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Three Coolest Gear Items from 2013 Trail Days

23 May 2013 6:37 pm0 commentsViews: 70

2013 Trail Days was filled with a lot of great ideas and tons of great gear.

While there were tons of great companies with great products present, three products stood out in my mind as really neat gear that my own biased gear searches had never previously uncovered. In no particular order they are:

Appy Trails’ Mark III

This is an extraordinary multiperson backpacking shelter. It brings the incredible combo of light AND cheap.

Upon seeing the Mark III 2-3 man shelter on display next to the $99.95 price tag, my thoughts were, “Who’d this guy steal these from?? I should buy one quickly before someone turns him in.”

It turns out the shelters were, in fact, not stolen merchandise. The secret to the steal-of-a-deal price point was the material of construction.

Rather than constructing these shelters out of high cost cuben fiber or silnylon, Appy Trails uses a solid 185T polyester that is PU1000 coated. The cost savings on fabric is then passed on to you in the form of a $100 shelter for 2 weighing less than 2 lbs (18.7 oz tarp + 4.4 oz pole + 3.2 oz stuff sack & stakes = 26.3 oz total). While the 52.9 sq ft of floor area in the Mark 3 can sleep 3 in a pinch, doing so will likely require pitching the Mark III via a hanging method that does not utilize the pole. There is also a Mark 5 version, which sleeps up to “5″ in its 70 sq ft of floor area, costs only $120, and weights less than 41 oz.

The Mark III is simply a great budget shelter. It’s light and cheap enough to serve as a one man shelter but also gives the flexibility to being along a hiking companion, such as your significant other, without needing to purchase a second 2 person shelter.

Appy Trails is based out of Bristol, TN and is truly a cottage gear company. Orders can only be placed via email but they do accept PayPal or credit card payments and its well worth it to get your hands on such a cheap and light shelter!

Lightheart Rain Wrap

Although I had previously seen Lightheart Gear’s tents, I had somehow overlooked their unique piece of rain gear, the rain wrap.

The rain wrap is essentially a rain skirt that allows you coverage from rain without the drawbacks of stiflingly hot & constricting rain paints that require feeding muddy boots through pant legs.

The rain wrap buckles at the waist and holds firmly in place to provide rain coverage and ample ventilation.

At $55 dollars, the rain wrap is the perfect addition to your summer rain gear options for locations that head to toe bug coverage is superfluous.

Check out the Lightheart Gear Rain Wrap for yourself.

The Packa

The Packa is another really cool design by a true cottage gear company.

The piece of rain gear is worn as a pack cover and can be transitioned to a combination pack cover and rain jacket without removing your pack.

The rain jacket seamlessly covers you and your pack. This prevents water from running down your back – between you and your pack cover. The other beauty is the jacket portion of the Packa sits over top of your pack straps and therefore allows better ventilation. And speaking of ventilation, it has 21″ zippered under arm vents.

Transition to rain gear without removing your pack is a huge plus that makes this a really nifty gear item that costs $115 including shipping.

The Packa by Cedar Tree is a true cottage gear item. Place orders by email and check, money order, or PayPal are accepted.

Make it a point to be at trail days next year! It’s a great way to see cutting edge hiking gear on display and learn about cool items such as these.

Also checkout the 3 big ideas I took away from trail days in 2013.

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