Brooks-Range is a small gear company that has earned itself a reputation for manufacturing quality gear that is laser focused on doing the job that it is designed to do. Their diverse catalog includes everything from navigational tools for adventure racers and sleeping bags for mountaineers to cold weather clothing and avalanche probes for backcountry winter adventures. The company also produces a line of tarps and shelters that are simple in design and favor function over form.
Take for example their Ultralight Alpini 200, a bivy shelter that weighs just 8.1 ounces and packs down to an incredibly small footprint. The Alpini is so small and lightweight in fact that it can be dropped as easily into your daypack as a larger mountaineering pack, without much impact on your ability to move. With it in place, you always have a shelter that can be ready in mere moments without the hassle of setting up a tent.
The Alpini 200 is made of ripstop nylon, which makes it very durable, while maintaining its lightweight and compact form. That fabric also make the shelter wind and water resistant, making it the perfect quick escape for anyone caught out in the elements. The concept of the Alpini is a simple one. Just pull it from its included stuff sack and pull it over your head like a big sack. Once you’re inside, the shelter warms up in a matter of minutes, providing protection from dangerous wind chills and potential frostbite.
I have to admit, when I first pulled the Alpini out of the bag, I wasn’t all that impressed. The shelter seemed far too lightweight to be of much use. But after giving it a go, I was surprised to find that it completely delivered on its promise. Not only does it get quite warm, it also breathes well, which means you can stay inside for extended periods of time without condensation building up. It also easily seats two people and is so quick to deploy that you can do it just about anytime and anywhere that you feel the need to escape the elements.
At $99, the Alpini 200 is one of those pieces of gear that you almost can’t afford not to have in your pack. Especially if you do a lot of backcountry winter activities. Not to sound too overly dramatic, but this is the kind of product that could be the difference between life or death if you’re caught out in the cold at the wrong time. Definitely a must have piece of gear for your winter adventures.
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