MSR Staff Picks: 5 Fast-and-Light Pieces
This one is for the ounce-counters, minimalists and ultralight packers. We asked five MSR employees which pieces of gear they pack when the objective is to go farther—faster. These pieces represent some of our smallest, lightest and smartest products for minimizing weight without sacrificing reliability on high-adventure journeys.
Carbon Reflex 2 Tent
“I’m not a tarp camper. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking for the lightest shelter possible. It’s just that in order to get a good night’s sleep I need something that offers more protection than a tarp.
I’m planning a bike packing trip and the Carbon Reflex™ 2 is at the top of my gear list. Bikepacking requires ultra-compact gear because you have to be able to keep your mountain bike maneuverable on singletrack trail. Bulky bags or packs attached to the frame or a heavy pack on my back can make things unsafe. I need to be able to pack my gear into small bags and attach them to my bike in a balanced, low-profile way. The Carbon Reflex’s highly compact design is perfect for attaching to my handlebars without adding weight that’s going to affect my steering.
When I get to camp, the Carbon Reflex is easy to set up after a long, hot day on the trail. And I still get great ventilation with all the weather- and bug-protection that comes with a true double-wall tent.
I’ll be camping in fairly protected areas so I’ll leave behind extra guy cord and take Carbon Core Stakes.” Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. (840 g)
—Terry Breaux, product manager for Shelter
“For me, packed size is often equally as important as overall weight, and the tiny (yet still robust) stature of the MicroRocket fits the bill. This is our smallest and lightest stove; it weighs just 2.6 oz. (73 g). Some people prefer to take an alcohol stove—and those can be good in some conditions—but they will often fail to perform in even slightly adverse weather, which is why the MicroRocket makes it into my pack more often. When I’m paring down to the minimum, I want to have a stove that won’t let me down. The MicroRocket is fast, durable, reliable and tiny.” Minimum weight: 2.6 oz. (73 g)
—Steve Grind, category director for Stoves, Cookware, Shelter
“The Titan Kettle is an incredibly versatile piece for solo camping and can serve multiple functions: It can be used as a cooking vessel, eating vessel, and drinking vessel. Its built-in handle eliminates the need for a pot lifter. The kettle serves as protective storage for a stove, with enough room for other items (4 oz. fuel canister, lighter, folding fork). It’s very lightweight and particularly durable (no need to baby it with plastic utensils).” Weight: 4.2 oz. / 118 g
—Diane Leavy, lead of Customer Service, Warranty & Repairs
“For fast and light missions high in the Cascades, I’d bring the HyperFlow microfilter. At 3 liters per minute of filtered water, it’s unquestionably the fastest treatment system available. It’s easy to use for 2 people so the weight per person is less than 3.5 oz. And, I know it’s working because there’s an integrity test I can perform before leaving the house, or even in the field.”
—Chris Barchet, category director Water, Snowshoes, Snow Tools, Poles
Swift 2 Poles
“Even on fast pursuits, I prefer to bring poles for the support they provide through dicey terrain, and the relief they offer to my knees. I love the Swift 2 poles because they’re incredibly light and minimalist in design. Still, they’re strong, durable and reliable. I put a lot of trust into these poles when I’m tired or in rugged terrain, and I’m always impressed with how solid the locking mechanism feels. The foam grip is comfortable and ultralight, and when I’m hiking, the poles practically swing themselves. Because they’re so light, I get greater efficiency without feeling weighed down.” Weight per pair: 15.75 oz. / 447.25 g
—Adrienne Schofhauser, marketing copywriter