A guide for what you need to buy, read or consume to enhance your recreation and travel experience
"Encounters From a Kayak," by Nigel Foster
Falcon Guides, $16.95, 255 pages
You can see some strange, wonderful things while sea kayaking, and adventurer and Paddleworld magazine writer Nigel Foster weaves some fascinating tales in this book, including a close encounter with a polar bear at Ungava Bay, Quebec, by Foster and his companion, Kristin. Neither flare guns nor loud noises scared off the bear, which was 10 feet from the kayaks. But a stern "Bear be gone" admonition from Kristin did the trick. Foster also writes about people and cultures he has encountered in watery climes.
The North Face's Green Kazoo Sleeping Bag
$279-289, www.thenorthface.com/ catalog/sc-gear/green-kazoo.html
Not only is this "mummy" bag good for camping down to 15 degrees, it's dubbed "eco-friendly." It's made from 100 percent recycled fabric and down from eastern European geese. Even the polyester taffeta lining is entirely recycled.
Winter tips for non-skiers
Believe it or not, some people don't mind snow, but don't want it as the base for recreation. ShermansTravel lists 10 places to travel for those who think skiing is just falling forward with wooden sticks tied to your feet. Here are five of the tips:
Jigokudani, Japan (Bathe in hot springs with monkeys)
Kirkenes, Norway (Try the Arctic Adventure Resort's King Crab Safari)
Lake Placid, N.Y. (Care for a luge run, anyone?)
Ouray, Colo. (Ice climbing mecca)
Yellowknife, Canada (View the Northern Lights from a campground).
From sportswriter Lewis Franck, after United Airlines' latest computer crash: "@LewisFranck: Does anyone have a Radio Shack computer or abacus to help United get their system fixed?"