Marmot 8000M jacket
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The latest stuff: Does it pass muster?

The price of new backpacking gear drives Secor to garage sales to replenish his stash of old reliables, but he still sees a lot to like in the latest crop of stuff. A few first impressions:

Marmot 8000M jacket: “This is a good 20-below parka; however, I’ve rarely encountered 20 below, especially during daylight hours in North America. I like the DryLoft because it breathes and is great in cold weather. And the inside pockets are big enough for water bottles.” Cost: $575. ()
Brunton Optimus Nova stove: “This is really a great stove. No plastic to crack in the cold. You can simmer as well as turn it on full blast. It compacts well and requires a minimum amount of assembly. It’s lightweight and has a simple magnetic cleaning system. One disadvantage is that it has only one jet.” Cost: $150. ()
MontBell Monoframe Diamond tent: “This is a light [2.7-pound] summer tent. The fly can be used alone, creating a self-supporting tarp. I prefer tarps because they are lighter, drier and thus warmer.” Cost: $220. ()
Lowa Renegade II GTX Mid boots: “It’s light [2.2 pounds per pair], and it has a good sole and heel. A raised heel is more important for secure footing than a lug sole. I’m not convinced that a waterproof-breathable laminate works in boots; it tends to break down rather quickly.” Cost: $170. ()
Arc’teryx Bora 80 backpack: “I don’t like compartments; they cut down on the usable space in a pack. The full-length side zipper can leak in the rain. As with most of the new internal-frame packs, it’s too heavy, weighing 6.8 pounds.” Cost: $370. ()
Mountain Hardwear Wraith SL down sleeping bag: “I like the colors. The zipper doesn’t work well. The collar will really keep you warm. I’ve had bad luck with waterproof-breathable bags. The moisture tends to get trapped in the insulation. I prefer a synthetic fill.” Cost: $525. ()