Fresh Loot

May 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

Photgraph by Eric Swanson

Photgraph by Eric Swanson

Photgraph by Eric Swanson

NOBODY OF LATE has embraced the go-light ethos quite like headlamp makers. Consider Black Diamond's fittingly named Ion—so small it's almost subatomic. Pared down to little more than a six-volt battery, two tilting LED lights, and an elastic headband, the sub-one-ounce Ion ($20) weighs less than a half-eaten Clif Bar and makes even Petzl's 2.3-ounce Zipka look overfed. Its minimalist construction won't endure much abuse, but the lamp's ten-foot cone of light (it throws light farther, but it gets diffuse) is just fine for rummaging through a backpack on the PCT or finding the fuse box under the dash of your '89 pickup. Stuff it in a pocket before a twilight trail run, and the single battery's 15-hour burn will guide you home after a wrong turn. (801-278-5533;
—Christopher Solomon

NO LONGER will we crush ice bare-handed or drive miles for decent apres-wilderness frozen drinks. GSI's new hand-cranking blender, the Vortex ($70), is a nearly indestructible mixer of everything from pancake batters to umbrella drinks. In travel mode, the stainless-steel base and crank arm nest compactly in a 1.5-liter Lexan pitcher, which in turn gets covered by a leakproof lid that features (get this) a removable one-ounce shot cap. A C-clamp latches the assembled unit to tailgate or table. Add a little ice and kinetic energy and you've got Martha Stewart magic. Now isn't that nice? (800-704-4474;
—Sam Moulton
A FEW YEARS AGO the crafty matchmakers at FIVE TEN slapped their proprietary sticky rubber, Stealth, on a simple last that resembled a running shoe circa 1980. Their love child, the Trail Almighty, quickly developed a cult following with Exum Guide-types sprinting up and down the Grand Teton. The problem was, with an unforgiving midsole, an unresponsive last, and a shallow tread, it was designed as an ultralight approach shoe, not a trail runner. Enter the Access ($85), a 12-ounce, breathable, all-mountain shoe with a semicurved last, a wide toe box, and big sticky lugs. Finally, a true trail runner grabby enough to take you safely over—and up—the rocks. (909-798-4222;

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