Gear Watch: Brooks Range Rocket Tent and New England Audubon Birds App

Two new products caught my attention this week. The first is an innovative and ultra-light winter tent that weighs less than two pounds. The second is a New England-specific iPhone application from the Audubon series of bird guides.

Brooks Range Rocket Tent
How do you create a winter tent that weighs in at a mere 1 pound, 6 ounces? Get rid of dedicated poles and use an ultralight high-tech fabric in a single-wall design. This doesn't mean that this tent has no poles. No, it's designed to be set up with an avalanche probe and two trekking poles instead, items that many winter adventurers carry in avalanche-prone regions. If you aren't carrying a probe—unnecessary for most areas in the Northeast—don't worry. The tent does include poles if you need them, which bumps up the weight by about a pound.

The tent walls are made with CT3 waterproof fabric, an ultralight non-woven laminate reinforced with Dyneema fibers. Supposedly it's used as a sail material in the extremely high-stress environment of competitive sailboat racing. It's strong and waterproof, but not breathable, which is why the Rocket tent has four vents built around the tent.

A prototype of this tent made its debut in the Outdoor Retailer show earlier this summer (check out my August 2 post). Now it's in production and available for purchase ($600). Definitely only for the ultralight fanatic, but a neat example of innovative, weight-saving design.

Brooks Range makes a slew of other neat products, many of them designed by leading mountain guides with an eye towards maximum weight-savings. (Check out the Mountaineering Rescue Sled/All-in-One Rescue Tarp.)

Audubon Birds New England App
This new application for the iPhone and iPod is the first regional guide based on the best-selling series of National Audubon Society field guides. It includes more than 370 species, each of which includes a detailed description about the bird's appearance, behavior, range, nesting and mating habits, and more. It costs $6.99.

Neat, only-in-a-digital-guide features include more than 1,000 playable bird songs; a geo-referenced search function that allows you to find which species are located in any specific zip code, state, or region; and the ability to post GPS-referenced bird-sighting data online.

This is the first regional guide in the Audubon app series—watch for other localized guides to the mid-Atlantic and elsewhere in the coming months. Learn more about it in the company's press release.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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