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Favorite Piece of Gear Purchased? Last 6 Mo.
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John Hopkins
(DrGonzo) - F

Locale: Southeast
Favorite Buy on 03/11/2007 19:04:57 MDT Print View

My membership. Knowledge is power!

Stephen Boyd

Locale: Minnesowtah
My two favorites on 03/11/2007 19:07:45 MDT Print View

Couldn't have just one favorite....

ULA Conduit
Ipod Shuffle

The shuffle is awesome. I have a regular Ipod too but it collects dust since I got the shuffle. I wear it running and working out and I don't even know it is there.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: My two favorites on 03/11/2007 19:38:14 MDT Print View

My Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape. Pure Brilliance. Love it!!!!!

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
My favorite on 03/11/2007 20:29:04 MDT Print View

Hands down, my ULA Catalyst. Just an incredible design!

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Favorite Piece of Gear Purchased? Last 6 Mo. on 03/12/2007 11:39:17 MDT Print View

Yeah, 4 lbs 3 oz is the weight on my postal scale with all accesories attached (that's the summit flap, 2 side water bottle holders and a hipbelt pouch). My popcan is made out of the green nylon small grid dyneema fabric (full dyneema and other color options were not available last year when I bought mine). Not too bad in my opinion for such an awesome fit. Like I said in my original post, I am not an ultralighter so I like having a more supportive pack with stays and a decent hipbelt.

Jon Priest
(jwetzelp) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Re: My favorite on 03/12/2007 11:50:39 MDT Print View

Right on, Shawn!

I LOVE my Catalyst.

A close second is TarpTent Contrail.

Edited by jwetzelp on 03/12/2007 11:51:32 MDT.

Christie Ogden
(TheQueen) - F
Best piece of gear on 03/12/2007 14:34:40 MDT Print View

I just bought it this week!

I am in LOVE with it!

It is the Exped Wallcreeper sleeping bag. There are several down versions but because of our climate I prefer the synthetic version!

It has many uses and I love that about it. It packs down really small and is super light.

I can use it as a sleeping bag, wear it as a camp parka, wear it to the toilet in the middle of the night etc. I can also use it with my bivy sac in colder weather!

I am also going to try using it as an under quilt for my hammock!

Jay McCombs
(jmccombs) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
.. on 03/12/2007 16:16:26 MDT Print View

I've been thinking for a few days and its either my Nunatak Arc Ghost or my smartwool shaddows hoody. Very different, but both have greatly improved my outdoor enjoyment. But I also really like my coleman F1. The slight increase in weight vs the hassle of alcohol or esbit makes it nice...

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Favorite Item and Question For Ryan About BD OneShot on 03/12/2007 22:27:29 MDT Print View

I have to ask what you mean by "favorite". Favorite as in "I use it all the time" or as in "Man, this is cool!"

For the "use it all the time" category I'd say my MontBell Super Merino Wool short-sleeve undershirt. I use it all the time, now even for in town and for work. I love the base layer so much I've bought three more of them (now I have six!). I bought a pair of Smartwool merino wool longjohns recently and there is just something different about the feel of the wool that I just don't like. Feels stiffer, rougher (more itchy?), and less stretchy.

For the "coolness" category I'd say my TarpTent Rainbow. Whenever I set it up, even in the mountains, something about it always makes me stop and gaze at it for a while, it's that beautiful. As a designer I love concepts and forms that approach the Golden Mean, and the Rainbow does that aesthetically.

My new Golite Lite-Speed may also become one of my favorite items, but unfortunately, as others have mentioned in the forums, Golite's sizing definitely is on the small side. I have a medium and it never fits right, always riding up to my navel. I've contacted Golite about this and hopefully they will help me with a large size, but they haven't answered yet, so I don't know. The Lite-Speed may very well be my Mountainsmith Ghost replacement, though I think the Ghost carries heavier loads better. For sure the Lite-Speed will be my travel pack.

Ryan J. you mentioned earlier that the new BD OneShot is one of your favorite items. I've been curious about this tent ever since you mentioned it at the summer outdoor fair. May I ask what you like about it and how it performs? Is the lack of a vestibule a problem? Has the bugnetting door problem been addressed? What situations would you use it in, considering that you seem to usually like much lighter shelters? Is there enough room for someone with gear holing up in a storm? So far there isn't any mention of it anywhere so I have no way to guage its viability. Just curious.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
new stuff on 03/13/2007 16:08:27 MDT Print View

I guess my new toy without a doubt would have to be the GG Uberlight. Previously my favorite was the GG Hyperlight, but it was way too big for my usual 2 - 3 day jaunts.

Johnathan White
(johnatha1) - F

Locale: PNW
Best piece of gear on 03/13/2007 16:08:53 MDT Print View

By far, the Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape!!

Chad Mason

Locale: Arizona
Favorite Piece of Gear on 03/13/2007 16:29:10 MDT Print View

Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1. My wife thinks I'm retarded because I keep setting it up in the yard.....she just doesn't understand.

Drew Davis
(drewnc2005) - F

Locale: Hillsborough, NC
Recent favorite gear on 03/13/2007 18:00:02 MDT Print View

1.1 oz silnylon (seconds) from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics

I haven't stopped making stuff since I got it.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
RE: Favorite Piece of Gear Purchased? Last 6 Mo. on 03/14/2007 21:40:15 MDT Print View

1. Smartwool midweight 1/4 zip shirt--warm at last!

2. REI Kilo Flash sleeping bag 35 degree women's reg 20 oz.

3. Those neat little Photon light 3-packs from BPL!

Edited by elmvine on 03/14/2007 21:41:36 MDT.

Craig M
(cmortensen17) - MLife

Locale: Utah
Re: Re: Favorite Item and Question For Ryan About BD OneShot on 03/14/2007 22:38:07 MDT Print View

I purchased a Black Diamond Oneshot earlier this week and I am excited to get out in the next couple of days to give it a "shot" in the field. I set it up in my yard to get an idea of design, space, etc. Here's a photo with the Oneshot, Big Agnes insulated Aircore wide and long pad, and Marmot Atom long bag.

BD Oneshot

My initial impression of this tent is that it will be a very attractive alternative to any of the three-season bivys on the market today. I suspect it will also appeal to those who like the full coverage of a tent in a relatively light weight package. It has far more interior space than any bivy I have used, excellent ventilation, an amazing view out the front door, reasonable weight, and a small packed size. The design is such that the covered mesh windows provide excellent airflow, even when the large front door is fully zipped. This is in addition to the Epic fabric which consistently ranks near the top of the list of waterproof/breathable fabrics. The lack of a vestibule could be a problem when cooking in the rain, etc. but there is room inside for a small pack and your shoes/boots. Again, compared to a bivy, it feels palatial. Compared to some of the other lighter solo or two-person "tarp tents" on the market today, it might feel a little cramped. I will have a better sense for that once I have spent a night or two in it.

I did notice the 85-inch length is somewhat compromised by the relatively shallow pitch to the head and foot, effectively reducing the interior height at both ends, though it is still manageable for my nearly 6ft 2-inch frame. My quick test in the yard revealed that either my head or feet would likely hit one of the walls. This was with a quick test only, and may not be accurate once I take more time to stake properly and play around a bit with the position of the mattress. My wife, at 5ft 6 inches, said after laying in the tent for a few minutes that it was "perfect” and now wants one of her own.

In short, I am very excited to get this tent in the field. I own its much larger brother, the Skylight, and have found it to be the tent I grab most often for family backcountry trips. I am confident the Oneshot will gain an equally trusted position for my solo backcountry adventures. I will post an update once I have a chance to put it to the test.


Edited by cmortensen17 on 03/14/2007 22:55:21 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Craig, vestibule for your Oneshot? on 03/14/2007 23:43:36 MDT Print View

Craig, that is a beautiful tent, and the photo shows the tent and interior well. I am eagerly awaiting my Hilight, which is basically the two person version of the Oneshot. The vestibule for my tent might fit your model; consider giving it a try. The Oneshot is 9cm shorter, but 8cm longer, so the circumfrence of these tent doors (and thus an appropriate vestibule) would be about the same. You can buy it from REI and return it if it doesn't fit?
Im hoping my Hilight will replace two other tents, a Quarterdome and a Lightning; thus allowing me to return them both and pay for the Hilight! : )
The wide side door and large vestibule, which appears to be suitable for cooking in, were strong selling points for this tent.
Black Diamond Hilight

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Epic Fabric is NOT Rain Proof on 03/15/2007 00:14:24 MDT Print View

Craig wrote above, "This is in addition to the Epic fabric which consistently ranks near the top of the list of waterproof/breathable fabrics".

Caution: Epic is highly rain resistant -- not rain proof! Black Diamond publicizes about 5 hours of rain resistance. My multiple rain tests showed about 9 hours of resistance -- much better than advertised. But be aware that once water works its way through, it will really come dripping in! At that stage, it's NOT just a matter of a few wipes of the towel every now and then.

You can expect wonderful, problem-free camping in dry Alpine climes, or in areas of seasonal rain and/or fast-moving showers. But in a prolonged rain, or in areas of high humidity, you can also expect the walls to become wet everywhere. Now, if your tent were long and wide enough to be well away from your bag, a limited amount of condensation won't be a problem. But in your case, with a long bag that's in constant contact with one or both ends of the tent walls, your bag is at risk of getting soaked.

Another potential problem (again, when it's overly humid or rainy): the cold metal poles can act like "condensation magnets". I have had water droplets clinging to those poles -- and little pools of water accumulating in the four corners. Again, given the small size of your tent, be careful about keeping your bag away from the corners as well.

Edited by ben2world on 03/15/2007 00:29:00 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Epic Fabric is NOT Rain Proof on 03/15/2007 01:56:14 MDT Print View

Brett, given Ben's reply about the Epic fabric on the BD tents, I'm very curious why you chose to go with the Hilight. I have been very seriously considering either a Hilight or a OneShot for my alpine walks, but the heavy torrential rains of the mountains here really makes me have a lot of second thoughts. I really don't want to be spending that kind of money and then find that I can't use the tent here (though this summer I will be doing some long walking in either SE Australia or perhaps Spain or Italy, where it's dry). Did you order the vestibule, too? Why didn't you go for something like the Espace Solo or Espace Gore-tex tents from Kamoshika Sports? If the rain performance really is as worrisome as others have pointed out, aren't you worried about getting inundated in the Alps?

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Dry weather only on 03/15/2007 02:31:09 MDT Print View

Ben is absolutely spot on ,according to my experience with the BD Lighthouse.
Miguel is provably aware that here in Australia we are having a prolonged draught, however in the last three multi day hikes I have had prolonged rain. The last one in the Grampians National Park we had four hours of very solid torrential downpour. (first real rainfall in weeks) That night we were staying at a camping ground and the owner came around in his ute (utility vehicles) to see if we were OK. I can tell you that after a couple of hours of THAT rain my Lighthouse would have been a wet house.
BTW consider the weight of the vestibule if you like to use one.

The Rainbow, of course

Sorry, I did not read the "last six month" bit
The Rainbow is my favorite ever... (next year I will change my mind)

The Down To Earth from Jacks R Better, or more precisely for the moment the No Sniveler part.

Edited by Franco on 03/15/2007 02:39:51 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Miguel, Ben, Hilight opinions on 03/15/2007 04:11:05 MDT Print View

Miguel, Ben,

I bought my Hilight and vestibule from REI; in case I have a problem with lack of water resistance I can return it. Ben's experience was key in my decision to buy it there. This tent scores highest in all my other requirement categories. If you care for details, please read on..

For this purchase my goal was to replace two tents, a Quarterdome, and a Lightning. Both tents had an Achilles Heel I could not tolerate. (Weight/packed volume for the Quarterdome, and non-vented fly for the Lightning.) So the new tent would have to meet all the requirements I had for both old tents, and then some. I wanted the tent with the highest 'total score' in the following constraints: weight, cost, and returnability... It also must have the following capabilities: shelter for two, freestanding, water resistant, gas permeable, top-vented, bug meshed, snow shedding, vestibule option, gear loft option, footprint/fly option if double walled, and one last minor issue, preference to a larger door.

The Firstlight floated to the top of my short list, and I bought it. Shortly afterwards I discovered the 'new' Hilight, so returned the first and bought the Hilight and vestibule from REI.

The Hilight is not the most water resistant tent I considered, but it is one of the lightest at 1180 grams, cheap with my 20%'PERK4U' coupon, and returnable no questions asked (so really 'free' for me to use as long as I want). And it meets all my capabilities mentioned above, including a huge full-side door.

I have decided to keep my Quarterdome as a backup in case the Hilight is a sieve, but Ben's 9 hour test, and Black Diamond's experience and reputation are sufficient for me to give it a try. I always carry an absorbent camp towel, might have to use it?!

By the way, the Hilight is 16 oz lighter than my Quarterdome, 20 ounces lighter than my Lightning, and packs down to the size of a grapefruit with pole bag. That's awful appealing when trying to reduce pack volume and weight.

Ben, Miguel has unintentionally identified the green tents I saw at the gear store, in that link he sent out! Take a look.. Some cool tents there; but the trump card for my decision was buying worry free from REI.

Of course I will report back here on the performance of the Hilight. For every bad review of the BD epic tents, I read one good one; here are many:

Edited by Brett1234 on 03/15/2007 04:27:24 MDT.