With the low snow year, mountain ranges across the west are melting fast and summer adventures are quickly coming into view. While everyone has their favorite piece of gear, we feel it’s always necessary to have an ultimate summer setup of essentials that go along every time you leave the trailhead.
Two fundamentals to always carry into the backcountry are a hardshell and a puffy. You might not need either of them over the course of a weekend outing, but they are both invaluable when Mother Nature doesn’t follow the forecast. Given their weight to value ratio, there is never not a reason to pack both. Light and compactable, a hard shell and puffy can live forgotten in the deepest recesses of your pack until the time is right. The Brooks-Range LT Armor Jacket is a scant 13 ounces of wind and weather protection. Made of breathable Polartec Neo Shell™ fabric, the hooded hard shell features two simple chest pockets and is fully seam taped for simple but complete weatherproof protection in any mountain environment.
Overnighting? The Cloak sleeping bag series serves as an elegant, trusted and versatile backcountry refuge. Drape it around you at camp, sleep with it under the stars, or huddle beneath it during morning coffee before stowing it away for another adventure in the hills. Because so many campers sleep warm, traditional bags are often too hot and make overnights muggy and uncomfortable. In return, they get a poor night’s sleep. For versed backcountry aficionados, the Cloak sleeping bag series is a smart alternative to camping traditionalism. With three temperature-rated quilts—45, 30 and 15 degrees—the Cloak is a zipperless down blanket that has multi-purpose applications for myriad camping needs and demands. Treated with DownTec™ weatherproofing, these 850+ fill goose quilts provide premier loft with maximum compressibility and minimal weight penalty.
Along those same lines is the Cirro Synthetic Hoody, a 60-gram Primaloft insulated back up plan. Temps can plummet at night or winds can rattle you to your core. Built with a lean but strong Pertex Quantam face fabric, the Cirro is a hearty insurance policy when things get chilly.
To further keep with the essentials but maintain that svelte pack appearance, our Foray two-person tent is an ideal shelter for fast packing as well as lax car camping. Weighing in at just over three pounds, the Foray is fully seam taped and features a roomy 6-square-foot vestibule for organizing, and full mesh canopy for maximum ventilation on muggy expeditions. It also boasts a no drip front door, which eliminates rain from dripping into the tent when the fly is open.
Then there’s getting lost. Or not. Brooks-Range offers a one-and-done UTM Reader™ for backcountry adventurers who enjoy the virtues of orienteering through wilderness playgrounds. It contains all the UTM’s, scales, and slope indexes used on backcountry topographic maps in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Japan. Measuring only 4¼” x 7”, the non-glare, flexible plastic slips easily into a pocket, and prevents broken corners or tearing in cold and severe conditions. Grid, inclinometer, common conversions, and detailed instructions are included, making the Brooks-Range UTM Reader as vital as a map and compass for backcountry travel and orienteering.
However your summer escapades take shape, having the crucial pieces for backcountry travel can elevate your experience no matter how wet, windy or wild the trails get.