You may have seen the artist Nikki Frumkin, from Drawn To High Places, mentioned on our social media and recent blog posts. She produces incredible watercolor paintings and is a fan of all things SlingFin. We are excited to announce that we have teamed up with her to give away one of her prints as well as a tagua nut necklace!
In order to participate in the giveaway:
Drawing of our LFD by a SlingFin friend Insta:@drawntohighplaces
Hello SlingFin family and friends,
We recently made some new stickers to give out and help promote our brand. They are also PVC free, helping us to further eliminate our ecological footprint! In order to get your free sticker, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
Color Preference (see photos)
A friend's email (optional)
We would appreciate your help in spreading the SlingFin name and getting these stickers out. To help us:
Send us a friend's email and we will message them saying that you recommended them for our newsletter
If they sign up, you will get an additional sticker free!
Anyone who has 3+ friends sign up will become a SlingFin VIP
I just wanted to thank you again for making such kick ass tents. This dome is on season 6 as our dining tent at Camp 2 (21,500ft) on our Everest expeditions and it is still in great shape. It has taken an amazing amount of UV, wind and snow and it's as solid as ever. I'm sorry I'm probably not going to need to buy a new one for another couple of years.
Mountain Trip International
Sent from my iPhone from Everest
On 5/16/2016 the rules for investing in independent startups will change.
The new law means that investing will no longer be limited to the rich. Everyday people…gear nerds, outdoor enthusiasts, family and friends...will be able to invest amounts as small as $100 in a ‘Kickstarter-with-equity’ model where many small investments add up.
This means SlingFin will be able to raise the capital we need from our natural community.
We want SlingFin to grow as a result of our direct connection with you, our supporters!
SlingFin was founded with a mission: to design and build gear of the highest quality by focusing on solving design problems important to mountaineers, climbers, backpackers, bike campers and enthusiasts of similar human powered sports.
We need working capital to bring in inventory, create new designs and move the business forward.
We’ve all seen brands we loved diluted as a result of the deals they have had to make to raise working capital. Primarily as a result of the need to deliver short term growth rather than maintain focus on a solid long term strategic vision, these brands are now a ghost of their former selves.
The new rules will let our vision and that of our investors stay aligned. We will be able to grow and prosper strategically in a way that does not dilute our core mission or long-term prospects.
Gear! Trips! Adventure! Design!
To cement the alignment, we will be offering benefits to investors such as reduced prices on gear, investor trips, and unique gear. We’re still working this out, but, for example, investing $1000 would get you $1000 in stock and also $1000 in discounts towards SlingFin products (we will be adding backpacks, headwear and some fleece clothing to our product line in the near future). This discount would never expire and could be used by you or shared with family and friends. While these benefits are worthless to folks that don’t love the outdoors, they are of substantial material benefit to folks that do...hence increasing the odds that a SlingFin investor is a true SlingFin fan.
Part of what excites us is the implications of this change for the outdoor industry as a whole. By enabling the folks creating real consumer value, e.g. outdoor gear designers and developers, to build independent businesses, the new Act will facilitate better gear and better brands.
The gatekeepers will stop being the suits and start being folks with a deep knowledge of the domain.
Calls to action.
Are you interested in investing? Want to help move the effort forward? Want a cool tent or just a bit of SlingFin swag? Here’s what you can do:
Spread the word! Tell your friends. Get SlingFin swag! (see Swag Notes below.)
On 5/16/16, check out our Wefunder page and take action. (see a bit more about how this all will work below.)
A bit more about how this all will work:
The new regulations require that these funds be raised through a registered ‘equity crowdfunding portal’. All specific information and communication about the deal must route through them. (The idea is to prevent a con-operation from putting up a good looking website and trying to make a one shot grab for your money.)
We have the great good fortune to be appearing on the Wefunder.com portal; the Wefunder founders helped pass the enabling law and have a stellar reputation in the alternative funding community. Here’s a look at their team.
Wefunder Operations Director, Dylan Enright, a former river guide and ski instructor, wants to see the Wefunder portal become the go-to location for outdoor brands to connect with outdoor enthusiasts.
Wefunder decided to make a splash by finding 20 exciting new companies to launch on the new Title III part of their portal. SlingFin is honored to have been selected as one of those companies. Our fundraising efforts will be live on the Wefunder site when they flip the switch on 5/16/16.
The swag: loop in 10 friends for a SlingFin sticker; loop in 40 friends for a SlingFin Tagua Nut Pendant. (See the images below.)
What to do: Email your friends or contact them on Facebook.
Email - Include email@example.com in the To or CC fields and we'll give you credit.
Facebook use @slingfin in the email message along with whomever you're targeting and we'll give you credit for all the @s. Ask your friends to Like the SlingFin page.
¡Viva la revolucion! SlingFin is one of the startups in an investing revolution! If you love the outdoors and want to help a startup, you can help SlingFin in their quest to raise working capital in 30 days.
To make it easy for gear nerds to invest, we are adding Kickstarter-like premiums to the SlingFin stock you would acquire.
A $500 investment to help SlingFin would give you:
$500 in stock
an additional $500 in discounts you can use for your own gear or gifts, share it with family and friends, whatever you like.
This gear includes:
And future SlingFin products
We intend to go live on 5/16 but need your help letting folks know. We're looking to connect with friends of friends via email or Facebook. We've got swag and, of course, our undying gratitude for you if you can help with a few minutes of outreach!
WARNING: Reading this trip report by Jake Adkins will cause an uncontrollable desire to go forth and see New Zealand for yourself!
North Island Auckland: We flew into Auckland and spent a few days exploring the city while staying with a family friend. Highlights of Auckland were; Mt. Eden: a short hike up a Volcano in the middle of the city that gives 360 views of the surrounding area.
Rangitoto: A bigger volcano off the shore, 20-30 minute ferry ride, 1.5hr hike to summit. Awesome lava rocks, huge crater. The best part was hiking another hour over to the adjacent island, Motutapu, do discover beautiful grasslands and small beaches with a collection of the most beautiful sea shells ever. Auckland Fish Market and waterfront: Beautiful waterfront with an abundance of restaurants, bars, yachts floating about. Let me tell you about a real Kiwi burger. It has a fried egg, beetroot, and is out of this world. I had about 5 burgers in NZ and every one challenged for a ranking on my best burgers ever list. Speaking of food, meat pies are a thing, a big thing! Steak/mushroom/cheese, chicken/cheese, seafood, you name it they have it. A word of advice on pies, don’t get them from convenience markets or grocery stores. Get them from a bakery or café. It is a world of difference. Surrounding Auckland: After more of our friends arrived we headed to surrounding areas for some postcard beaches.
Piha Beach: West of Auckland, tucked away by some mountains but fairly expansive. A good surfer’s beach, but we used it for exploring. Lion’s Rock, a huge rock sits prominently in the middle of the beach, a few hundred feet tall. Hiking and scrambling to the top was well worth it. Walking the beach we found numerous sea caves and tide pools, and also took a 30 minute walk to Kitekite Falls. We camped next to the beach for one night. This was my favorite beach experience of our trip. Goat’s Island: North of Auckland and known for its snorkeling. We rented gear and spent the day following large snappers and schools of other small fish. The water was decently clear, but our local friend in Auckland told us it wasn’t the best day to see everything. Coromandel: About three hours East of Auckland. This part of the island has numerous beaches well-known as some of the best in NZ.
Hot Water Beach: The most unique beach experience I will ever have. With tons of volcanoes in the North Island (50 in Auckland alone) volcanic activity presents itself everywhere, including on this beach in the form of hot spots in the sand. The thing to do at Hot Water Beach is to find a hot spot in the sand near low tide and dig yourself a hot tub, which of course we did! On this fairly big beach, the hot spots were only scattered throughout a 100ft wide section, so different party’s hot tubs were all huddled close to each other. The hot spots get so hot that you cannot stand on them directly for too long. We mixed our hot tub with the hot water from deep in the sand and the cold ocean water. It was a constant battle to build and maintain our tub water, but it was so much fun! Plus, we got to relax and gaze at the stars in our tub when we were all finished. We camped in the campground for one night.
Cathedral Cove: A short drive North of Hot Water Beach is what might be the most photographed beach in the country. Cathedral Cove is a 45min coastal hike away from the parking lot. The small cove has large, white-sand cliffs with a magnificent archway connecting two beaches. There are islands both near and far off the coast that make for fantastic scenery and fun objectives to reach swimming. We saw a sting ray a few feet from the shore and did some small rock jumping. Kyle braved a 60ft jump off the cliff which was pretty exciting as well. New Chums Beach: A very secluded beach where we spent an afternoon. Pretty and relaxing. Waitomo Glowworms Cave: After the Coromandel Peninsula we headed back to Auckland to pick up our final arriving friends at the airport. We then drove south a few hours to Waitomo where there are huge glowworms caves. While this was definitely a very tourist attraction, it was fun floating down a river in complete darkness except for the glow of thousands of tiny spots on the ceiling.
Whanganui River: From the caves we continued south to the Whanganui River where we had a three day canoe trip booked, one of NZ’s “great walks”. We booked through a family business whose house sat on top of a hill overlooking green rolling hills, the river, and a distant volcano. This was one of my favorite views of our trip. We camped out in their yard and in the morning set out on our paddle down the river. This was a truly amazing experience. For the majority of the trip we were enclosed with steep cliffs on either side of us. Waterfalls trickled down every few hundred meters as we paddled through mainly calm waters with the occasional class two rapids. The first day on the river the clouds opened up and began pouring rain on us around noon. The rain lasted for a few hours but fortunately ceased by the time we reached camp so we were able to set up our tents while staying somewhat dry, albeit everything surrounding us was soaked. There was a covered shelter where we made our dinners which was fortunate because after about an hour of dry skies it started raining again and didn’t let up until the morning. I’ll add that me and all of my things stayed completely dry under the fly of our SlingFin tent.
Day two was a calmer day, both in the water and in the sky. The highlight of day two was at our camp that night where we participated in a native Maorie welcome ceremony. The ceremony included introducing ourselves, witnessing a Haka dance, being given an oral history lesson of the native Maorie people and their relation to the river and land, and being granted access to view their huts and totem poles. We felt very privileged to have the experience. Day three was another beautiful day of paddling that ended with some bigger rapids which dumped all of us and our canoes in the water. It was a blast, and the bigger the rapid the more fun we had.
Tongariro Crossings: After our river experience we drove to Tongariro and camped out. The next day we hiked the Tongariro Crossings, known as the best day hike in the country. It is a 12 mile track that crosses through a volcanic area where we scrambled up Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings), and passed numerous uniquely teal-colored alpine lakes.
Golden Bay: The most north-western part of the south island. It was a long drive getting there, but we found a wonderfully secluded cove where we made dinner on the beach we had to ourselves and watched the sunset.
Driving south along the west coast we stopped at pancake rocks, coastal rock formations that look like…well, pancakes, with a “big sur” quality coastline. From there we took Arthur’s Pass to get some great mountain scenery as we continued south, setting up camps at Lake Brunner and Lake Tekapo on our way to Te Ahnu, where we would start our Milford Sound trek.
Milford Sound: The highlight of the trip. We spent four days trekking through some of the most beautiful forested valleys and passes.
Day one was a short 3 mile hike to our hut through dense forest as we meandered alongside a river.
On day two, dense vegetation opened up to reveal majestic peaks surrounding us with cascading waterfalls everywhere. We took a break to play in the river and ended up spending a couple hours dunking ourselves under powerful falls and jumping in freezing pools filled by snow melt. Arriving at our hut that evening we were greeted by many Kea birds, the only mountain parrots known in the world. A very intelligent bird, they used their powerful beaks to constantly rip at the rubber pipes lining the roof of the hut and bathroom. The ranger warned us all to leave our boots and wet clothing on hooks far away from the tables and ledges so the Keas couldn’t reach them. In the morning, Kyle’s shirt and one of the insoles to his shoe was missing. The Keas got them. On day three we awoke to rain. Milford Sound is known for its large volume of rainfall throughout the year, but our first two days had been hot and sunny.
As we started out on this third day, the rain lessened, but the fog grew thicker. Our trail led us up Mackinnon Pass and when we reached the top, visibility was at a minimum but the wind was howling. While we enjoyed our two pleasant and sunny days, this weather was part of the Milford experience we came for. Even with little visibility, the pass was stunning and had an ambiance like no other place I had been. The anticipation for a scenery was almost as great as the actual scenery, which finally revealed itself after we waited in the shelter on top and ate our lunches. On the hike down the other side of the pass we took a detour to see Sutherland Falls, a giant waterfall that covers 580 meters over three drops. We were informed that this falls was inaccurately labeled the tallest in NZ. Even though it was in fact a huge waterfall, none of us were too thrilled with it haha.
On day four, we trekked out across the flat valley floor, covered again by dense forest. Here we came across a falls named Giant’s Gate. This falls, while only about 20-30 meters tall, we much preferred to Sutherland because of its high volume of water that looked as clean as glass as it rolled over the cliff edge into a resting pool beneath. Our trek finished in the fiordlands where we were ferried to the home of the most iconic photographs taken in NZ. The steep, cone-shaped peaks rising from the water make the fiordlands majestic, yet close and contained. Back in civilization, we camped at Lake Te Ahnu, then headed for Queenstown in the morning.
Queenstown: Known as the adrenaline capital of the world, and the most tourist-covered city in NZ. Here we took the gondola to the top of the hill and took our turns on the luge course. The next morning we decided we needed to experience Queenstown to the fullest, so we signed up to do the Nevis bungy jump, the highest in NZ at 134 meters. It was all of our first bungy, but we loved it and immediately wished our pocketbooks could afford us to jump again. Wanaka: Wanaka is a town about an hour north of Queenstown that is pretty much a mini version of Queenstown, with less adrenaline activities, but similar outdoor adventures to do. They are both lakeside with mountain peaks on all sides, and full of awesome bars and restaurants for the evening. In Wanaka we took a quick swim in the lake before setting up camp at a nearby river.
The following morning we drove to nearby Mt. Aspiring and hiked through rolling green grasslands covered in cows and sheep and surrounded by peaks, and up through a forest to the base of Rob Roy glacier. It was a densely foggy day, much like the one we had in Milford, which took away from some of the view but added plenty to the mystique and solitude of the location. We camped back at our riverside spot in Wanaka, and in the morning the boys set out for a ride on some mountain bikes while the girls went to a lavender farm for some wine tasting and sheep petting. We all met up that afternoon, each raving about our morning activities.
We flew out of Queenstown the following morning to Auckland where we then flew home. On our flight back up across the south island, I was able to see how the entire middle of the island seemed to be snow-capped peaks. I told myself that one day I would come back to explore more of the higher altitudes of the south island.
Happy New Year! In honor of a new year with new adventures we want to encourage you to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to try but never thought you could do. Chances are your dream goals are really not that farfetched if you just prepare correctly. Since we’ve heard people longingly talk about wanting to summit mountains or do some thru hiking we want to help encourage these activities and show how attainable they are. Through a short series of blogs, we’re going to give you a baseline example of how to prepare to go from the city to the summit.
City to Summit - PART 1
Pick Your Peak! (Or Trail)
You should start by setting some sort of goal for yourself. Check out what is right in your backyard. You might be surprised at what you’ve never noticed! As an example, we will use Mt. Whitney. For us, Mt. Whitney is right in our backyard in California and it’s an iconic summit. Standing tall at 14,494’, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. It also is at the southernmost end of the John Muir Trail, a 211 mile stretch along the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Your goal may be something drastically different than this and that’s ok. You should pick any mountain you want. Or if you want to complete a portion of a thru hike, or the whole thing, go for it! You should choose something that you feel might be just out of your reach, not something that you’ve done before.
Cool. So, we’ve got an objective, now time for the nitty gritty stuff. It’s good to research the goal ahead of time to pick the best approach and be aware if there are better times of the year than others to go. For Mt. Whitney, depending on the year, the better times to go for the summit are between mid-July and early October. There are also a couple different routes that can be taken up Mt. Whitney; lucky for us, the most direct route from Whitney Portal, which equates to about 11 miles to the summit, makes the most sense. It is both a more popular route and on the easier side for beginners. Please be aware that the most direct route may not always be the best choice as many of these could be mountaineering routes where more technical equipment and skills are required. Again, research is key!
Since we will be dealing with a substantial elevation gain, a good idea to help acclimate would be to hike in only six miles and sleep at the Mt. Whitney Trail Camp (12,000’). This will give us the chance to adjust to altitude that day since elevation at Whitney Portal is about 8360’. Also, whether it’s a day hike or backpacking trip, a permit is required and can be reserved on the NPS website. Most information on Mt. Whitney can be accessed with a little Google action and found on the National Park Service’s site.
We’ve got a lot of time between January and Mid-July to early October, but that’s a fantastic amount of time to start training!
Let’s Get Physical
Time to get our fitness on. Hopefully, everyone already has their own exercise regimes that can be used as a base point. If not… Better start now! If you don’t do much physically, it’s time to start going on short walks and hikes to get yourself conditioned. Research what others have done to prepare for your project. There typically are blogs that you can find to get a review of what to expect and prepare for. We found this blog that has some great advice for how to train to summit Mt. Whitney. It addresses elevation gain and altitude issues.
We will be focusing on the following three areas:
Endurance: Cardio, cardio, cardio! During the week we will go on short runs or walks and take long hikes on the weekends. Starting with 5 miles and working our way up to 15 miles. Overshooting on cardio training will be great on the trail when the miles start adding up.
Elevation Gain: Like in the aforementioned blog we will hike or walk an elevation gain of 5000 feet. We will look for mountains on the weekends that help us achieve this and use a treadmill during the week. Since most of the Mt. Whitney hike will be heading UP the more we get used to a large elevation gain in a short amount of miles the better prepared we will be.
Altitude: To train for the altitude of Mt. Whitney, we will take a couple weekend trips where we find mountains with an elevation of 10,000 feet to 14,000 feet to help train. Starting on the smaller side and working our way up. A day or two before we start our Mt. Whitney expedition we will need to hike to an altitude of at least 10,000 feet to help us acclimate faster on our trip.
As we get get stronger we will also start doing the above training with a weighted pack. Eventually working up to 40lbs. Although, our goal weight for our packs will be below 40lbs, we will train a little harder in hopes our lighter pack will feel easier on the trail.
*Please note that we are only offering suggestions that have worked for us and others in the past. As always, you should consult with your doctor if you have concerns about starting a new exercise regime. And be aware of your physical limit.
Do you have any specific questions for us? Please feel free to post in the comment section below!
...Stay tuned for the next installment: Gear, Altitude and (everyone's favorite) FOOD...
Can you really call it a two-person tent if it’s not usable by 2 people? The rush to make lighter and lighter tents has led manufacturers to make tents that are so small they are often not livable or functional for their stated capacity.
Weight is important but so are livability and function.
The users should ask themselves what functional features they are willing to give up in order to reach their target weight. What is the balance between having a light tent versus a livable or functional tent? Is the vestibule large enough for your pack, boots and gear? Is the vestibule large enough to cook in? Does the tent have a dry entry? Is the stated square footage usable or are the sidewalls and tent corners so steep that the measurements are, for all practical purposes, useless?
In the era prior to the Internet, a tent buyer would shop for a tent by first looking at catalogs then visiting a store and getting inside the tent before picking the “right” one. These days the average tent buyer (of technical, ultralight or lightweight tents) spends 4 to 6 hours researching their options online prior to making a purchase. The trouble with relying on current online tent metrics is that the livability and functionality of a tent are not known until you get inside the tent and see for yourself.
To help the tent buyer, SlingFin has added several new specification metrics to its current list of tent specifications: Tent Body Volume, Vestibule Volume and Weight. We encourage the outdoor specialty tent manufacturers to include tent volume specifications to their list of tent specs. Some companies like Nemo and Sierra Designs have already begun similar efforts and we really hope the momentum continues leading to an industry-wide consensus. We also want to encourage gear testers to include tent and vestibule volumes with their reviews.
Calculate the tent body and vestibule volumes.
With the improvements in technology and 3D imagery, it is now much easier to create 3D models, calculate volumes of complex shapes and convey spatial images to customers virtually.
Tent and flysheet measurements can be manually entered into a 3D solid modeling CAD program or, if you have access to a 3D scanner, then by all means scan away. When the tent and flysheet are modeled, the 3D CAD program can calculate the volume of the tent body and/or vestibule(s). You can also calculate the area or volume at any height or cross section of the tent/vestibule.
We have 3D modeled our two TreeLine tent style (2Lite and CrossBow 2) as well as a few popular models from other manufacturers.
Once we have the weight and volume measurements of the tent body and vestibule(s) we can calculate the weight to volume ratio, giving us what we call the weight-volume index, which is the total minimum tent weight divided by the total volume (tent body and vestibules). This measurement, in ounces per cubic foot, will allow users to compare tent models based on how much living and storage space the tent offers for the weight. This number is a valuable piece of information because it describes numerically how efficient the weight is that you are carrying.
For example, a tent with a weight-volume index of 0.61 oz/cu-ft is a better use of weight than a tent with an index of 0.82 oz/cu-ft, even though the latter tent may be lighter overall. In the example pictured and above, both tents have a square footage of approx. 28 sq. ft, but have much different weight and volume measurements. Overall weight is important, but for those who count ounces, understanding that an extra 13 oz may also translate into an additional 34 cubic feet of usable volume, it could easily justify the weight (stated trail weight of 44 oz vs. 31 oz). This means there is an additional 34 cubic feet of volume for yourself, your gear, your partner, dog, etc. Note, that there is some ambiguity in the term “weight“ and that will need to be precisely clarified in any index using “weight“ (see *1 below).
3D imaging software has the ability to “map” the inside of the tent or vestibule with shapes and objects. Human figures (lying down or sitting up), pads, sleeping bags, etc. can be easily added to scale. Using 3D models to visualize, or map, interior spaces is the next step in evaluating tent specs, particularly when the tent is not physically in front of the shopper. Mapping will be especially helpful for tall individuals who are looking for lightweight tents. It will also help communicate how a tent solves, or fails to solve, other factors impacting tent livability.
(note: areas marked with a red X mean that the occupant’s body extends past the spatial boundary of the tent body)
Every individual situation has its own optimum shelter ranging from a simple tarp (or no shelter at all!) to mountaineering tents that must block spindrift, blunt extreme temperatures and withstand winds that would take many houses apart . We believe it is our job to provide the information a consumer needs to make the purchase that is best for them and their intended use.
When looking for lightweight shelters, buyers need to find that balance between the weight of a tent, its livability and how functional it is. By adding a new dimension into the provided specifications (the tent and vestibule volumes as opposed to just square footage), we hope to help the buyer make the best informed purchasing decision. Better yet, we hope to help pair them with the right gear so that they can best enjoy the great outdoors.
We will leave you with 2 thoughts our friends have shared with us.
“Pick the right tent for extreme conditions because you are only a millimeter away from spending the night outside” (Robert Link , www.Mountain-Link.com) and “The heaviest tent in the world is a lightweight tent that failed” (Phil Scott, designer with 50+ years of outdoor design and production experience).
Enjoy the journey as you discover what works best for you!
Martin Zemitis- Designer
Richard Ying- COO and Mechanical Engineer
Scott Chenoweth- Mechanical Engineer & CAD Specialist
What are some of the shortcuts to making lighter tents?
To achieve ultralight weights, tents are made with very lightweight (and expensive) fabrics that aren’t necessarily strong, small tent pole diameters, very lightweight waterproof coatings, small zippers and they are making the tents and vestibules very small. Many models have “wet” entries (where the flysheet does not cover the doorway) and nearly non-existent vestibules. Many manufacturers are only stating the floor area, but the usable floor area is significantly smaller than the stated spec.
What else should you consider when determining tent livability?
Tent floor weight and footprints: Nearly all ultralight tents need to be used with a footprint or tarp to protect the tent floor. Footprint weights are not included in tent “minimum or trail “weights” but the weight should be considered when comparing tent specs.
Floor Area: The floor area of a tent is stated in square feet, but the floor area specification does not state how much of the floor area is usable. Many lightweight 2 person tents have so little usable floor area that they are often used as one person tents and, in turn, 3 person tents are used as 2 person tents. Buying a lightweight 3 person tent so that 2 people have enough livable space is expensive and defeats the purpose of buying a lightweight tent.
Vestibule Area: Vestibule area is also stated in square feet. This measurement represents the area covered by the flysheet. This is one of the most misleading specifications used by tent manufacturers. The square footage of a vestibule may have no relation to the usability of the vestibule. Is there enough room in the vestibule to get in and out of your tent without crawling over your gear? Do 2 peoples’ gear fit into the vestibule or vestibules? Is there enough room to cook in the vestibule? Will all the gear fit in one vestibule so you can cook in the other vestibule? Usable vestibule space is even more important as tents are becoming smaller, lighter and have less interior space (in the tent body) to store gear.
Dry Entry: The purpose of a tent is to keep the weather and bugs out and allow the user to camp in safety and comfort. Having rain enter the tent when the door and vestibule are open defeats the purpose of having a shelter. Make sure that any tent chosen should have a dry entry if the intended area of use is a climate where rain is expected. Rain should not directly enter the tent when the flysheet is open even when getting in or out of the tent.
Interior Peak Height: This measurement is clear - floor to the highest point on the interior of the tent. Unfortunately, this measurement can be misleading depending on the geometry of the tent. The usable height of Pyramid tents and a large number of dome tents is often much less that the stated interior peak height.
Tent length: This measurement is taken on the floor of the tent from one end of the tent to the other. Depending on the sidewall angle the usable floor area may be significantly shorter than the stated length. An 85” long tent with near vertical endwalls will fit people better that a 92” long tent with low sidewall angles. Do not assume that longer tents will fit better. One reason for low sidewall angles is that shorter tent poles and the use of hub designs allow for weight savings but the downside is that many designs have very low sidewall angles which significantly reduce usable interior floor area and volume. There is little worse that having the a low tent wall draped down onto your down sleeping bag, running condensation all over it.
Where is the balance of competing variables?
No matter which variables you prioritize there are other variables that will be compromised. Make the tent strong and you add weight and cost with more tent poles and heavier fabrics. Make the tent lighter and smaller and you save weight and cost but the tent may not hold up in high winds and heavy rain. Make the tent ultralight and you add cost (because of expensive ultralight fabrics) and you reduce the tent size and volume to save even more weight. Soon, that ultralight tent becomes more of a bivy tent than a livable structure you can enjoy.
Each individual will have their own optimum balance. Each user will determine their own set of priorities for a tents’ performance, function, livability, weight and cost. Intended use and the target environment are key features. It is important that each user assesses 1) the intended environment of use, 2) the possible impact of gear failure (which ranges from mild inconvenience to significant physical danger) and 3) their own comfort thresholds.
It is up to manufactures and retailers to provide the information consumers need to make the best choice for their individual needs!
The backpacking industry has adopted 2 weight categories to help consumers compare tent models based on weight.
Minimum weight: Tent body, flysheet (if applicable) and tent poles (if
applicable) are included in the minimum weight. This weight is for comparative purposes only.
Trail Weight: Tent body, flysheet, tent poles, stuff sacks, tent pegs and any other accessories that come with the tent are included in the trail weight. The trail weight is the weight of the tent as it comes from the retailer less packaging. The actual trail weight may be less than stated if the tent comes withoptional items or if the tent has convertible features the user may not want to bring.
Please note: There are some retailers that have their own definitions of what the minimum and trail weights are. If you are comparing specs make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
Tomorrow evening the 25th anniversary of the International Peace Climb will be celebrated in Seattle, WA. In 1990, when most of the world was at odds with each other, a group of people from the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, and China took it upon themselves to make a statement. A statement made by having the most successful summit of Mt. Everest, with a total of 20 people from the group reaching the summit over several days. Proving that a group of people from different countries could work together as one with a common goal.
The message, however, was not just that they could summit a mountain together. Rather, they were also making an environmental statement. The timeline they had for summiting coincided with the 20th anniversary from the first Earth Day. They wanted to bring awareness to the fact that we need to work together to take care of the planet we live on and demonstrated this by clearing over two tons of garbage from the mountain. Expedition leader, Jim Whittaker, said, “When our team left Base Camp, you couldn’t tell another human had been there.”
One of SlingFin’s own was honored enough to have been a part of this historic event and will also be in attendance. Robert Link, a lifelong mountaineer, was one of the 20 people of that expedition to summit Everest. Link has summited Mt. Rainier over 300 times and climbed extensively around the world.
As well as this being a reunion for the members of that original group, this gathering is also being held in hopes to once again raise awareness that it is time to join forces and start addressing the issues that the earth is facing.
“We’ve invited the leaders of our countries to talk to the team on Mt. Rainier—just like they spoke to us on Mt. Everest in 1990,” said Whittaker. “Presidents (H.W.) Bush, Gorbachev and Li Peng all called us—we had one of the very first satellite phones. They sent said that working on behalf of world peace and a clean environment was the most important thing we would ever do. It would be great to hear the same message from today’s leaders!”
All attending members of the team will travel together from Seattle to Mt. Rainier National Park. This is where they first met and trained for Everest in 1989. An official ceremony will be held at the mountain on the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st, followed by an anniversary celebration dinner in Paradise Lodge.
The following is information obtained from a press release Mr. Whittaker’s office sent out:
The public is invited to two special events, with slide shows by the team and a screening of the video about the 1990 climb, “Three Flags Over Everest,” narrated by Robert Redford.
The first is on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 PM, at The Mountaineers Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way, Seattle WA. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children, and may be purchased in advance at The Mountaineers. Advance purchase is encouraged, as seating is limited. All proceeds benefit The Mountaineers conservation and youth programs.
The second is a free event on Sunday, September 20 at 8:30 PM, in the lobby of Paradise Lodge, in Mount Rainier National Park. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.
On August 3rd the SlingFin monkeys departed California for what would be a week long adventure at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City! For those of you who don’t know, Outdoor Retailer is a huge outdoor industry trade show where people from all over the globe come to geek out on the new gear debuting for the next season. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to be a part of the fun again this year!
Rolling in EARLY Tuesday morning, we set up our small encampment in Tent City and awaited the visitors we would be receiving the next several days. We had a prime location right by the entrance to Tent City from the street and also the convention center itself, garnering extensive foot traffic!
One of our favorite things about attending OR is that we get to put faces to the names we see on emails and also meet new interested parties. We were able to sit down and geek out over tents with people from all over the United States and also from other countries.
One of our "biggest" eye-catchers was our freshly debuted Kahiltna Dome, as seen being set up in this photo. Five meters in diameter, it stood out in Tent City attracting all kinds of attention. We also debuted our lightweight 4-season tent, the WindSaber. Keep an eye out for it in the future! As for now, you can see it in the topmost picture. It's the tent with the orange fly in the foreground.
Our 3-season backpacking tents were also show stoppers. The weight to volume ratio is a true story that caught most people's attention. The 2Lite and CrossBow2 series both provide more body and vestibule volume than most other tents in the same weight class. Not to mention the dry entries the vestibules also provide! We currently have ALL models of our 3-season tents in stock and ready to find new homes.
And it wasn't all work and no fun... SlingFin monkeys will be SlingFin monkeys! We got put up by a S.L.C. local who owns a boxing gym. We of course had to don their boxing robes and get our sweat on in the gym! Until next next time, go forth and adventure!