Editor's Note: This article was opened to the public on July 22, 2010. To subscribe and see Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 articles as they are published, click here.
When Brooks-Range contacted us to make an appointment to see their new gear, I was thinking "survival gear." What a surprise when we arrived at their booth and there before us was some of the lightest gear we have ever seen! Brooks-Range is primarily focused on winter mountaineering, but all of these items can be used for summertime pursuits by adventure racers, fastpackers, and ultralight backpackers.
The Rocket Tent
When used with ski poles and an avalanche probe for support, this two-person single-wall tent weighs just 22 ounces! The summer weight with poles (DAC 8.5 mm NSL) is 36 ounces.
The Brooks-Range Rocket tent is made of Cuben fiber with an aluminized face and weighs just 22 ounces in winter mode using ski poles and an avalanche probe for support. It's big enough for two or roomy for one person plus gear.
It's made of strong and light CT3 fabric, otherwise known as Cuben fiber. The tent has three zippered vents for ventilation. Entry is from the front through a vestibule. The floor area is 25.2 square feet, vestibule area is 7 square feet, and peak height is 38 inches, so it's a rather snug two-person tent. MSRP is $600.
System of a Down
Consisting of a down jacket (Mountain Sweater, 8.3 oz, $249) and half bag (Elephant Foot Sleeping Bag, 13.6 oz, $249), this sleep system provides maximum versatility. Of course, the jacket can be purchased separately, or you can use one you already have with the half bag, but it wouldn't match as well for those late night backpacking fashion shows.
The hoodless Mountain Sweater (top of photo) is a pullover style insulated with 800 fill down and rated at 15 F. The shell fabric is very light (about 0.85 oz/yd2). A unique feature is two side zippers that can be opened for extra ventilation when needed or closed to retain body heat. The Elephant Foot Sleeping Bag (bottom of photo) is waist high and meant to be paired with the Mountain Sweater or other jacket to create a warm sleeping system. It's also insulated with 800 fill down, has the same extremely light shell, and is rated to 15 F, all just like the Mountain Sweater.
These tarps are constructed of 0.85-ounce micro-ripstop nylon with a DWR finish and are the lightest we know of short of Cuben fiber. There are four sizes available (5 x 8, 6.75 x 9, 8 x 10, 10 x 10) to accommodate one to four people. The 5 x 8 feet size weighs 6.7 ounces and costs $75, and the 10 x 10 size weighs 15.4 ounces and costs $179.