www.snowpeak.com, 2.4 ounces
We seldom like it when people take something we love and mess with it—but in this instance, we applaud the move. The Hozuki Lantern is an icon in Snow Peak’s camping boutique line, and the Mini is a smaller, perhaps wiser considering the price, alternative. Named after the sacred plant that served as the design for the ancient Chinese paper lantern, this light includes an innovative “candle mode” that lets the LED flicker in response to sound or wind—you get that candle-lit ambience in your tent without, you know…burning down your tent. The light has other settings as well, including high, low, stobe, and variable dim. Fed by 3 AA batteries, it’ll burn for 70 hours (on low). Max lumens come in at 60—sufficient for reading or doing the dishes. Oh, and its only two inches tall.
In stores October 15
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www.snowpeak.com, 2.4 ounces
www.adidas.com, 7.1 ounces
Traditional boat shoes have always struck us as more politician trolling a wine-and-cheese event on some yacht on the Potomac than footwear befitting a hiker, camper, or sailor. And Adidas must agree, because they’ve subverted all the preppy leanings with their Climacool Boat Lace Shoes. At first glance, you notice the sport-centric three-stripe visual Adidas logo, supplemented with sly use of deep green and purple accents. But there’s a hefty amount of multisport tech at play in these 7.1-ounce kicks. Proprietary moisture-wicking fabrics make for easy, comfortable venting for the entire foot, the textile mesh uppers offer additional breathability, and synthetic overlays add the support you need. The soles are lined with rows of drain holes that are porous enough to expel water in a flash, yet residue stays out—save for full submersion, when water naturally flows into the top of the shoe. But this a problem very few pieces of aquatic footwear can solve. The rubber tongue has been molded to conform to the natural curve of your foot, and the water-friendly laces stay secure with a strong square knot. Best of all, the shoes boast exceptional grip in wet and slippery conditions, from a water-covered boat deck to slick rocks. We experienced some minor skin abrasion just below one ankle after wearing them, nonstop, for three very wet days, but when we added a pair of socks and used them as a camp shoe that night, all was well.
www.mammut.ch, 2.6 ounces
How do you make a headlamp even more useful? Make it more than just a headlamp, as Mammut has done by pairing their already powerful Lucido TR1 four-LED device with an ambient light attachment. Just remove said lamp off head, click on the plastic housing, and you’ve got a halo of gentle light that’s perfect for low-key camp-side and tent activities like cooking, reading, or other…more amorous activities. The headlamp itself runs on two AAA batteries, casting light up to 20 meters for up to 60 hours, with two brightness settings—perfect for nighttime hiking, biking, climbing, and running and other hands-free needs, while the attachment packs easily and weighs a few measly grams. It saved two testers sanity one particularly buggy night after a 14-mile slog left them cooking after dark–the bugs swarmed to the lantern…not their heads, and they were able to dine in peace. Never as such a little thing made such a big difference.
The Ambient Light ($11) is also sold separately, and attaches to Mamut’s T1 and TXlite headlamps.
The new color schemes for outdoor apparel hitting the shelves these days makes us feel like manufactures want to transform outdoor users into flaunting peacocks. And while we love our eye-catching, colorful waterproof/breathable hard shells, sometimes life calls for more subtleness than shades of neon can provide—hence our affection for the new Gust Jacket. This casual, light soft shell delivers all the tech a gear-obsessive needs, with a DWR fabric treatment for wind and water resistance within the jacket’s double-weave recycled polyester, a high collar, a weather-resistance center zip, two zipper hand pockets, and a stealthy zippered chest pocket. The cuffs also have both snaps and zippers, providing the option of going tight or loose. But the tailored fit and the modest plaid pattern (light or dark gray) make this very urban-friendly. It’s become our go-to stash-and-forget piece for days when wind, light rain, and variable tempts are in the forecast (San Fran, we’re talking about you).