• Vargo Titanium Bottle/Pot
It’s a bottle. It’s a cooking pot. It’s both. And it’s also really expensive. But, come on, don’t you want to be the coolest camper or hiker in the backcountry with this titanium device? It holds 34 ounces of water, weighs only 4.7 ounces and can fit in your backpack’s water bottle holder. But you can also turn it over and use it to cook dinner.
• Hydrapak SoftFlask collapsible bottles
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Those who like carrying water bottles instead of a hydration pack on long trail adventures, yet hate the idea of carrying empty bottles for miles, should check out collapsible bottles. They’re made by Hydrapak, the same folks who make bladders for many hydration vests. The bottles are made out of the same material and come in sizes ranging from 5 ounces to 25 ounces. They are as easy to grasp – at least the 17-ouncer was – as a standard plastic bottle. And, when you’ve drained it, you can roll up the bottle and stash it in the pocket of your shorts.
• Baladeo Float Knife
What a brilliant idea. Anyone who has ever watched their car keys sink to the bottom of a lake will welcome this cork-covered pocket knife with a key ring attached. The company claims the knife is buoyant enough to keep your car keys from sinking. Maybe one or two keys, but not every key you own. Better yet, why not buy a piece of cork at a hardware store, drill a ring into it and ... oh, never mind.
• Hi-Tec Quest Hike WP
Have you priced sturdy, waterproof hiking boots lately? For most good ones, it seems the price point begins at $200. But, as Outside magazine recently pointed out, the Hi-Tec Quest gives a boot that provides traction, warmth and protection for $110. From its rust-proof lacing to moisture-wicking lining, it’s a solid boot, weighing in at 19 ounces. An even better buy: The Hi-Tec Flagstaff WP (suede and mesh) for $89.
• Mojo Refuel Aqua Battery Case
Say you are shooting the white-water rapids or maybe swimming the length of Lake Tahoe. You want to be able to still answer calls, right, with your iPhone5? This new removable battery case is said to be the first that can protect your precious smartphone down to 10 feet below water. The case is 20 millimeters and uses a 2200mAh interchangeable battery. One bummer to iPhone 5S users: The touch-ID fingerprint won’t work with the case. Suppose we’ll have to wait until the next generation of battery-charging cases.
• Mosquito net pants
If you don’t care much about high fashion, here’s a sure-fire way to avoid those pesky mosquito bites and more-than-pesky West Nile virus: Don mosquito netting pants. Sure, they look ridiculous, completely clownish, but they work. They are lightweight (6 ounces) and thin (1.2 milimeters). The website recommends you wear them baggy over your hiking shorts – and thank goodness they recommend you wear shorts, because the netting is very see-through.
• Boost Solar Battery Pack
$99; www.etoncorp.com/ en/productdisplay/boostsolar
Yeah, yeah, we know. Leave your smartphones and laptops at home when you go to the great outdoors. But for those addicted to technology, here’s an option to keep your devices fully juiced while you’re out on the trail or lounging in your tent: A solar-powered backup lithium battery. Its promotional material promises: “You’ll have enough backup power to fully charge most smartphones twice. And with the 2.1A USB out you can also charge your tablet.” You can even snap the thing to your backpack so it can get those all-important solar rays.
• Flex Neck Utility Lighter
$19.95; www.zippo.com/ product.aspx?id=1023899
You know, the amount of swearing among campers would be reduced exponentially if you could come up with a sure-fire way of starting a fire when the darned wind blows out the flame. Zippo has released a new lighter with a malleable rubberized neck that you can point out of the way of the gale.
— Compiled by Sam McManis, firstname.lastname@example.org