Today is the 50th anniversary of the designation of the country’s first two National Scenic Trails – the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. It’s impossible to measure how much enjoyment they’ve brought to the millions of people who have sought adventures big and small on them. And likely just as difficult to know how many people have put in countless hours of work into advocacy and maintenance on their behalf. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is one such group that’s done a lot of heavy lifting over the years.
The PCTA is a non-profit of route stewards who monitor, care for and promote this 2,650-mile trail that wanders from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. They tirelessly work to ensure that it’s available for hikers long into the future. That sounds pretty good to us, and we’re happy to have partnered with them again for the third year.
And, just like we did with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, we’ve teamed up to make special PCTA stuff sacks that feature the association’s emblem. Our ultralight Drawstring Stuff Sacks can find a home and use in any pack, and they’ll be available with PCTA memberships and other promotions.
Join the PCTA and ATC for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the designation of our nation’s first two National Scenic Trails: the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. With host Jennifer Pharr-Davis and special guest Cheryl Strayed.
Our new REpack freezer bag cook system will elevate your dining experience out on the trail.
Some might argue that the most significant side-effect of backpacking, thru hiking, and multi-sporting is being able to eat like a pelican. But we don’t all do it as well as we could with nutrition, caloric intake, or even just the pure enjoyment of eating some food the way it is intended to be consumed – hot for starters! When your home and kitchen sit on your shoulders in vast, disconnected expanses, goals like these aren’t always easy to achieve.
What to eat, however, isn’t the only consideration for the meticulous hiker and explorer. Ponder the size and weight of pre-packaged food bags and containers, times that by the number of days you’re out or between resupply, and subsequently, how the size of your garbage bag grows. That’s a lot of wasted space.
“Trail Magic,” for the uninitiated, is an action that is, in so many ways, precisely what it sounds like. It’s an unexpected gesture that can positively change the dynamic of a thru hiker’s day. It should be positive anyway. I doubt a surprise offer to wrestle would go as far with a weary traveler as food or a free shower, but who knows. These are interesting times.
Every year, the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire hosts a fundraiser titled “Seek the Peak“. With the reasonable request that participants raise $200 to help support the important work up on that mountaintop, hikers are treated to special prizes, drawings, good vibes, and camaraderie. There’s also their world-class afterparty to look forward to when everyone returns to sea level. Organizers seem to have tuned into the most primal and otherworldly “carrot” to chase – a full-blown Thanksgiving style meal at the finish. Make no mistake, this is hands down the most refreshing gravy you’ll ever have.
For the second year, a group of our employees headed to the event to take on whatever challenges the notoriously moody mountain put forth. This time around, that big pile of rocks was more than happy to have hundreds of people of all stripes climb all over her. With hardly a cloud in the sky, everyone who got above tree line was treated to unreal views in every direction – a rare but very welcome occurrence.
The Hyperlite Mountain Goats got an early-ish start at Pinkham Notch. Our team’s pace would be dictated by the blend of experience in it – accomplished thru hikers to new-to-the-region individuals (not to point any fingers in my own direction) that had no idea what this iconic New England trail can do to naïve knees and ankles. Despite this, we were cookin’ pretty well on the ascent up our chosen route on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Collective spirits were high with everyone we encountered, and the determination to reach the peak was palpable. It was hard to think about anything else but getting up and over the chaotic expanse of stones to boulders, and the siren’s call of pizza and hot dogs in the Visitor Center.
Reloaded and stoked, we decided to pat ourselves on the back for the speed of our climb with what we were told was a far more relaxed and leisurely stroll down Boott Spur. Although it’s a somewhat longer route, the opportunity to get some moderate sections where we could get into a less jarring and smooth cadence would be well-received. Blow the jets out, loosen up, and go faceplant some much deserved turkey.
This pleasing scenario was entirely of our own making and in reality, non-existent. Not only was Boott Spur longer, but it also seemed to be even more highly concentrated with rocks and roots. And steep crevasse and ravine hand and butt slides. Straight down. Forever. Payback for our somewhat aggressive scaling of Mount Washington was being doled out with time and a half. Some folks in this squad (again, not to point fingers at myself) were making sounds upon ground contact that they had never made before. But we made it down, group intact, with an abundance of respect and reverence for New England’s highest peak.
The dinner was exceptional, and by all measures, the event was a winner. As is the case whenever there’s a chance to be immersed in a community of people who share your passions, the takeaway was that we hikers, backpackers, thru hikers, and general outdoor gadabouts care about and celebrate good things in the natural world around us. Whether people signed up for this gala for personal enjoyment of the mountain, or to support the research that helps us understand it, we wish the organizers of Seek the Peak continued growth and success. Thanks for having us!
For more information about Seek the Peak, head to the event page here.
When our design intentions and your reactions line up, that’s the sweet spot. We don’t always nail it on the first try, though – case and point, the dimensions of the original hip belt pockets on our popular 2400, 3400, and 4400 packs. The common theme in the feedback we received was that they were a tad small for some of the items you wanted easy access to throughout your days. We listened, it was all valid, and we’re pleased to announce a change. Introducing the new hip belt pocket size.
For 2018, we’re happy to partner once again with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.
The CDTC’s goal to protect the countless breathtaking natural resources along the 3,100-mile trail is a noble one, and it’s work we believe in supporting. In 2017, this ever-growing organization was the conduit for nearly 39,000 hours of trail maintenance from a community of over 1,000 volunteers. That’s within range of nearly one-million dollars’ worth of work. And this is just one example of the myriad ways the CDTC focuses on safeguarding the future of this route that travels through public lands from Canada to Mexico.
Additionally, this year we’re pleased to have collaborated with the CDTC on a special run of small Drawstring Stuff Sacks to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of the trail. These ultralight and supremely useful drawstring bags are perfect organizational tools in any pack, and they’ll only be available from the CDTC store, included with memberships and at events throughout the year.
Every year, we make the pilgrimage to Damascus, Virginia for the annual Appalachian Trail Days festival. Three days in Appalachia amongst some of our favorite people on Earth: accomplished and aspiring Thru-Hikers. The sheer number of people from every walk of life that pass thru Trail Town over the weekend never fails to amaze us. If you’re in the area and want to meet a colorful crew of Appalachian Trail hikers, this is the place to be.
This year we’ll have a trailer full of gear for sale (with event-only discounts), gear shakedowns, and raffles to cap off Friday and Saturday. Sign up early, and come by the booth at 4:00 P.M. for chances to win items from an assortment of great swag – including a 3400 Series Ultralight pack. See you there!
Damascus, Virginia is a small town is Southwest, Virginia that’s home to the convergence of seven hiking trails, including the point 470 miles in from the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. The regular population of just over 800 swells to nearly 30,000 when the town hosts the annual Trail Days Festival – a gathering of thru-hikers who are currently on trail, veteran hikers, and fans of the trail community. For more info check out the Official Trail Days 2018 brochure.
Salt Lake City, UT (January 15, 2018) – The family and close friends of the late Kyle Dempster, with the support of Outdoor Research, Higher Ground Coffee, Black Diamond, CiloGear, Keen Footwear, PROBAR, La Sportiva, Liberty Mountain, Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Duct Tape Then Beer, are excited and proud to announce the first annual Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award.
One of America’s great young alpinists best known for first ascents of big remote peaks around the globe, Kyle Dempster was a passionate climber, adventurer and friend who fully lived his 33 years before he and his climbing partner Scott Adamson disappeared while attempting to climb the North Face of the Ogre II in Pakistan, in August of 2016.
Though Kyle loved climbing, traveling and going on adventures with friends, many of his most memorable and creative trips were done alone, traversing wild corners of the world by himself and under his own power. From kiteskiing hundreds of miles across Baffin Island, to his biking and climbing trip across Kygryzstan that was made famous in the short film The Road from Karakol, Kyle found a deep sense of meaning and joy in exploring the world on his own.
Each year, the Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award will be given to an American solo adventurer embarking on a journey that embodies Kyle’s passionate spirit and love of exploration, with an emphasis on storytelling and leave no trace ethics. The recipients are by no means limited to climbers, and the trips awarded by no means must involve the big mountains Kyle loved—on the contrary, we encourage applications for human-powered solo adventures of all kinds—big or small, remote or urban, cold and icy or hot and sunny.
Applications will be accepted from January 15 – March 15, 2018 for trips taking place between April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019.
Our first foray into the world of backpacks (circa 2010) was the Windrider Ultralight Pack, which has since become the pack that has helped us refine our goal of building durable, ultralight gear that excels on any backcountry mission. And after repeated testing over the years, it is still our go-to pack suggestion for anyone looking to go lighter.
With mesh pockets that are perfect for drying out gear, and three volume options (40, 55 and 70L), the Windrider is ready-to-go on anything from weekend overnights to a 2,000-mile thru hike or Alaskan expedition. But you don’t have to take it from us. We receive tons of customer feedback and work with an experienced group of gear testers to help provide honest feedback to anyone exploring pack options on the World Wide Web, and below you’ll find a few of our favorites snippets.
And just like that, 2016 is almost over. It’s been another great, busy year here at Hyperlite Mountain Gear–one for the record books.
The good news is that it seems like the idea of doing more with less is really getting some legs. Like, big, burly I-just-yo-yo’d-the-PCT-legs. We put that notion to the test every day in our production and manufacturing, while our staff, ambassadors, friends and customers do the same on trails, crags, hills, mountains, rivers and trails across the continent and throughout the world.
Bottom line: some crazy stuff got done in 2016. We figured out how to make even more ultralight backpacks, shelters, tents and tarps per day, all without compromising our commitment to quality or our other core values–like producing everything here in our factory in Maine (in the good-old US of A).
That’s not it though. Some serious business happened in the field, too. So much so that we figured we’d compile a Best of 2016 list of things from the Hyperlite Mountain Gear blog, in case you missed anything.
Grab some left over egg nog (or don’t, maybe–how old is that stuff?), cozy up on the couch and prepare to get really excited about the year to come. 2016 was great, but 2017 is going to epic.
In additions to endorsements from some of the most hardcore, mile-bagging, wilderness-dwelling customers out there, the Ultamid got some outstanding official recognition from a few exceptional media outlets as well.
Just in case you’re on the fence about joining the club, we thought we’d see if maybe this little nudge would help. We get it: our pyramid tents are a major investment. But without getting all sales-y, we wouldn’t make them if they didn’t represent the best damn balance of lightweight performance with exceptional durability out there. “Set it (up) and forget it” applies to things in the backcountry, too–and in the case of an Ultamid, you’ll be doing exactly that for years and years to come.
For the fifth year in a row, we attended Appalachian Trail Days down in Damascus, Va., aka “Trail Town USA.” Every year, up to 20,000 tourists make their way to this tiny town of fewer than 1,000 people around the middle of May. And every year more and more folks visit our booth. Nearly 400 people attended the Saturday raffle, along with 20 hikers who gathered round for our first “How to Set Up Your Tarp” clinic with our Chief Adventure Officer (aka CEO) Mike St. Pierre and Ambassador and professional thru hiker Ashley “Bloody Mary” Hill.
“It was rad,” Hill said of the event. “Appalachian Trail Days is the largest outdoor, long-distance hiking event in the country, so there are a lot of veteran hikers and new hikers. People feed off each other; the veterans let the new hikers know they can complete this monumental task. And the veterans and other tourists get to be around the energy of people starting a thru hike; you can feel the enthusiasm and excitement! There’s so much community, culture and love surrounding this event.” Read the rest of the article.
This has been a great year for our Dyneema® backpacks and Duffel bag. The Alpinist Magazine gave the Ice Pack it’s Mountain Standards Award, TrailSpace.com gave our Summit five stars in a January review, and BlisterGearReview.com gave both our Duffel Bag and Ice Pack excellent reviews. Of the things that come up again and again is the strength and durability of the fabric, plus the lightweight. Read more from Carryology.
“Weight is almost never an advantage in an active backpack. But to get durability and features in your pack design, a weight compromise is somewhat inevitable. Hyperlite [Mountain Gear] is one of the pioneering brands trying to break this paradigm, and their Dyneema 2400 Ice Pack is a cracking example. Utilizing high-tech Dyneema, a reductionist design approach and very considered construction, their 2400 is crazy light, super tough, and will resist almost any weather you can throw at it.” —Carryology.com
The Dyneema® 2400 Ice Pack is part of our line of ultra-durable, ultralight Dyneema® Backpacks and Duffel Bag.
“…We will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.” — President Obama, January 2012 State of the Union
I love walking into the shop every day, smelling the lacquer and hardwood of the 180-year-old floors of the Pepperell Mill and hearing the buzz of the sewing machines used by the few dozen stitchers and cutters who work for Hyperlite Mountain Gear. They sit in sun that pours through tall windows built before the days of consistent electricity—windows that used to offer the only light employees would have to work by.
When my brother, CFO Dan St. Pierre, and I started this company we decided to make all our packs, shelters and Stuff Sacks right here on Main Street, USA. As a young start-up, we didn’t really see any other way of running our business. And as we grew, we realized the numerous financial, environmental and social benefits to producing domestically.
We believe “Made in the USA” is a worthwhile endeavor that benefits our customers, our company, the community where we do business and, especially, our employees. Our employees come from all walks of life and are of all ages. Some are expert seamstresses who previously worked for the textile industry, while others are newly trained young folks just starting out their factory careers. All are highly skilled craftspeople who care deeply about the quality of their work. They’re from Maine, after all, a place known for its true grit and work ethic. Really, they are the reason we exist, and I appreciate them every day that I come to work. So, we offer them above-average wages and health benefits. Read the rest of the post.
Daybreak Ultralight Daypack: National Geographic Adventure’s “Gear of the Year”
National Geographic Adventure magazine included our technologically-advanced Daybreak ultralight daypack in their 2016 “Gear of the Year” round up, saying: “Hyperlite Mountain Gear has built the Daybreak out of Dyneema cloth, which is known for its extremely light weight, durability, and natural water resistance. Although it holds 17 liters, enough for a full day on the trail, it weighs just 19 ounces. But it isn’t flimsy: The Dyneema has a structure that helps hold its shape, which lets it sit upright on its own and makes it easier to organize or find your gear. Like we said, sophisticated.” Read the full review.
Understanding what you need is the secret to knowing what you don’t. So when Hyperlite Mountain Gear CEO Mike St. Pierre decided to embark on 200 miles of one of the most difficult thru hikes in the country—the 600-mile traverse of the Grand Canyon below the rim—he refined his organizational tools by designing stackable, zippered Pods.
Because he needed to carry more food (and gear) than normal to go the eight or nine days from cache to cache, he had to optimize how he used the available volume of his pack. Fitted perfectly to the shape of his Southwest Pack, the new Pods left no space unfilled, no volume unused.
“I was looking for a better, more efficient way of storing ten days worth of food,” St. Pierre explains. “I love and have always used our CF8 and CF11 Stuff Sacks, but I found that putting ten days of food into them wasn’t working. When filled with my repackaged meals, they were like a bunch of footballs crammed in my pack. I was wasting 600 to 800 cubic inches. So it just made sense to design something that matched the internal shape of the pack. Once I figured that out, I was able to get what I put into a 55-liter pack into a 40-liter pack just by reorganizing how I laid out the food.”Read the rest of the post.
Considered one of the most influential gear review sites by Outside Magazine,BlisterGearReview.com does comprehensive reviews of outdoor products. They recently published excellent reviews of Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Dyneema® Expedition Duffel Bag and our UltaMid 2 Pyramid Tent. What they said…
“If your objectives entail hauling a lot of gear far into the wilderness, and you put a premium on low weight and durability, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema® Duffel should be on your short list. It’s a high-performance bag designed for objectives where excess weight is anathema and durability and weatherproofing are vital. For those looking for top-tier performance, it’s a great option.”
“For years I’ve been searching for a superlight four-season shelter that I can use year round for human powered adventures, and now I seem to have found it. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 2 is the best performing, most versatile shelter I’ve ever used. There is little doubt in mind that it will continue to be my top choice for shelter any time I’m thinking of spending the night outside.”
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Partners with the Pacific Crest Trail Association & the Continental Divide Trail Coalition
This February, we partnered with the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), key organizations that support two of the “Big Three” thru hiking/backpacking trails. Why? Because we are committed to getting you—the passionate outdoor adventurer—into the mountains and onto the trails where you can achieve your most optimal self. Our goal with these partnerships is to ensure these iconic and inspirational trails are preserved, protected and enjoyed by all types of hikers for decades to come.
With 11,000+ members and donors, the PCTA empowers more than 1800 volunteers to work 96,500 hours on hundreds of projects. A major partner of the US Forest Service, this nonprofit advocates for hikers, thru hikers and backpackers, responds to and manages wildfires and other closures, responds to threats on the trail (logging, illegal trespass and development proposals), and acquires land and easements to further enhance the trail. Discover the trail.
Though smaller and newer, the CDTC fills an important niche, empowering those who love the Continental Divide Trail through community engagement, stewardship and trail outreach and education. With a goal to build strong community of volunteers, enthusiasts and supporters who want to see the CDT completed and protected, they’ve constructed 9.3 miles of new trail and mobilized 194 volunteers to work nearly 15,000 hours. Join the CDTC.
Together, these two organizations successfully mobilize tens of thousands of donors, members and volunteers to protect and preserve two of America’s most iconic trail systems. But creating better, strong trail systems requires teamwork, partnerships and collaboration. We hope that by joining their communities that we can help raise awareness of the important work they do.