We honestly didn’t think that Stanley—who’s been making great food and beverage containers since 1913—could improve upon their Classic Flask. But they proved us wrong. This spring, be sure to save a Jackson for their new eCycle Flask.
This eight-ounce container is made from recycled (and recyclable) plastic, and it boasts two lids—an attached bottle-style screw-top, and a large hinge top. The latter open the top wide for a thorough cleaning, so you can use this flask for any variety of drink (mixed or straight, non-alcoholic or otherwise) without worrying about lingering tastes or smells. The dishwasher-safe flask is also leak-proof. Better still, thanks to the wide-mouth opening, you can also use this flask as a makeshift dry box for your various electronic must-haves….
Alite Designs already won our hearts when they announced their innovative program to lend camping gear, but the products they’ve released in 2012 keep ‘em on the shortlist of outdoor companies to watch in 2013. And their creative approach to common camping woes continues with the announcement of the Clover Cook Set cooking utensil, which is currently getting crowd-source support on Kickstarter. The three-in-one tool includes a big spoon and a spatula with a serrated edge that join together to form a pair of tongs, arguably one of the best tools for cooking, full stop. Flip ‘em around, and they slide together into a thin, space-saving package. The tools are constructed from heat-resistant, dishwater-safe BPA-free nylon. We had the chance to play with a prototype last August, and liked what we saw….
The first production run is slated for late March/early April 2013
Attention residents of Portland, Oregon: Snow Peak, the company behind some of the downright sexiest base camp and backcountry gear on the market, is offering a sneak preview of its future retail shop in the city’s hip Pearl District. Now through December 24th you can play with their expansive line of high-end camping gear, and check out some of the curated brands that compliment their outdoor-inspired lifestyle like Nau, Westcomb, Fjallraven, and Boreas.
Snow Peak started back in 1958, when founder and accomplished mountaineer Yukio Yamai started making his own stuff because the things on the market weren’t cutting it. Today his Asian sense of aesthetics still carries through, especially in such products as the Mini Hozuki Lantern, the Hybrid Trail Cookset, and the light, durable Titanium mugs (pictured above) .
The store is located at 410 NW 14th Avenue (Portland, Oregon) and officially opens in February.
We’ll be profiling more Snow Peak stuff in early spring to rev you up for the 2013 camping season….
We’ve never been big fans of the standard camp chair—the awkwardly folding, bulky canvas gigs with the even bigger carry bags. Even with drink holders in both arm rests, they’re never as good as we want. Well, San Fran-based Alite Designs must’ve heard our quiet dissatisfaction, because their Mantis Chair really hits every sweet spot. The chair employs the same pole assembly tech found in tent frames—a simple, but genius design solution—to create a ridiculously strong, breathable 210D ripstop nylon chair that holds up to 250 pounds. The frame assembles in seconds, and the four corners of the seat slide seamlessly into the tips of the aluminum poles (color coding keeps things easy, though our testers hardly needed the guidance). The chair sits about eight inches above the ground on four cylindrical legs, providing all-day comfort, whether you prefer to keep your feet flat, sit Indian-style, or contort into some other quasi-yoga pose. Plus it fits into a carry sack that’s a modest 17.5 inches long and five inches in diameter. The two-pound chair is ideal for car camping, but a bit hefty for backcountry applications. To address the needs of ounce-scrimping backpackers they’ve developed the Monarch chair ($70; pictured, right). Built off the same design as the Mantis, the Monarch boasts only two legs:your feet offer the additional stability, which lets you slowly rock as the chair takes the bulk of your weight. The Monarch provided the same body-hugging comfort and support as the Mantis (with the same 250-pound weight limit), but weighs in at a feathery 1.3 pounds, packing into a stuff sack that’s 12 inches long and only 4.5 inches in diameter. The Alite designer refers to the Monarch as the “six-beer chair” because, after six beers, balancing on its two legs can be…challenging (and potentially humorous for those around you). We see this a challenge, but some might find it an insurmountable obstacle. Both of these chairs are as at home at outdoor concerts or on the beach as they are tent-side. The thin diameter of the chair legs means that the feet can sink into wet dirt or sand, leaving the sitter off balance (or in a slow-motion fall). But on dry land, both chairs proved to be admirable outdoor thrones. And a bonus: one three-year-old car camper even figured out how to wear the Monarch.
www.gsioutdoors.com, three pounds, nine ounces
We all love the latest/greatest in tech that makes up the universe of Gearzilla, but gear obsession really reaches its apex with camping cook sets—in large part because the way they always nestle together is always so darn clever. Witness the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper, our latest car-camping obsession. This convenient kit gives you everything you’ll need for a four-person outing: three- and two-liter pots, two strainer lids, a nine-inch fry pan, four 14-ounce insulated mugs with sip-friendly plastic lids, four 14-ounce bowls, four 7.5-inch plates, a folded pot gripper, and a sturdy carrying case that also doubles as welded sink. The bowls, mugs, and plates are color-coded so you don’t have kids fighting over which plate was theirs, and the pots and fry pan are made of non-stick, hard-anodized aluminum. The heat-resistant, crush-proof strainer lid makes it easy to drain water from pasta and works with both the bowls and the frying pan, and each lid has a convenient orange thick-cloth handle centered at the top. The folding handle has a trigger that locks into the pots with comforting authority; we’d expected that sliding the handle on before engaging the lock would be tricky, but when you’re cooking the weight of the food makes the action a breeze. During a long-weekend car-camping expedition everything performed well, except one of the top handles did come off and quickly disappeared in the chaotic darkness of late meal prep. And, as you’d expect, the whole things collapses down like a Russian nesting doll.