As if there weren’t enough reasons to have your eyes on Sierra Designs impressive outdoor gear, they’ve upped the ante again. At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SD rolled out three new ways of beating the elements in the backcountry. The company has rethought what you will hike in, what you will use for shelter, and how you’ll stay warm inside that shelter when the temperatures turn chilly.
Stopping for gear adjustments while hiking sucks. Sierra Designs is sick of it as well, so they’ve done their best to keep you on the move with the Cloud Layering System. Three individual garments join forces to keep you comfortable with as little fuss as possible. The Cloud Windshell (6 oz) is the “all day” layer. Use it with your base layer tee or long sleeve to beat the wind even when you transition from deep woods to ridgelines. If the sky opens up, break out the Airshell to stay dry. This 4 oz jacket folds up to the size of a couple energy bars and is only used when rain falls. Finally, to avoid getting cold when resting or in camp, don the Cloud Puffy jacket; 800 fill DriDown (more on this in a moment) will keep you toasty and weighs in at 12 oz. Do the math: the entire Cloud Layering System weighs just 22 oz!
Sierra Designs was also plenty busy perfecting their DriDown insulation technology. Natural down insulation is treated with a hydrophobic finish to create down gear that stays dry 7 times longer than untreated counterparts. It also dries 33% faster, and retains more of its natural loft after getting wet. SD is touting this new technology proudly, and are stuffing 80% of their sleeping bag lineup with the material. The bags are all EN (European Norm) Tested to ensure what you see for a temperature rating is what you’ll get when sleeping under the stars.
Finally, if it’s lightweight shelter you need, then Sierra Designs has a tent for you. ExoFusion pole design is the big push for SD, as well as body-fly integration. The Mojo and Flash tent lineups both use poles that stay outside of the tent and allow for faster setup times. The ExoFusion design works thanks to a tent that is both body and fly in one unit. Past attempts at this combo design have resulted in tents that were easy to carry and set up, but became humid hotboxes when two people climbed inside to sleep. SD has come up with a new approach to ventilation and condensation management that they claim will keep the tents dry and cool. I’m looking forward to getting some feedback on how these tents perform; they sure do look sweet on the showroom floor, but the backcountry is where the final word is levied.
In addition to these three innovations, Sierra Designs also had a deep selection of day and backpacks that are up to their usual high standards. It’s no wonder the booth was crowded every time I walked by. This company is serious about pushing the envelope for outdoor recreation, and whether this new gear is a hit or miss there is no denying they are helping to lead the charge into the future adventure gear.