Gifts for the Ultralight backpacker
Buying gifts for the ultralight backpacker can be difficult, because you don't want to buy stuff that she/he won't like. So here are my picks for cool things for the ultralight or lightweight backpacker, or for a person heading in that direction.
Petzl e+LITE headlamp:
One always wants a 300 lumen flashlight, but we also realize that a little zipper hanging LED is enough for most uses when camping. A compromise between the two is the Petzl e+LITE headlamp. I have it on good authority that Santa is bringing me one this year, and if it weighs less than 1 oz and puts out 60 lumens as advertised, and has a good on-off switch as it looks like it does, I'll like it.
Trail Pix UL tripod:
Real photographers carry big tripods. Real UL hikers carry no, or a minimum tripod. A light weight compromise is the Trail Pix tripod, that works with your hiking poles, and weighs close to the weight of a cell phone.
This can be purchased with a ball head or phone holder, $100 for all components, trailpix.com
Caldera Cone Sidewinder:
This stove is light and effective. I can't say enough about it, and I was a die hard alcohol stove skeptic. The full skirt model of Ti-Tri has been my go to stove for 5 or 6 years, and now its the Sidewinder that I love. The titanium wind screen fits inside the pot, buy a pot with the wind screen and stove, or use your own pot. traildesigns.com
TinyCharger5, by roadiesolar.com.
For charging electronics when on a long trip, this 4 oz solar panel hangs off your pack, leans against a rock, or use it as a hat (sure, why not?). Keeps cell phones charged, camera batteries, anything with a USB port. Contact roadiesolar for when it will be available.
Sea-to-Summit Ember Quilt:
I was a severe skeptic of using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag, but this thing convinced me. Its awesome and is good down to at least freezing, although its rated at 40 degrees. It weighs 1 lb 4 oz!!! is stuffs to about the size of a nalgene bottle. I'm not sure this is available yet, but call them and demand to buy one. The site says available in Spring of 2016, and it is worth waiting for.
Tarptent Squall II tent:
Having tested, used, or seen many tents in the past 49 years of backpacking, I gotta say the Squall II by Tarptent is hard to beat. It weighs about 2 lbs, sleeps two in comfort, and I've had it in wind, snow, rain, and bugs. It is wonderful.