Outdoor Gear Guide (Gadgets, Gear and Garments)

Outdoor Gear Guide (Gadgets, Gear and Garments)

Not Too Warm, Not Too Cold

When it’s too cold for a shirt but not cold enough for a jacket, it’s just right for a Woolrich Shirt Jac. Available in several materials, including canvas, corduroy and chamois cloth, Shirt Jacs add warm, lightweight polyester fleece to the basic shirt, along with 40-gram Arctic Insulation for the sleeves, with quilted taffeta lining for easy on and off. List Price: $59 to $63. Contact: Woolrich, (800) 966-5372, www.woolrich.com.

Secure Duffel

Security-minded photographers will love the DuffelSafe 100. Generous 20x12x11-inch dimensions are big enough to hold a camera bag full of gear, while the eXomesh high-tensile, stainless-steel mesh locking system (now neatly hidden in the material) prevents anyone from walking away with or breaking into the bag. The bag comes with a detachable shoulder strap and a detachable backpack harness for easy transport. List Price: $229. Contact: Outpac Designs, (800) 873-9415, www.pac-safe.com.

Pocket Weatherman
This handy pocket-sized device provides 12- to 24-hour weather forecasts via animated icons, and displays the local temperature and humidity. The Handheld Weather Forecaster EB313 from Oregon Scientific even has a built-in alarm clock with a snooze function (and the tiny unit doesn't draw a TV weather personality's whopping salary). List Price: $39. Contact: Oregon Scientific, (949) 608-2848, www2.oregonscientific.com.

Wristop Computer
They might look like wristwatches, but Suunto's cross-sports wristop computers tell you a lot more than the time. The new X9i, for example, incorporates a GPS for route creation and confirmation with speed and distance data, a compass, an altimeter, a barometer with weather graph, a logbook and a PC connector with analysis software. It's even water-resistant down to 100 feet. List Price: $499. Contact: Suunto, (800) 543-9124, www.suunto.com.

Topo Fly-Thru
If you've ever misinterpreted a topo map, you'll love the new 3D Views & Fly-Thru feature of TOPO! outdoor recreation mapping software. You can "fly" your route at ground level or a higher altitude to get the lay of the land before a photo hike. The software lets you effortlessly zoom and pan across maps, click trail profiles to quickly see the distance and elevation gain and loss, and transfer waypoints between your GPS and the software. When you're done, print out a photo-quality map to take along on your outing. List Price: $99 (per state; some states combined). Contact: National Geographic Maps, (800) 962-1643, www.nationalgeographic.com/maps.

Battery-Free Flashlight
Never worry about dead batteries with the 1-LED Dynamo Hand Torch from eGear. The LED flashlight is powered by a heavy-duty windup generator—just operate the winder for a few seconds, and you've got light. List Price: $10. Contact: Essential Gear, (800) 582-3861, www.essentialgear.com.

Shelter From The Storm
Lovers of lightweight, low-cost tents will really go for Coleman's Siege 2, a two-person convertible backpacking tent with a completely detachable vestibule. You can use the tent three ways: with the fly and large, rain-deflecting vestibule; with the fly but no vestibule; or as a lightweight screen shelter without the fly or vestibule. Even with all the parts, including stakes, aircraft-quality aluminum poles and guylines, the tent weighs less than six pounds. List Price: $159. Contact: Coleman, (800) 835-3278, www.coleman.com.

Waterproof Duffle
Seal Line's WideMouth Duffle Bag comes in two sizes: 40L (40 liters, 2,400 cubic inches) and 80L (80 liters, 4,800 cubic inches). Place your camera bag in one, seal it up, and your gear is safe from the elements. Available in blue, black and orange, the bags include easy gear access via a superwide oval opening, an external pocket and D-rings for a shoulder strap or tie-downs. List Price: $59 (40L); $79 (80L). Contact: Cascade Designs, (800) 531-9531, www.seallinegear.com.

For Cameras & Laptops
Featuring a low profile for stability, and a secure main compartment that can be opened only when the unit is off the shoulders, stylish Crumpler Photo/Laptop Backpacks come in three sizes: Keystone (for photo gear plus a 12-inch laptop), Whickey and Cox (for a 15-inch laptop and camera gear) and Karachi Outpost (for a 17-inch laptop and even more camera gear). All provide a brushed nylon-lined, configurable camera compartment and a removable laptop sleeve. List Price: $180 to $225. Contact: Crumpler Bags, (718) 384-3020, www.crumplerbags.com.

Lightweight Tent

MSR's Mutha Hubba is a lightweight (6.75-pound minimum weight) three-person tent that provides 40 square feet of floor area and 14-plus square feet of vestibule area, along with two stay-dry entrances (each with a vestibule). You can use it as a free-standing tarp shelter (with or without the optional floor) to save weight, or as a double-wall tent for full protection. List Price: $379. Contact: Mountain Safety Research, (800) 531-9531, www.msrgear.com.

Table On The Go
There are occasions when it would be great to have a flat surface in the field so you could organize your photo gear after a day of shooting, write notes before you forget the day's details, shoot photos of small objects at a comfortable level, or even just set out a meal or make room for a game of cards. Check out the Top-Shelf portable table from GCI Outdoor, which features a durable, powder-coated, 18x18-inch aluminum top, stainless-steel legs and a handy trash-bag holder. The Top-Shelf breaks down into four pieces that fit in the included travel bag for easy hauling through the woods. The sturdy table weighs just six pounds and is 19 inches tall. List Price: $33. Contact: GCI Outdoor, (800) 956-SEAT, www.gcioutdoor.com.

A Tiny Cut Above
Small and functional, the Buck/Whittaker Metro LED key-ring knife features a folding 1.25-inch blade and a handy built-in 5mm LED light that shines down the blade and lets you see what you're doing in the dark (if the dark is where you're doing it). The rugged knife comes in several colors and weighs a mere 1.5 ounces. List Price: $28. Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, www.buckknives.com.

All A Blur
Vasque's new Blur trail running shoe (which can also be used for comfortable trail walking with a camera in hand) is lightweight and well-cushioned, with a lugged outsole for excellent traction. And in July, the Blur is scheduled to incorporate Gore-Tex® technology for improved breathability and comfort as well as waterproofing. The Blur comes in men's sizes from 7 to 15 and women's sizes from 5 to 11. List Price: $85. Contact: Vasque, (800) 224-HIKE, www.vasque.com.

Convertible Pants
Sometimes you need long pants for a hike, while other times the weather calls for shorts. With Shazam Pants/Shorts from GoLite, you can get both: Just zip off the leg bottoms, and shazam!—you've got trail shorts. Other features include SPF 40 quick-drying, peached Tactel nylon construction, a moisture-dissipating waistband and lots of handy pockets. List Price: $80. Contact: GoLite, (888) 5-GOLITE, www.golite.com.

Umbrella Blowin' In The Wind?
The big problem with umbrellas is wind. Crazy Legs windproof umbrellas from Crazy Creek solve that problem. The 60-inch Windproof model has a frame that can be easily returned to normal shape if inverted by a wind gust, and the 64-inch Vented model has covered vents that let wind escape. Both models are made with a strong fiberglass shaft and a nylon canopy. List Price: $36 (Windproof); $44 (Vented). Contact: Crazy Creek Products, (800) 331-0304, www.crazycreek.com.

New Garments With Gore-Tex®
Gore-Tex® fabrics have a remarkable ability to keep water and wind out while permitting perspiration vapor to escape. Now the company brings us Comfort Mapping, made with Gore seam-sealing technology that allows any two dissimilar fabrics to be joined and reliably sealed. Clothing designers can use the Gore-Tex® fabrics of their choice and put them right where they want them in outdoor garments for better comfort and utility while retaining the original breathable water- and wind-protection benefits. Look for the new technology in upcoming products this fall from Arc'Teryx, Mountain Hardwear and The North Face. Contact: W.L. Gore & Associates, (800) 431-GORE, www.gore-tex.com.

Ya Gotta Glove 'Em
If you have to be out in the cold, you need a reliable pair of gloves. Atlas Extreme gloves with Thermolite and hollow-core fiber technology provide warmth without bulk, even when wet, along with an excellent grip, wet or dry. List Price: $19. Contact: LFS Glove & Safety, (800) 426-8860, www.lfsinc.com.

Trek & Trail
Incorporating Gore-Tex® XCR laminate lining for comfort plus moisture and temperature management, Lowa Mira XCR trek and trail shoes for women feature asymmetric styling and Lowa Bite soles, which are lighter-weight and more flexible than hiking boot soles. Mira XCR LO Lady and the taller Mira XCR Mid Lady models are available. List Price: $120 (LO); $130 (Mid). Contact: Lowa, (888) 335-LOWA, www.lowaboots.com.

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