The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Camping

A Compact Headlamp Bright Enough to Bike or Ski With

Solite250 on Climbing Helmet Lighthead Closeup

Whether you’re night riding, hiking, skiing, cooking or just rummaging around your tent, a bright and long-lasting lamp can make a big difference between loving the great outdoors and cursing it.

Light and Motion’s new USB-rechargeable Solite 250 will help you choose the former. The light uses the same battery as your iPhone, which helps keep it working at about 1.7 lumen’s per gram. And, it’s designed to be versatile—use it as a headlamp, flashlight, picnic table light, or bike light. No other light that we’ve tried here at the Gear Shed does such a good job at so many things. In fact, we recently used it during the Lunar Quarry 12, a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. bike race in southern Vermont. It lit up the night and helped our team pedal to victory.

Because the Solite is regulated, the beam of light is bright and consistent across the entire life of the battery. Most lights don’t stay consistently bright through their charge—their brightness degrades rapidly as the battery drains. And riders barely noticed they were wearing it during the Lunar Quarry 12. The next brightest contender had a massive battery to deal with. 

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Stanley Celebrates 100 Years With a Nesting Mug and Bottle

Stanley-bottle_wi

Package deals aren’t always winners, but this one is. To celebrate its 100th birthday, Stanley—celebrated manufacturer of insulated mugs and bottles used around the world—is giving you a present. It’s a stainless steel, vacuum-insulated travel mug that slides inside a leak-proof, BPA-free water bottle, meaning that you get a pair of drinking vessels for about the same price you’d typically pay for just the mug.

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Cross-Country Tested: MSR Nook Tent

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Gear Tester Andrew Forsthoefel has just finished his cross-country walk. It took him nearly a year. At approximately 2,000 steps per mile—he’s had plenty of chances to count—Andrew has taken more than six million steps on his way from Pennsylvania to the Pacific.

Forsthoelfel sent us notes on his shelter from the high desert of Arizona. "The Navajo reservation land is beautiful, it’s harsh, and it’s all dust, sand, and rock," he shared. "I like it, even if there aren’t any trees for shade and even though the towns are few and far between. Because of the distance between water-refueling spots, I’m normally walking 20-plus miles each day, sometimes 30-plus. These long hours are putting my body through the ringer: dry cracked feet, burnt brown skin, aching legs."

Before Forsthoefel left, we set him up with an MSR Nook Tent, specifically designed to fit in small and/or awkward spaces. Here's Forsthoefel's report on his home away from home:

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SOG Blade Light Folder: Slices and Dices, Even in the Dark

SOG_BLT-50

Boyscout blades are a dime a dozen, but SOG’s Blade Light Folder (BLT-50N) takes camping knives to a new level.

This steel-blade folding knife has six LED lights, three molded into the handle on either side of the blade, to light up whatever it is you’re slicing shadow-free. Fold the blade up when you’re done fileting your fish or cutting your Camembert for the evening, and you have a 35-lumen flashlight—bright enough to get you to the outhouse and back to your tent.

The knife takes two standard AAA batteries that power the lights for about 4.5 hours. When you don't need 'em, you can turn the lights off with a simple push button.

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Dog Is Our Co-Pilot

HakuDog, kids, river fun. Photo: Katie Arnold

Before we had kids, my husband, Steve, and I swore that we’d never be the kind of parent that neglects their dog when a baby comes along. We’d heard stories of people giving away their pets because of the mind-melding rigors of raising a newborn, others going days at a time without petting the poor animals. No matter what parenthood brought, we vowed, that wouldn’t be us.

Our chocolate Lab, Gus, taught us to be adventure parents long before we became actual parents. He came with us rafting, skiing, camping, and biking. He belly-rolled into snowdrifts in Crested Butte when he was a puppy and chased us down the mountain during dawn patrol powder days at our local ski hill. By the time he was three, he’d floated the Rio Grande, Rio Chama and the Green River. Through trial and error, we learned what to do when he fell out of the boat and how to keep him from cutting his paws on our ski edges. We figured out that swimming is his sport but mountain biking most definitely isn’t (it's way too fast and he's way too big), and that if we hiked 10 miles climbing a 14,000-foot peak, he’d easily go twice as far. Sure, he got into some scrapes, but we had pet insurance and he was happy and—except for when he was glomming food straight from a toddler's hand—gentle, and we couldn’t imagine a better outdoor companion, ever.

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