Trail Days

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The ambassador team at Trail Days

The Trail Days Ambassadors: (L to R) Porter Laclair, Annie MacWilliams, Angela VanWiemeersch and Brian Threlkeld.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear recruited a variety of expert thru-hiker and/or multi-sport adventurers to work the Trail Days 2015 booth alongside our President and Founder Mike St. Pierre. Between them, they have hiked, climbed, rafted or otherwise traveled through the backcountry tens of thousands of miles. In this year’s wrap-up blog post these athletes reflect on the importance of events like Trail Days. Check out a full album of Trail Days photos on our Facebook page.

According to Mike St. Pierre, first and foremost, Trail Days offers outdoor adventurers and thru-hikers the opportunity to see the most groundbreaking gear in the industry.

“All innovation is coming out of small companies like Hyperlite Mountain Gear and many of the other brands represented at Trail Days,” he explained. “You can’t find these products at REI and other big box stores. People who are truly active are starting these businesses; they need cutting-edge gear for their adventures, and so they are making what they need.” Read the rest of the Trail Days wrap up.

Mids Make Going Light Easy

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Text by Roger Brown, guest blogger. Check out his website. He wrote a fine piece on pyramid tents (aka “mids”) that we recently discovered, and so we asked him to write one for our blog. Thanks Roger.

I have spent the last five summers hiking in the open treeless plains and mountains of Lapland, Finland. Two experiences led me to the conclusion that mids are the right option for me. First, I used a GoLite SL2 on an 18-day trip along the Nordkalotteleden in 2011. One evening as the wind began to increase and rain rapidly approached, I found a spot to pitch the shelter. Quickly, I had it pegged down and I crawled inside, extending the poles as the rain increased in intensity. It was then that I realized the benefits of a mid compared to a framed (or hooped) shelter.

Read the rest of the article here!

Trail Magic: Tales of a Trail Weenie, Part II

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Lizzy first day out on her Appalachian Trail backpacking trip

Lizzy’s first day out on her AT backpacking trip

Photos & text by Lizzy Scully

Hyperlite Mountain Gear sent their marketing manager, Lizzy Scully, on a backpacking trip the week before Trail Days 2015. She met at least a 100 people and learned a bit about the thru-hiking culture. This is her wrap-up story from that trip. Read our Trail Days 2015 Wrap Up. Check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.

I hiked 75 miles in six days along the Appalachian Trail from US 19E to Damascus. And I’m psyched. I honestly never imagined I’d backpack that many miles. It’s just a small fraction of a hike compared to what most folks I met had done or were planning on doing. Though more than half weren’t actually hiking the entire AT, they still had already travelled 300 miles, 500 miles, 570 miles, or were planning on doing the full 2,189 (apparently that’s the official number this year, and it changes every year). Read the rest of the article here!

Why You Won’t Freeze or Starve Going Ultralight

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going Ultralight doesn't mean freezing your butt off or starving

Going ultralight doesn’t mean freezing your butt off or starving.

Stripped Down with By Mike St. Pierre

People new to thru hiking and backpacking often don’t realize they need far less than what they think or what their local big box outdoor store salesperson tells them they need. They base what they bring on their fears. Don’t fall into this trap. Understanding what you need is the secret to knowing what you don’t. You absolutely need something to sleep on, to sleep in and to sleep under. Plus you need insulating layers, waterproof layers, some kind of water treatment, a knife, a headlamp and the right kind of food at the right time. Anything else is gravy. I’m not saying you must leave your nonessential, favorite items behind; I simply recommend you strip down to the bare essentials, and then rebuild your list from there with your wants.

These are some common fears or questions we’ve heard over the years:

  • How warm is that tent?
  • I’d better bring 2 layers of fleece in case I get cold!
  • What if I don’t have enough food?
  • I need a stove to cook.

These fears are misplaced, and here’s why.
Read the rest of the article here.

Tales of a Trail Weenie

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By Lizzy Scully

Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s new Marketing Manager is heading out on her first, long (seven days) backpacking adventure the week before Trail Days 2015. A long-time rock climber, hiking long distances is totally new to her. Follow her adventures on Instagram or on our blog.

We used the UltaMid as our mess tent at basecamp, Torsukkatak Fjord, Greenland.

The UltaMid at basecamp.

I embarked on my very first backpacking adventure at 18, while volunteering at Grafton Notch State Park, Maine. I planned to trek four days on the Appalachian Trail, with a goal of hitting Mahoosuc Notch and hiking into Grafton. I don’t remember where I started or how many miles I hiked. All I remember is I wanted to hike the “toughest mile” of the AT. My first day in I could barely stand up (remember Cheryl Strayed in “Wild” trying to put her pack on in the hotel; that was me). My pack was so freakin’ heavy; weight just wasn’t something I had thought about. I packed for every possible variable. What if a glass jar of peanut butter wasn’t enough? I’d better bring two. Since I didn’t have a stove, I guessed I should bring cans of soup, right? And I needed at least a change of clothes per day so I wouldn’t stink so badly. Books, steel flashlight, big cotton sleeping bag… I had it all. I unloaded most of my food at the first shelter (two miles in), at which point I made a bunch of ragged, skinny, starved-looking hikers very happy. But, I had to carry the rest of the stuff the whole way back to Grafton Notch. Read the rest of the blog post.

Going Light: The Evolution of Lightweight Gear

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The Philosophy of Going Light, Part III, is part of our Stripped Down Series

Photo courtesy of Sarek National Park, Sweden, Packrafting.

Photo courtesy of Sarek National Park, Sweden, Packrafting.

By Max Neale

Though going light doesn’t mean just buying lightweight gear, this is still key to your safe and fun adventure. The two most important things to consider when buying high-quality gear are adaptability and durability. Maximize your return on investment by buying a few very good products that are multi-useful and sturdy.

Adaptability is the capacity of a product to adjust to a wide range of activities and/or environmental conditions. Gear that is adaptable is a good value because one single item can perform many different roles. Adaptability is a key component of Hyperlite Mountain Gear product design. For example, our Southwest ultralight backpack performs very well for all types of backpacking and also for high altitude mountaineering at very high altitudes, such as on K2 or Mount Everest. Another example is our UltaMid Cuben Fiber shelter, a four-season fortress for everything from summer backpacking to ski touring, to basecamp cook tent.

Durability is the second most important component of high quality outdoor gear because:

  1. The best value products are those that last the longest;
  2. Durability equals dependability.

Having something fail out in the backcountry sucks and can be dangerous. Durability should be a key consideration for any company or individual making gear. For example, at Hyperlite Mountain Gear, we choose materials that strike the ideal balance between weight savings and longevity. For example, though still very light, our shelters are made out of a more durable Cuben Fiber than some of our competitors. So while they may be slightly heavier, they are more burly. We make great efforts to reinforce key areas, like the top of the UltaMid, the bottom of backpacks, and the tieouts on all shelters. We also offer products in different materials so that you can choose the optimal one for your needs.

In our next issue of Stripped Down we’ll explore why going light doesn’t mean freezing your butt off or putting yourself in dangerous positions.

Going Light Part III

We don’t recommend you regularly carry large logs on your back. Photo by Nick Truax

Bug Off! UltaMid Mesh Inserts

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We've got 'em: UltaMid Mesh Inserts :)

We’ve got ’em: UltaMid Mesh Inserts :)

In the end we regret only the mesh we didn’t take…

If you follow us on social media you probably already heard the news that we launched UltaMid Inserts for our 2- and 4-person mids. You can get them with a 100% waterproof Cuben Fiber bathtub floor or without. Either way, you’ll get that added bug protection that you didn’t have using the mid on its own. We used to advertise the mids as a three-season shelter—Fall, Winter, Spring. But it’s a bonafide four-season shelter now. No matter where you are—the Northeast during black fly season or the farthest southern reaches of mosquito-infested Greenland—you won’t have to worry about bugs. And, if the weather is super nice in the summer, you can use set up the Insert (with floor) on its own. Read the rest of the post here!

Going Light: Not Just About Buying Lighter Gear

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The Philosophy of Going Light, part II, is part of our Stripped Down Series


By Max Neale, photos by Nick Truax (unless otherwise noted)

Continued from Going Light, Part I. Going light is about more than just buying light gear. Take a systemic approach to going light. Consider information available, your skills and your gear.

Whether your objective is to lighten your load for more comfortable hiking, reduce your pack weight for a long-distance hike, or prepare for the most challenging alpine climb of your life, a lightweight approach can have tremendous long-term benefits. With good information, skill and high quality gear, you can engage in more enjoyable and more rewarding outdoor adventures. Read more about the key tips now!

Black Cuben Fiber: Because Color Weighs Too Much

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What do you expect from a company that makes #WhitePacks?

Hyperlite Introduces the Southwest in Black Cuben FiberIn an effort to expand our “color” line, we’ve built the 2400 and 3400 Southwest packs in Black Cuben Fiber. We’re still partial to our #WhitePacks, but we know you want variety (and we love the black, too!). The black packs are made with 150-denier Cuben/Poly hybrid–the same fabric we use on all our 4400 packs and to reinforce the bottoms of our 50-denier Cuben/Poly hybrid white packs.

Black packs came about after we developed a handful of urban/commuting packs made from the 150-denier black Cuben Fiber alternative. After we released that product, customers immediately started calling and asking if they could get our standard line of packs in black. So we launched our 1800 Series of Summit backpacks in black in 2013 and have custom-built our standard line in black upon request. Read the rest of the Black Packs article now.

The History of Going Light

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The Philosophy of Going Light, Part I, is part of our Stripped Down Series.

Old Fashioned Backpack

Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley / Foter / CC BY

Now & Then

Major changes have taken place in the world of backcountry travel in the last half century. Adventurers now rock climb 3,500-foot walls in record speeds and hike thousands of miles carrying backpacks that weigh less than a small dog. Pioneers have questioned tradition and tested boundaries, transforming their adventure sports and the gear they use for those sports.

When Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore first climbed El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, they spent 47 days on the route using “siege tactics.” They hammered in hundreds of pitons and fixed thousands of feet or rope. Nowadays, people regularly climb their famous route, The Nose, in less than 24 hours. Alex Honnold and Hans Florine climbed it in just over two hours in 2012!

Likewise people have been trekking and camping long-distance on horizontal terrain since the early 1900s, regularly carrying one-third of their body weight (50 to 70 pounds). But thru hikers like National Geographic “Adventurer of the Year” Andrew Skurka and winter Pacific Crest Trail record breakers, Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry, have revolutionized hiking. They ditched the metal canteens, woolen knickers and cotton sleeping bags, replacing them with innovative, often custom-made equipment that was not only lighter, but also more streamlined, durable and effective. Imagine Skurka trying to hike the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop in 208 days with an external frame pack. No chance. Read the rest of the article!