Fresh Loot

IN THE PAST TEN YEARS, climbing skins have undergone an amphetamine-paced evolution, growing ever stickier, more convenient, and generally more durable. Darwin would approve of the latest specimen—Skye Alpine's bovine-inspired Glide Lite skins ($-$135, depending on width). The generous tip collar won't slip off in midslog, while the tail's glove-friendly, camlike tensioner permits easy skin removal and field tweaking. The pride of the supple Glide Lite, however, is a new lamination process that pushes glue deeper into the fabric. Result: The skins doggedly grip the skis—and thus the snowpack—even in the glutinous mank of the early-season Cascades, where we tested them. The Holstein graphics serve as a welcome conversation piece on long trudges. Or not: "Hey man, you ski like a cow." 435-615-6634,

—Christopher Solomon

Montain-bike racers favor stiff, lightweight cleats that transfer power to the pedals. For the rest of us, however, those rigid shoes and hard little lugs made walking in the woods an awkward, sometimes painful, experience—so we traded spinning efficiency for softer soles. Thanks to Pearl Izumi's Vapor Mountain ($180), however, you no longer need to compromise. The apex of the company's new footwear line boasts a carbon-fiber sole that transmits crazy amounts of oomph. You feel faster immediately, but what makes the Vapor special is its ultra-grippy oversize tread. Pearl Izumi's R&D people searched for outsole materials until they found a tacky European substance (they won't tell us what it is) that offers uncommon purchase on greasy logs and mossy boulders. Now you can run through rough country instead of tiptoeing like—horrors—a delicate roadie. (Clydesdales beware: Big riders may find the shoe digs at their insteps.) 800-328-8488,
—Dan Oko
One can only guess at the crooked inspiration behind the Crazy Creek CoolerRest, a combo backpack/cooler/camp chair that could pass as the love child of Jim Bridger and a Packers tailgater. Despite its weird genes, however, this mutant makes for a terrific mobile Barcalounger-cum-minibar. Built of soft yet beefy PVC, the CoolerRest ($81) goes to spots the vintage Igloo can't. Once there, a Crazy Creek chair unbuckles from its role as backpack support, inviting you to take a load off. At 1,920 cubic inches, it will keep a case of Fat Tire cold, and a crucial zip-in tray prevents much-dreaded Chee-tos pulverization. It won't replace your daypack, of course, but that old rucksack never saved you a seat—or kept the Riunite on ice. 800-331-0304,

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