Tarptent Notch – First Look

Tarptent Notch - First Pitch

I came home from work yesterday to a rectangular package which could only mean one thing…New shelter day! I am still in search of the perfect shoulder season shelter, and I will keep at it until I have found it. This round I will be taking a look at the Tarptent Notch.

For those of you that know me well, I had vowed a little over two years ago never to buy another silnylon tent. I was (and still am) in love with Cuben as a tarp material, and nothing was going to stop me from buying a shelter manufactured with Cuben. My silnylon experiences have always been poor. It is slippery, it is saggy, it is less waterproof than cuben, you have to re-tension your tarp as it stretches, and you have to seam seal it. Yet, here I am trying another silnylon tent.

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Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid Thoughts


Before I begin this article, I just want to take a moment to apologize for the lack of posts over the last few months. I had knee surgery in November, and my wife and I had our second child in December. This kept me off the trail until last week when a few of us did an AT Section hike. Expect a write up soon. Now for the intended article…

As I mentioned back in October, I am in search of a shoulder season shelter. My requirements were something that would withstand 20+ MPH sustained winds, significant rain, and moderate snow.

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Locus Gear CP3 Trekking Poles Updated Review

Locus Gear CP3 - GG Grips

As promised, I am updating my review of the Locus Gear CP3 Poles after installing the Gossamer Gear Grips and taking them out on the trail for their maiden voyage.

Updated Weight

Installing the grips shaved 12g off the weight of the poles. They now come in at 297 grams. The original grips were just EVA Foam, so it is not surprising that the weight did not drop all that much. No big deal, as shaving weight was not the goal of the grip change. The Gossamer Gear grips continue to be my favorite, and I will at least attempt to install them on any pole I ever use. They are extremely comfortable, plenty durable, and fit my hands well.

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Locus Gear CP3 Trekking Poles – First Look

CP3 Poles Collapsed

I just got my hands on the new Locus Gear CP3 Trekking Poles. For those of you that have not heard of Locus Gear, they are an ultralight cottage manufacturer based in Japan.

I have been eyeing a set of trekking poles from Locus Gear for a few months now. They offer a flick-lock lock mechanism, at a weight that is closer to the Gossamer Gear LT4s, which have been my go-to poles for years. My goal is not necessarily to replace them, but to have a pole in my gear closet that is a bit more robust for off trail use, for pitching a shelter in nasty weather, and flick-locks for use in cold weather. I have found in the past that twist-lock mechanisms can fail to hold in weather at or below freezing.

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My Search for a Shoulder Season Shelter

Buried Hexamid

For the last three years, I have used some variation of the ZPacks Hexamid. As you may have read in my previous article, I started with a ZPacks Hexamid Twin. I then moved to another Twin with heavier cuben and a sewn in floor. Now, I am using a custom Hexamid Solo+, also with a sewn in floor.

As I stated in my Sierras 2013 Trip Report in the Gear List Review section, I am on the market for a more substantial shelter to use when the weather looks iffy. I am defining “iffy” as 20+ MPH winds, significant rain, or snow in the forecast. This may not be significant for many of my readers, but it is enough for me to bring something a little more bomber.

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Sierras 2013 – Trip Report

Above the Clouds

We are back!

Our Sierras 2013 trip has come and gone. It is always bitter sweet. I love getting home to see the family, but hate that my time out West will not come again for another 12 months. This year was another excellent trip, no doubt one of my favorites. It began with our annual drive across Death Valley, and culminated with a summit of Mt. Whitney. I will remember the summit of Mt. Whitney for the rest of my life. Planning for 2014 has already begun!

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