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Lauren Blank

NEMO Gogo Bivy Shelter: Who Needs Poles?

NEMO, a relatively new company out of Nashua, New Hampshire, has designed a unique technology to keep their tents and bivies light: air. This fall I tested their Gogo bivy, one of the lightest on the market. Instead of using poles to support its mouth, an air-filled beam creates structure and stability, and cuts down on weight. After countless seasons using standard tents and bivies I was curious to see how this improbable new design would hold up to rugged conditions in the Tetons.

Wild Country Zero Friends: Incredibly Light and Flexible

Wild Country claims their Zero Friends to be the “smallest cams in the world but the biggest dogs on the block.” After putting them to the test this past summer, I must say that I agree. The Zeros are the lightest, smallest, and strongest cams of their size on the market.

Maxim Apogee 9.1 70m Rope: Stands Up to Abuse

I had initially stayed away from using longer ropes due to their weight and bulk. The Apogee, at 9.1mm, dispenses with this concern, but its slim profile gave me doubts about its durability. After significant testing on summer alpine rock routes in the Tetons, alpine climbing in the Bugaboos and the establishment of new multi-pitch sport and trad routes at Rock Springs Buttress in Jackson Hole, my doubts about the rope’s durability were firmly laid to rest.

Osprey Talon 44 Backpack: A Lightweight, Durable Choice

Weighing in at 1.11 kg, the Osprey Talon 44 is one of the lightest packs for its size on the market. While I welcome any opportunity to lighten my load, I wondered if this svelte pack, when filled with ropes and cams, could hold up to being sat on and thrown on to rocks.