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Multi-Functional Lighting For Camping and Backpacking

The Swiss Army Knife and Leatherman have earned iconic status in and out of the outdoors because they're useful for all kinds of tasks. The typical flashlight or headlamp will never reach the same level of adulation because all it does is flash a beam in one direction or another. These multi-functional lights, on the other hand, give you multiple lighting options, allowing you more flexibility at your campsite. One or two of them may...
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Toasty Tush Keeps Your Camp Chair Warm

Similar to lying out on the beach, camping can lead to uneven toasting. Sitting by the campfire can quickly give you a warm, roasting front while leaving your back exposed to the cold night air. Toasty Tush - not to be confused with As Seen on TV toilet seat warmer Toastie Tush - solves this problem by giving you a warming cushion designed specifically for camp chairs. Unlike some other heated seats, it doesn't use...
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Walkstool Steady Keeps You Balanced and Stable

A couple of years ago, while walking the floor of the Outdoor Retailer, I found the Walkstool, a nicely designed, portable stool imported from Scandinavia. A couple of days ago, while navigating the website of another prominent outdoor show (Outdoor Friedrichshafen), I came across a handy Walkstool accessory. The Steady is a simple add-on that holds the ends of the legs to prevent the stool from sinking into soft ground and to make it more...
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Camp Out In Your Toyota Prius With Habitents Module

The Prius is a wee bit small to outfit with a roof camper, but that didn't stop the industrious folks behind the Habitents from designing a way of overnighting in the hybrid. Habitents is a simple tent-like module that slides over the open hatch of the Prius. Fold the rear seats, and two people can lie down and catch a night of sleep. It has no poles and rolls up small enough to fit in...
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Gear Around the World: Innovative, Meticulously Crafted Scandinavian Gear

Scandinavia is kind of like Europe's Alaska. It stretches up there above the Arctic Circle and endures the same weird sun patterns that Alaska is known for. Its mountains aren't quite as big or pronounced, but it makes up for it by way of sheer cliffs and fjords. As in Alaska, things are wild and superlative, and the people have a reputation for being chiseled outdoorsman - you kind of have to be if you...
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Bam Margera Takes His Jackassery to a 100-Foot Waterfall

Bam Margera: Adulthood's version of the spastic, hyperactive, delinquent skater you knew in high school. Guy's been out of the spotlight for a while, but he's back in a big way. The former star of Jackass and a bunch of eponymous shows too forgettable to list has taken his crazy stunts to a new place. Instead of throwing a flurry of fists at his dad or finding a creative way of hitting a pair of...
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They Don't Look Like Bike Shoes...But Do They Look Worse?

I'm all for outdoor gear designed to look a little more casual, except when it ends up looking worse than regular outdoor gear. And that's how I'd classify the Task Collection from DZR Shoes. Designed "with performance attributes for cycling but without the ‘I am a cyclist appearance,’ the shoes attempt to bring a more casual look to cycling shoes. Instead, they look like a weird cross between casual loafers and full-on bike shoes. It's...
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Incog Bike Tool Slides Away In Your Handlebars

If you hate carrying bike tools around in your backpack or bike bag, maybe it's time to invest in the Incog bike tool. The innovative tool packs a selection of hex wrenches and screwdriver bits right into your handlebars. It's a flexible, elastic-based tool, so it fits both straight MTB bars and curved roadie bars. Pop open the other end of the handlebar, store the separate tire repair kit in there, and you're ready for...
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An Ultralight Washing Machine For Your Campground Laundry

Staying clean and camping don't really mix. Everything you touch - your tent, firewood, the ground, the picnic table, the vault toilet door - is covered in dirt, grime, grit and unthinkable microscopic predators. Couple that with a complete lack of running water, and you're bound to be grungy for the better part of the trip. If you're like me, you forget about it, take a wet-nap bath every now and again, and smoke the...
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Camping For Dummies: Colorado Launches First Time Camper Program

As enjoyable and relaxing as a weekend of camping is, it can take a lot of work to get there. I typically spend the better part of my first camping day of the season rummaging through closets, boxes, nooks, crannies, crevices, holes...to find and organize all the gear that I left strewn about the prior season. If I'm lucky, I get it all together and make it to camp with enough daylight to set up...
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A Different Kind Of Swiss Knife: Swiss Advance Knife and Fork

We're all quite familiar with Swiss knives from Wenger and Victoronix, but you may never have heard of Swiss Advance. That's because this Swiss manufacturer doesn't make red multi-tools; it makes eating instruments for camping and backpacking. As you might expect, its knife looks a little different than the classics. Similar to a retractable razor blade, the Swiss Advance knife (and fork) slides in and out of its plastic handle. When collapsed, they're small enough...
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Backcountry Base Camp: Luxuries and Conveniences For Backpacking

There's really nothing quite like truly embracing the wilderness and spending days at a time exploring. But if there's one downer to that experience, it's coming back to a barebones campsite after a day of hiking 20 miles. You can't really carry all the conveniences of a roadside campsite--furniture, food, cookware, drinks, etc.--into the backwoods, so you tend to make good with considerably less comfort. But being comfortable at camp doesn't have to mean being...
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Good Idea/Bad Idea: Zippered Vents Sleeping Bag

Ever look at your sleeping bag and think: 'I want to score that sucker like a piece of beef'? I sure never did, but the folks over at novelty and gadget purveyor extraordinaire Hammacher Schlemmer tried it out. The Zippered Vents Sleeping Bag attempts to solve a common problem of the outdoors: hot, stuffy sleeping bags on warmer-than-expected summer nights. You need a sleeping bag that's warm enough for the coldest temperatures that you expect,...
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Ultralight Emergency Shelters To Duck and Hide From Mother Nature

Remember when you were a kid and were scared urineless of that loud, explosive thunderstorm outside? All you wanted to do was bury your face and torso in the deepest, most inwardly crevice of the house and create better times with your imagination. You may not be that kid anymore, but getting caught in an onslaught of nasty weather can have you regressing in seconds. These shelters will be your proverbial dark closet with teddy...
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Sharks and Supermodels? Thank You GoPro.

Every month (maybe week?), I get an email from GoPro touting the latest video taken with the new HD Hero 2. It's typically just run-of-the-mill action sports footage and I don't usually click. But when I read the subject line "Italian Supermodel Swims With Sharks," I had to bite. And so should you.
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Flameless Backpacking Stove Alternative: HeatStick

Tired of pumping liquid fuel and trying to place that tiny aluminum windscreen just perfectly? The HeatStick may just offer a better alternative to every stove out there. It's a Danish-designed backcountry cooking apparatus that boils water without a flame. At around a pound for the main unit and fuel, it's competitive with stoves in terms of weight. Because the HeatStick boils water inside a sealed bottle without a flame, wind doesn't affect cooking.  You...
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Duraflame Roaster Logs For Campsite Grilling

Manufactured Duraflame logs offer a number of advantages over real wood. They light easy without tinder or kindling and burn hotter and cleaner than wood. They're a nice low-hassle alternative to regular firewood. One big minus for campers, however, is that traditional Duraflame logs and cooking aren't exactly kosher. Duraflame says that its logs don't produce the coals needed for cooking, and the company has not (and doesn't plan to) tested the safety of cooking...
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World's Only Sleeping Bag With Built In LED Light

So simple. So smart. So overdue. I haven't exhaustively searched to check the veracity of the claim, but UK company Snugpak calls its new Chrysalis the only sleeping bag in the world with a built-in LED. More than just a fancy claim, an integrated LED is a great idea. One of the cliches of camping is fumbling around with groggy eyes and drunken hands, trying to find your flashlight to light the cold, dark, foreboding...
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Trade Dog Poo In For Free Wi-Fi

Wouldn't it be great if people weren't lazy sloths and did what they were supposed to? Then we wouldn't need water fountains in the Grand Canyon. And we wouldn't have to hop, skip and jump around the piles of dog mess that people inconsiderately abandon in the middle of trails. What a great world that could be. As it is, though, people would much rather allow their local park to turn into a giant cesspool...
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Kick-@## Kickstarter Projects For The Outdoors

The Internet has given us all kinds of new ways of collaborating and innovating. One of those ways is Kickstarter, a Web community that lets inventors, small businesses and other entities reach out to the masses for help in funding their projects and dreams. There are projects of all shapes and sizes, some smart, some crazy and some TBD. Here are a few of the more promising outdoor-related projects up on Kickstarter now. PowerPot Similar...
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