Sea To Summit Specialist Duo Tent

Sea To Summit Specialist Duo Tent

The Holy Grail. For backpackers, it’s that precise mix of light, compact in-the-pack design and comfortable function at the campsite. Most backpacking shelters provide one, but not the other. Bivouac sacks and tarps are ultra lightweight, but they aren’t the most comfortable to sleep in and are outright insufficient for some backpackers. Tents offer roomy, breathable accommodation with full protection from the elements, but they’re much bulkier and heavier to carry. Instead of the Holy Grail, it’s all about compromise.
That compromise may be giving way to something resembling a Holy Grail, however. Several companies now offer breathable, free-standing one- and two-person tents that approach the low weight of bivy sacks and shelters. One of those companies is also one of the newest tent manufacturers on the market. Sea to Summit used to be known solely for small accessories, but in the summer of 2011, it announced the Specialist line of tents. The company’s Specialist Duo is one of the lightest two-person tents on the market and offers some unique benefits.

The Sea to Summit Duo uses several design advantages to deliver a thoughtful mix of light pack weight and comfortable sleeping quarters. Its hybrid single/double-wall construction combines the lightness of a single-wall design with the breezy breathability of a double-wall tent. The mix of Pertex Endurance 20-denier waterproof-breathable nylon and 15-denier waterproof nylon construction keeps water outside, while the two mesh doors keep air flowing in and out. An integrated vestibule fly covers the doors in the event of bad weather.

The Specialist Duo weighs well under 2 lbs. (1 lb. 13 oz.) with all included components. To cut another 5 oz. out, you can leave the poles at home and pitch the tent with a pair of hiking poles. Assuming you trek with poles, a little multi-function makes an already ultra-lightweight tent that much lighter.

The Specialist Duo delivers a fully enclosed two-person tent that protects from all forms of weather and insects and manages to weigh as little as a pound and a half. The two separate doors not only add air circulation, but they make it easier for each occupant to come and go as he pleases. Duo owners get some of the comforts of a base camp tent with weight that undercuts some bivy sacks.

Outside of its smart, weight-savings elements, the Specialist Duo is just a solidly engineered piece of kit. Double stitching holds up to wear and tear, and fully taped seams prevent water from seeping in. Reflective guy lines and a half-dozen alloy stakes round out the standard package, and a ground sheet can be purchased separately for added durability.

  • Single-wall construction features Pertex Endurance shell fabric and delivers 1K-rated water protection as well as an impressive breathability rating
  • Two entrances so that you don’t have to climb over anyone
  • Two vestibules deliver ample gear storage so your sleeping area stays clean, dry, and organized
  • Fabric is double stitched and bar tacked at all stress points for added strength
  • Fully taped seams prevent water penetration
  • The 7075 alloy poles lend structure, but the shelter can be pitched with a pair of trekking poles and natural anchors for extra weight savings

The Specialist Duo hit the market earlier this year. It retails for $499. Those that prefer the joys of sleeping alone should look into the Specialist Solo, which weighs under a pound when pitched with trekking poles and retails for $429.

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Jones The Flagship Carbon Snowboard 2013

Jones Snowboards Carbon Solution Flagship 2013

When you’re the protagonist of some of the most epic snowboarding footage ever recorded, it doesn’t take all that long for your snowboard company to make a name for itself. That’s certainly been the story for Jeremy Jones and his eponymous company. Jones Snowboards first line came out just two years ago, and the boards have been earning major awards and accolades ever since. Unlike other brands, which barely pop their heads out of the park long enough to consider a big mountain stick, Jones’ focus is freeride first.

Snowboard companies don’t keep customers and glowing reviews flowing in by polishing last season’s trophy shelf. For the 2013 season, Jones will be doing a lot more than adding new graphics to old designs. The company will re-skin two of its staple big-mountain boards with carbon fiber, creating lightweight, responsive boards that look straight out of NASA.

For those that don’t follow the aerospace, F1 racing or high-tech bicycle industries, carbon fiber is like the Holy Grail of high performance engineering – superior strength at a low weight. In terms of a big mountain snowboard, extra carbon fiber promises to offer enhanced stability and smoothness while maintaining a light, reactive ride.

Jones Flagship has scored multiple awards without carbon fiber, so the Carbon Flagship should take Jeremy’s halo board to an unprecedented level of performance. The board combines a carbon top sheet and carbon stringers, giving it the rare ability to plough through the crustiest, chunkiest gnar while reacting on a dime when it matters most. Just take a quick peek at that solid black weave under your feet, and you should have the surge of confidence needed to take on your mountain’s nastiest lines.

Outside of its carbon makeover, the Carbon Flagship relies on tried and true design elements. The directional rocker provides nose float to sail through the deepest of powder while giving you full edge hold. Assisting in preventing you from ceding even an iota of control to the mountain, mellow Magne-Traction edges bite into snow and ice for sure grip and powerful turns. A sintered base peppered with carbon nano particles provides the fastest ride around and holds up to years of abuse.

Jones snowboards are designed, tested and tweaked to the specifications of Jeremy and his team of riders. Manufacturing is handled by Nidecker Snowboards, an industry staple based in Switzerland, one of the true birthplaces of downhill snow sports.

Not surprisingly, the carbon fiber does add a chunk of change to the Flagship’s price, but at $799 it’s actually cheaper than many other brands’ top-end tech boards. No other board out there combines heaps of carbon fiber, award-winning big mountain design and the pedigree of the Jones name…except for the Carbon Solution. The $1,100 Carbon Solution is a carbon fiber version of the Solution splitboard, perfect for riders that regularly spend hours of skinning, scrambling and roping for minutes of pointing, straight lining and turning.