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7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

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7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby ERIC » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:51 pm

7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009
Every year, outdoor gear seems to get lighter, warmer and more expensive. But with the economy in recession, outdoor enthusiasts (and, especially, casual weekend warriors) may now be more inclined to make their jackets or tents last an extra year. And that has retailers and manufacturers worried. At the highest end, many companies chose to show the same products as last year. As a result, this may be the first show in years in which the most interesting products were not also the most expensive. And that’s not a bad thing. Here are seven of our favorites from the showroom floor.


By Seth Porges
Published on: January 28, 2009
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technol ... 01557.html



Mountain Hardwear Ardica Jackets
Price varies, out this fall

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This line of jackets uses a built-in, wall-chargeable battery pack that infuses the jacket with heat. We’ve seen heated jackets before, but this one is more than a wearable electric blanket—it packs enough power in its lithium-ion battery to simultaneously charge gadgets using an in-pocket USB jack.

I had a chance to try it out for a few hours on a cold, rainy mountain night, and it was positively difficult to go back to a regular jacket. At its highest setting (there are three), I actually started to sweat, despite my below-freezing surroundings.

The heat-enabled jackets should cost about $150 more than their unpowered kin. Really not bad, considering how cool the tech is.

The North Face Crimptastic Hybrid Jacket
$230, out this fall

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This packable 800-fill jacket weighs just 12.2 ounces. That’s great, but it’s been done before. What’s really remarkable is the sticker from the often-premium-priced The North Face: $229. According to TNF, their retailers were worried about the economy, and challenged the manufacturer to produce the best jacket it could at an accessible price. This was the result.

Sierra Designs Lightning XT 4 Tent
$450, out this spring

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Most four-person car-camping tents weigh at least 10 or 20 pounds—too heavy to double as shelter for backpackers. This four-person tent weighs just 7 pounds 6 ounces packed, meaning it’s light enough (barely) for backpackers. And its 57.5 sq ft of surface space should still satisfy car campers.

Although the manufacturer isn’t publishing the tent’s interior cubic feet (a key indicator when four people are sharing space), it appeared to be generous enough for a family to comfortably camp. According to the company, the key is a unique, arching pole-support system that keeps the top of the tent far higher than in comparably-sized tents.

Timex Expedition WS4 Watch
$199, out this spring

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In order to see all the info a multimode watch has to offer, users typically need to press buttons to scroll between readout modes. The enormous face on this watch allows users to view all it has to offer (altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass), without pushing a button. While this may be useful for climbers who have their hands full gripping cliff faces, it could be just as practical for strap-hanging subway riders who are jammed between fellow commuters.

Merrell Hurricane Jacket
$200, out this fall

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From a distance, this jacket looks like a plain old peacoat, but up close, it reveals itself to be made of performance-oriented soft-shell synthetic—waterproof and breathable. Although it’s unlikely any skiers or climbers will take to it, there’s something bizarrely modern about the combination, and I can easily imagine fashion designers taking cues and working similar materials into their lines.

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove
$55, out now

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Another Outdoor Retailer show, another claim at being the lightest/smallest/fastest at something. This time: a 1.9-ounce, three-prong camping stove (this is the first we’ve seen that weighs less than 2.5 ounces). Thankfully, this stove’s diminutive nature doesn’t appear to come at the expense of performance (it can reach 11,000 Btu) or price (it’s just $55). The stove can handle 110- and 220-gram containers of isobutane/propane mixes.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Mat
$150, out this spring

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When packed, this inflatable three-season camping mat takes up as much space as a Nalgene bottle. In fact, the manufacturer claims it’s the lightest (it weighs just 14 ounces) and most compact uninsulated mat on the market. But unfurled, it is remarkably strong, stable and warm. The warmth comes from a reflective interior lining that reflects heat to sleeping campers’ bodies. The stability comes from a honeycomb-shaped nylon interior cushion, which the manufacturer claims provide as much stability as a traditional foam mat, at a fraction of the weight. I took a test nap on it on the showroom floor, and left impressed—it held up well enough to keep me from feeling like I was sinking into the inflated mat.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:02 pm

Eric,
Where do you find this stuff?
IMHO, out of all this eclectic mélange of "new products" offered here, there is nothing shown that I would want to carry solo backpacking. Well, maybe that heated coat might come in real handy…20 miles in.
Does makes good reading though…much like the recent editions of Backpackers magazine…Humor right?
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby ERIC » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:13 pm

markskor wrote:Eric,
Where do you find this stuff?
IMHO, out of all this eclectic mélange of "new products" offered here, there is nothing shown that I would want to carry solo backpacking. Well, maybe that heated coat might come in real handy…20 miles in.
Does makes good reading though…much like the recent editions of Backpackers magazine…Humor right?
Gotta love our leader!
Mark


Not even the NeoAir?? Seriously??? :-k
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:28 pm

$150 for an air mattress?
or maybe $230 for the North Face Spiderman costume \:D/
...the wife would shoot me, (hopefully before the bears died laughing.).
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby ERIC » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:38 pm

MSRP. They're pre-ordering for as low as $119, and I'm sure will go for much less after the initial release. Lots of anticipation on the interweb about the release of the NeoAir, so maybe it's just you. Plus, I know of at least one HST member who said they were ordering one. 14oz and compresses to the size of a Nalgene bottle...an air mattress?? :)
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby markskor » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:45 pm

Of all these fine products, (apologize!) maybe worth a second look there, do like the size/weight a lot, but would have to come down in price before seriously considering another $100 purchase.
I am already hearing it over the new WM bag.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby hikerduane » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:20 pm

Where can one pick up a down jacket for $80?

I have heard that I may not be the first in line to get a Neo Air. We'll see. Bex liked it and she tests gear, a member here and on another small group I belong to. Can't go wrong on that, if bought from REI, if I don't like it, I can get my money back and it has a life time guarantee. Part of a lighter sleeping system hopefully. With the GG three section pad at 3.4 oz., Neo Air short at 9 oz. I will shed 12 oz. or more by not using my 3/4 Thermarest LE. The GG pad is the support for my new pack that weighs 5 oz. more than my old pack. May be just dreaming. Just money.
Piece of cake.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby ERIC » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:34 pm

hikerduane wrote:Where can one pick up a down jacket for $80?


Not sure I understand the context of the question, but I got my 550 fill North Face jacket for $79 on geartrade.com. And recently picked up Megan's Sierra Designs 550 fill at Sierra Trading Post for not much more.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:47 pm

TNF jacket, saying it was selling for $230, $150 more then its unpowered kin. My WM vest was $140 somewhere there abouts. I didn't think you could pick up a down jacket under $100.
Piece of cake.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby gary c. » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:58 pm

Steep and Cheap has been running some very good deals on down coats the last couple of weeks. You have to be fast because they take them down quick.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby gary c. » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:47 pm

Steep and Cheap just ran a Patagonia womans 700 fill coat for $94.
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Re: 7 Best Outdoor Gear Picks for 2009

Postby ERIC » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:16 am

Google shopping search sorted by base price. Found a number of deals on down insulators under $100 in the past few months. Some in the $60-$80 range.

Penny Pincher Tip:
Always do a Google search to see if there's an online coupon code available for the site you're shopping. I've saved an additional 5-40% on price and/or shipping by doing this extra legwork - and most times that's in addition to the existing discount on sale items.
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