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Gear reviews: Latest, greatest from Outdoor Retailer market
Recreation » The latest, greatest from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.


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Sierra Designs is undergoing a revamp of its line and gets off to a strong start with the Backcountry Bed 800. This sleeping bag has all the features typical of the Sierra Designs lines, but is made to feel more like sleeping at home. The bag is zipperless with entry via an oval-shaped opening on the top. Instead of zipping up to stay warm, sleepers pull up an oversized comforter attached to the bag. The comforter can be tucked into the bag for colder nights or left on top or pushed away entirely for warmer nights. The Backcountry Bed feels roomy and cozy, not confined and claustrophobic. The bag will be available in the spring in a two-season ($349) and a three-season ($399) model, with regular, long and women’s specific models. www.sierradesigns.com/

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Hydrogen Reactor from Brunton

Charging devices for the backcountry have taken a unique twist, or should I say splash, with the arrival of the Hydrogen Reactor. The Reactor combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, and aside from a potentially annoying misting sound, seems like a viable alternative for producing power in out-of-the-way places. Each Reactor comes with two Hydrogen Cores, equal to more than 30 AA batteries, and can be recharged. Each Hydrogen Core re-charges in one hour and can make up to six smart phone charges through a USB port. Available in October, along with other Reactor Series items, for $149.99. www.brunton.com

Device App from GoPro

There was plenty of chatter at Outdoor Retailer about a new app from GoPro, which allows people to use mobile devices to view and share photos and videos shot on the HERO3 and HERO2 (with the Wi-Fi BacPac). The app allows people to use their phone or tablet (iOS or Android) as a remote control to change camera settings, start and stop recordings or shoot pictures. GoPro users can finally see what they are shooting live in a preview. No longer will you have to wait to transfer the video from the memory card to a computer. You can see video and photos while still on the slope, river or mountain. And, more importantly to some people, immediately post to social media sites. Now if they can figure out the battery life issue. See a video of people using the app at http://youtu.be/uVf6LRFI740. http://gopro.com/software-app/gopro-app/

Syclone tent poles from Easton


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Every once in a while we get a chance to really see products from Outdoor Retailer in action. One evening during the show last week, I headed to the Easton Mountain Products exhibit to see the new Syclone poles put to a test. With a wind machine cranked at over 80 mph, several Easton tents held their form or returned to form when the wind was shut off. Impressive. The new composite poles are 80 percent more resilient to failure and bending than aluminum, company officials say. After seeing them under pressure, I have no reason to doubt it. The poles will come standard in the Torrent two-person tent available for ($399) in the spring. The new Slickrock tent (two-person, $299, and three-person, $349) will also have the Syclone poles. With such high quality, people at the show were pondering when the poles will start showing up in tents other than Easton. http://eastonmountainproducts.com/

Kid Comfort Air carrier from Deuter

Passing comments on the trail like, "Wish I could ride in that thing," might increase when the Kid Comfort Air is the carrier. This is a new carrier from Deuter and is designed for active outdoor families. The carrier features the AirComfort back system to provide ventilation for the lucky parent hauling the load and an easy side entry. The carrier tips the scales just under 6 pounds, perhaps making the timeframe you can carry kids on your back just a little longer. Available in the spring for $229. www.deuter.com/en_US/

Non-matching shoes from CHOOZE

Can’t find the other shoe for a matching pair? The pattern on your school backpack doesn’t match your mood? Not a problem with CHOOZE. Based on the theory that conforming to ordinary, makes you, well ordinary, the company is selling mismatched shoes and reversible backpacks. "The simple act of wearing two different shoes inspires confidence and creativity and encourages people to think differently, to change their perspective and to be open to new ideas," reads CHOOZE literature. The children’s and women’s shoes and baby booties are vegan based. Prices range from $22-$60 for the shoes and $40-$44 for the backpacks. Available now. www.choozeshoes.com

Pivot wading boots from Orvis

These boots take a big step in helping anglers avoid spreading invasive species. Gone are the sponge-like felt bottoms and shoelaces, replaced with the Boa lacing system and JStep rubber soles. The Boa steel wire dialed lace system allows for quick adjustment of the boots without the bulk and debris-grabbing laces of the past. Orvis was not entirely happy with its previous versions of felt-free boots and worked to come up with a "grippier" rubber for the center of the sole and a firmer, abrasion resistant outsole to provide durability. All wading boots, of course, still need to be completely dried or treated before being used in a new fishery. The boots will be available in the spring for $179. www.orvis.com

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