Slipping into the frigid drink when you're trying to land a steelhead is akin to sliding off an icy precipice when you're reaching for the summit. It can leave you somewhere between wet and uncomfortable and hypothermic and hurt.
That's what inspired one of the leading equipment innovators of this century, Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard, to develop crampons for walking in rivers. In lieu of studs or teeth, like you'd find on traditional mountaineering crampons, Yvon's River Crampons are made from soft aluminum bars that are malleable by design, so they can cut through slick weeds and moss on river bottoms and better grip slippery rocks. They will fit most wading boots, and give anglers an in-water advantage that won't take a toll on the interior of a boat like traditional cleats.
We could fill weeks of posts about all the cool new products we saw at last week's Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. But we won't. Instead, we've begun calling it in and field-testing it. Depending on how it fares, you'll likely read about more of it here on Gear Shed, in the monthly magazine, and in our Buyer's Guides special issues and iPad apps. Until then, here are three final products to geek out on.
Alchemy Goods Belt: Stuff made from recycled bicycle inner tubes is a great idea on paper, but generally not that good looking in real life. That was until Alchemy Goods came along. The company's recycled adjustable inner tube belt is in fact two nested tubes, but it looks like overstitched leather with a little extra flair. Thanks to the stitching, it stretches just enough to be comfortable, and won't stretch out like leather. The belt is made from 90% upcycled materials and, for $55 more, is also available with a hand forged, recycled, and pretty damn cool-looking bike cog buckle (regular buckle is pictured). Available now, $42, alchemygoods.com