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Outdoor Recreation Guide

Gear Up!

Cool stuff for your next outdoor odyssey.

By Austen Diamond
Posted // June 8,2012 -

From the items that cement you as a real athlete to the tools that’ll make the outdoors as comfortable as your living room to the gear that might save your life when you’re trekking it alone, here are some must-have products for your next adventure.

Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport
Yes, they still look ridiculous when worn in public, but they’ll aid your overall performance more than eating your weight in electrolyte goo. Vibram FiveFingers’ thin, flexible soles give runners, hikers and fitness enthusiasts that natural feeling that harks back to the beginnings of the art of movement, which shoe technology has shunned over the past couple of centuries. The Komodo is good for everything from pounding pavement to scrambling a scree field and all that lies in between. (AD)
$110, VibramFiveFingers.com

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Brunton Double-Back Lights
This bright LED light has a 3-inch stretchable, flexible, rubber-like loop that allows it to be attached to just about anything—including bike handlebars, dog collars, tent poles, tree branches, backpack and helmet straps. It weighs less than an ounce, has 80 hours of battery life and can easily be changed from a steady to a flashing light. (WS)
$11, BruntonOutdoor.com

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Gibbon Slackline 2-inch Classic
Gibbon is building a business while simultaneously building a sport—beyond the current rock-climber base. With slacking, the idea is to balance and walk on a piece of webbing connected to two points—say, two trees—and, possibly, doing tricks along the way. Gibbon makes a simple, two-piece kit that’s easy to set up. The sport’s mental and physical challenge makes a fun, exciting workout, aiding balance, coordination and building the smaller muscle groups without the awareness of “working out.” (AD)
$74.99, GibbonSlacklines.com

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Tube Tent
Tie this simple polyethylene shelter between two trees with the included cord to make a serviceable tent that fits two. The bright orange color serves as a guide for rescuers in an emergency, or it can be used just to wait out a rain squall. Carry one on every trek; you never know when you’ll need it. (WS)
$10, available at most sporting goods stores

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Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym Classic
Like skinny-dipping in a remote mountain lake, slumbering a few feet off the ground can become addictive—you won’t want to go back to your preconceived notions for normal. But swaying in the wind suspended between trees has always been a bummer when hungry mosquitoes lurk or rain is a-falling. Thankfully, the Expedition Asym Classic takes care of the downsides, with its fully integrated mesh and easy-on, easy-off rain fly. It’s the best thing for sleep since, well, a house and a bed. (AD)
$159.95, HennessyHammock.com

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Rossignol Wasatch Super Tour Backpack
Since it’s part of Rossignol’s 2013 line, you’ll have to wait until mid-July of this year for this baby to hit stores. The 30-liter pack, made specifically for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, is amazingly designed. Long and slender, it doesn’t stick out to catch tree branches or slam into others when you turn. It’s CamelBak compatible, with a fleece-lined top compartment just for sunglasses or goggles, a plethora of other zipped compartments inside and outside, and a strip of webbing on the back with 18 hangers for anything from skis to boards to carabineers to climbing ropes. The back also zips down the middle to carry a shovel, and the waist strap even has a zip pocket for your camera. (WS)
$130, Rossignol.com

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Anywhere Chair With Cooler
Once you settle down next to the fire in your Anywhere Chair, you won’t have to get up again or even shout across the flames to ask for a beer. Now, you can be the master of your drink domain. A cooler fits under this chair’s comfy seat and perfectly fits a sixer and ice. (AD)
$40, TravelChair.com

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Raskullz Kid’s Helmets
Whether they wheel along on a bike or a board, children won’t have to be reminded to wear their brain bucket if it’s a Raskullz helmet. Each helmet is a character, from cute kitties and unicorns to gorillas, tigers and dragons—most with durable rubberized adornments such as ears, noses, mohawks, tiaras or antennae. Available in a variety of colors and style, each helmet’s character has a name and personality. (WS)
$19.99-$24.99, Raskullz.com

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Solio Bolt Solar Charger
There once was a day when the last thing you’d want to bring on a get-away-from-it-all excursion was your cell phone. But now, of course, you want to upload a few photos via Instagram, post a pithy comment about the peak in less than 140 characters and possibly use the GPS capabilities when you get lost. And if you’ve got this sweet little backpack-able solar charger and battery pack, your iPhone won’t go dead—hey, there’s another thing you can tweet about. (AD)
$70, Solio.com

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Olympus Tough TG-810 Camera
This doozy of a pocket-size camera is advertised as waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof, but it should also be stated that this Camera That Could is idiot-proof. Boasting 14 megapixels, the point-and-shoot couldn’t be easier to use—whether you’re taking a portrait on a mountain or creating a HD video under a waterfall. (AD)
$349.99, OlympusAmerica.com

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Survival Straps
These multicolored bracelets woven of military-spec paracord are quite the fad, but they are a real survival item. Stories include water rescues, hoisting up a fallen hiker clinging to a ledge, even a firefighter who used it to replace his burned bootlace while battling a wildfire. If you ever have to unravel and use your survival strap, the company will replace it free of charge. The metal shackle fastener will support over 1,000 pounds. (WS)
$24.95-$31.95, SurvivalStraps.com

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Camp Chef Dual-Square Cooking Iron
Want to know the secret to the world’s greatest grilled cheese sandwich? No, it’s not frying it in mayo, like Southerners do, or even using Beehive Cheese Co.’s Barely Buzzed—although that helps; it’s cooking it on coals. With this portable cast-iron sandwich oven, you can elevate campfire cooking to new levels—and without the weight burdens of a full-on Dutch oven. (AD)
$26.04, CampChef.com

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