Summer Gear Locker: 2016 Big Agnes Copper Spur tent, Osprey Manta AG backpack, Hennessey backpacking hammock (video)
Summer toy chest
Coffee on the trail is like a fire starter — you don’t leave home without it. The MSR MugMate is the simplest way to get your caffeine fix, featuring a reusable French press-style coffee filter that packs into a mug. It’s small, light and easy to clean, and that’s all you can ask at 6 a.m.
Katadyn Hiker Microfilter, $74.95
Purifying water in the backcountry is a must. Some use tablets, others tempt fate and just boil, but a reusable filter makes life easy and the Katadyn Hiker is one of the best. It’s about the size of a smartphone and weighs the same, with a 300-gallon capacity at one quart per minute. It even connects directly to Camelbak and other reservoirs.
Honey Stinger energy snacks, varies
Who says there’s no such thing as gourmet trail food? Honey Stinger of Steamboat has been proving naysayers wrong for years, with a line of organic energy bars, gels, chews and famous waffles, all made with the syrupy goodness of honey. Try the new gluten free salted caramel waffle — it puts IHOP to shame.
Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part series on summer gear. Read on for part one for watersports.
Summer camping season in the Rocky Mountains can never come soon enough.
Luckily, that means more than enough time to get outfitted for camping, backpacking, hut tripping and just about anything else you can imagine in the great, green yonder.
This season, manufacturer’s are all about function and simplicity. It begins with a lightweight three-person tent from Big Agnes of Steamboat Springs and extends all the way to sleek, slim reservoir day backpacks from Osprey. We take a look at the best new and redesigned summer camping gear. Don’t worry — the season will be here eventually. Until then, time to blow some paychecks.
Kelty TN2 backpacking tent, $249.95
Kelty doesn’t quite have the name cache of a Mountain Hardware or The North Face these days, but the Boulder-based manufacturer has one thing going for it: affordability. The TN2 two-person backpacking tent is a prime example. It won a 2016 Gear of the Year award from Outside magazine and is one of the best, most versatile lightweight tents around. The freestanding design weighs a respectable 4 pounds, 13 ounces, with 27.5 square feet of floor space and two doors. The whole thing (poles and rain fly included) packs down to 14 inches long and 11 inches in diameter, leaving plenty of room on your back. This truly is a two-person tent made to fit two people.
Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon, Rivers Clothing Company and Pioneer Sports in Frisco, or online at http://www.kelty.com.
Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 tent, $499.95
The Kelty TN2 might be roomy for a two-person tent, but it’s still a two-person tent. If you’re looking for a bit more space without sacrificing weight, the Copper Spur UL3 from Big Agnes is one of the absolute best. The freestanding tent measures a whopping 44 square feet (floor space) and weighs a stunning 4 pounds total — easily one of the largest yet lightest backpacking tents on the market. It features two doors, a rain fly, waterproof taped seams and plenty of indoor storage. The price is hefty, but you get what you pay for, and what you pay for with the Copper Spur is one hell of a tent.
Find it: Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards or online at http://www.bigagnes.com. Big Agnes is also on Promotive, so if you’ve got the hook-up, use it.
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Hennessy Expedition Asym camping hammock, $179.95
Sometimes, even a tent is too much for a multi-day backpacking trip, especially if you enjoy traveling solo or fit the mold of Rocky Mountain hipster. Backpacking hammocks were trendy for a while, but, after a few short years, the trend has become a legitimate force in the camping industry, and no one does high-end hammocks better than Hennessy.
The British Columbia manufacturer’s most popular model, the Expedition Asym, is nothing short of a tent flipped on its side, with zip closure, a rain fly, stuff sack and mesh upper for breathability. It weighs all of 2 pounds, 12 ounces — lighter than just about any freestanding tent — and holds someone up to 6 feet tall and 250 pounds with the included tree-mounting straps. Sure, it can’t sleep more than one comfortably, but that’s hardly the point. You came out here to be alone with nature and your poetry, right?
Find it: Online at http://www.hennessyhammock.com.
ENO DoubleNest hammock, $69.96
For casual campsite lounging, the ENO DoubleNest is the absolute industry standard. It’s a simple hammock — no rainfly, zippers or tent-like features — and it gets the job done, with triple-stitched seams, nylon construction and enough heft to hold up to 400 pounds. Just don’t forget the tree straps ($30 to $40 from ENO) and a sense of style: the DoubleNest comes in oodles of colors, from solid primaries to Rasta stripes. Let your freak hammock fly.
Find it: Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards or online at http://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com.
Osprey Manta and Mira AG reservoir backpacks, $155
When AG stands for “anti-gravity” you know a backpack is next level — or just another clever marketing scheme. Luckily, Osprey doesn’t put its name on schlocky junk and the Manta (men’s) and Mira (women’s) AG backpacks are no exception. The AG suspension system refers to a soft frame, mesh back panel, stretch shoulder straps and an ergonomic hip belt, all of which work together in near-perfect harmony to make the backpack line feel no different than wearing a t-shirt. Seriously. Add a deceptively simple design — one main zipper pocket, three smaller pockets, a built-in rain cover and included hydration reservoir — and the Manta/Mira line is perfect for extended day trips and lightweight overnight camping.
Sizes: Three sizes for men (20, 28 and 36 liters) and women (18, 26 and 34 liters)
Find it: Wilderness Sports in Dillon or online at http://www.ospreypacks.com.
Scarpa Moraine GTX trail shoe, $149
There’s a reason Scarpa is one of the most respected names in alpine footwear. The European manufacturer is known for mountaineering boots and gear, and its line of trail shoes is made with the same attention to rugged detail. The men’s and women’s Moraine GTX are low-cut, high-performance shoes for day hikes and short backpacking trips, made with a Gore-Tex inner lining, suede and recycled polyester upper, Vibram outsole and plate-supported insert through the arch. At 13.5 ounces the Moraine GTX is light but never flimsy, and, even after a long day on the trail, the colors are slick enough to wear out for a beer.
Find it: Mountain Outfitters and Patagonia in Breckenridge, Wilderness Sports in Dillon, or online at http://www.scarpa.com.
Motionize virtual kayak coach, $499
When Team USA kayaker Maggie Hogan wanted to make the Olympic roster for Rio de Janeiro, she needed to improve by such a miniscule amount that a traditional coach wasn’t enough. Enter Motionize, a brand-new virtual kayak coach made to improve her paddling at a nearly microscopic level.
Really: The bow-mounted system analyzes stroke through a set of two sensors, then relays the information back to a free Apple or Android app that then gives real-time feedback on how to improve. It’s a godsend for Olympians looking to edge the competition by a split second, but it’s just as useful for athletes who love pairing tech with training. And, if the price is intimidating, keep in mind this is a brand-new system. It will likely drop in price over the next few years.
Find it: Online at http://www.motionizeme.com.
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