SUMMER GEAR GUIDE 2017
PT. 1 - BASE CAMPING
YAKIMA DR. TRAY HITCH RACK - $579
When you think about how quickly mountain bike technology and standards have changed recently, it should make fitting your bike on a bike rack a nightmare. Fat bikes, 650B, 29er, 2.6 plus sized tires, thru axles, boost spacing, wide handlebars…you get the idea. If you ride a lot you soon realize how much time and effort a good rack saves you. Enter Yakima's new Dr. Tray hitch rack. I don't have to convince you of the benefits of a hitch mount, right? If you've ever road tripped with your bike (think wind resistance and optimizing your gas mileage) or heard that cringe-worthy crunch sound as you smashed your prized steed into the garage, you know…So, what this rack does better than any others on the market 1. ease of use - it's simple to install 2. lightweight. If you take the rack on and off your car, you'll appreciate this. 3. adjustability - keeping bikes from rubbing each other during transport is fundamental with hitch racks. Mt. bikes with wide bars? No problem - Dr. Tray is adjustable on the fly tool-free. This rack is a big step forward on many levels. If you're in the market, Dr. Tray is your rack. It comes standard with two trays, but has room for a third. Available for 1.25 or 2" hitch sizes.
ARC'TERYX CARRIER DUFFLE 55 ($199) & 80 ($225)
Arc'teryx has managed to take the humble duffle bag and elevate it. The Carriers are light, durable, and packable, and seam sealed. The outer fabric does seem to retain a bit of moisture, but the bags contents have always remained dry. Adjustable, removable padded straps turn the bag into a pack. The 80L version (shown here in red) is large enough for a week long trip. The 55L version (shown here in grey) is the perfect size for a day trip or single weekend. I've been using the 55 when I go mountain biking and it's plenty big for all my gear and a change of clothes or two. The interior is white and the bag opens up well, so it's easy to find that one item you're hunting for. It seems like a small thing, but it's usually the downfall of most duffles and it makes a huge difference. Even the packaging is smart and functions as a stuff sack for the duffle or a travel organizer for other items. Highly recommended.
MiiR 12 oz. TUMBLER ($20), 20 oz. WIDE MOUTH ($33), FOOD CANISTER ($35), GROWLER($59)
We've talked about Seattle- based MiiR in our past gear guides. We still love their simple, functional products and they keep evolving. The 12 oz. tumbler is hands down their most versatile product and one I use everyday. It's an insulated coffee mug that fits in a drink holder. It has a lid that you can sip while your drink stays hot. You could even use one to keep your beer cold at a keg party, if that was your thing. The 20 oz. wide mouth is a great thermos that looks great in blue, but is easy to open thanks to a large handle. Drinks stay cold for over 24 hours and hot for over 12 hours. The food canister allows you to heat your food up at home and keep it warm. Keep chilled soup or yogurt cool. You can do that too. And finally, the Growler. C'mon, that has to be the best looking growler I've ever seen. I love a good limited edition brew on tap, but truth be told, I'm going to keep coffee hot on our upcoming trail work days. And to sweeten the deal, MiiR still gives 5 percent to trackable giving projects, so you're not just buying cool reusable containers, you're helping give back.
LEATHERMAN CRUNCH - $120
I could tell you that the Crunch has 15 tools, including a file, a serrated blade, a regular and phillips screwdriver, a bottle opener. I could tell you that it's made right down the road in Portland, but the big reason to get the Crunch is the locking pliers. Pocket sized locking pliers. That's what's up. Also we love the look of this tool. Pure industrial purpose with no frills. Essential. This is one tool I'll take when I go to clear trails this summer.
BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE 2 $130 - PORTABLE GRILL $60
This stove is ingenious! Surely I'm not the only one who has felt guilty for going through cannisters of fuel “Burning only wood, the CampStove 2's fan creates a smokeless fire that can cook meals and boil water in minutes while turning its heat into usable electricity. Cook up wood-fired meals and charge devices using only the sticks around you.” This is BioLite's second iteration of the stove and the improvements are significant. The latest upgrade features 50% more power, an integrated battery, and an updated LED dashboard for improved control and feedback. The stove feels solid and well built. The weight of the unit guarantees it will be used in a base camp situation, but being able to cook and charge your devices with just sticks makes this one of the coolest gadgets ever. Adding the Portable Grill takes whole unit to the next level. I can imagine kids fighting over who gets to fire up the Biolite.
BIOLITE BASELANTERN $100 - SITELIGHT MINI $20
It's a bit crazy how gadget obsessed we are, from smartphones to tracking our rides on our Garmins. You can fight it, or you can charge your devices and have some nice easy-to-use and recharge camp lighting. I choose the latter. This powerful yet compact light utilizes advanced edge-lit technology to create the world’s first 500-lumen flatpack lantern. It is also BioLite’s first connected product, providing a mini smartgrid that’s controllable via Bluetooth. The new mobile app unlocks various functions, like color controls, alarms, and proximity control. The internal rechargeable battery can be used to for up to 50 hours of light or fully charge up to four smartphones. Plugging the SiteLight Mini into the lantern's USB port gives you four pre-strung pocket-size, stackable lights sit across ten feet of cord for instant setup and packs down easily into a compact, protective form with easy cord management.
RUMPL DOWN PUFFY BLANKET (1-person $199 - 2-person $299)
Rumpl blankets are car camping luxury. Treat yourself to an extra layer of down. You'll never regret it. The Down Puffy is the warmest, travel-ready blanket available. Perfect for long distance trips, backpacking, or whenever saving space is a priority. Utilizing sustainably sourced grey duck down for insulation, and a weather-resistant DWR-treated 20D nylon shell, the Down Puffy blanket compresses to an easily-packable size (8"x9") The 2-person weighs 2.1 lbs. 600 fill down insulation / Typically comfortable to 40°F
LED LENSER SEO 7R - $90
This is our favorite headlamp for three reasons. 1. it's USB-rechargeable. 2. 20 - 220 lumens, which means it's easy to change power output and plenty bright when you need it. 3. It's smart. The SEO 7R uses what they call Smart Light Technology™ for switching quickly between high and low power and a signal mode and LED LENSER’s patented Advanced Focus System™ for either a wide beam for reading a map, or a powerful spot for long distance visibility. It measures the light level in the user’s surrounding area in real time. The light then adjusts its brightness automatically, saving battery life and providing the user with just the right amount of light, hands free. The SEO™ 7R also has a red light mode for preserving night vision.
VASQUE BREEZE III HIKING BOOTS - $180
I bought a pair of all leather Sundowner boots many years ago, and they've been my tried and true boots. But they're wearing out a bit, so I thought I'd try the breeze. Like the Sundowners, the Breeze are GoreTex lined, keeping your feet dry. Also, they're comfortable right out of the box. No long break-in period required. Finally, compared to my older all leather boots, the Breeze are featherweight and ventilated. Whether you're out for a few hours ramble or an all-day trek, the Breeze will keep your feet happy. Oh, excellent grip too thanks to Vibram “Megagrip compound” Recommended.
LED LENSER MT14 FLASHLIGHT - $100
Flashlights have come a long way. We love this one because it's a good small-but-not-too-small size, it's USB rechargeable, and it's powerful. The MT14 offers 1000 focusable lumens, a lighting range of up to 320 meters and provides light for up to 192 hours. The MT14 fits well in the hand and the front switch allows it to be easily used with one hand. Charging it via USB 3.0 is also easy and speed charging ensures that the battery-operated flashlight is ready for use again after eight hours. Like the SEO 7R headlamp, this flashlight uses “smart light technology”, which provides the ideal light function at all times.
STUMPTOWN INDONESIA BIES PENANTAN ($18) & HOUSE BLEND ($15)
Good coffee on a camping trip is number one. We like down-to-earth simple coffees like these two. We asked our friends at Stumptown what was tasting good to them at the moment and this is what they recommended. Indonesia Bies Penantan (certified organic) and House Blend, which they believe is perhaps overlooked by some, but always trustworthy. About Indonesian: “This is why we are so in love with the Indonesia Bies Penantan coffee. Processed by our partners at the Ketiara co-op, this coffee has that telltale Sumatran earthy character laden with cloves and spice, but is a beautifully clean and sweet version of it. It shows what is possible when farmers pick the ripest of cherries and when attention and care is shown during processing. This coffee strikes a perfect balance between the unique Indonesian character and the beautiful, clean processing we love so much.” Both are direct trade and roasted in house right down on Salmon Street in Portland. Stumptown have been providing coffee for our OTT trail work as well, so it's nice to have that support from great companies like Stumptown.