Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Brand from the UK

I just recieved an e-mail (newsletter) from Ultralight Outdoor gear with a bit more information about their own brand line called Gram Counter Gear As yet they only have one product, a single skin tent similar to the likes of the Tarptent Contrail. It was previewed as a prototype Here a while back and there were a few comments regarding price point and in particular the lack of a bathtub groundsheet but it looks like it's coming to the market without a bathtub groundsheet. Thats likely to be a contentious issue so I'm interested to see how it pans out.

At 850g (up 100g from the prototype) without poles or pegs it isn't groundbreakingly light, there are 2 skin tents that are just as light (poles taken into account) if you don't normally use trekking poles, at £139 which is less than the originally suggested price I think it's about right. It's available in Yellow (a strange choice as it's AFAIK the colour most attractive to insects) and the usual green.

Personally I feel that it wouldn't really suit me as I don't generally use trekking poles anymore and unless there was a sub 200g pole set it wouldn't offer much in the way of a weight saving, that said I may just try one to see how it performs. Another similar product is the Golite Shangri-La 1, the size is similar as is the weight at 904g if you include the Shangri-La nest, the Shangri-La with nest is however a 2 skin design with a bathtub floor although it's more expensive at £185.

Interestingly there's mention of forthcoming products including a poleset for those who don't use trekking poles, there's no suggested weight (or price) yet unfortunately. Another suggested product is a titanium frying pan, I'm not sure how successful that would be to be honest as titanium doesn't transfer heat very well and has a tendency to 'hot spot', something that isn't particularily desirable in a frying pan so again it'll be interesting to see how it performs.

It's good to see someone offering alternatives to the products from the US manufacturers and while there isn't much as yet to temp me personally I certainly hope the venture is successful.


  1. I like Mark - he's got a good company and he's a good guy. He's been very helpful to me with product shipments and working to deadlines. I hope he does well - he should have someone with a blog test this and do a review.

  2. I agree, I bought a few bits and pieces from UOG and the service has been 2nd to none, and added bonus is that the website includes factual information about products rather than re-hashed manufacturers specifications and he doesn't indulge in self promotion like some retailers.

    Like I say I hope GCG is a success.

  3. Looks like a good option for those that do use walking poles however, it's pretty light at that too. Would be interested to read a review on it.

  4. Hi Mac,
    I sent my comments to them when i first read about it but if the image on the site is a new one, then they havn't been incorporated.
    However it's a nice piece of kit and at a good price.

    They are also going to release a duo version.

  5. Hi Richard,
    Ultralight Outdoors is my favourite retailer, service is excellent and a great range. I hope the Gram Counter range brings some new ideas to the market.
    Excellent blog as usual, keep up the good work.
    El M

  6. Hi El M, agreed although I have to say that I seriously hope when someone does test/review the tent that they remember that it isn't a review of Mark or ULO and that the tent is rated on merit and nothing else.

    I've seen too many blog reviews and they seem to be on the increase where the author appears to not want to offend the retailer/manufacturer, as a result I don't read reviews from some sources anymore. In my view a blog review should serve the interests of the community, NOT the interests of the retailer or manufacturer.