Published on February 7th, 2006 | by Greg0
Mountains No Match
Here in Hawaii, camping isn’t all that rough- the weather will stay above 50 regardless of season, and there aren’t many bears or wolves or cryptozoological creatures around. The worst it will do is rain. And that can be bad enough- sleeping bags aren’t designed to get wet, of course, that’s what a tent is for! The steep terrain and lack of car accessibility mean that camping here is going to mean hiking, and maybe climbing, before you get to any of the really neat spots.
Which adds up to carrying a tent and a sleeping bag. Several miles. Up mountains. Makes things seem a little rougher now- any sizable tent will require some sort of sherpa-like training to muscle it up the inclines. Since Hawaiian sherpas are a little tough to come by, we went looking for light tents and sleeping bags, and soon found a company called Mountain Hardwear.
Their Light Wedge 2 tent weighs around 6 pounds, fairly comfortably holds 2 people, and was strong enough to withstand reasonable winds (it’s technically a 3-season tent). It’s not really warm, and certainly not going to withstand any serious storms, but for light rains and the inevitable mists, it’s easily worth the $200. Best of all, it was pretty easy to setup and takedown, and is very durable.
The same basic facts apply to their Lamina sleeping bag (we tried the 32 degree version, the 45 degree version is a little less filled and a little cheaper). The bag weighs only about 2.5 pounds, and though it’s “multi-baffled footbox” sounds a bit, well, baffling, it didn’t cramp your legs and feet like many bags do. We were a bit disappointed in the zippers, which could’ve been more durable, but otherwise the construction and style was excellent. If you’ve been using the same sleeping bag for the last decade or so, technology has really improved- they are much more comfortable today, quicker to dry, easier to clean, and lighter. Of course, they are also around $120.