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What is a Cottage Gear Manufacturer?

Hyperlite Mountain Gear does all of their design work and manufacturing in Biddeford, Maine using state of the art computer-aided design tools and industrial sewing machines.

A cottage gear manufacturer is one that manufactures their own products, rather than outsourcing them to a contract manufacturer. In the backpacking industry companies like Mountain Laurel Designs, Tarptent, ULA, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Yama Mountain Gear, ZPacks, Elemental Horizons, and Superior Wilderness Designs design, fabricate or sew all of their …

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Elemental Horizons Kalais XT Backpack Review

The Kalais XT has huge side water bottle pockets that stick out like hamster cheeks.

Elemental Horizons is a well-regarded cottage backpack manufacturer based in North Carolina with a small but loyal customer following. They’ve recently added XPac fabric as a material option to their backpacks, including the adjustable frame Kalais XT reviewed here. XPac is an ultralight waterproof laminate like cuben fiber (now called Dyneema …

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Merrell Moab Polar 400 Gram Insulated Hiking Boots Review

The Merrill Moab Polar Insulated Winter Hiking Boot has 400g of insulation and is rated down to 20 below.

Merrell’s Moab Polar Winter Hiking Boots have 400 grams of insulation and a wide front toe box that has plenty of room for your toes to splay out. They’re sized more like a regular three-season hiking boot and just come up over the ankles, unlike many insulated winter hiking boots …

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Seek Outside Gila 3500 Backpack Review

The Seek Ouside Gila 3500 is a lightweight external frame backpack good for four-season use

The Seek Outside Gila 3500 (57L) is an 2 pound 15 ounce external frame backpack capable of carrying heavy loads, up to 100 pounds. It’s made with a waterproof laminate fabric called XPac which is more durable than Dyneema Composite Fabric (formerly called cuben fiber) and less expensive. While the …

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Ultralight Backpacking Gift Guide

Ultralight Backpacking Guide Guide

What kind of gifts can you buy for an ultralight backpacker who’s a minimalist and eschews material possessions? It’s a quandary, isn’t it? Here are some tried and true gear favorites that all ultralight backpacker’s lust for. They may be minimalists, but they’re not stupid. They like great gear just like …

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