MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Questions about equipment and supplies to bring on a trip (including reviews).

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torpified
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MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by torpified » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:20 pm

Who knew?

https://www.swdbackpacks.com/product-pa ... l-backpack

I know nothing about the merchandise -- I just stumbled across the website and liked the idea of midwestern ultra-lighters. (I think you can see Isle Royale in their logo!) Has anybody had any experience with their products?

Edited to add: Ack! Upon further review, it's not IR -- it's that freaky whale tale archipelago/peninsula extruding from L Superior's northern shore (the really northern one, in Canada, not the MN one). Maybe we can lobby them to enhance the geographical correctness of their logo?


paulbates
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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:30 pm

My recent IR trip has proven, to my back and legs, that I have several pieces of gear that need to be replaced with lighter versions.... starting with the pack. I'm looking at zpacks, but I do like the idea of getting something made in Michigan.

Thanks for the pointer.

Paul


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:55 pm

torpified wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:20 pm
Who knew?

https://www.swdbackpacks.com/product-pa ... l-backpack

I know nothing about the merchandise -- I just stumbled across the website and liked the idea of midwestern ultra-lighters. (I think you can see Isle Royale in their logo!) Has anybody had any experience with their products?

Edited to add: Ack! Upon further review, it's not IR -- it's that freaky whale tale archipelago/peninsula extruding from L Superior's northern shore (the really northern one, in Canada, not the MN one). Maybe we can lobby them to enhance the geographical correctness of their logo?
This has been on my mind for the last week. I used my original Cannondale Winan's Camel for my recent trip. Its an old and trusted friend, but the time on IR took its toll. I am looking for a new pack. I agree with you on the Long Haul, its only 3 oz more than the Superior.

Have you thought about what options you like?

Paul

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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by thesneakymonkey » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:06 pm

Packs look super sweet. I love the color combos and size customization. The last thing I need is another pack but these look pretty awesome.


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by torpified » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:55 pm

I'm close to pulling the trigger on a full-suspension version of the 35L -- IN PURPLE. I agree that the extra capacity of the Long Haul is worth 3 additional ounces, all other things being equal. What tips the balance in my case is that I'm pretty happy with a ~50L pack I have now (Osprey Exos 58, which I use "brainless" when I can) whose total capacity I don't need for shorter/bear canisterless walks.

If I follow through, I'll report back!
Last edited by torpified on Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:39 pm

Thanks, please do. I planning a trip on the NCT through Manitisee May-ish of next year. Which means there is a bear canister (the first for me) in my future, I'm still leaning towards the long haul for that reason. Will pull the trigger between October and Christmas, and would certainly value the input if you buy and try sooner than that

Paul


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:10 pm

I ordered my Long Haul today. SWD are very responsive, helpful and friendly. My torso measurement was on the edge of the longest offered, and they provided instructions for spec'ing longer version in the order notes. Probably get it in a month or so.

Paul


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by torpified » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:53 am

I'm eagerly awaiting delivery of a full-suspension 35L Superior, with loadlifters and shoulder pouches. I had the same experience with the customer service while ordering, and I'm looking forward to shouldering the merchandise!


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:45 pm

Reviving this thread with an endorsement. I used my swd long haul on 2 trips this year and really happy with it. It’s very comfortable and reasonably lightweight at 2.3 lbs. having come from a larger pack it took some experimenting to pack it most efficiently.


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by torpified » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:59 am

I provisionally second the endorsement! I've dayhiked with my (PURPLE) 35L and also used it for the shortest possible backpacking trip on IR. So far so good! I'm slated to walk the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in September, and I'm hoping to have a more fully informed assessment after that.

I also second the packing efficiently, which I'm finding has two (enjoyable) dimensions: getting things to fit and strategically distributing gear for a comfortable carry. With less infrastructure, the SWD is less sternly rigid than my other pack (Exos 58, which I now think of as my bear canister pack). But I've found that that's easily addressed by packing things to reinforce, rather than overwhelm, its internal frame.

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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by thesneakymonkey » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:13 am

Just took a SWD 50L long haul on a 10d island trip. Worked flawlessly. Perfect pack.

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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by ChicagoMoose » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:31 pm

Lots of fantastic cottage gear companies out there. In the midwest - SWD for packs, Enlightened Equipment for quilts and synthetic insulated clothes, Sanborn Canoe for some ridiculously amazing paddles, Zelph Stoves for all your alcohol or esbit stove needs. You can also check out this list of cottage gear manufactures, many of them will customize their products for you or build you something of your own imagination.

https://www.99boulders.com/ultralight-b ... ar-vendors - Not my site, just a fun find

I have worked with a number of the aforementioned as well as Palante, Zpacks, GooseFeet, LiteAF, HighTail, Black Rock, ULA, etc. etc. over the years (I am not affiliated with any of them) and would be happy to answer any questions. Shoot me a PM or post here.


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:36 pm

thesneakymonkey wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:13 am
Just took a SWD 50L long haul on a 10d island trip. Worked flawlessly. Perfect pack.
Good info on the number of days, thanks! I have a goal of hiking the NCT across the UP with my long haul 50 and there are some sections with not a lot around, meaning potentially needing carrying enough to make it 5 - 7 days. I recently re-geared so I roll my hammock, straps and tarp in my pad on the bottom, which leaves more room for food inside... but I've not actually tried stuffing 7 days worth of supplies with everything else.

Paul


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Re: MI-based UL gear cottage industry!

Post by paulbates » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:42 pm

torpified wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:59 am
I also second the packing efficiently, which I'm finding has two (enjoyable) dimensions: getting things to fit and strategically distributing gear for a comfortable carry. With less infrastructure, the SWD is less sternly rigid than my other pack (Exos 58, which I now think of as my bear canister pack). But I've found that that's easily addressed by packing things to reinforce, rather than overwhelm, its internal frame.
Yes, when the heavier things are low and near your back, it hikes fairly easy. The dual adjust belt concentrates and distributes the weight well. I used to have to drop my older packs more often on shorter breaks.. I can go 2, 3 or more hours with the long haul on

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