By: Blonde Two
Blonde One and I have extolled the virtues of bothy bags (storm shelters/group shelter/KISU) to you before. In the hills, whether you have an emergency or just want somewhere warm to eat your lunch, they really can’t be beaten. Mountain Rescue use them, the BMC recommend them, they make a difference and they can save lives by preventing hypothermia.
One of the problems with bothy bags however is their bulk and weight (especially for someone with knee issues like me). One of us will always carry one if we are walking with a group (unless they have tents) but finding a lightweight storm shelter that will fit easily into my rucksack, my swimming bag or even my pocket has, until now, proved difficult.
Which is why we were very pleased on Saturday to be trying out the Summit Gear Supalite 2 Person Bothy Bag. Lunchtime proved to be the perfect opportunity to do so because just as we started sandwich munching, Dartmoor decided to do hailing. The Supalite Bothy Bag is indeed very light, weighing in at 230-244 grams and measuring just 4cm by 6cm in its attached stuff sack, it really is the solution to my carrying problem. To keep the weight down, there is no plastic window (always tricky to see through anyway) and it doesn’t have internal insertion points for walking poles. The Supalite does however have a velcro air vent, a draw cord around the bottom, external tabs which can be used with walking poles and guy ropes or to suspend from trees using guy ropes (also available from Summit Gear) and a high visibility roof.
We gave ours a good testing and were impressed. It is not the roomiest of shelters but, for the pack size the Supalite offered ample room for two Blondes and their lunch. It took a little bit of adjusting to arrange it to our liking with the fluorescent yellow roof correctly positioned but once were were comfortably seated, the temperature inside rose quickly.
In an emergency situation you might wish for a larger version than the 2 person (Summit Gear will make any size you require) but there would be room at a push for a casualty and a rescuer. The Supalite fits back into its stuff sack with some persuasion and its double-stitched seams and fabric are tougher than their combined appearance. If there are any issues with seams or repair needs, Summit Gear offer a lifetime guarantee and free repair service.
All in all, we Blondes are very pleased with our purchase and will walk safer on the hills (with warmer lunchtimes) knowing that it is with us. At £69.99 this is not a cheap alternative but the Supalite Bothy Bag 2 Person is currently on sale at £39.99 which is reasonably comparable with more heavy alternatives.
Whatever your outside adventure, it pays to consider how you would deal with an emergency. Please consider learning to navigate, carrying a survival, bivvy or bothy bag, having easy access to a torch and whistle and letting someone sensible know where you are going.