No joke, when I think of perfect, outdoor puffy blankets. I think of Rumpl. I think of fog swirling in the trees. Maybe an artfully framed railroad. Beautifully draped over a beautiful person. They’ve got that image on lock. Then I think of the price of that blanket. I think about how my aesthetic is frantically digging poo holes, ripping holes in clothing, and not showering. Then I realize that maybe the Rumpl is not for me. Thankfully Therm-a-Rest introduced their affordable line of tech blankets for 2016.
Backpacking weight is a big deal to me. When you’re like a hundred pounds, every pound is a whole percentage of your body weight. Every ounce counts. If I’m going to lug around an enormous camera and tripod, I need to shave off ounces everywhere else. For a tiny backpacking stove, the Snow Peak Litemax is perfect.
I’m going to let you in a little secret. Lately I’ve been pretty lazy, and I’m learning that it’s okay. It’s okay to not have an epic peak to bag. It’s okay to not put in tens of miles in one weekend. It’s okay to take it easy, find a beautiful spot and just chill. That’s what I did for the 4th of July and when I took my brother out for his first time in the backcountry. Sometimes I need it. And on those trips, I tend to load up my pack with little luxuries like the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock. I mean, a couple extra ounces or even a few extra pounds doesn’t hurt for those short trips, right?
I love the Outdoor Research Helium line. Ever since I saw the Helium II in their retail store last summer, I fell in love, oohing, ahhing and fondling the material, marveling at how light it was…
When the Helium Hybrid arrived in my #ORInsightLab package, I shouted with tons of glee, probably almost setting off car alarms around my neighborhood. I was trying to justify not purchasing another jacket since I bought my Arc’teryx Alpha SL Hybrid, and this one was finally mine.
Where do I even begin? The Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is light as a feather and packs down super small! At 5.1 oz, you have to be careful it doesn’t blow away when you’re trying to put it on. (True story, this happened to me.) It’s great for throwing in your pack and forgetting about it until you really need it. What more could you ask for?
The Helium Hybrid protects against wind and wet. I tossed this on over my Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie on Lassen to keep from freezing to death. The shell kept me nice and dry while rolling around in wet, melty snow on Pyramid Peak. The hood has a cinch in the back and on both sides of your head for a secure fit. A small left-chest zipper pocket allows you to keep small knickknacks close by.
The Helium Hybrid has a trim fit. If you’re a fan of something a little looser and don’t want to size up, consider going for the Helium HD or the Helium II. Please keep in mind that the length of this jacket is also fairly short. The jacket had a tendency of riding up when layered over a midlayer; I had to keep tugging it down, especially while wearing a pack.
Despite all my love for this lightweight jacket, the lack of hand pockets is a huge deal breaker if I had to purchase this jacket, and I would rather opt for something slightly heavier with places to stow my phalanges, phone and other larger goods. I’m just so used to shoving my hands in my pockets and walking everywhere I go, it’s tough to not do that. If hand pockets are more your fancy, I highly suggest going for the Helium HD jacket. It’s only 3 oz heavier and also comes with pit zips.
If you want something ultra lightweight and extremely basic, the Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is a necessary addition for your pack.
This was sent to me for review. This post contains affiliate links.
Am currently in the process of trying to squeeze as much fun as possible into the last bit of warm sunshine for the year, so ended up doing a brief weekend trip to Desolation Wilderness and the Velmas.
The boyfriend and I just got the Tarptent Scarp 2 for our adventures. What better place to christen it than Tahoe?
The Tarptent Scarp 2 is a roomy 2-person, 4-season tent. Forgot to take photos of the inside, but you can fit two people comfortably. And three people not as comfortably.
It’s got a nice inner compartment with two entry ways and two vestibules on opposite ends. Don’t want to wait for your slow tentmate to take his/her shoes off and get inside? No problem, because you have your own entrance. The vestibules are also roomy enough to shelter your packs from most of the elements.
Setup supposedly is under 2 minutes, but the inital tries took around 10-15 minutes to figure out all the bits and pieces and nuances of the tent. The tent has one main pole that will serve for most mild conditions (pictured above). For windy and snowy situations, optional 17 oz. cross poles are also available to stabilize the tent further.
Missing from the above photos are the cross poles. Unfortunately, we did not bring those cross poles on this trip and our tent was subject to gale force winds.
The tent does surprisingly well in cold weather, retaining some heat and keeping wind and rain at bay. I wanted to stay curled up in my sleeping bag forever as the wind howled around us.
The Scarp 2 is a fairly light shelter at 60 oz. Split between two people, it feels like nothing. It’s a on the slightly bulkier side due to size, but the weight is barely noticeable. I will sacrifice that bit of extra space for more wiggle room in the tent any day.
At $339 for the tent, it’s on the pricier end of things, but if you have the cash, the space, weight and versatility are well worth it.
Tarptents are handmade in Nevada City, CA. For full specs, please visit the Tarptent website here.