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Serge J L.

Serge J L.

Serge J L.

Serge J L.wrote a review of on August 15, 2019

Camping Tent Meets Smooth Jazz
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I’d like to think of my time in the outdoors as being removed from modern amenities, luxuries, and other distractions. And in general, I get somewhat upset when a comrade or partner pulls out their cellphone and starts listening to a podcast—or Sade—while sitting at the bottom of the most remote place I can imagine being. But having acknowledged that I like good gear, and that I’m not traipsing through fern-lined canyons with grape leaves around my privates, this little mtnGLO string of lights has made it to my exception list of outdoor amenities. And if the batteries should ever run out while in the backcountry, I’ll be none the happier for having carried in that extra four oz’s (the weight of the light system plus three AAA batteries) because the tent is very good and darn light (pun intended) too.

Back to Sade—or Leon Bridges for the younger folks out there. The first time my partner and I flicked the switch (pushed the button) on the LED’s, something special happened in that tent. As a photographer of 25 years, I am well-attuned to how light can affect mood. And in this case, the glow was magical, if not steamy. But if you are older than 35, and didn’t eat your carrots growing up, you’ll still need your headlamp to read. The lights at their maximum brightness weren’t strong enough for me to comfortably read bedtime stories.

Weight, Durability and Stability:
Clocking in at ~3lbs 2oz. (that’s including three AAA batteries and the footprint) the tent still weighed less than my solo rig. It’s only a tad smaller than the other two-person tent I have used for almost seven years. My point is that you get a lot of space for so little weight.

And don't let ultralight material concerns bake-in too far. While in a canyon for a three-day solo, the winds were high into the thirties with even stronger gusts. I had the tent fully guyed-out and it felt and looked very stable. Nothing suffered from many hours of unrelenting abuse.

The Tent Features:
A desert/warm-climate friendly feature of the Tiger-Wall is the white mosquito-net mesh that is used on the vast majority of the tent. As I lay down on a 60-degree evening at the bottom of a high-walled canyon, the ceiling vista had me floating amidst the canopy of trees silhouetted against the stars and planets above. The frogs, crickets and great horned owls formed the soundtrack to this moment. All to be crashed by the snoring of my buddy in his vastly inferior and heavier tent nearby.

The fact that the mesh is white--versus the black mesh on my last three tents--at the very least gives me the internal sense that it is reflecting the sun in the morning rather than absorbing the heat. Whether there is any science to back up this claim is another matter. But if you care about aesthetics, the white mesh can get dirty very fast.

One annoyance that became more significant after about my sixth day of using the tent was the door situation as it relates to the rain fly. I haven’t quite pinpointed the problem, but something about the design was causing the fly to get caught in the tent zipper. Also, when the fly door is fully rolled up, I noticed that it still didn’t create an efficient and wide opening to move through. It definitely isn’t a show-stopper. But I noticed it.

In all honesty, no matter what I will always have my headlamp with me. But for me, turning up the steamy romantic mtnGlo feel is worth a few extra ounces. Some ultralighters are going to be rolling over in their sleeping bags thinking about the extra four oz.’s that have been permanently stitched into this tent. In which case, they can get the exact same shelter without this hot feature.
Leaving aside the mtnGLO perks, this tent sleeps two comfortably and doesn’t skimp on features in order to achieve its featherlight trail weight. There are plenty of storage pockets. Ventilation and visibility (without the fly attached) is outstanding on account of the mesh that comprises the majority of the tent.

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Serge J L.

Serge J L.wrote a review of on April 16, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The MSR Trail Base Water Filter passed all of my tests deep in the backcountry of the Grand Canyon, along with the sides of a burgeoning creek in the Gila Box Riparian Area (Arizona) and throughout the Catalina Mountain trails of Southern Arizona. And though I didn’t have to go dipping into any stale tenajas, I generally found the water tasted really good when sampled straight out of the Trailshot filter.

Alas, when using the Trailshot Gravity System, the filtration went extremely fast. So fast that my marshmallows were charring before I had to start a new cycle of filtration. While the provided two-liter bags are a bit small for my purposes, one can purchase a model that comes with four-liter Dromedary bags instead.

While at first glance this filter appears to be very similar to other manufacture’s gravity models, the Trailshot system has an added advantage. In addition to the gravity system, one can use the filter alone for quick hydration straight out of any water source. So, if you are a trail runner or ultralight backpacker working in a very wet place, theoretically you could get away with using the 5.2 ounce (claimed weight) filter alone without bringing the extra hosing and the “dirty water” and “clean water” Dromlite bags.

The dirty and clean water bags that are included are MSR’s DromLite bags. I’ve had the age-old “odd chemical taste” issue with the regular Dromedary storage bags in the past. MSR swears (three separate phone conversations with three separate representatives/technicians), that this shouldn’t be the case because the issue was resolved a long time ago. But it is the case. I have used several other water storage systems and been able to remove residual aftertaste with a combination of lemon and/or baking soda solutions. However, after soaking these bags for a week, rinsing, and redoing, I was not able to get rid of the taste. The taste bothers some people, but not others.

I was surprised by how much clean water the Trailshot filter was able to generate from each squeeze. In fact, I quickly became accustomed to using the trail filter to fill my extra water bottles when I wasn’t gravity filtering.

In short, I can say with the confidence of being able to write this review from my office rather than the outhouse… this filter works well.

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