aching. Usually when I near the end of big mile days, my knees ache on downhill portions. But on these consecutive days, they didn’t. I slowed to a 17-mile day when I passed the halfway point and entered Pennsylvania because I had to complete in the half gallon challenge. Hikers are encouraged to eat a half gallon of ice cream to celebrate reaching the halfway point. I finished in 23 minutes and will never eat Vanilla Brownie Chunk again. Read the rest of the article here.

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Forrest McCarthy on Simple Living & Wild Adventures

And The Three Principles of Going Light

Forrest McCarthyExploration inspires Forrest McCarthy. A geographer by education, he seeks big adventures in remote, wild landscapes. At one point he learned to rock climb and even guided extensively for Exum Mountain Guides, all so he could fully explore the Teton Range. Then he decided he wanted to travel through the Colorado River Basin and Alaska, and so learning to packraft became a necessity.

“The sports I do are more of a means of traveling through an area than just doing the activity itself,” McCarthy says. In fact, he explains, a lot of adventure sports came into existence simply so that people could check out remote backcountry areas.

“People wanted to explore a landscape, and so utilized the technology that allowed them to do so,” he says. “But as sports matured, people got into the idea of being able to climb or paddle just for the sake of doing those things. Then they looked for places where they could just do those sports.” For example, many ski mountaineers are more focused on skiing couloirs and peaks. And, over the last decade, he says, more whitewater-worthy packrafts have led to boaters seeking out bigger, more technical rapids. Read the rest of the article here!

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Love Paddling? Canoe & Kayak Review Wrap-Up

Canoe & Kayak Mag

Canoe & Kayak mag

Canoe & Kayak magazine published various reviews on our products online and in their print publication late 2014. Stay tuned. More to come. But here’s a wrap-up of what they thought about our UltaMid 2, Echo II Tarp System and the 2400 Southwest Pack.

UltaMid 2

“My experience . . . I don’t always have much time to get shelter over my head. No time to unpack and pitch a tent. No time to find trees and string a tarp. Or no trees. Most of those moments are driven by the undercurrent of desperation as violent squall or windstorm is approaching. And it’s in those conditions that a ‘mid’ shelter is a godsend… The Ultamid is also sweet for shade on a hot desert afternoon (vents at the peak enhance the air flow) or as the tent on trips free of bugs. I’ve even pitched one over passengers in the front of a raft during a sleet storm. The price tag is the main drawback, but the benefits are clear: ease of setup, quality of design, and the ability to sleep two people under a one-pound shelter.”

Read more.

Echo II Tarp System

“The Echo II is made with high performance Cuben fiber fabric with an unmatched strength to weight ratio. They call the Echo series the most technically advanced professional tarps available and I believe it. A three piece modular: tarp, mesh tent and detachable vestibule, handy concept for some, not so much for others who might want it factory integrated, but target market is extreme light and modular provides the option to tailor needs perfectly. Construction is excellent, including military grade hardware. Cuben material is as light as spider spin and way tough: Seriously lightweight at 1.84 lbs complete! Covered space is more than the 4P Hoopla even, but of course, 4P under the Echo are all on their backs. Erects with a kayak paddle.”

Read more.

Southwest Pack

“There’s nothing worse than humping a one-size-fits-all drysack with a couple of questionable shoulder straps across a swampy, mile-long trail. Hyperlite’s pack series offers comfortable suspension systems in three frame sizes, and the lightweight Cuben sailcloth material adds remarkable durability.”

Read more.

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Stuff Sacks for Thru Hikes & Backpacking Trips

Stripped Down with Mike St. Pierre

Mike St. Pierre camping in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Mike St. Pierre camping in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Most backpackers and thru hikers use stuff sacks. And more often than not, they aren’t as light as they could be or as water resistant as they should be. I always consider three key things when choosing my stuff sacks for thru hikes—Do they help me organize my pack? Do they protect my stuff? Are they lightening my load? If a stuff sack doesn’t answer all these questions, I won’t use it.

It’s easy to overuse stuff sacks. I’ve done it. All thru hikers have, especially when they’re just starting out. After all, most outdoor gear you purchase comes with a nice stuff sack. And it feels good to see all your stuff neatly lined up with its own little baggy. But is it necessary? Not likely. Read on…

Posted on by HMG / Posted in From Our Founder, Mike St. Pierre, Gear Tips, Our Gear & Gear We Like, Stripped Down: Lighten Your Load | Tagged , , , , ,

Live With Less; Experience More

KT Miller ski mountaineering in the Grand Tetons.

KT Miller ski mountaineering in the Grand Tetons.

Simplifying can be Scary, but the Rewards are Great, from our Stripped Down series.

Photos and text by KT Miller

It all started after I spent a week skiing with Beau Fredlund outside Cooke City. More literally I followed him around, unsuccessfully trying to keep up. I didn’t know it back then, but that was the beginning of my transformation—a transition from being a passionate backcountry skier to an athlete. At 23, I finally started settling into my body and honing my physical stamina. I also learned, finally, to use efficiency as a tool to compensate for being small.

I had a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ice Pack that I had been using for climbing and absolutely loved, but for some reason I hadn’t even considered using it for backcountry skiing. Instead I used an old go-to pack that had a rear entry zipper I used to access my camera, a separate pocket for my rescue gear (shovel, probe, snow saw), a goggle pocket, a helmet pocket and more. It seemed perfect, but it weighed just under 4 lbs empty. After a few weeks of skiing Beau noticed I had Ice Pack. He had been a Hyperlite Mountain Gear fan and user for years. He picked it up and then picked up my other ski pack. “Why aren’t you using this one?” He asked holding the Ice Pack a little higher. Read the rest of the article.

Posted on by HMG / Posted in Gear Tips, Our Gear & Gear We Like, Our Ambassadors, Women In The Woods | Tagged , , , , , ,