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ROCKSHOX 2002 PSYLO SL     Photo: Clay Ellis

Folding Kayak  Front Shock  Travel Fly Rod and Reel  Saddle  Sea Kayak  Snowboard
Kleppermaniac
By Paul Theroux

The basics of travel: Go alone, be self-sufficient, and if water figures in your travels bring a folding kayak.
The KLEPPER AERIUS SINGLE, the nearest craft there is to an Inuit kayak, is the best. You bring it in two bags (hull in one, wood frame parts in the other) as part of your gear; you assemble it when you arrive at the designated shore. You paddle away.

I have paddled the same Klepper since 1984. It is the simplest to assemble of any folding kayak, durable, stable, and seaworthy. I also sail it, using a drift-sail rig and rudder, and though I have tipped it (sailing too close to the wind, paddling in heavy surf), and made a wet exit, I've always safely climbed back in. I have worn out one hull and bought a new one, but the basic boat is the same. It's about 16 feet long and weighs 50 pounds—easy enough for one person to heave onto a roof rack or to launch. I paid about $1,200 for it in 1984.

I've heard that one test in the British commando curriculum in SAS school is assembling a Klepper in the dark. These boats have been used in many invasions, the stealthy maneuvers we commandos call "covert insertions." I have taken this kayak down the Zambezi, through the lagoons of the Solomon Islands, up and down the Philippines, to Easter Island, and many other places. "What is it?" the watching children say, as I lay out the parts on the beach. As it takes shape, they begin giggling in amazement, "Canoe, canoe!"
Now called the Aerius Basic I; $2,885; 800-500-2404; www.klepper-usa.com
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Shock Treatment
The ROCKSHOX 2002 PSYLO SL
is always plush, isn't too heavy, and it offers adjustable travel on the fly: Crank the U-Turn down to 80 millimeters for a cross-country feel on tough climbs; open it up to the full 125 millimeters for downhill speeds that would frighten even Missy Giove—maybe.
$450; 800-404-4843; www.rockshox.com
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FLY ROD AND REEL COMBO FOR TRAVEL
Orvis Trident TL 865-7, TiborLight Tailwater 5/6

Orvis's five-weight rod breaks down into seven 16-inch pieces and uses superior graphite. It's comfortable throwing tiny dries and parakeet-size streamers. Match the rod with the large arbor, disc drag, and precision handcrafting of Tibor's Tibor-Light Tailwater 5/6 designed by reel guru Ted Juracsik, and you'll turn fierce lunkers into Zen-garden goldfish.
Orvis Trident: $595; 800-815-5900; www.orvis.com; TiborLight: $295; 561-272-0770; www.tiborreel.com
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Back in the Saddle Again
By Jane Smiley

The only item in my possession that I am attached to is my DEVOUCOUX DRESSAGE SADDLE, which I bought on impulse a year ago. I didn't buy it because it was made in Biarritz, France, but I am not unseduced by the image of that glamorous and sunny spot (most saddles are made somewhere rainy and serious). I bought it because when I rode my not-very-well-behaved four-year-old mare in the model that the saleswoman (Emelie, s'il vous plaît) brought with her when she came for the fitting, the mare commenced to bucking, as she often did in those days. Rather than unseating me, all she did was come up under me and roll me around a bit, and then we trotted on.

Most saddles have two layers; the Devoucoux's single layer makes you feel as though you are sitting almost inside the horse's back. The leather is rich and fragrant, the trim is subtle, the stitching is perfect, and the fit, just like the fit of a couturier gown, is not only proper, it is flattering. A horse in a Devoucoux looks fabulous!
$3,200; Devoucoux's West Coast rep Olivier Meyer-Fouques: 818-262-2552; o.meyer-fouques@devoucoux.com
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The Best Sea Kayak
The WILDERNESS SYSTEMS CAPE HORN 17 PRO KEVLAR
is a long-haul paddler's dream: light (including rudder, it's just 51 pounds), stable, fast, durable, trick-looking. Those with limited open-water experience will delight in the boat's multi-chine hull, which adds stability when the chop whips up. Touring vets will love the comfortable cockpit (it has a three-way adjustable seat for back and thigh support) and Kevlar construction, which lends the boat a spry, responsive feel. And its wider-beam width provides enough cargo space to bring along the comforts of home. But the Cape Horn's most praiseworthy characteristic is its versatility; it'll inspire confidence during ocean-channel crossings and restore peace of mind as you glide effortlessly across glassy inland lakes. Oh, and it looks damn sexy riding on top of your car while you're driving in between.
$3,100; 336-434-7470; www.wildernesssystems.com
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Chairman of the Boards
Burton tends to hype its technology with buzzwords aimed at 15-year-olds: The core isn't lightweight, it's "Dragonfly,"the construction isn't just a laminate, it's a "Dual Warp Lite Triax." Truth is, with stainless-steel edges, a carbon I-Beam in the core, and one of the hardest, fastest bases you can find on a board, the BMC is a freeride machine without equal.
$560; 800-881-3138; www.burton.com
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