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Gear Review Roundup: Apparel & Gadgets for Your Next Trek

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Apparel & Gadgets for Your Next Trek

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Stealth Hoodie LT Jacket by Triple Aught Design:

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If you are looking for a jacket that is rugged, lightweight, breathable, warm, waterproof, adaptable, and has more pockets than you know what to do with, then the Stealth Hoodie LT by Triple Aught designs is exactly what you want.

This soft-shell jacket has more capabilities and features than all the soft-shell jackets that I have ever owned combined. On top of all that, the build quality is superb.

Unlike most jackets, the Stealth Hoodie LT preforms extremely well during activities that demand flexibility and mobility. I have tested this jacket while kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking, and snow camping to name a few. These activities took place around the California Bay Area, Northern Idaho, and the San Juan Islands in Washington State. While photographing a marathon, I wore this jacket in heavy rain for 4 hours and not a drop got through. In every situation tested, this jacket preformed above and beyond.

I have never experienced such effective heat retention in fairly cold weather as well as ventilation/breathability in sunny warm weather from a single jacket without having to add or remove any layers. As any traveler can attest to, having a piece of clothing that performs well in both cold and warm weather is invaluable.

Some of the features that I felt set this jacket apart from the competition are the 2 zippered pockets on the left arm and the one on the right, a large zippered pocket on the back with access from both sides, a rain hood with a bill that can fold up to be stored at the back of the neck, zippered armpit vents, and 4 of the pockets even have internal D-rings.

Here is a list of some of the technology that this jacket utilizes per Triple Aught Design’s website:

The Stealth Hoodie LT is a custom-engineered, three-layer soft-shell constructed from Swiss-made Schoeller® textiles and treatments that include:

c_change® fabric: An advanced wind and waterproof membrane that reacts to changing temperatures, closing when exposed to cold and opening in response to heat to ensure a pleasant body climate.

3XDRY®: A treatment on both the face and tricot, it repels water, dirt and stains on the surface while wicking away moisture and perspiration on the inside to keep you cool, dry and comfortable.

coldblack®: A special finishing treatment that reflects UV rays to keep you cool.

4 Way Stretch: Enhances flexibility and range of movement.

This is definitely one of my favorite jackets of all time. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for outerwear that can easily adapt to nearly any conditions or environment.

Available in ME Green, UE Grey and Black in both Patched and No-Patch variations.

Made in Canada

Price: $475.00

Please visit the following link to learn more: http://store.tripleaughtdesign.com/Apparel/Jackets/Stealth-Hoodie-LT

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Force 10 RS Cargo Pants by Triple Aught Design:

What good is an awesome jacket for rugged adventures if you don’t have pants to match? The Force 10 RS Cargo Pants by Triple Aught Design are built to be the perfect match. These pants have enough features to bring James Bond to tears.

They feature 10 pockets, two of which are hidden passport pockets in the rear interior. The two main cargo pockets on each have multiple internal dividers so your tools, gear, and gadgets don’t get all jumbled together. Triple and double stitching are used throughout these pants to help them withstand all the abuse you can throw at them.

A couple other nice touches are the D-rings that are in both cargo pockets as well as above each of the front pockets near the belt loops, and the Adjustable Leg Drawstrings at the bottom of each pant leg are a great addition. This really comes in handy for keeping these pants securely attached over your boots to keep out rain, cold, and bugs.

My personal favorite feature these pants provide are the special kneepad pockets where you can insert two different kinds of kneepads. Unfortunately, Triple Aught Design did not provide me a pair of either style of kneepad so I cannot vouch for their effectiveness, ease of use, or comfort. If there was any missing feature that I would request be added to at least one of the pants made by Triple Aught Design it would be the addition of a pair of zip-off pants that would allow these to be worn as pants or shorts by simply unzipping the bottom half of the pant legs.

I used the Force 10 RS Cargo Pants during many of the same outdoor activities while testing the Stealth Hoodie LT Jacket by Triple Aught Design such as: mountain biking, kayaking, backpacking, hiking in snow, and hiking in the rain. I also tested them in both warm and cold conditions. In cold conditions, they provided ample heat retention, and in warm conditions they provided a fair amount of breathability. I recommend utilizing some form of waterproofing for these pants if you plan on being exposed to wet weather for an extended period of time. They performed quite well in the rain when treated with weatherproofing.

Compared to all the pants I have ever owned, this pair definitely ranks in the top 10. I highly recommend these pants to anyone who is looking for pants that will keep up with an active outdoors lifestyle.

Available in ME Brown, ME Green, & Battleship Grey

Made in USA

Price: $119

For more info, visit the following link: http://store.tripleaughtdesign.com/Apparel/Pants-And-Shorts/Force-10-Cargo-Pant-NYCO-Ripstop

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Kailash GTX Hiking Boots by SCARPA

If you want a pair of hiking boots that are as tough as nails, then you are reading the right review. The Kailash GTX hiking boots from SCARPA are built to take a beating from rugged terrain without breaking a sweat.

During my testing, I roughed them up on boulders, used them in the mud, hiked in the rain for hours, trudged though drifts of snow, navigated slippery rocks by the ocean and even rode mountain bikes and motorcycles. Not once did they succumb to any of the steep and slippery terrain or varying weather conditions.

These boots feature Performance Comfort Gor-tex fabrics, Vibram® Hi-Trail Lite soles, bi-directional ankle flexibility, protective toe rand, easily tensioned lacing system, and they weigh in at 630g; 1lb 6oz.

The ankle support of these boots is superb. As someone who has severely rolled an ankle on more than one adventure, I can tell you that protecting against this is a high priority when I am choosing a pair of boots. These passed with flying colors.

If you are looking for a pair of comfortable hiking boots with a high build quality that can survive getting roughed up on a regular basis, then you should definitely consider the Kailash GTX Hiking Boots by SCARPA.

Made in Romania

Price: $209

For more info, please visit the following link:

http://www.scarpa.com/kailash-gtx

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Magellan eXplorist 710 rugged, handheld GPS:

Okay, let’s get this out of the way up front. Yes, your smartphone has a GPS in it, and yes, you can get lots of maps and navigation apps for just a couple bucks, and yeah, you can get a rugged case for said smartphone. The problem is that your smartphone has quite a few drawbacks that can’t easily be overcome. The Magellan eXplorist, however, is designed from the ground up to be used in harsh climates and rugged terrain.

First of all, your smartphone isn’t designed to be used in rugged conditions. Secondly, the eXplorist 710 can be powered for up to 16 hours by a simple pair of lithium AA batteries that have a 5-year shelf life, cheap alkaline AA batteries or even rechargeable Ni–MH AA batteries. All of these can be purchased in just about any store in every country in the world. Try leaving your GPS mapping app running on your smartphone, and you will probably only get a couple hours of use if you’re lucky. Thirdly, smartphones typically have an ambient operational temperature range of roughly 32°F to 95°F. The eXplorist, on the other hand, can operate from 14°F to 140°F and has a Rugged and waterproof (IPX-7) rating. In my testing, it easily survived a 3-foot drop test onto concrete and use in heavy rain. Another feature that the eXplorist provides that you will not find in a smartphone is a barometric altimeter. This gives the eXplorist the ability to determine altitude without a GPS signal as well as measure barometric pressure over time to track changing weather conditions.

The eXplorist 710 isn’t just for hiking, like most any other handheld GPS in its class. This GPS also provides turn-by-turn voice directions for driving, cycling, and walking. The most powerful feature of this GPS is the maps that are built in. The USA City Series map gives you turn-by-turn navigation through US city streets to a wide variety of destinations using a built-in database of points of interest. The USA Summit Series map consists of a highly detailed topographic map based on 1:24,000 scale sources. The map includes contour lines, land use areas, trails, waterways, and points of interest. You can easily locate the nearest trailhead, or search for the nearest bike shops, fuel stations, or potable water source. The World Edition map includes a complete road network in United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia. Water features, urban and rural land use, and a realistic shaded relief background throughout the rest of the world are also included. These built-in maps and the firmware can be updated by plugging this GPS into your computer via the mini USB cable. Additional maps can be installed on the 3GB of available internal storage or via the micro SD memory card expansion slot. One fun feature the eXplorist sports is a built-in database of geocaches as well as the ability to download more from your computer for you and your friends to hunt down on your next adventure.

A feature I was surprised to see included in this GPS is a camera. It seems a bit odd to include a camera in a GPS what with nearly every cellphone and tablet on the planet having a built-in camera (not to mention all the point-and-shoot cameras, and action cameras on the market). I can’t speak for everyone, but all my friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances carry smartphones that have cameras. Okay, maybe some people won’t want to bring their smartphones or point-and-shoot cameras on a rugged adventure, but they likely will want to bring an action camera such as a GoPro, Contour, or Drift camera. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having a camera built into a GPS that’s made for adventures so I don’t have to risk damaging my iPhone. My main complaint is the lack of performance in this camera. At only 3.2 mega-pixels, its less resolution than most inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras. Considering the price of this GPS, I would have expected much more from the included camera.

Camera aside, the eXplorist 710 is worth every penny to ensure you have a reliable GPS that can survive harsh terrain and climates during remote adventures. I highly recommend it for any avid explorer.

Made in China

Price: $499.99

For more information, visit the following link: http://www.magellangps.com/Store/eXploristSeries/eXplorist-710

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