Camping


Ultra-Light (Kayaking / Backpacking / Hiking)


Lunar Solo tent

This is my Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent. The ultimate single wall solo tent if it comes down to weight, practicality, functionality and comfort. This ultra lightweight (740 grams/26 OZ) tent has plenty of room and all the functional specs you need.
It’s low profile handles wind well, whilst being steep enough to not hold snow. This tent is kept upright by a single 124,5 cm (49″) (preferably Carbon fiber pole (I have the aluminium pole) or trekking pole and a 8 Stakes.
The sleeping area is a 6-inch deep bathtub floor, topped by 6 inches of mesh, which ensures excellent ventilation while keeping me separated from low canopy walls. This keeps you dryer on those occasions when condensation forms on the canopy. The vestibule is set on the long side of the tent to maximise views and ventilation when fully open.
The floor space is a generous 2.4 m2 (26.25 ft2) being 122x229cm.
The triangular outside storage space is almost 1 m2 (8.5 ft2).
It all results in a 810 grams weighing 28×11,5cm package, plus the folded 51grams pole at 44 x 2,5cm.
It is constructed with 100% Silicone coated Polyester material reducing fabric stretch and packed volume. The Canopy is constructed from 20D material while the floor utilizes a more durable 40D weave. I got the tent with the DIY Seam Grip + Sil (SilNet) set and a 34grams Polycro footprint.
If you are as lazy and spoiled like me: Order it with the full Seam Sealing Service treatment. It is likely to be done neater and better by experienced hands than by doing it yourself.

Ben Macdui, Cairn Gorm

Here are some practical experiences learned by using this tent:

  • A very light and durable tent. Takes very little time to pitch (an average of 3 minutes).
  • I had NO condensation issues, even though I sometimes pitched really low (meaning there was no mesh gap left on the wind side of the tent.
  • Personally, I will probably treat the floor with silicon(spray?) to make it less slippery.
  • As I sometimes leave my tent pitched while going for little trips using my trekking poles, I use an aluminium pole.
  • Each half of the vestibule is connected to the front guyline by a webbing loop, they go into a single plastic hook that slides over the guyline by use of a prusikknot. Getting the webbing loops into the hook (and make them stay there) isn’t easy.
    Easy fix: attach two 2mm chord loops to the webbing.
  • I used the tent in Scotland with very strong winds, which made the backpanel cave/bend in a lot. The pounding wind loosened the webbing guy-lines during the night and it bent the aluminium pole. (Which I might replace by a carbon pole.)
    Mind you, this tent was designed as a 3 season tent, to be used with a walking pole, and I guess, with trail walking in mind. Knowing that, exposure to these extreme winds might have been an unfair tasks for this little tent.


Liteway PyraOmm Max Tent (set)

PyraOmm Max outer

Liteway chooses to call the PyraOmm Max outer a ‘tarp’, but I use it with (either of the two) inners so I’ll call mine a ‘tent’. It comes in three sizes, I use mine (the largest) as a:

  • 3 or 4 person tent, combined with the PyraOmm Max Full Mesh (240×240 cm, at a total of 1335 grams)
  • 1 or 2 person tent with loads of internal cooking and storage area, combined with the PyraOmm Max Half Mesh (240×130 cm, at a total of 1165 grams)

This 4 person outer tent has a couple of prime features:

  • It’s lightweight: 735 g with guylines and stuff sack.
  • It is huge: 276 x 276 cm / height 185 cm.
  • It can be suspended from the top.
  • It only uses 4 (or 6) pegs.

Other features are:

  • 2 entrances with YKK AquaGuard water repellent zipper;
  • 2 ventilation windows;
  • wind resistance design;
  • loops with hooks for fastening bivi (if used as shelter) or other gear;
  • loops with linelock for comfortable setup and adjustments;
  • strengthening with X-Pac in top of the pyramid;
  • catenary cut/curved edges providing a tighter pitch and saving some weight
  • UHMW PE guy lines;
  • small packed size.

The components of the PyraOmm Max system can be setup using:

  • a pole in the center
  • 2 vertically connected trekking poles
  • 2 V-shape connected poles (using an optional A-frame connector)
  • suspended for the top.

If I can’t hang it from the top, I use a pole. (The V-shape poles would need a length of 220cm each for this largest version of the PyraOmm.)
Setup takes me 2 minutes or 4 with full inner. (Stake out the 4 corners into a square. Put a pole in the middle, or suspend. Tighten guy lines and stake out the two vent-lines.)

The materials used are:

  • 1.1 oz Silpoly 20D Ripstop 2000mm fly sheet/canopy
  • YKK Aquaguard #3 zippers
  • 210D HDPE Gridstop?

The complete set contains: PyraOmm Max outer, UHMW PE guy lines, stuff sack.
The seams of the tent are non-sealed, so you should do that yourself (McNett Silnet Seam Sealer.)

PyraOmm Max Full Mesh inner

This is the full version Ultra light bug shelter PyraOmm Max Full Mesh inner, for 4 person.
Protects against insects and adds a few degrees to the overall comfort temperature of the sleeping system. I use it with the PyraOmm Max outer to you create an Ultra lightweight double wall frameless tent.

The materials used are:

  • 1.1 oz Silpoly 20D Ripstop 2000mm ?
  • 210D HDPE Gridstop floor/tub
  • Nylon NoSeeUm Mesh

Weight: 600 grams with guylines and stuff sack
Size: 240 cm x 240 cm x height 180 cm
The complete set contains: PyraOmm Max Full Mesh, cords, stuff sack

PyraOmm Max Half Mesh inner

This is the full version Ultra light bug shelter PyraOmm Max Half Mesh inner, for 2 person.
Protects against insects and adds a few degrees to the overall comfort temperature of the sleeping system. I use it with the PyraOmm Max outer to you create an Ultra lightweight double wall frameless tent.

The materials used are:

  • 1.1 oz Silpoly 20D Ripstop 2000mm ?
  • 210D HDPE Gridstop floor/tub
  • Nylon NoSeeUm Mesh

Weight: 430 grams with guylines and stuff sack
Size: 240 cm x 130 cm x height 180 cm.
The complete set contains: PyraOmm Max Half Mesh, cords, stuff sack



LiteWay is a European company, based in the Ukraine.
They specialize in functional and convenient ultralight gear.


Bushmen Ultralight Hammock ‘Zen’

The Bushmen Ultralight Hammock ‘Zen’: Argueably the lightest on the market full-size, 3m x 1.45m hammock, packed into a tiny (350ml, Ø5,5x15cm) bag. It weighs a mere 150g! Made out of ultralight micro-ripstop 15D nylon, it hold loads up to 130kg. Included are two 3mm Dyneema cords with a tensioning system, the so-called Whoopie slings and a mesh bag. The mesh bags function as wet storage and as holdall when attached to the hammock.


Lowland Serai 600 II (Long)

My Lowland Outdoor Serai 600 II, 4-season sleeping bag, is rated as a -10°C comfort temperature, weighing 1335 grams. A basic bag with all the necessary features (except for an internal phone/battery pocket). The shell is made from diamond weave rip stop nylon, the inner bag is a soft touch nylon. It’s filled with 700 grams goose down (95%) and has a filling power of 187 mm/30gram (750 CUIN). This higher rating, in layman’s terms, means that a fairly low amount of down is needed to achive the rated temperature. Warmth is kept inside by horizontal and vertical channels (5cm loft), side blocking baffles, a draft tube, a draft collar and a hood cinch. The foot box The used two-way YKK zipper has an anti-snag slider. The bag has venting loops and comes with a compression bag. For more extreme temperatures, below -10°C, I use a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece liner, which adds up to 18°C.
Dimensions are 230 x 80 cm, which fits persons upto 198cm tall. (The smaller version fits person upto 185 cm tall). As a side sleeper I like this mid-sized width. Compression bag size: 36 x 20 cm. Compressed size:

For more extreme temperatures, below -10°C, I use a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece liner, which adds up to 18°C (mostly less) and also serves as a summer sleeping bag.


Lowland Pulsar I Long

My summer bag:

width80
weight0.895
length230
zipLeft
Isolatiewaarde:5
outer materialNylon
comfort range5o – 22oC
packed size22 X 28 cm
fill material Synthetic


Sea to Summit UltraLight Self Inflating Mat

  • 30D Polyester with an anti-slip print
  • Delta Core-V technology foam
  • R-Value 2.6
  • Summer and later spring / early fall
  • Multi-function valve that prevents re-inflation as you pack up
  • 183x51x2.5 cm


Exped Synmat UltraLight LongWide Sleeping Pad

  • Temperature: -3°C (If needed, in harsh conditions, a rescue blanket underneath my mat ups the R-Value at minimal cost.)
  • R-Value: 2.9
  • Dimensions: 197 x 65 x 7 cm
  • Weight: 0,595 kg
  • Pack size: 27 x Ø 11 cm
  • Pack volume: 3.1 l
  • Product contents: Mat, Schnozzel Pumpbag, Packsack and Repair kit
I use the Exped Air Pillow Lite. 65 grams


Coolado ePump

ePump on the left & tPump X on the right

Call me Lazy! But I use the Coolado ePump to pump my inflatables. It saves my breath, my energy, it’s a pure luxery and it’s a good way to make friends!
Being a ‘volume’ pump (with a pump capacity of 400 liters/minute), rather than a ‘pressure pump’, it inflates ad deflates my kayak float bags, mats, cushions and vacuum bags in a breeze. My mats inflate in half a minute! It’s rechargable and with it’s 1.5 hours of constant airflow it’ll inflate over 70 mats. The ePump only weighs a mere 140 grams at Ø 55mm and 95mm high and comes with 3 accessory nozzels, a USB recharge cable and Protective case.
You know I’m a strong believer in the Leave-No-Trace principle, but, should your campsite have a fire pit: this is the tool to get your fire going in no-time.


Foil layer

This is my extremely light and insulating Origin Outdoors Sleeping mat ‘Alu’ mat with Polyethylenefoam (PE) inner and aluminum coating on both sides. Providing good R-value for it’s 200 grams weight and dimensions (190x60cm), this is a proper addition creating a good sleep system. It’s also very good value for money!


Mosquito Tent

(stock image, temporary)

I use the Brettschneider Outdoor nets. A Polyester mosquito net with nylon floor, so it protects me from crawling and flying insects. The wedge shape saves space and weight. The net is attached to branches above the head, for example. The entry has a long zipper. Width 0,9m, length 2,1m and is height 1m, at 400 grams.


Mid-Weight (Basecamp / Car Camping)


EuroTrail IsoCamp Relax SI mattress

My 2 person IsoCamp Relax SI mattress covers the floor of my Njavve tent as a glove! It’s soft stretch material feels extremely comfortable. Being a solid 10cm thick, it provides a excellent protection against poking debris and it sleeps very well.
Due to a well designed system of large rotating valves, this big matt is truly self inflating, but it’s is fairly easy to deflate as well.
For additional airsupply, I use a Relax Si Pump, made out of the same material as the matt. With it’s 6.5 kg, this is not a ‘lightweight’ matt, but yet easy to handle.
Sized 201x132x10cm, this is a spacious 2 person matt.


EuroTrail is a Dutch company specializing at providing well made, practical, camping gear at affordable prices.


Red Trek Ultralight Sleeping Pad

My Skandika Red Trek Ultralight Sleeping Pad, is a lighter weight (790gr) and pretty compact pad packed. It’s isolation- and self-inflation capabilities are limited in real cold conditions, but it lays very comfortable. I strongly believe, though, that my sleeping bag (and optional liner) should keep me warm, not my pad.
A sleeping pad should lay comfortable, and this one does! It’s that simple.


Highland Sleeping Bag

This is my Skandika Highlander sleeping bag.
The temperature ratings are: Comfort -2° C / Limit -9° C / Extreme -27° C
Assuming it’s name was chosen carefully, I used this bag during the winter in the most north western part of the Highlands, and it stood it’s grounds.
This bag kept me warm at -5° C. In much colder conditions than that, I used a polartec lining. It’s hood and collar provide good protection and warmth. I had no condensation, dampness or other moist related issues, this being a polyester filled bag. It comes with a compression bag. At 2.2 kg, this isn’t lightest, nor is it smallest packing bag, and the zipper has to be used carefully. But, other than that, this bag is a great choice considering it’s outstanding performance in light freezing conditions, and it’s very affordable.


Isolation Blanket Foil Underlay

I use the Origin Outdoors emergency blanket ‘Reflex’ as a (mostly basecamp) isolation layer on my groundsheet, supplying extra R-value to my sleeping system. Weighing 360 grams, this 200x150cm blanket fits my two person tent well. Even at this low weight, this blanket is very durable, tear resistant and thus employable for loads of camping and emergency uses. It’s a polyester woven netting with metallized coating, backed by a polyethylene coating.


EuroTrail Tarp

This Tarp 5 Wing BTC (probably named referring to being not-rectengular, 5+ square meter and made out of breathable polyester/cotton) is one of the items I allways pack. At less than 3 kg it is easy to handle. It comes with guy ropes, but doesn’t include a pole, nor are (6) pegs.
I use this tarp with one of the long ends on the ground facing into the wind and the other end on a 2 meter pole, or attached to a tree. As shown below. It can be also be pitched in a very shallow position for sleeping out in the open.
My pole is a 11,1 mm DAC Pressfit, in five 45cm segments, weighing 164gr, not linked by an elastic cord (so I can apply different lengths).


Walkstool

I own two of these awesome stools. The Comfort 55 model. These are the best little stools, weighing a mere 900 grams. Low enough to cook on ground level, high enough for eating in an upright position and really sturdy.
I find the ‘Steady’ accessory to be of great practical use. It’s a three way piece of webbing, keeping the rubber feet from sinking into loose ground.
The stools can even be used without the lower segment of the legs extended. This reduces the height from 55 cm to 33 cm! It also provides a practical solution for sitting on steeper slopes.
The Walkstool is a practical piece of equipment for me on photo assignments on location. The low weight and small packed size allow me to have a stool with me for unknown circumstances. I still have a the smallest (and lightest) model on my wish list for backpacking photography trips. I can’t think of a more comfortable way of staking out wildlife than this.

Walkstool is an innovative Swedish company that introduced the only three-legged stool (to date) in the world with telescopic legs in 1997.


Gotland 4 Tent

My Skandika Gotland is a 4 person tent that I use for longer stay Kayaking Basecamps. It has loads of room, usable as a well-ventilated drying room, spacious storage room, roomy team hangout, whatever. The many options with regards to configurations are great. Doors at 3 sides, a dividable sleeping compartment, windows with plenty of options, bathtub floor. This tent has all it takes for the targeted use, at a very affordable price.


Mosquito Net

(stock image, temporary)

I use the Brettschneider Fine Mesh Big Box. A chemical-free mosquito fine net, keeping the smallest insects out mechanically, mosquitoes, sand flies and midges. Over 1000 mesh per square inch. 100% polyamide, raw white. Closed all around. Width 2m, length 2,2m and is height 2.4m, at 510 grams.


Vegas Flannel Sleeping Bag

These extra wide Skandika Vegas Flannel sleeping bags, are three season+ capable and pretty luxurious. I see these as bags with a large usage ‘window’ with regards to temperature. They are, imho, very well suited for mountain use, with chilly evenings (used as a quilt/blanket), cold nights and chilly mornings. During the day, they serve as picknick blanket.
You cant go wrong with these very affordable and comfortable bags.


R-Values explained

Foil underlay (Insulated) / Sleeping Mat / Foil layers (Insulated) / Sleeping Bag / Sleeping bag liner

Scanning websites, shops and campers logic/knowledge, I came across a wide range of opinions on insolation and R-values. Regretfully the R-value standard is only used on some of the gear we use to keep us warm. I personally like the ‘scientific’ nature of the (2020) ASTM FF3340-18 R-value standard. I use the term ‘Scientific’ with some reluctance, because there is no actual formal supervision/enforcement on the published claims.

Metric or Imperial

The first cause of uncertainty amongst users is the difference in core units of measurement: Metric or Imperial. The ridiculous aspect of this standard is the fact that it doesn’t solely use the worldwide standard units of measurement: Metric. (Metric: 7.5 billion users versus Imperial: 400 million users.) So let me shine some light on that first, with regards to R-value. Here’s a table compairing the values which you’ll find advertised on sleeping products in the first two columns, the third column contains the corresponding intended usage:

R-Value standard ASTM FF3340-18:

EU/Metric
(M2*K/W)
US/Imperial
(ft2*oF-h/Btu)
RSI-valueR-valueSleeping System Intended Use
0,21Summer: minimum 5oC and above
0,31,53 season: down to -10oC
0,423 season: down to -10oC
0,42,53 season: down to -10oC
0,533 season: down to -10oC
0,63,53 season: down to -10oC
0,744 season: below -10oC
0,84,54 season: below -10oC
0,954 season: below -10oC
1,05,74 season: below -10oC
1,165 season: extreme temperatures

The intended use column tells what the average needed value for which season can be. Cold sleepers might want to up these values.

Stacking values

But that’s not all. It can’t be that simple. The next step is to know to what value the individual components of your sleeping system are summing up. As I cannot publish all different possibilities of sleeping systems, I made up one possible system, with many of the component one COULD add:

System ComponentTemperature CompensationR-valueR-valueExplanation/Source value
4 season Tent, single layer, breathingtemp raise up to 15°C, windchill decrease -6°Caverage winter windchill Scottish Highlands: -6°C
3 season Tent, double layer, ventilatedtemp raise up to 5°C, windchill decrease ?average spring/autumn windchill Highlands: -4°C
Sleeping bagComfort temperature -10°CLowland Outdoor Serai 600 II
Sleeping bag linerProvide up to 18°C of extra insulationSea-to-Summit Thermolite Reactor Fleece Liner
Sleeping mat1,26,9Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Max Sleeping Pad
Close cell mat0,42Therm-a-Rest Z lite SOL Sleeping Pad
Foil layers (Rescue blanket)0,10,6SOL Rescue Blanket
Foil layers (Insulated)0,31,8Origin Outdoors Sleeping mat ‘Alu’
Foil Tent underlay0,21Origin Outdoors emergency blanket ‘Reflex’

But

This isn’t exact science and much is based on research and comparison, but it povides some insight on what your options are. There are a couple of important ‘but’s’ to discuss:

Sleeping bags

We have a standard for rating sleeping bags, the ISO 23537 standard. The short version is, that it let’s manufacturers provide a rating for Comfort- and a Limit temperature ranges for each bag.

The Comfort Range is the temperature range where a “standard” woman is comfortable, she is “not feeling cold,” in a “relaxed posture.”

The Transition Range is the temperature range where a standard man is “in a situation of fighting against cold (posture is curled up inside the sleeping bag), but in thermal equilibrium” and not shivering. That means that somewhere within this range is likely the performance limit of your bag.

The Extreme Range is the temperature range “where a strong sensation of cold has to be expected. There is risk of health damage by hypothermia. A sleeping bag should only be used in this range in an emergency.”


So, should brands and/or shops want to facilitate an understandable method of informing their customers: This is the way to do it:

So, use a sleeping bag with a COMFORT RANGE that suits the conditions and BE AWARE that (often) you are only 5°C away from it’s (and your) limit. So stay clear of the Limit Range!
Do not not to get a sleepingbag that’s too warm either; if you sweat, you’ll wake up cold. This is why many of us have several bags. (Or consider a sleeping bag with ventilation options.)

Clothes

Try to use dry dedicated sleeping clothing. I use a light merino baselayer set, containing long underpants and long sleeve top with a (North x North) hooded neck gaiter, gloves and socks as options for pushing my bag’s performance. I use a light merino underware set. By aware of layering all the room out of your sleepingbag.

Tents

A breathing tent needs to shed snow. Snow isolates and thus blocks the breathing function, as can water. A tent isn’t supposed to keep you warm, but because a tent blocks wind and traps air, it will always feel warmer inside a tent than outside. An average human body in rest produces 80 to 120 watts per hour, ofwhich the better part will be held by your sleeping bag for some time and it can raise the temperature in a small tent with 10°C.