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Olukai Kia'i II: A Technical Flip-Flop Designed by Lifeguards

SS13_M_KiaiII_BlkBlk_T

Most flip-flops aren’t very high-tech. That's just the nature of this kind of footwear. Unless they’re being made by Olukai. That company's Kia'i II flip was researched and developed with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. A hand-picked group of elite guards—from Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island—collaborated with Olukai engineers to review designs, test prototypes and influence the development process over a period of several years.

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A Minimalist Running Shoe You'll Want to Wear All the Time

Skora5

For years, runners have been told that technology—bags of air, gel, shock absorbing and overbuilt arch and heel support—is supposed to make running better. Still, there is no proof that overbuilt support systems reduce injury or make running better for you. In fact, there are many studies now that show just the opposite.

Skora began four years ago as a passion project of founder and CEO David Sypniewski, a longtime runner. He set out to design a shoe that would allow him to run more naturally.

"There is indeed now a movement toward products that encourage more natural running form," says Sypniewski. Some call it barefoot, minimal, natural or free. "We believe that the best technology available is the human body, and design our products to respect this. Skora shoes allow the human body to function as naturally and efficiently as possible."

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The Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4: A Two Bedroom Tent Fit for a Family

Eggbar_wiOctober solitude on the Rio Chama. Photo: Katie Arnold

Last weekend we went camping on the Rio Chama in northern New Mexico. This wilderness canyon is one of our favorite places in the Southwest, and we figured it would be one of the last warmish weekends of the year. Time to sneak in one final night under the stars before winter.

It was snowing in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains the morning we left, so we debated bringing our 1961 Airstream trailer. We have a tumultuous love/hate relationship with the Airstream. I love it once we get to where we’re going, but Steve hates towing it. Something’s always falling off or breaking, and it’s an absolute bear to get up the driveway. Steve jokingly named it the Broken Capillary after he burst a blood vessel in one eye trying to back it up the gravel hill. In the year and a half since we got it, we've taken it on (mis)adventures in Marfa, Crested Butte, and Colorado, and at some point during every trip Steve threatens to put it on Craigslist.

This time, though, because we were only going for a night, it seemed far simpler to leave the Airstream at home and bring the next best thing: the new Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4 tent.

Eggbar_wiNot your typical family tent. Photo: Courtesy Big Agnes

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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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Eggbar Vise: Home Ski and Board Tuning Made Easy

Eggbar_wi

It’s that time of year again: The first snowflakes are falling; winter hats and gloves, jackets, boots and skis and snowboards are being pulled from the back of the closet. Ski season won’t be here for a few weeks unless you’re a diehard frost skier. So for most of us there is still time to file out the nicks and dings in our ski edges and bases we didn’t deal with last year.

If you don’t have a Wintersteiger in your basement, the easiest way to set your skis or board up for a hassle-free tune is with the Eggbar Vise. Made in Montana, this clampless ski vise is the perfect tool for hand-tuning your skis. The Vise holds any ski with its own camber so that you don't have clamps or knobs in the way while you file or wax.

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