The Other Stuff

Mar 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

Moots Tailgator Rack and Bag

Schlepping a day's worth of stuff down road or trail has always been an all-or-nothing proposition for cyclists: Bolt on a heavy rear rack and panniers for an extended tour, or cram the bare necessities into jersey pockets and a floppy under-the-seat bag. But say you want to pedal a century through remote territory, or fish a trout stream that's 15 miles in by way of a narrow trail. Then what?

The Moots Tailgator ($125 for rack and both bags; 970-879-1676) lets you bridge the gap between cumbersome and minimalist loads. Crafted of titanium from surplus B-1 bomber hydraulic lines, the featherweight, 100-gram rack neatly clamps to your seatpost with two Allen bolts. The loop of 3/8-inch-diameter titanium tubing extends for 13 inches and provides just enough backbone to carry a day's provisions—up to ten pounds and 150 cubic inches—in the two Cordura packs. When the valises are in their standard configuration, sandwiched above and below and strapped tightly, there's more than enough room for energy bars, spare tube and tools, plus fly-fishing tackle or, if your destination is a deep-woods hot spring, sandals and swimsuit. For smaller cargo, you can split the packs apart and use only one bag. Just right if you don't want to bother with the suit.

G3 Targa Telemark Binding

Telemark skiers have been ripping double-diamond runs on wide skis and plastic boots for some time now, but they've been waiting impatiently for a revolution in bindings. Along comes G3's Targa ($145; 604-924-9048), a cable binding that doesn't so much predict the future as perfect the past. The Targa benefits directly from tele technology pioneered by others: Rainey Designs' Superloop is the inspiration for the stainless-steel toe-box, the rear-throw cable is indebted to Black Diamond's Riva II, and the built-in riser plates give a nod to Voilé's shims. But G3 came up with its own innovation as well: compression-spring cartridges on either side of the cable, which distribute tension on the heel evenly as it lifts through a turn. Unlike older bindings, the Targa's springs don't try as desperately to return ski to boot. The result is less "tip dive" in deep, soft snow, and thus fewer face plants. The cartridges are available in three degrees of stiffness: Powder (soft, for leather boots and fluff), All Mountain (medium stiff, for most boots and conditions), and Race (very stiff, for Scarpa's T-Race boots or heavier skiers). Don't be surprised if you see a gearhead skinning up using the Powder cartridges and swapping in the All Mountain versions for the descent (extra cartridges cost $40 a pair).

G3 has also engineered the toe-box to fit the soles of your boots with precision. The plastic anti-ice plate produces a 90-degree corner that snugs tightly against the edges of the sole, letting you initiate accurate turns on hardpack while preventing the unweighted ski from deflecting in crud. Subtle improvements, but for aggressive tele skiers looking for a simple, strong, buttery-smooth boot clamp, the G3 has set a new free-heel standard.

GearAid Repair Kits

Over nine years of guiding sea-kayak trips in Baja, I've painstakingly stocked my own equipment-repair kits. But I won't anymore. All the tools I've collected are included in GearAid's (800-324-3517) new adventure repair kits. Available in five models—from the Fig Newton-size Go Repair ($11), suitable for day trips, to the comprehensive Expedition ($43)—each is thoughtfully packed with the essential heavy-duty needle, thick nylon thread, duct tape, hot-melt glue, fabric, webbing, Seam Grip, parachute cord, and spare buckles. The bigger models have more of the same, along with such save-the-day devices as replacement zipper pulls, tent-pole splints, and even patches for sleeping pads. While there are few items you couldn't scrounge up on your own—eventually—it's vastly more convenient to get them all at once, and packed in a sturdy Cordura pouch to boot.

Oceanic Zeta Regulator

You don't have to be Jacques Cousteau to appreciate that the best scuba regulators let you breathe easy. Diving deep with a typical regulator can feel like sucking air through a straw, but with the new Zeta Regulator by Oceanic ($550; 800-435-3483) there's no more wheezing. It also happens to be the smallest device of its kind.

Instead of relying on a clunky internal lever to open the air hose, the Zeta's valve works like a Porsche turbocharger. Inhale and a small pilot valve flips open; the resulting rush of air creates suction that automatically blows open the main valve. I used a computerized breathing monitor to check the device's efficiency and found that inhaling and exhaling through the Zeta requires half the effort I expend with my Poseidon Odin regulator. At 200 feet down, the Zeta's air flow also feels more natural than the big blasts of gas delivered by the Odin.

The one drawback, strangely enough, comes from the Zeta's tiny size. The short exhaust ports can allow bubbles to rise alongside your mask. On the other hand, its sub-six-ounce weight and oversize silicone teeth grips—report-edly designed by an orthodontist—do wonders for reducing jaw fatigue. And it's a breeze to disassemble when clogged, with only three moving parts and no need for special tools. Just make sure that when you put it back together there aren't any leftovers.

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