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August days grow shorter, a slight chill creeps into the air, and plants start to droop. (Adam Mowery/Tandem)

The Gear Our Editors Loved in August

Summer is fleeting

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The Editors

August is the beginning of the end. The days grow shorter, a slight chill creeps into the air, and plants start to droop. It’s a time of year to savor. Here’s the gear Outside editors used to do just that.

Mountainsmith Trippin’ Lil Fanny Pack ($25)

(Photo: Courtesy Mountainsmith)

This month, I’ve been wearing this cute little pack on all my shorter mountain bike rides. It neatly fits a snack, my flat kit, and a lightweight layer, and it’s still low-profile. The smaller surface area on my back and hips means less sweat and suffering in the heat. It’s great for rides up to about two hours—which is when I start to need trail beers, PBJs, and more water. Then I opt for my Dakine Seeker 6L bag ($90). —Abigail Barronian, associate editor

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2011 Ford Fusion ($Free)

(Photo: Courtesy Ford)

Three years ago, I gratefully inherited a Ford Fusion from my grandpa, who stopped driving. It’s reliable, comfortable, and gets great gas mileage. I’ve always jealously eyed my friends’ trucks, vans, and Subarus, longing for a little bit more of an adventuremobile—or at least four-wheel drive. But this summer, my little silver sedan has finally proved itself. I installed towers and bars on its roof, which in July facilitated ferrying two kayaks to Utah for a Cataract Canyon trip, along with five people and our dry bags. At the base of Mount Culebra in Colorado, I found that if I fold down the seats, there’s just enough room to snuggle up at a trailhead for an early-morning start. I drove it nearly 800 miles to Jackson, Wyoming, without a single worry about breaking down. When winter comes, I’ll throw on my ski rack, turn up the seat warmers, and drive it (very carefully) to the hill. Now I’m not suggesting that those looking for an adventuremobile go out and buy a 2011 Ford Fusion—there are many better options out there. But rather, in the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, to “love the one you’re with.” —Maren Larsen, podcast producer


RXair400 Air Purifier ($900)

(Photo: Courtesy RXair)

It’s been a tough August in Ashland, Oregon. Thanks to wildfires, we had 15 days with an air quality index over 100, with six of those days above 175. When it’s above 150, my wife, three-year-old daughter, and I don’t spend any time outdoors. While my family has been lucky and able to escape to the coast on weekends, we’ve still been marinating in the smoke for half of the month. The time stuck inside is terrible for my mental health, but I know we are breathing clean air thanks to the FDA- and EPA-approved RXair 400 that we have cranking full time. The canned air from our HVAC system smells sweet and fresh thanks to the UV-light purification system that clears 99 percent of bacteria and viruses in 800 square feet of space. —Joe Jackson, Gear Guy

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Nemo Fillo Pillow ($40)

(Photo: Courtesy Nemo)

My sleep on backpacking trips has dramatically improved ever since I bought Nemo’s Fillo Pillow. At nine ounces, it’s not the lightest in the world (and I’m sure the fast-and-light types would scoff at me for packing one at all), but a slab of foam inserted on top of the baffled air cells makes it so comfortable that you forget you’re using an inflatable pillow. It also folds down into an integrated stuff sack and you can wash the removable cover. I’m never going backpacking without a pillow again. —Luke Whelan, senior editor

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Stone Glacier De Havilland Black Label Jacket ($290, S-XXL)

(Photo: Courtesy Stone Glacier)

In New Mexico’s dry climate, I’ve long preferred wearing one soft shell jacket instead of a midlayer plus a waterproof shell. Of all the ones I’ve tested recently, my favorite is the De Havilland from Stone Glacier. This small Montana company perfectly cut the jacket so it has a svelte fit but never restricts my movement. Pit zips help me dump heat on long scrambles, and well-placed pockets have been great for carrying essential gear (phone, wallet, etc.) but never got lost under straps when I was carrying a pack. I prefer the murdered-out black version, but the company offers more standard colors ($229) as well. —Jakob Schiller, contributing writer

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Rigd UltraSwing Hitch Carrier Multi-Fit ($1,400)

(Photo: Courtesy Rigd)

As we’ve preached many times at Outside, all-terrain tires are an essential upgrade if you’re overlanding or just traveling for long periods over rough roads. These tires can be safely aired down for more traction and are significantly more durable so they prevent unnecessary flats. To carry a full all-terrain spare, many people opt for a brand new rear overlanding bumper that has a tire carrier built in. The problem is that these bumpers often take a lot of installation work. To simplify things, I suggest people take a look at Rigd’s swing-out hitch that fits into the two-inch receiver that’s already on the back of your rig—no body work necessary. It easily carries a large BF Goodrich KO2 (the best all-around overland tire in my opinion), and also comes with its own two-inch receiver so I can attach a bike rack. The swing-out arm gets the hitch completely out of my way when I need to open the tailgate, and carries up to 250 pounds so I can load it with a large spare and two mountain bikes, and don’t have to worry about bending anything out of place. J.S.

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Rabbit Surf ‘n Turf 4″ Short ($62, XS-L)

If I was going on a warm-weather trip and could only bring one pair of active shorts, I’d bring these: the perfect mashup of a board short and a running short. The poly-spandex blend is light, wicking and fast drying, yet more substantial than many delicate performance fabrics (I feel totally fine subjecting the Surf ‘n Turf to salt water and rough granite without being afraid that the fabric will pill or degrade). Instead of waistband pockets, which would get in the way in most watersports, these have a zippered butt pouch. Rabbit also took its popular wide-flat waistband and added a drawstring for extra security against waves and strong currents. At the end of August, I wore these for five days straight during a kayaking trip on the coast of Maine, from early morning beach walks and porch lounging to five-hour paddles and afternoon road runs. —Ariella Gintzler, senior editor

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Ciele GOcap SC Running Hat ($40)

(Photo: Courtesy Ciele)

I’ve been a runner for most of my life, but I’ve never been a running-hat person. I usually wear sunglasses, so I never felt like I needed one. But before this year, I’d also never endured summertime marathon training. Thanks to the pandemic, the Boston Marathon is happening in October instead of April this year, so I’ve been logging many more miles than usual in New York’s peak sticky season. For the past few months, I’ve been doing nearly all of my training runs in one of Ciele’s GOcap running hats—and I’m definitely a convert. This hat is super light and quick-drying, so it protects my face from the sun without adding too much weight when I’m drenched in sweat. It’s also machine washable, so it’s easy to keep clean. Plus, it comes in a bunch of different color options, from the loud to the understated, and looks a lot less dorky than the running hats that scared me away for years. I already have my eye on another one.  —Molly Mirhashem, digital deputy editor

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Uncharted Supply Co. The Zeus Portable Jump Starter and Charger ($150)

(Photo: Courtesy Uncharted Supply Co.)

I’m generally not the type to overload on just-in-case products when I’m packing for an outing. But when your car is the one carrying the load, it’s hard to justify leaving behind something that’s smaller than a loaf of bread and could save your whole trip from disaster. The Zeus packs enough power to jump even big overland vehicles several times over, and comes with cables and easy-to-follow instructions for getting your dead battery started without the help of another car. I started keeping the Zeus in my trunk after waking up to a dead battery during a solo desert car-camping trip. Luckily I was close enough to other people that I could call to come help—and had the phone signal to do it. But the Zeus has given me incredible peace of mind since. In the meantime, it has also worked great as a flashlight and phone charger when I’m far from home or my power goes out. —Natalia Lutterman, editorial assistant

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Gregory Jade 28 Women’s Pack ($150)

In August I went on a three-day inn-to-inn trek down the Northern California coast with my best friends. Days before I left, I realized I only had a huge pack and a tiny daypack. I needed something middle-of-the-road, lightweight, with minimal straps that would keep my back from getting sweaty—which I knew would happen, given we were hiking nine miles every day, with plenty of steep ascents. This pack fit the bill and served me well. I have no complaints and several compliments. I appreciated the basic, streamlined design—no lid, a small top zipper and big U-shaped zipper to access the roomy interior, and three ample pockets to stash things I wanted to grab often. I also love the small details, like a nifty elastic sunglasses hook, a ventilated back panel, and a zippered inside pocket to stash my car keys. Best of all, it fit in the space underneath the plane seat in front of me. Perfect. —Tasha Zemke, copy editor

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Lead Photo: Adam Mowery/Tandem
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