The anticipation has been constantly building since that first crisp night back in August. With every passing week, new hopes and dreams of the fabled early season snowfall have been shattered by record breaking warmth. With eyes glued to the weather maps, we have been constantly reviewing our topo maps, GPS coordinates, waxing boards, breaking in new boots and making sure everything is ready for that first prolific snowfall. With two weeks left before the official start of meteorological Winter and after being let down by Old Man Winter all fall, the weather maps are finally starting to turn. Winter will come this year.

To keep ourselves occupied, we have been testing out our new gear. Last weekend, the mountains in Northern Vermont saw a brief cold snap with base level temperatures falling into the low 20s. We took advantage of the non-critical nature of the weather to test out some of our new gear provided by The North Face. A few weeks ago, I tested out the Asylum Bivy – it worked well and I will be doing a full review later in the winter. This time around we tested out the Mountain 35 tent and the -20 degree Tundra bag. As with the bivy, we will do full reviews of these products once we get deeper into winter. For now, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. The tent is very simple to setup, even at night, and the structure and materials both feel very solid. Our favorite feature is the glow in the dark zipper pulls. It makes a dreary eyed late night tent exit much easier.

The bag is warm and cozy; exactly what I’m looking for in a winter bag. For a synthetic bag, it compresses to a very manageable size. It wasn’t that cold, so this was not the best cold weather test, but overall, I think the Tundra will do the trick this winter. I’m just shy of 5’10” and the regular length bag will be pretty tight with my boot liners, gloves and anything else shoved into the foot box, but without that anything else in the bag, it fits me very well.

Here is a frame grab from a time lapse of our campsite with the Mountain 35 being setup.


Posted on December 7, 2011, in Gear Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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