The main catergories I have been looking at are Shelter, Sleeping, Carrying and Footwear. The MLD Trailstar currently tops my list for Shelter, the Go-Lite Pinnacle ticks the necessary boxes for carrying, and I think I'm going to give the Inov-8 Terroc 330s a whirl on my feet. Sleep-wise, in the end I couldn't see past the Alpkit Pipedream 400, it's light, warm enough and very reasonably priced for the spec. With a Hunka bivvi bag and a Thermarest Neoair, I think I should be OK.
I was going to order the MLD Trailstar first due to the eight week lead time required for European deliveries. However, over the weekend I was browsing the Alpkit website when I noticed that they were having issues with availability on the Pipedream range. Not wishing to miss out, I made the decision to order one straightaway. I added the Hunka, and a set of Rosewood and Titanium chopsticks for my better half, and placed the order.
I got a phone call on Monday from Tom at Alpkit saying that there had been a labelling issue and instead of blue Pipedreams they only had green ones and would a substitution be alright? I had no issue with a swap, and was told my order would be dispatched that day. It obviously was as it turned up yesterday! I think that's really good service, especially as there was no charge for postage or "Express Delivery"!
My initial reaction was "That's a very small parcel". Once opened up, removed from the compression sack and allowed to loft, I had to clamber in to the Pipedream. It's a very light bag, and fairly snug, which is not a problem. As far as I could tell, lying on the floor of a centrally heated house, it felt plenty warm too. I then slithered in to the Hunka, which made me look like a giant grub according to Bev. Overall I'm very pleased with this combo and am looking forward to giving them a run out in the wild. When that happens further updates will follow! One other nice touch is the selection of storage bags that came with it (a tiny stuff sack, a compression sack and a large storage bag.)
One of our cats certainly approves...