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Simply pop open Eureka’s collapsible aluminum Chenango and start setting the table. eurekatent.com…

GSI Outdoors’ Pinnacle Camper is a 23-piece mess kit with everything from two pots and a frying pan to four insulated mugs and BPA-free plastic plates. gsioutdoors.com…

If you really want to impress, bake a cake, cinnamon rolls, or a lasagna in GSI Outdoors’ aluminum 12″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven. gsioutdoors.com…

Serve up good, strong, and hot coffee courtesy of GSI Outdoors’ double-walled and insulated 30-oz Java Press. gsioutdoors.com…

Because it’s two inches wide and has grippy rubber strips for added traction, Gibbon’s Jibline is the perfect slackline for beginners and kids. gibbonslacklines.com…

Quench your thirst with a PVC- and BPA-free bottle like this one, with its just-the-right-size opening to avoid spills. mysigg.com…

GRAND SHELTERS’ lightweight (five-pound), sturdy, and easy-to-use ICEBOX forms perfect blocks.

Yeah, it’s just a beach chair—a beach chair that’s made of ash and stainless steel, has big and small cargo pockets, and can be carried hands-free, like a backpack. Most important, this baby reclines like you’re in business class, so you can tap in to the perfect nap angle.

It’s like having MacGyver in your pack. This first-aid/survival/gear-repair kit has everything from zip ties to EMT shears to a firestarter. Even better, there’s a mini LED headlamp and instructions on how to use it all. 1 lb; adventuremedicalkits.com…

From game-changing new materials (like moisture-wicking cotton) to evolutionary leaps in engineering (like a rotating helmet for extreme crashes), the avant-garde of 21st-century gear has just one thing in common: a total disregard for the status quo.

What's the best axe for chopping wood? The Editors Santa Fe, NM

Base camp essentials that take the rough out of roughing it

WHERE TO USE IT: Cold water and stiff currents make Washington’s San Juan Islands a serious destination for kayakers. But with good forecasts and maps from Anacortes’s Sea Kayak Shop (seakayakshop.com), they can also be the most rewarding, with frequent orca and humpback sightings. Take a lap…

WHERE TO USE IT: Lake Winni­pesaukee, near New Hampshire’s White Mountains, is 72 square miles of tree-lined coves and some 300 sprawling islands—not to mentionwaterfront cabins with long wooden docks. Rent one on the quieter northor east side of the lake (from $1,000 per week; preferredrentals.com), then…

Do you recommend using a hammock or tent when camping in the tropics?—The EditorsSanta Fe, New Mexico

The outdoor accoutrements that made the cut for our second annual celebration of the best in design and technology.

The battery in my iPod can't make it through a cross country plane trip. This makes me very concerned about the practical application for batteries in automobiles. How is the auto industry doing on progress towards battery-powered cars? Will we ever see them in our lifetime? Bob Virginia

It seems like corporations are now rolling out all sorts of new "green" products and saying, "Buy our stuff, it will save the world from the apocalypse." Are they being genuine, or is this just the ultimate guilt trip passed on to fatten their bottom line? Billy Burlington, Vermont

I'm getting ready to move out to Oregon and relying on my diesel 1984 Mercedes - converted to run on waste vegetable oil, to get me out there. I'd really like to make it the whole way on grease, but haven't figured out the best way to do it. Do you have any advice that you could share? Heather Durh, North Carolina

What is the greenest backcountry water bottle? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

1. MT. BORAH CUSTOM With seven-week turnarounds and minimum orders of just six pieces, Mt. Borah makes customcycling gear easier than ever. Jerseys from $83; mtborahcustom.com 2. VITTORIA OPEN CORSA EVO CX The handmade CX can handle pressures up to 200 psi and is…

Solio‘s Magnesium Edition solar charger can store enough juice to recharge your cell phone three times ($170; solio.com).

Like nearly everything Crank Brothers makes, the new Cobalt XC mountain-biking wheels are as beautiful as they are high-performance. You’ll want to wash off the mud before you even hit the finish line ($1,000; crankbrothers.com).

They might be cute, but Guyot Design‘s silicone Squishy Bowls are also packable, tough, and practical ($16; guyotdesigns.com). Guyot Design Squishy Bowls          …

The narrower nose and arrowhead shape of Selle San Marco‘s Mantra saddle were designed to minimize chafing ($260; sellesanmarco.com).   Sella San Marco Mantra Bike Seat…

What are the 10 things I should always have in my pack? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

What's the most reliable tool for starting fires? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

What is the best way to get water if I'm lost in the desert? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

Stay warm and dry through the miles, no matter how nasty the weather gets

I’m going backpacking in South Dakota’s Badlands, and everything I read says that you have to bring in your own water. For a four day trip, that could mean as much as five gallons. What type of water containers should I use to most effectively carry this much water? Junior Minneapolis, Minnesota

I just read that Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) has pulled all polycarbonate water bottles from its shelves due to safety concerns of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Should I be worried? With a retailer of that magnitude deciding to no longer sell polycarbonate bottles, it makes quite a statement. Brian Columbus, Ohio

I'm in the market for a new snow shovel and debating between a collapsible and a removable handle. Any suggestions? And what is the best/easiest way to pack it in the Black Diond Covert 22 Bag w/Avalung? Seth New York, New York

I was told to avoid plastic water bottles containing Bisphenol-A (e.g., Nalgene bottles) because of the health risk they are thought to pose. So, I recently acquired a Laken aluminum bottle. Is this really an improvement, health-wise? Ron Orleans, Ontario

I’ve always packed clothes in zip-lock-type bags, but I’m sick of my clothes ending up in different places in the pack. I’d like to switch to one dry compression sack. Any recommendations? Also, is there anything lighter than the Ursack that you would recommend for food storage? Dan Vail, Colorado

I plan to travel for four months in eastern and southern Africa, and I intend to use 50 percent DEET (spray or lotion) and permethrin-treated clothes and nets. But I have no idea how much of either of these items I will need for this length of time. Can you provide any enlightenment? Daniel Dublin, Ireland

Would trekking poles be a help or a hindrance on an extensive hike, such as the entire AT? Also, is there a real benefit to shock-absorbing poles? John Redlands, California

Window shopping is nice, but there's nothing like wrapping your fingers around the sharp, hard edges of a new pair of skis to spark the urge to give (or get). To help you savor the mood this holiday season we present the year's best bounty in all its lust-worthy forms. From the slickest bike to the toughest laptop, these are the gifts you'll want to have—a

Boost performance and play in perfect comfort by investing in innovative made-to-order gear

Are polycarbonate water bottles safe? Rumors are floating around the Internet that certain chemicals leached from polycarbonate water bottles may increase the risk of miscarriage and cause birth defects. Should I throw away all my Nalgenes, or is this just typical Web fear-mongering? Randal Canmore, Alberta

I'll be camping in Yosemite this summer and curious about bear-proof canisters. Any reviews or suggestions on what to buy? Stuart Houston, Texas

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