Patagonia is better known for its Synchilla fleeces and Baggies shorts than it is for gear. Gear in the sense of equipment — tents, stoves, headlamps, racks, etc. Yes, the company makes some of the best backpacks available for hiking, climbing and skiing, and its rugged Black Hole duffels deserve a place in every closet (perhaps in multiple sizes). But excepting those, the closest it's come to gear in the non-apparel sense is its sleeping bags, which it only began producing in recent years.
Until now, with the launch of its Untethered Kit, a new collection of gear for ultra-minimal outdoor pursuits.
As is its intended use, the Untethered Kit is minimal in scope. It consists of four products: a 30-liter backpack, a lightweight sleeping bag, a cooking pot and the company's first-ever camping stove.
The backpack and sleeping bag seem like pared-down versions of products Patagonia already makes — the pack is as simple as it gets with shoulder straps inspired by climbing harnesses, zero exterior pockets (though lots of daisy chain attachment points) and a cinch-and-buckle lid while the sleeping bag is minimally insulated with PrimaLoft Gold and lacks a hood and zipper.
But the stove and pot are unique to the brand's wares. The stove is three stainless steel pieces — a base, a central cone and top support for cookware — that total 9.2 ounces. Oh, and it burns wood. The ethos of the Untethered Kit is to "put the least amount of stuff between you and your experience," which, in this case, means cooking over an enclosed flame using deadfall for fuel instead of canisters of isobutane. According to Patagonia, its Wood Burning Stove can bring a liter of water to boil in roughly 16 minutes.
The pot, which Patagonia teamed up with MiiR to build, is designed to work seamlessly with the stove. It's made of stainless steel and has a built-in heat exchanger that makes the most out of a flame. It also has a silicone lid, and the stove nests inside of it for easy packing.
The Untethered Kit seems like a departure of sorts for Patagonia, which is so well-known for innovations in technical apparel design and sustainability. But really, it's more of a going-back — Yvon Chouinard, the company's founder, wholeheartedly believed in a minimalist approach to outdoor adventure when he was climbing first ascents of peaks all over the world not so many decades ago.