By Ashley Stewart Herald Writer
Santa has been guiding his team of eight over the river and through the woods in the dark of night every winter for centuries. How does this ultimate outdoorsman do it? Proper outdoor gear. Here are a few gifts that he’s been keeping to himself:
1. Folbot’s Cooper folding kayak ($1,699) fits neatly into its own backpack, then expands into a full-size and functional boat. The 39-pound kayak carries a maximum payload of 275 pounds, assembles quickly and comes in nine colors; www.folbot.com/kayaks/cooper.
2. Wenger’s Squadron Rescue Chrono ($695) is a bright and rugged timepiece dedicated to search-and-rescue pilots. The watch is water-resistant up to 330 feet and comes in a set with a RangerGrip Swiss Army knife of the same color and a black neoprene laptop case; www.wengerna.com/squadron-rescue-chrono-60758.
3. Smith’s Recon I/O ($650) goggles show speed, GPS mapping, altitude, temperature, even your friends’ locations. And it can connect to smartphones to view incoming calls and texts. The information is tucked away in the corners of the goggles and appears to be floating five feet ahead of you on a 14-inch screen; www.smithoptics.com.
4. Atlas Race Snowshoe ($319.95) has a feather-light, durable frame. And it’s not just for racing. The snowshoe’s ultralight bindings allow for precise foot placement while its V-shaped frame provides adequate float; www.atlassnowshoe.com/snowshoes/race-1213.
5. Sierra Designs DriDown jackets (from $229) and sleeping bags (from $199.95) provide worry-free down insulation. Regular down is warm and durable, but loses its edge when it gets wet. DriDown natural down insulation is treated with a finish to keep jackets and sleeping bags drier, loftier and warmer in all kinds of weather; www.sierradesigns.com/DriDown.aspx.
6. Biolite CampStove ($129) cooks food and can even charge electronics using energy from the fire. It is compact and runs on twigs or pellets. More information at www.shop.biolitestove.com.
7. Rite in the Rain all-weather outdoor journals (from $3.95) aren’t ruined by rain or water; www.riteintherain.com.
8. Seam Grip field repair kits ($7) will fix leaks, cuts and tears in sleeping pads, tents, rainwear and other outdoor items; www.mcnett.com.
9. Grabber reusable hand warmers (3 pack, $4) can be used for 10 hours in intervals by putting the activated warmer into its resealable pouch; www.rei.com.