Gear of the Year: Best Outdoor Gear for 2013

first_imgClick to enlargeClick to enlarge1. Petzl Tikka XP2 HeadlampVersatile lighting options for a wide variety of conditions are essential in the backcountry, and this headlamp has it all. With one high-output LED, one red LED, five lighting modes, and a wide angle lens, the Tikka XP2 can cover up to 68 meters and provides 190 hours of lighting in economic mode. The two strobe settings are ideal for urban environments where visibility is crucial to nighttime bicycle commutes.$55; petzl.com2. Klean Kanteen Insulated 20oz mugNeed your homemade chili to keep nice and hot while you’re out shredding the slopes? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that smoothie stay cold while you’re out on a midday trail run? With this heavy duty insulated mug, you can do both. This stainless steel thermos keeps hot things hot (for up to six hours) and cold things cold (for up to 24).$30; kleankanteen.com3. Alite Monarch Butterfly ChairAfter a long day of backpacking, it’s nice to be able to get off your feet. Weighing in at 21oz, this lightweight chair lets you do just that while not having to lug around heavy, bulky alternatives. The aluminum frame balances on two legs, which allows you enough stability to sit on uneven ground and also rock forward and back. The tent-pole design breaks down to fit into a small stuff sack, so you can take it with you anywhere.$70; alitedesigns.com4. Casio PAG240 WatchAn upgrade to the Pathfinder line of watches, the PAG240 offers the same Triple Sensor functionality as the former models but is now powered by the sun. When you’re in remote locations, it helps to be able to look down at your wrist and have an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass, sunrise/sunset information, and the time of day literally at your fingertips in one sleek, compact design.$250; casio.com5. Sea To Summit Alpine II Sleeping BagSleeping at higher altitudes or in the dead of winter requires a bag that can provide serious warmth. The Alpine II is filled with Ultra-Dry Down™ at 850+ loft, which means you’ll be able to stay toasty at night without having to lug a bulky bag during the day. The smaller opening around the face ensures that your body heat does not escape, and the tapered box where your feet rest is designed with your foot’s natural angle in mind.$640; seatosummit.com 6. Adventure Technology HerculesMost kayakers do more than just run steep creeks or surf big waves. Most like to dabble, a little waterfall huck here, some McNastys there. If you’re a dabbler, then the Hercules is for you. Designed for the boater who spends a lot of time running rivers but likes to stop and play along the way, this versatile paddle is balanced for optimal all-around performance and is available in both carbon fiber and fiberglass. Think of it as the little black dress of kayakers.$230; atpaddles.com7. Showers Pass Refuge JacketA true do-it-all jacket, the Refuge is ideal for everything from bicycle commuting to shredding the slopes. The seam-taped, fully waterproof jacket has easy-access vents to prevent overheating, reflective trim for safe cycling on busy streets, and an adjustable hood large enough to cover any helmet. The jacket also includes an audio port in the chest pocket and a drop-down tail to protect against road spray and wet chairlifts.$279; showerspass.com8. Hobie Polarized Segundo SunglassesHobie’s high-tech lenses allows you to see all colors vividly. No more washed-out monochrome views; with the Segundo, you’ll forget you’re wearing shades.$190; hobiepolarized.com9. The A.T. GuideThru-hiker David “AWOL” Miller’s trail companion is the essential resource for any A.T. trek, whether a day hike or a thru hike. It includes mile-by-mile elevation profiles and icons indicating water, shelters, and scenic vistas, along with 72 maps of towns and resupply points.$15; theatguide.com10. GoLite Malpais Rain JacketAt a mere 6.7 ounces, this incredibly light three-layer rain shell also blocks wind and rain. Remarkably, it also breathes well, thanks to a permeable proprietary membrane. You won’t get better protection from the elements in under seven ounces. $125. The one thing that typically makes or breaks an adventure is the gear you bring (or don’t). What if you only have one opportunity to paddle that gorge or summit that peak? Do you want to spend the trip miserably wet from a faulty rain shell or completely frozen from inadequate base layers? We work hard to live for the moment, that brief period of time when the weather, the view, the smell of fresh air, the sweat on our brow, the sun on our cheeks, absolutely everything is just right. But more often than not, we find ourselves amid some not-so-perfect conditions. So when Mother Nature takes a turn for the worse, when fate deals its capricious hand, don’t slump back to base camp. Be prepared with these 16 great products that work where you need them, when you need them.Best Outdoor Gear 2013:1. Arcteryx Atom SV Hoody For temperatures and climates that demand more than a fleece mid-layer, this synthetic hoody is the way to go. Its moisture- and wind-resistant outer fabric also makes this jacket durable and warm enough for use as an outer layer. The underarm panel is designed to be breathable when you’re active, warm when you’re not.$250; arcteryx.com2. Smartwool Ridgeway HatFor those who like to hit the ski bar after a long day on the slopes, style and function are everything. This beanie has a tightly woven knit and full liner made entirely of Merino wool to keep your head warm even when the flakes start falling. The groovy stripes are sure to stand out in a sea of monochromatic melons.$40; smartwool.com3. Patagonia Capilene 3Even when your rain shell fails you and you’re drenched to the bone with half a day of hiking yet, you can count on these base layers to keep you warm. Made from a stretchy double-knit polyester fabric, both the top and bottom layers are designed with comfort in mind. Offset seams mean you can wear a pack comfortably for days without any irritation, and the Polygiene® permanent odor control will keep you feeling fresh and clean, no matter how greasy you really are.$65 top, $55 bottom; patagonia.com4. Mountain Hardwear ChockstoneFor those long days on the rock, you need pants that provide protection from any type of element. The air-permeable stretch fabric on the Chockstone has a high resistance to abrasion, but is also finished with a coat of DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to help shed moisture from light rain. This fabric also provides UPF 50 sun protection and a Micro-Chamois™ lining at the waist helps you stay comfortable when you’re in the harness for hours on end.Pant: $125; mountainhardwear.com5. Darn Tough Mountaineering SockBlizzards, freezing rain, blinding downpours: you name it, this sock can handle it. Made with extra heavy terry loop padding in the foot and shin, this beefy sock won’t wear out under pressure and provides maximum warmth. The streamlined fit and invisible seams help avoid debilitating blisters, while the fine gauge Merino wool lets your feet breathe and your socks dry fast. Did we mention these babies have a lifetime warranty?$25; darntough.com6. Marmot Ridgerock JacketWhen it’s rainy and cold, it sucks, no matter if you’re at 10,000 feet in the Alps or at 3,000 feet in the Blue Ridge. For a reliable shell that keeps you dry when you need it and lets you breathe when you don’t, check out this GORE-TEX jacket. The Angel-Wing Movement™ design doesn’t restrict your range of motion and prevents the shell from riding up your backside. It packs down to just over one pound, which is considerably light given its 100% seam-taped two-layer construction.$275; marmot.com7. MSR Hubba Hubba  When you see that storm front quickly approaching on the horizon, you want to be able to set up a shelter fast. The Hubba Hubba is the perfect solution for weight-conscious backpackers who appreciate an easy-to-assemble freestanding tent. With two doors, two large vestibules, and 40 inches of headspace, this three-season tent is great for everything, from extended alpine expeditions to car camping.$330; cascadedesigns.com/msr8. Kinivo BTH240 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones (not pictured)                                                                                                                                                                                        Kinivo’s top selling on-ear wireless headphones use an exceptional integrated rechargeable battery, which blast up to 10 hours of active audio. To recharge, simply plug the headphones into the included micro-USB charging cable and connect to your PC or wall outlet. It also provides crystal-clear conversations and hands-free calling via a built-in noise cancelling microphone – all housed in a stylishly slim, foldable design. The headphones handled trail runs and long hikes superbly—as well as the drive to and from the trailhead. $30. kinivo.com last_img read more

The Bottom Line: Experience will decide Super Bowl winner

first_imgWhile everyone in the NFL is trying to hire the next (young, upstart) Sean McVay, the reality is that seven of the last eight coaches left in the playoffs were at least 50 years old. NFL history has shown that a coach’s years-long accomplishments are ultimately the deciding factor when it comes to major games. The bottom line? Experience will decide the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. However, McVay is a one-of-a-kind coach in the NFL. In press conferences, he never ceases to amaze reporters with his photographic memory of games and his ability to describe plays that took place during games from years ago. No team will be able to find an exact replication of McVay, no matter how hard they try. This will be the ninth Super Bowl appearance in both Brady and Belichick’s illustrious Patriots careers (with the first dating back to 2002). Brady has suffered some disappointing losses during that time, yet he still has five rings to his name and is looking for his sixth after last year’s defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s a reason why this will be the fourth time the Patriots will play in the Super Bowl in the past five years. They only have arguably the greatest player and the greatest coach of all time in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick; in addition, these two are the most experienced personnel the league has to offer. But McVay lacks the true big game experience Belichick brings to the table. At 33, McVay is half the age of Belichick, 66, and has played in nine fewer Super Bowls. While McVay may have a couple of tricks up his sleeve, Belichick has likely already seen every trick in the book and will know how to cope with any of McVay’s plans. Before the season started, I took a look at the Rams team and predicted that they would be Super Bowl champions. I originally questioned how Rams general manager Les Snead was able to fit all of these marquee players into the team’s salary cap. His ability to put this team together is undoubtedly impressive, and he has proved himself as one of the elite general managers in the game with the roster. As for the quarterback position, while the Rams’ Jared Goff has had an impressive season this year and has great potential, there is no denying that Brady is much better than Goff at this moment. That’s not a knock on Goff, who performed brilliantly in his last game against the Saints, but rather the reality of Brady’s prowess. As with the game against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, everyone knew as soon as the Patriots won the coin toss that Brady would put the game to bed. He’s cool under pressure and has consistently shown his quality when it matters. Robby Aronson is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “The Bottom Line,” runs every other Wednesday. The Rams are a worthy opponent for the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Their star-studded lineup is stocked in almost every position. Their defense is full of big names like defensive tackle Aaron Donald, while the offense also boasts some of the best in the league, like running back Todd Gurley. McVay and most of the Rams have never made a Super Bowl appearance before. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been to the last three. New England is used to the big-game environment, and its fanbase has come to expect great performances from them. But for most Rams players and fans, this will be the biggest game of their lives. The players’ nerves will most certainly play a part in this game. As for McVay, there is a reason why every team in the league is looking at the young, tactically astute players’ coach. McVay’s work with the Rams has been tremendous, and he has set the standard for coaching hires in the NFL. Not only is he great with the players, but his charm off the field has also impressed many in and outside of the league. A new, fun generation is shaping up in the NFL. With McVay’s Rams and Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, the NFL’s next generation looks like it is in place to take the league by storm over the next few years. Every football fan is now looking forward to the energetic path the league is going. But right now, the league still belongs to Brady and Belichick’s Patriots. Over the past five Super Bowls, the Patriots haven’t necessarily had the greatest supporting cast in the league. Often, I’m sitting on the couch, watching the big game and saying, “Who’s that guy?” when I’m watching the Patriots play. Yet, time after time, the Patriots seemingly find a way to win the American Football Conference and reach the Super Bowl.last_img read more

DONEGAL WALKING WEEK LAUNCHED

first_imgThe annual Donegal Walking Week was officially launched by County Donegal Mayor Cllr Cora Harvey at Harvey’s Point near Donegal Town, the annual event which is in its fourth year is organised to promote walking throughout County Donegal and will take place between the 22nd and 29th May.This year the event organisers hope to have 50 walk related activities in every part of the county to promote walking for everyone k off with the Mayor’s own walk on Saturday evening the 21st at the Ards Friary near Creeslough, with 200 acres of grounds and many beaches, Ards hosts some spectacular views perfect for a Saturday evening ramble.Walking Week will also include walks on Sliabh Liag peninsula renowned world wide for its spectacular walks and its rugged scenery, the Sliabh Liag Walkers Club have organised two quite strenuous walks on the Pilgrims Path and from Bunglas to Glencolmcille. Horn Head near Dunfanaghy is also on this year’s calendar of events with a 4k and a 10k walk taking in areas such as Breaghy head and Tramore beach. Inishowen will also be represented with walks planned around the peninsula in areas such as Inishowen Head, Inch Wildfowl Reserve and Moville.Stager Mountain and the Poisoned Glen in Dunlewey, Aranmore Island, Creevy in Ballyshannon and Dungloe  are also on this years programme and will give local’s and visitors a real opportunity to see a whole new Donegal.Mayor Cora Harvey said she was delighted to be associated with Donegal Walking Week and urged everyone in Donegal to make the effort to get out for a walk during the Lets Walk Donegal event, she said that getting in a 20 minute walk every day can add immensely to a persons health not alone in the physical aspects but also mentally and socially. It is also a relatively cheap physical activity which in these trying economic times should be welcomed.The Mayor also encouraged communities to use walking as a tool to attract visitors to their respective areas, Donegal has some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe with many areas that are quite breathtaking, local walking initiatives can also have an economic impact and should be encouraged. Chairman of Donegal Sports Partnership Mr Eamon Harvey wished the event well and hoped that everyone would have an enjoyable week exploring the many fine sites available to walkers in the county, he said that we cannot underestimate the benefits of physical activity including walking in tackling obesity, lowering blood pressure and in creating a social outlet for friends to meet.Myles Sweeney Coordinator of Donegal Sports Partnership thanked all the agencies for their continued support for what is a growing event with 50 walk related events targeted all across the county. He paid special tribute to all the community organisations, walking clubs and walking leaders for their assistance in organising events which are mainly free of charge and events which cater for the novice to the more advanced walker.A full programme of all the organised walks and general walking information will be available for the general public at www.letswalkdonegal.com a 2011 Lets Walk Donegal booklet will also be available for the general public through local libraries and community outlets.DONEGAL WALKING WEEK LAUNCHED was last modified: April 16th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more