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Dispatches : Gear

Peak Design's Leash: The Ultimate Camera Strap


Last week, on a safari in South Africa’s Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park, I picked up my SLR with the long lens to photograph a lioness and her kill at a watering hole, and the strap simply fell off the camera. I got lucky—my $2,000-worth of electronics didn’t clatter to the floor of the Jeep or fall in the sand. I caught the camera. But luck isn’t what you want to rely on with a camera strap. It’s an accessory that should be functional, comfortable, and, most important, dependable.

Traditional camera straps are often difficult to attach and detach, they're bulky and expensive. That’s why Peak Design is making Leash. Re-defining the classic camera strap, Leash has an elegant quick-connect system, it's made from high-quality and secure materials, and it's rugged and minimalist. Use it as a neck strap, sling strap, safety tether, or video stabilizer, and when you don’t want it, it quickly disconnects from your camera and rolls up small enough to stuff in your back pocket.

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End Your Search for Outlets With Timbuk2’s Power Q Packs


Finally put an end to searching for wall outlets, or carrying a bouquet of charging cables and converters for all the electronics in your bag. World travelers, itinerant wanderers, and absent-minded electronics users: with Timbuk2’s Power Q Laptop Backpack you get Timbuk2’s best-selling durable ballistic nylon briefcase backpack with a no-fuss built-in power supply.

Timbuk2’s Power Q has the features that travelers need, whether your voyage is from home to office, classroom to library, or LAX to Charles de Gaulle. The side entry computer sleeve holds up to a 17" laptop, and the zip bottom compartment keeps your power brick and other accessories from getting tangled with the rest of your possessions. Two large pockets, plus a cell/wallet pocket, allow you to stash everything else, including the Joey T1 Power Supply.


This power pack, which is just slightly bigger than a computer mouse, will charge any USB-compatible device in your bag with no need to remove the power or the device. Charger cables thread through a port in the bag from the power supply pocket. Unlike other chargers, the Joey won’t overheat, and it’s button-free, so it won’t accidentally turn on when you don’t need it. Charge it pre-departure, and the Joey will keep your phone, point and shoot, GPS, iPad, and other electronics fired up for weeks.

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Holiday Gift Idea #1: A One-Person Remote Control Helicopter

If you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything, consider giving an IOU note with HX-1 written on it. That's the name of toymaker Hirobo's one-person, single-seat, remote control electric helicopter, which won't be ready until at least next year. The wait is a good thing for several reasons, one being the craft is expected to hit the market with a price of $375,000. It would take a while for 99 percent of the population to save up and buy it.

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A New School Ode to an Old School Adventure Craftsman

Backlund1"Working at the Cheat Suite." Photo: Janis LeMieux

Roughly a month ago, on the evening of October 25, master woodworker and paddlemaker Keith Backlund took his last breath in the Stalker, Pennsylvania, home where he grew up. Since then, a stream of remembrances and condolences have rippled across the Web.

A few important things can be learned about Backlund from the on-point obituary written by Charlie Walbridge for American Whitewater. He was born in the Pocono mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. He began making wood paddles after taking up whitewater kayaking. He founded the mainstream paddle companies Woodlight and Viking. He made sure to share whatever he learned with a number of apprentices. He was one of a kind. "He knew wood and woodworking better than anyone we know and his paddles were probably the finest ever produced," wrote Walbridge.

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New Online Store Features Artists, Craftsmen, and Fresh Brands


Yesterday, specialty outdoor e-tailer launched Treeline, an online retail showcase for artists, craftsmen, and up-and-coming brands whose products “evolve the outdoor lifestyle.”

The new site goes way beyond selling shirts, shoes, or wooden camping bowls. Each week, will profile one brand/artist. Treeline introduces the brand not just through its saleables, but with an interview with the head honchos to give shoppers the behind-the-scenes scoop.

Fifteen years ago, two ski bums started selling avy beacons online out of their garage. That was the start of Jill Layfield, Backcountry's CEO, said: “Treeline is an experiment for us, one that comes straight from the heart of, from our roots. We are a specialty retailer deeply invested in the future of specialty retail. New brands and product innovation are fundamental to the specialty retail experience. With Treeline, we honor outdoor-focused entrepreneurs and provide a showcase for innovation and creativity.”

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