Therm-a-Rest Neo Air XTherm
Our friends in Seattle do it again: Therm-a-Rest continues to lead the way when it comes to sleeping pads. The Neo Air® XTherm™ is light (15 ounces), warm (R-Value 5.7), and packs small. It puffs up to a more-than-comfortable 2.5 inches. And it’s durable. This is what they mean when they say “top of the line.”
More info: www.msrgear.com
Slumberjack Daybreak 4 Tent
The Slumberjack Daybreak 4 person tent is a budget-friendly family camping palace with backcountry possibilities and easy setup. Full mesh walls and lightweight fabrics keep the package, including footprint (sold separately) at about 11 lb, in a surprisingly small duffel. The fly provides full coverage and forms a vestibule, or can be propped up as an awning with your hiking poles. A very wide D-door gives easy access to the voluminous interior space, with near-vertical walls and a 58” peak height. Dings: poles are fiberglass and the stakes are blunt.
More info: www.slumberjack.com
Black Diamond Creek 50 Climbing Pack
The Black Diamond Creek 50 pack is the antithesis to the light and spry alpine climbing pack, and finally filled that perfect climbing pack-shape hole in my life. The exterior fabric is a tough-as-beef-jerky weave modeled after big-wall haul bags, complimented by thick zippers and comfortable back padding. Then the aspect I found most pleasing: the ease of ingress and egress of gear from within the gapping maw of a main compartment. And when the rubber meets the road? The Creek 50 did equally well hauling in all of the accoutrements for a full day of local crag climbing, as well as playing Sherpa with enough multipitch gear to tackle 1,300 feet of rock.
More info: www.blackdiamond.com
Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker
First, a caution: we don’t need music everywhere. Bluetooth technology has brought us unwelcome hip-hop in the backcountry. But for backyard groovin’, the UE Megaboom is just the thing. I find that weeding the garden is much easier while listening to Japanese koto music.
More info: www.ultimateears.com