Hakkal&uumlugi Be Thy Name

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

Outside magazine, September 1999

Hakkal&uumlugi Be Thy Name
The etymological quest to conceive hot new taglines for the latest gear

Yes, it's that time of year again: the gear world's annual silly season, when companies must conjure up catchy names for their new autumn merchandise, much of which debuts this month. But as the outdoor industry continues to explode, the range of new product signatures has been growing increasingly narrow. There are already four types of camping gear bearing the name Couloir and another three called Nimbus. The curiously hip natural- and man-made disaster genre appears tapped out, too: Typhoon, Hurricane, Windstorm, Squall, and Valdez have all been used. Here's our rundown of some of the most unforgettably forgettable monikers. ùGRETCHEN REYNOLDS

Hiking Boot Hi-Tec
To flare up in a great ball of flames "It's a pretty aggressive boot."
Summit Pack Cold Cold World
A city in Russia that almost flared up in a great ball of flames "What, should we have used 'Dainty Mountain Meadow'?!"
Sleeping Bag The North Face
A Victorian-era physics experiment showing the dynamic properties of heat "Maybe we'll sell a lot to MIT."
Backpack Mountain Tools
A popular Mexican dish "With all due respect to the wonderful mountain ranges of the world, as names, they're boring."
Cyclocross Bike Ibis
Best done with a Kleenex "Excuse me." (Loudly clears throat.) "More questions?"
Running Shoe Reebok
A goblin that ravishes women in the night "We didn't know mythology. We do now."

Oh, Bite Me
"Biting instincts don't just go away when a snake is decapitated," says Jeffrey R. Suchard. The Phoenix-based toxicologist speaks from experience. Last year, he and a colleague conducted a study on snakebite patients that yielded a rather startling revelation: 15 percent of the victims were bitten by vipers that had already been shot, stomped to death, or had their heads removed by various means, including shovels and knives. In addition to concern over the killing of innocent creatures, the findings, published in the June 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, provoke a vexing question: What the hell were these guys thinking? "I was being stupid," confesses Justin Cluff, 22, who lost half of his trigger finger to a "dead" Mojave rattler that he had shot and beheaded. "That snake was really juiced up. He got me good."

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