Four Unique Trail Essentials
Published on 05/22/2012
By Peter Reese
You can never be too careful when packing for an outdoor adventure. Here are a couple of unique items that will surprise you with their capabilities and versatility.
MONTANE PRISM JACKET
Carry a single jacket when weather conditions are anticipated to change, even minute-by-minute. Sometimes, a total layering approach works well. In others, an outer layer that offers insulation and weather resistance makes travel lighter and simpler.
The PRISM jacket crafted by Montane was, and now is, one of A.J.’s all-time favorite pieces after two weeks of nearly continual wear. Compact design keeps the wind-fighting fabric where it belongs as the PrimaLoft Eco insulation persistently delivers warmth through snow, high humidity and out-of-nowhere rainsqualls. The wire brim on the rollaway, climbing helmet-compatible hood conforms to the wearer’s wishes while drawstring waist cords help control temperature and weather resistance. Warmer conditions don’t exempt the Montane as the piece can extend the range of lighter sleeping backs and offer some insurance if a late-spring bivvy becomes inevitable. A two-way zipper would further PRISM’s agenda but doesn’t stop Montane from rightly claiming superiority in the category that encompasses hiking, climbing, biking and cold-weather running.
GSI OUTDOORS KUNG FOON
Turn any outdoor meal into an adventure, whether it’s about stir-and-heat rehydration or gourmet aspirations at altitude. With weight and space at a premium, there’s always been lots of room for easy-stowing improvements in the camp kitchen.
GSI’s KUNG FOON is serious function literally attached to unrivalled fun. The titanium Foon is a worthy addition to the kit, even before the Kung kicks in. Splitter-free chopsticks multi-task as stir sticks, pot lifters, and Stomp-like music makers (meaning, drum sticks) when they’re not serving as primary utensils. Genius strikes again as the sticks transform Foon into a deep-reach, kettle-mining serving spoon. Testers never questioned the K.F.’s potential to get grins but gained respect for GSI’s practical side with every turn of the Foon.
FENIX TK21 FLASHLIGHT
Enough light to shine deep but still manage close-in chores around camp. Most powerful flashlights add excess weight, run down quickly and can’t endure the rigors of the outdoor life.
Fenix puts forward 449 lumens that travel over 200 meters with the model TK21. Easy on-body controls active four brightness levels and two flashing options – including a strobe – attract attention when the going gets tough. Testers gravitated to the TK21 as part of a two-light quiver approach, with a second, smaller flashlight or headlamp as the other half of a duo. With CR123A batteries becoming more common and less expensive, the TK21’s power is not an expensive habit to maintain. At a passable 4-lumen low setting, this flashlight endures for 220 hours should unexpected circumstances overtake the travel. In any case, Fenix makes night a productive time whether in-transit or in the tent. The Fenix TK15 is practical alternative to the TK21, with 337 lumen maximum brightness and similar outputs for less money.
UCO MICRO CANDLE LANTERN
Add some atmosphere to tent or hut with a low-weight, reliable lighting source. Campfires are verboten nearly everywhere, so creating ambiance and some level of functional lighting is a new conundrum for many travelers.
UCO has transformed from curiosity to old friend in the past six months with products like the MICRO CANDLE LANTERN. Three to five hours of light from a cheapo tea light is possible with this collapsible aluminum light. The twist-lock base allows for quick assembly and there’s room for an extra candle inside. Active Junky favors this one, in tandem with GSI Wine Glasses, for plein air celebrations on the beach or deep in the backcountry. Jellybean colors make the most of the moment, recognizing this light source could supply much-needed illumination in the event other means fail.