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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Reopening the Old School: Merrell Eagle Origins Boots

There's been a small trend over the past few years of companies offering retro, throwback gear as an homage to their origins. Kinda' cool on one hand, but kinda' pointless when you consider just how much gear has evolved from some of the heavy, clunky canvas-type items of yesteryear. Wouldn't a better celebration be putting those decades of experience and knowledge to use in developing cutting edge gear (like a boss)? I think so, but...
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Gear Review: Goal Zero Rock Out Speakers

Nothing makes you feel at home like some tunes you’re hanging out at camp or you’re stuck in a hotel room. Unfortunately, most portable speakers either provide lousy sound or they’re so power-hungry that they suck your iPod dry before you know it. Goal Zero’s Rock Out portable speaker plugs right into your iPhone’s headphone port, and also acts as a case that’ll store your iPhone plus a cable or two. It cranks out some...
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Survival Shoes: Hiking Boots To Get GPS Tracking, Firestarting and Energy Generators?

  Apparently, I don't expect enough out of my hiking boots. All I really want is some cushioning, on-trail stability and ankle support. But according to one boot guru, hiking boots will soon be doing a whole lot more. Zapps Global Inc., is working on boots that  incorporate technologies like GPS tracking, electronic fire-starting and high-intensity strobe lights. Basically they'll be like a survival kit on your feet. Sound futuristic? Well, if things go as...
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Outdoor Retailer Sneak Peak: New Hiking and Camping Gear

It was an cool, overcast day on the waters of the Jordanelle Reservoir where manufacturers, retailers and other industry reps gathered for this year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Open Air Demo. The demo welcomes a percentage of manufacturers from the Summer Market show each year and essentially serves as a sneak preview of the greater show. Here are some of the more interesting things that I came across: Hike/Run Magellan has added a new, entry...
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Columbia Spring 12 (P)Review: Omni FREEZE Ice Solar Polar

One of Columbia's new slogans is "Trying Stuff since 1932." Great things come from trying stuff. Among the stuff that Columbia is trying is their Omni FREEZE Ice line, which is designed to cool off when it gets wet. Unlike most clothing, which cools off initially, then warms right up, this stuff has a treatment that chills the fabric and keeps it cool until the moisture evaporates. At Columbia's Spring 12 preview last month, I...
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Supercollar Packs The Leash Right Into the Dog Collar

  My wife and I tend to take turns walking the dogs. And what this means for any given evening is that I often have no idea where in the hell the dog leashes are. Her idea and my idea of where to put the leashes often varies. And that means on top of the not-always-rewarding job of walking the dogs, I have the additional job of finding the leash. You'd think that the dogs...
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Les Stroud or Mad Max? Bad-Ass Tools (Weapons?) For Outdoor Living

Carry one of these implements of utility (destruction?) with you into your local forest, desert or mountain and wolves, cougars, bears, lions, etc. will look be turning tail as if they were staring at Chuck Norris with a grimace of determination on his face. Hell, Mother Nature herself may just back down, send you some sunny, warm weather, and give you an encouraging pat on the backside. Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Love him or hate...
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Gunning For Gore-Tex: Big Name Brands Introduce Their Own Waterproof/Breathable Fabrics

For years, the choice for waterproof jackets for skiing, backpacking, hiking, climbing, etc. was pretty cut and dry: Gore-Tex and all the other junk. And by other junk, we mean the proprietary waterproof/breathable fabrics that just never quite gained a foothold in the battle against the Gore Goliath. Gore's formula has been part marketing (how many other fabrics have taglines as well known as Gore's "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry"), but bigger part substance: The...
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Otterbox Impact and Commuter Cases: The Defender's Slimmer Cousins

Ever since I wrote my review on the Otterbox Defender Series cases, I've heard a lot of positive feedback on the cases' toughness and durability. Basically, the final thought was that if you didn't want your phone to look like this, you'll want it to be surrounded, encased if you will, by this: The Defender Series cases have been tested to withstand drops of up to three feet. The one complaint that I've been hearing...
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Fuse Solar Charger: The Sun is Your Outlet

"Man, I wish my phone still worked..." During a snowboarding session up at Mt. Shasta last weekend, I turned my iPhone's Nike+ GPS app on to record our time and distance while we snowshoed up the mountain. The app worked well, but the GPS sucked the life out of my iPhone, leaving me sans phone (and directions, and Angry Birds, etc.) for the rest of the weekend. Screw that noise. Luckily, some sharp characters over...
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The Brooks Range Duffel Bag: Traveling with Style

When you're going on a multi-day backpacking trip, there are only so many safeguards that you can take to prevent yourself from being caught unprepared. Despite what Weather.com or any other resource tells you, the best way to know what kind of gear you'll need is to be out there yourself. That said, you may not know just what layers you're going to need until you find yourself getting out of your car at the...
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Monowalker Hiking Trailer: Backpacking Without a Backpack

It might just be crazy enough to work-instead of carrying a load of gear on your back via the traditional method (from which backpacking gets its name), the Monowalker Hiking Trailer allows you to drag it behind you. The Monowalker boasts a 100lb. load capacity on its ash frame as well as a shoulder and hip belt system that cuts the weight in half. It also sports a Schwalbe disc braking system and the ability...
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AMK Pocket Survival Pak PLUS: Kitchen Sink Included

  If you've ever been outside, you know the feeling. That "If only I had..." feeling. If only I had a knife, if only I had a flashlight, if only I had a rifle...and so on. If you included "if only I had a television" into that list, you probably shouldn't be outside in the first place. If you're lost or injured or find yourself in any other unpleasant situation, though, those wistful thoughts become...
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Patagonia's R3 Hi-Loft Jacket: A "Fur" Coat Without The Guilt

They call the color "Autumn Leaf". I call it "Orangutan". With its bright orange color and distinctly furry exterior, conversation tends to lean towards my Patagonia R3 Hi-Loft Jacket. The answer is yes, it IS as warm as it looks. The Regulator R3 fleece give the jacket its warmth and fuzzy look.The R3’s Regulator R3 fleece is comprised of Polartec ThermalPro polyester yarn, which not only gives the R3 its outstanding warmth but also provides...
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High Peak's Cascade -5: A Sub-Zero Sleeping Bag for Sub $100

  Staying warm at night is a key part to a good night’s sleep during a freezing night outdoors. A good sleeping bag can make the difference between a warm, comfortable night and a bone-chilling ordeal. Settling in for the night-Cascade -5 on the left, "Brand X" on the right. After a 13-degree night in Mt. Whitney’s Trail Camp last month, my tentmate groaned about how miserably cold he was all night in his mummy...
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Winter Gear Review: Polarmax Acclimate Wool Base Layers

When it comes to base layers, it's tough to beat Merino wool. If you've seen my earlier posts on Merino wool, you'll know that I'm a fan. Merino is one of those natural fabrics that has made a name for itself as a monster technical fabric due to its versatility-it traps warm air when it’s cold, but it allows sweat and excess heat to escape as you start to heat up. If you get sweaty...
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Black Diamond's Smart, Ultralight, Three-Piece Hiking Poles

  One of the products that I'm a little disappointed I missed in person at OR, the Black Diamond Z-Pole line is a new line of innovative, ultralight hiking poles that can break down into a "Z" shaped configuration of three segments. The lightest poles in the series--the Ultra Distance combine the convenience of collapsible pole structure with some of the lightest build around. There's a push-button system to break them apart into three individual...
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Natural Selection: Are Predators More Likely To Eat Hikers With Trekking Umbrellas? I Hope So.

  Want to out-geek even the dorkiest of outdoor weenies--a title that I think is currently tied between cyclists that willingly sport unitards with full-fledged man cleavage and runners that deck themselves out in bright-orange shoes and 2nd-grade hall-safety-monitor vests? Here's the one-upper of your dreams: the Trekking Umbrella from Eberhard Goebel. Geekrageous. You could save weight and size by just packing a rain jacket or poncho, but you'll never reach the pinnacle of dorkdom...
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Six sites that will help you find a local hike.

Taking a hike doesn't necessarily mean having to take a long drive to get the your place of departure. Daily Green has some excellent ideas for finding a prefect hiking spot closer to home, so you don't blow your gasoline budget. They also share six awesome sites that will help you find trails. Here they are: NatureFind LocalHikes.com Trails.com The Nature Conservancy The Sierra Club Land Trust Alliance This really is just a snapshot of...
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