Jetboil Sol-Ti Jetboil revolutionized backcountry cooking several years ago with its original all-in-one system that simplified everything from packing your stove to holding a hot pot. The company continues to push the envelope with their new titanium stove, the Sol-Ti. All the standard Jetboil goodies are there, including the insulated sleeve, but this titanium system weighs only 9 ounces. $149.95. Or get the aluminum version, which is $30 cheaper and 1.5 ounces heavier; jetboil.com
Osprey Hornet 46 With 46 liters of space, this pack is roomy enough to carry all your weekend essentials and then some. The pack has a host of traditional backpack goodies like a hydration sleeve and front and side mesh pockets, but also comes with some nifty weight saving features you typically only see on custom- made rigs. We like the mesh backpanel with a removable foam pad in particular. All in, the pack weighs 1 pound, 8 ounces. But then, it doesn’t matter how light your pack is if you stuff it with oodles of heavy gear. So if 46 liters is too much room, step down to the 36-liter version. $159; ospreypacks.com
Black Diamond Z Pole Instead of the traditional telescoping design used in most trekking poles, the Z poles fold like tent sticks. The shafts are carbon fiber for ultimate weight and strength, and Black Diamond used avalanche probes as design inspiration to create a workhorse pole with featherweight characteristics. The Ultra Distance Z Pole comes in at 9.5 ounces a pair. $149.95; blackdiamondequipment.com
ThermaRest RidgeRest SOLite ThermaRest took the popular RidgeRest sleeping pad and added an aluminized surface to the closed-cell design that reflects your body heat like an emergency blanket. You get added warmth without the added weight of insulation. The regular size is only 14 ounces, the same weight as ThermaRest’s ridiculously popular minimalist Z Pad. Even better, SOLite will only run you $29.95. The only bummer: Closed cell pads are lighter than air mattresses, but nowhere near as compact. $29.95; cascadedesigns.com
MSR Fast Stash If you’re like most backpackers, you want the weight savings of a tarp shelter, but the coverage of a tent. The solution? A singlewall tarp-tent that you can erect with your hiking poles. But many Southern backpackers are reticent to bed down in lightweight singlewall tents because they typically don’t manage condensation as effectively as their heavier doublewall counter parts. The Southern Apps are muggy. You want a tent that breathes. Enter MSR’s new Fast Stash, an uber-light singlewall tent with superior ventilation.
The Fast Stash breathes thanks to two mesh windows and a big mesh front door, which are protected from the elements by adjustable side wings and a large front porch. You can even close the front door panel completely and air still moves through a mesh strip above the door. Roll back all the panels, and you’ve got a large expanse of mesh on warm, rain-free nights. We tested the three-season Fast Stash in a number of situations, from our backyard to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, and were never once muggy or damp inside the tent.
Like most tarp-tents, the four-pound Fast Stash is built to be erected with trekking poles to save weight, but MSR also included a set of tent poles that do the same job in case you’re not inclined to carry trekking poles. All corners have to be staked and guylines tightened. And it took us a few times to get the tent as taut as we wanted. $299; cascadedesigns.com
Singlewall or Doublewall?
Doublewall tents have a mesh body and optional rainfly. The combo reduces condensation inside the tent during a muggy night, but they’re heavier and can be more complex to erect.
Singlewall tents have one waterproof wall, allowing for lighter tent weights and easy set up, but they typically aren’t as breathable as doublewall tents.