New And Innovative Survival Gear From OR

Upon strolling the floor of Outdoor Retailer, I came across some pretty sweet, innovative survival kits and gear. Here's a quick run-down of some of the nicest-looking and/or quirkiest survival gear on the floor. SOL Survival Kits Originally started as the name of an emergency kit from Adventure Medical Kits, SOL has spun out into its own line of bright-orange survival gear. Outdoor Retailer marked the launch of the brand, which stands for Survive Outdoors...
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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultralight Backpack

If you read my OR tent rundown, then you might have noticed the backpack sitting in front of the Hyperlite Echo shelter. A noteworthy piece of gear in and of itself, the Windrider I Ultralight Pack is made from cuben fiber/nylon rip-stop mix that provides a durable pack at just 1.5 pounds. Unlike some other minimalist packs, the Windrider includes an internal frame with aluminum stays. The pack offers 2,400 cu. in. and features a...
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Tents, Hammocks and Shelters, Oh My! New Innovations in Wilderness Homes

While at Outdoor Retailer this year, I ran into a slew of new, innovative and otherwise notable tents and shelters. Upon going through my press materials after the show, I realized that a full tent feature was in order. So, without any more introductory BS, here's some of the coolest tents that I got a chance to see... Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 I have mixed emotions about the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL...
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Green Guru Recycled Bike Tube Accessories

  As green as biking is, it still creates its share of waste. No matter how nimbly you pedal, you're still likely to get a flat tire here, there or everywhere. On a recent bike trip to Moab, for instance, I had a staggering (and infuriating) four flats on one trip down Porcupine Rim. That's a lot of rubber making its way to landfills. Off the top of my head, I have two solutions: 1.)...
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Chinese-Style Tent Light Adds Ambient Ambiance

  While I've heard of Snow Peak before, I wasn't that familiar with their line until I spent a little time at their booth at Outdoor Retailer. Turns out, they offer a pretty stylish line of Orient-inspired gear like bamboo tables and backcountry chopsticks. One product that immediately caught my attention was this Hozuki Lantern.The Hozuki functions both as a hanging tent lantern and as a candle-style table light. For the latter, it even includes...
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Grabber Introduces Cold-Bearing Cloth For Outdoorsy Folk

    Grabber has long been making all forms of Hand Warmers, Toe Warmers, Feet Warmers and other warming products for every nook and cranny of your body. You know those gritty, little bags o' heat that you store in your parka pockets in the winter. Well, not surprisingly, there's been a clamoring for an antithesis of those warmers, a hand cooler of sorts for hot, summer days. This year, Grabber has answered the bell....
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Klymit Introduces Recycle Pump for Reusing Argon

  Not quite as flashy as the "lightest, most packable sleeping pad in the industry," but potentially greater reaching, Klymit's newly unveiled Recycle Pump addresses one of the biggest knocks on its Argon-insulated clothing line. When you require an Argon canister(s) for insulating, you have to spend additional money and pack space on individual canisters. The two-way Recycle Pump allows you to deflate your Argon clothing--say if it gets warm--and then store the Argon for...
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Soto Pocket Torch Turns Butane Lighter Into Windproof Torch

  One of my favorite products of Outdoor Retailer this summer was the Soto Pocket Torch. It's not that I ever really needed a pocket torch, but it would be damn cool to have. The torch cuts out the choice between the cheap, easy nature of the disposable lighter and the more powerful, windproof qualities of a Zippo-style lighter. Pop a disposable lighter inside, press the ignition and you have a strong (up to 2,300...
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Klymit Claims World's Lightest Camping Pad

Klymit is on my radar as one of the most intriguing, innovative new gear companies on the scene. A winner of Popular Science's "Best of What's New" award in 2009, the company is best known for their Argon-insulated vests. I recently had the chance to speak with founder Nate Alder and he shows no sign of stopping at a few vests.   At this year's Outdoor Retailer, one of the most hyped products around was...
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Ski-Specific Leatherman-Style Multi-Tool and Other Cool Gear From Brooks-Range

Ever since I ducked into the Rocket Tent at last year's OR, Brooks-Range has been one of my favorite gear companies. I mean, gear designed and tested by professional mountain guides--what's not to like? This year, I spent some time eyeing over their 2011 line, and while there wasn't anything quite as revolutionary as the Rocket Tent, there was still a lot of innovative, functional gear. Here are some highlights. Brooks-Range Multi-Functional Plier Look quickly...
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SolLight Lightcap: Water Bottle Lantern

  Here's a sweet little piece of multi-functionery that I happened upon at Outdoor Retailer: the lantern-bottle. Cutting gear out of your sack is always a bonus, so combining a light and water bottle seems like a great idea. After all, they're both just big, clear cylinders, so why not? The SolLight Lightcap is available in two configurations. The Lightcap 200 is just the cap, which is designed to fit standard, 2-inch water bottles. For...
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Aerobed Pakmat Turns Pump Into Carrying Case

  One of the very first products that caught my eye as I strolled into this summer's Outdoor Retailer was the Aerobed Pakmat. That's primarily because there was a huge rack of them just past the doorway of the press room, and I thought for sure they were free press samples. No such luck. Still, the Pakmat is a pretty cool product for car camping. It's essentially a full-sized mat that rolls up and packs...
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Granite Gear's Funky, Open-Topped Bear Canister Backpack

"I'll take the backpack without the backpack." That's what was echoing in my mind when I first laid eyes on the new Granite Gear Nimbus Core. Where you would usually find the actual pack part of the backpack, there's but an open space secured by straps. The open nature of the pack was designed specifically to cradle a bear canister, but can be used to hold other things like a dirty, wet tent or mat--just...
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Bamboo Bottle Combines Everyone's Two Favorite Green Concepts

  You know that water bottles have officially turned into fashion accessories when manufacturers start making them out of random materials like bamboo just so that they look cool. The Bamboo Bottle clearly fits the bill, as the bamboo exterior makes for a striking H20 caddy. Since bamboo probably wouldn't hold water too well on its own, the Bamboo Bottle features a glass core that actually holds the water. I gotta say, I prefer glass...
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Easton Intros New 2-lb. Two-Person Tent

Easton continues to impress with its outdoor gear. At this year's Outdoor Retailer, the company launched its most intriguing product to date. Fittingly named the Kilo, the two-person tent boasts a trail weight of just two pounds, making it the lightest two-person tent on the market, according to Easton. In addition to your typical ultralight rip-stop and mesh, the tent uses a new trick to achieve its low weight: it replaces the shock cord inside...
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GoPro Adds New 960 HD Camera

It seems that action cams are going to have to wait the television market out. The two top dogs in the market--GoPro and VholdR--already have 1080p cams out, so until the market goes 4K x 2K or ultra HD, it looks like they're going to have to settle for broadening the market and fine-tuning the price/functionality ratio. That's what GoPro is doing with its latest launch--tentatively called the 960 Hero. The camera slides between the...
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OR 2010: Bigger, Badder JetBoil

  The JetBoil Personal Cooking System has been one of my favorite pieces of gear since I first laid eyes on it a couple years ago. While the Group Cooking System saves a lot of weight over two PCSs (20 oz. vs. 30 oz.), I've never really loved its wide form factor. Also, its volume (52 oz.) is a little less than two PCS units. I guess I prefer my backpacking gear tall and thin....
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