Gear Archives: The Simple Perfection of a Good Bowl

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The new MSR Alpine Nesting Bowl

The new MSR Alpine Nesting Bowl

In the 1970s and 1980s, focused on using the latest technologies, MSR made its early cookware of the lightest modern materials available—titanium, aluminum and non-stick aluminum. While carrying the lightest possible gear was the priority of most backpackers, the MSR product development team recognized the undeniable benefits of stainless steel as well, which was more durable, conducted heat more evenly, and ultimately was more affordable than aluminum or titanium. Read More →

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MSR Kitchen Sets: Behind The Gear

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MSR Alpine Kitchen Set

Product Manager Steve Grind answers a few questions about the design and performance of the various sets of kitchen tools offered by MSR.

What is the process behind deciding which utensils go into each set (Ultralight, Alpine, Alpine Deluxe)?

We’re always working to understand our customers as well as we can, and the customer for one product is often different in some ways from the customer for another product, even within a single product line. In the case of a kitchen set, we know that users are likely to cook differently in a base camp or car-camping scenario than they are in an ultralight backpacking one, and this informs what we design and what is included in each kit. Read More →

Evolution of the MSR XGK EX Stove

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Model 9 Stove

Photo of the original MSR Model 9 stove (simply called the “MSR Stove”) from the April 1973 MSR Newsletter.

Trusted by mountaineers everywhere as the world’s most reliable extreme-condition stove, the MSR XGK EX stove is still remembered by many as the MSR Model 9. Originally introduced in 1973, the Model 9 stove has evolved along with material and manufacturing technologies, and its current incarnation—the MSR XGK EX stove—still remains the number one liquid fuel stove choice on expeditions worldwide.

Remote Fuel Revolution

The Model 9 was the world’s first remote-burner component stove. The remote-burner design was developed in response to MSR’s finding that Acute Mountain Sickness and other altitude-related health problems were related to a climber’s poor hydration level, caused by the inability to melt snow on traditional stoves. Several years of field and in-house stove testing by MSR had demonstrated the increased performance and reliability that remote, pump-pressurized liquid-fuel tanks could deliver, especially at altitude.

While white gas and stove and lantern fuel were recommended, this stove could also burn non-leaded and leaded gasoline if the screen was cleaned every two quarts. Additionally, it could burn alcohol “if the air inlets of the burner are mostly closed with foil.” Lightweight (at 12 ounces), compact, and reliable, the MSR Model 9 stove quickly became the gold standard in mountaineering after its release in 1973. Read More →

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Manufacturing Safety: Snow Tools Made the MSR Way

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MSR products are known for being precision-engineered and thoroughly tested in our lab and in the field for reliable performance. But did you know we also make many of our own products on-site in our Seattle, WA and Cork, Ireland factories? Manufacturing our products in-house gives us quality control over the process, ensuring that the same attention to detail that went into the design goes into the production. Here’s a look at the fabrication process of our lightweight, durable MSR Snow Picket and MSR Snow Fluke in the Seattle factory.

The MSR Snow Picket

MSR Snow Picket (60 cm. size)

MSR Snow Picket (60 cm. size)

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Trekking Pole FAQs: Your Questions Answered

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Photo: Hage Photo

Photo: Hage Photo

As many hikers and backpackers will attest, trekking poles offer great benefits—from helping you maintain stability over changing terrain, to minimizing fatigue and reducing joint impact. Adjustable trekking poles are especially useful for navigating steep inclines and descents, letting you shorten or lengthen poles to match the terrain for improved efficiency. Adjustable poles also pack up easily when not in use.

Here are five frequently asked questions (FAQs) of our customer service department along with information to help you select and use MSR® poles that are right for you, for your environment, and for the activities you like to do. Read More →

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APPALACHIAN TRAIL THRU-HIKERS HAVE A BURNING QUESTION ABOUT OUR STOVES

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Last month, over 4,000 hikers and 15,000 visitors descended on the small town of Damascus, Virginia, for the annual Trail Days Festival. This multi-day event celebrates the Appalachian Trail community, providing hiker workshops, food, gear repairs, and plenty of entertainment, including the hiker talent show. (What happens at the talent show, stays at the talent show.)

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Trail Days Crowd

We’ve been attending this festival for many years, providing free maintenance and repairs on MSR products in the gear tent located in the main campground. It’s always a great time meeting the thru-hikers and geeking-out over gear. We find that we help and learn in equal proportions.

This year, MSR’s Stove Category Director Steve Grind attended and was asked one question far more than any other:

What’s the difference between the MSR PocketRocket and the MicroRocket stoves? Read More →

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MSR SUMMER TREKKING POLES WILL CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT A POLE SHOULD BE

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Some people are big fans of trekking poles. If you don’t happen to be one of these devotees, or if you have never used summer trekking poles before, here are some great reasons to consider trying them out this summer.

Research is beginning to show the benefits of hiking with trekking poles. In a 2010 study conducted by Northumbria University in England and reported on ScienceDaily.com, researchers tested the heart rates, perceived exertion, and muscle damage and function of two groups of hikers—one group using trekking poles and one going unassisted—while hiking Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The results showed that trekking poles helped support muscle function and significantly reduced muscle soreness in subsequent days.[1] Read More →

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TENT CARE 101: KEEPING YOUR TENT CLEAN & DRY

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Camping season is calling, and if you haven’t been outdoors for a while, it may be time to get your gear in order. The good news is that if you take care of your MSR tent, you’ll have it for years to come. Here are three frequently asked questions and tent care tips from our customer service department that can help you keep your tent in good working order.

1. What’s the best way to store my tent between trips?
It’s best to store your tent in a dry and cool area, not in direct sunlight. Instead of storing the tent in its stuff sack, keep it in an oversized, breathable cotton bag or mesh duffel, just as you might store a sleeping bag. Or using a simple pillowcase can work just as well. Read More →

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MSR HyperFlow™ Microfilter: Behind the Gear

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MSR Category Director Chris Barchet answers a few questions about the design and performance of the MSR HyperFlow microfilter.

Who was the HyperFlow microfilter engineered for and why?

Today’s outdoor adventurers are going faster and farther. They need solutions that increase their speed and efficiency in the mountains. So the design goals of the HyperFlow were very simple: It needed to be light and it needed to be fast. Most pump filters weigh about a pound and produce around 1 liter of water per minute. The HyperFlow comes in under 8 ounces and delivers 3 liters of clean water per minute. It’s the lightest and fastest pump available. We engineered it for anyone who needs a reliable supply of clean water on adventures where weight or speed is a priority.

What makes the HyperFlow design unique in the wide landscape of filters?

Beyond its ultralight design, it uses hollow fiber technology to deliver water 3 times faster than most other filters. Also, the Quick-Connect cap makes a fast connection to any widemouth bottle, making it very versatile.

What exactly is hollow fiber technology?

Hollow fiber was developed in the medical industry to separate particles in blood and other fluids. It’s effective for water filtration because the fibers’ pore sizes can be controlled to allow water to pass through but not harmful microbes.

The filter consists of a bundle of these fibers. Each fiber looks more like a straw, with a hollow center. The walls of the fibers have those microscopic pores. Water enters the fiber and the force of the pump pushes it through the pores. The harmful microbes and particulates are trapped inside the fibers until the filter is backflushed. Read More →

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