Gone to the dogs

Mountainsmith introduces a new line of tents, bags and a deluxe doggy bed

James Dziezynski | Boulder Weekly

Mountainsmith went to the dogs years ago. Many a stylish pooch has been spotting wearing the classic K-9 dog pack designed by the Golden-based gear manufacturer. This year, bipeds and quadrupeds alike were introduced to Mountainsmith’s new line of tents, sleeping bags and backcountry dog beds — and what is more classic Colorado than a backpacking adventure with your favorite mutt?

The decision to move into a new area of production came after years of testing, advanced design and clever ideas for creating functional, affordable gear that can stand up to Colorado’s unpredictable elements.

“Mountainsmith has a long history in bags and tents,” says Jay Getzel, director of sales and marketing. “These categories have been part of the in-line assortment for 20-plus years. Recently we evaluated the price/value/feature matrix in the market and identified an opportunity for re-entry into these categories. With accolades from Backpacker, Outside Magazine and Camping Life to our credit for the new 2011 pieces, along with unit sales beyond forecast, we are very happy with the offering to our customers.”

Two new locally named, three-season tents kick off the new gear line: the two-person Morrison ($159) and the four-person Genesee ($199). Both tents feature easy-to-set-up, freestanding two-pole designs, well-ventilated mesh walls, a bomber breathable fly and two-door vestibules. We got to try out the Genesee, which is not only a roomy tent with lots of welcome headroom, but also an excellent shelter for accommodating two people and two border collies. At 6 pounds, 5 ounces, the weight was very reasonable for such a spacious abode, and the set-up was easy (even in snow). The Morrison is a great option (4 pounds, 11 ounces) for two people or for when you want to get away with that special dog and munch kibble in the alpenglow of a mountain sunset.

Which brings up the new K-9 Bed, a synthetic fill, rugged-but-comfy, packable bed designed for medium to large dogs. At two pounds, it’s easy to bring into the backcountry or use as a guest bed when your pup is having a doggie sleepover. And as evidenced by our camping experiences, if your dog doesn’t take up the whole bed, it doubles as a pretty sweet camping mega-pillow for you. Our gear-testing dog loved it and bounds with excitement when he sees the bed being stuffed into the backpack.

Rounding out the new gear is the line of sleeping bags. First up are three 650-fill down bags named after notorious San Juan Range fourteeners: The 5-degree El Diente ($229), the 20-degree Sunlight ($189) and the 35-degree Windom ($149). The lightweight bags have a comfy fit, pack down nicely and stay true to their temperature rating. The Mountainloft Synthetic fill line, designed for wet and soggy conditions, represents perhaps the best value you’ll find in sleeping bags. Named after classic passes in Colorado, the bags are the 0-degree Monarch at $109, the 20-degree Kenosha at $99 and the 35-degree Poncha at $89. The synthetic bags are slightly heavier than their down counterparts but are a great value for Colorado-tested bags with a snug fit and tough design.

Mountainsmith’s 30-plus-year Colorado heritage means you are not only supporting a local business, you are using gear designed and engineered with the Rocky Mountains in mind. The cost of the new lines of tents and sleeping bags are quite a deal as well, offering gear on par with (or better than) many other manufacturers’ more expensive products. To check out Mountainsmith’s latest products, visit www.mountainsmith.com, or simply visit your local outdoor gear store.

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