Is there a more aptly named outdoor gear manufacturer than Sea to Summit? As their name implies, the company makes equipment that you can use at sea level all the way to the top of the Himalaya, and pretty much everywhere in between. The company offers sleeping bags, tents, paddling gear, travel accessories and a lot more. It also has a stirling reputation for making equipment that is high in quality, very durable and affordable.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to test a number of items from Sea to Summit and to say that I came away impressed would be an understatement. Here is a sampling of some of the items I’ve been using with some thoughts on each of them.
Delta Bowl with Lid ($6.95)
Backpackers and campers looking for a lightweight and versatile bowl for enjoying meals on the trail will absolutely love the Delta Bowl. It weighs in at a mere 5 ounces (141 grams), comes with a lid that can seal in leftovers and doubles as a plate or chopping board. It is made from tough, BPA-free plastic that is easy to keep clean, even while in the backcountry. Pair it with the Delta Spork ($3,50) to complete your outdoor place setting.
Stopper Dry Bag – 13L ($29.95)
Have a paddling trip planned for the near future? Then you’ll want to have the Stopper Dry Bag along for the ride. Made out of 210D nylon and featuring fully welded seams, the Stopper dry bag seals up nice and tight to keep all of your important gear and valuables completely dry, even in the wildest white water. The unit I tested was 13 liters in size, which was perfect for all but the longest kayaking excursions. I was impressed with the wide mouth that made this bag easy to pack and its ability to take a beating and still look brand new was also appreciated. It even comes with a spare buckle that can be quickly and easily replaced in the field, although my bag performed flawlessly.
Coolmax Adaptor Sleeping Bag Liner ($52.95)
Now here is a versatile piece of gear. The Coolmax Adaptor sleeping bag liner can be used on its own in warm weather or combined with a sleeping bag to add a few extra degrees of comfort. The lightweight fabrics that make up this liner are designed to wick moisture and breathe in warm weather, keeping the interior dry and comfortable. It also features Sea to Summit’s Insect Shield to keep mosquitoes and other bugs at bay. All of these features make it the perfect option for travelers and backpackers heading to warm and humid environments. The Adaptor weighs just 9.5 ounces (274 grams), which makes it excellent for those looking to travel light, and it packs down incredibly small, which means it won’t take up much room in your pack. Sea to Summit touts the insect repellant as beig odorless and invisible, but I do have to say the fabric feels like it has a bit of light residue on it that was noticeable on my fingers after touching it. This wasn’t a deal breaker by any means, but definitely something that should be noted. (Not available until March 2013)
TPU Waterproof Pouch for iPad ($39.95)
One of the most versatile pieces of technology to come out in the past few years is definitely the iPad. It is lightweight, capable of storing music, movies, books, games, magazines and so much more, and it has a battery life that exceeds ten hours. As I’ve said on more than one occasion, it is one of the most useful travel tools that I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. But it is also not exactly designed for use in the outdoors, where it can be easily damaged. The new TPU Waterproof Pouch for iPad helps to provide at least some measure of protection for our expensive tech toys. The pouch features a double-velcro closure that keeps gadget-killing moisture at bay and the clear plastic front panel allows you to interact with the touch screen without having to remove it from sleeve. The back of the pouch even features a clear plastic notch that fits over the iPad’s camera, allowing it to still take photos while still fully protected from the elements. The pouch is capable of keeping the iPad dry when submersed in a foot of water for more than 30 minutes, which may not seem like a lot, but should be sufficient for rescuing your device should it accidentally find itself in the river. This is a must have for anyone who takes their iPad with them on paddling excursions or trips into the backcountry.
Ultra-Sil Pack Cover ($34.95)
One of the worst things that can happen while out on the trail is to get caught in an unexpected rain squall that soaks your pack and all of its contents. A good pack cover will prevent that from happening of course, and Sea to Summit’s new offering is both durable and lightweight. Made from 70D Ripstop nylon, the pack cover features Hypalon loops for external gear attachments and a reinforced bottom to keep the pack dry when you set it on the ground. The sack cover weighs just 4 ounces (113 grams) and comes with its own compression sack, which makes it easy to keep in your backpack at all times. That removes any excuses for not carrying it with you when you head out on your next adventure. I found the cover quick and easy to install on a variety of packs and it performed perfectly, even in heavy downpours. This is certainly one piece of gear that I’ll want with me when traveling in wet environments on future travels. (Available March 2013)
I have a number of other great products from Sea to Summit to test yet, so look for more reviews in the near future. If the above products are any indication, I’ll have some more great suggestions to add to your gear closet soon.