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Adventure : Gear

Sidestep the Elements With Nemo's Hunker

HUnker_639_tree

While Nemo’s Hunker won't stand up against the toughest conditions, after you’ve been out hiking or skiing all day, it can be rejuvenating to duck out of the wind or weather. Nemo’s Hunker let’s you sidestep the elements quickly and easily so that you can rest, warm up, escape the sun, or just regroup.

The Hunker is a 7.5-ounce shelter that uses a trekking pole (BYO) or tarp pole (sold separately) to give you a 49-inch-high shelter that's big enough for two. With 24 square feet of inside space, it’s just the ticket when the lean-to is far, the trail took some turns you weren’t anticipating, or when you’re in camp and you wish you had an extra vestibule.

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Helle Lappland: A Knife You Can Depend on

RS105_Lappland

In many cultures, your life depends on your knife.

A knife is the tool you use to prepare food, hunt and dress animals, work skins, cut firewood, clear brush and vegetation. In southern cultures that knife is a often a machete. In northern Europe, the indigenous Sami people, who live in northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, use a smaller machete-strong and versatile knife. Helle modeled its Lappland after the Sami blade.

A semi-nomadic Sami reindeer herder uses his knife like an axe for the heavy work of maintaining his homestead, feeding his family, and making his clothing. The Lappland is suited to all of the above—it's a work of art that's designed to be used. It's the ultimate camp knife, whether you're working or whittling.

The made-in-Norway Lappland is not as large as a machete, but it is a hefty tool outfitted with a thin, 8.5-inch non-laminated steel blade made for slicing. The birch handle with cast brass fittings brings the knife to 13.25 inches. It comes in a traditional Scandinavian-style etched leather sheath, where the knife sits deep and secure.

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Arc'teryx Covert Case: The iPhone of Travel Bags

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Duffel bags have no shape. Packs are meant to carry, not serve as suitcases. And wheelie bags have their limitations on stairs and over cobblestones, not to mention that they’re awkward in the overhead compartment. After over 1,000 flights dissatisfied with his suitcases, Nathan Kukathas joined Acr’teryx’s design team and created a collection of clean, sophisticated, functional travel bags that are arguably the simplest, most understated, discreet and sophisticated bags we’ve ever tested.

The Covert bags are the iPhone of travel bags. Each is a rectangular cube, vaguely army duffel like, that stands on end, slides easily into the overhead, and is made from materials you could back a truck over—or even hand over to baggage handlers without fear. The bags are superbly durable, treated to repel dirt and water, and can be carried in numerous ways: with hidden backpack straps, or by side and top handles.

The internal organization is perfectly practical, with pockets sized to actually hold the items you need, without so many that your car keys, passport or magazines end up lost. Buckles and zips are hidden, offering a new kind of theft protection.

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The Only Jacket You'll Ever Need

Klymit 2

Two years ago Klymit launched its Variable Warmth Technology in a vest with sealed air/gas chambers that the wearer could inflate with his own breath, or Argon (the gas used to insulate between glass layers in your home's windows). Its premise: bodies change temperature drastically based on activity level, and the weather changes all the time. Carry less stuff and tweak your temp on the fly, whether you’re camping, at a game, on an expedition, or out for a walk, and you’ll be more comfortable.

Klymit is the first company to use Argon, a great insulator because of its low thermal conductivity, in apparel. The gas has allowed Klymit to create a 25mm insulation layer that is warm enough to be everything you need even for a South Pole, Denali, Aconcagua, or Cerro Torre trip ... in case you’re headed that way (in which case, take us with).

To date, Klymit has made a vest and a couple of sleeping pads, both of which use air chambers that, once inflated, conform to your body, capture its heat, and recirculate it. Now, through Kickstarter, they’re working on the Ulaar jacket.

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The Six-Month Test: Santa Cruz Blur TRc

Santa Cruz Blur TRc

At first glance, the Santa Cruz TRc (as in Trail Carbon) seems to fit neatly between the California company's venerable Blur XC model, a nimble, fast race platform with four inches of travel, and its more enduro oriented 5.5-inch Blur LT. Indeed, looking at the TRc stats on paper (five inches front and rear), we almost wondered whether the bike wasn't an unnecesssary squeeze job—why not go with one of the exisiting Blurs? But from the very first ride, it became clear that this bike is more than just the sum of its numbers. For a five-inch 26er, the TRc is surprisingly slack and low-slung, which makes it agile and grounded and totally playful on all downhill terrain, yet it's nearly as light as a cross-country rig. That makes for one of the must fun yet idiosyncratic rides around (several testers called the geometry "odd"), a bike that can do almost anything in the right hands but isn't the one most people will want to ride all day, every day.

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