Gear & Beer: CamelBak Relay, Ibex W2 Sport Tee, Otter Creek Fresh Slice


CamelBak Relay

There are lots of great water filters on the market to help you refill in the backcountry, but filtering at home can be a slow and spilly undertaking. CamelBak makes a new water filtration pitcher that’s specifically designed for fast, leak-proof filtering, which I find to be helpful for filling reservoirs and bottles before hitting the road.

The Relay relies on a two-step filtration process to cut filtering time by a ridiculous margin: water is filtered while filling the pitcher and again while pouring out, at a rate that’s just about as fast as the flow of your faucet. The design of the “Fresh Filter” includes pleats to increase surface area, allowing more water to come into contact with the filter to speed up the process.

The plant-based activated carbon inside the filter removes chlorine, tastes, odors and particulates commonly found in public drinking water. Just open the hinged trap door on top of the lid and turn on the tap to fill. Once filled, there’s no need to carefully pour the contents of this pitcher thanks to its locking lid. The snap tight lid not only eliminates sloshing, but is also essential to the design. The pitcher must be poured at a 90 degree angle to run water through the second step of the filtration process on its way into your container. The filter lasts four months, which CameBak claims is twice as long as its competitors, thus reducing waste.

Its ten-cup capacity allows the Relay to almost completely fill a three-liter reservoir in one pour, but its compact design easily fits in the door of most refrigerators to save space while cooling down.

The Relay comes completely apart and all parts except the filter can be run through the dishwasher. (I wish it was as easy to clean hydration bladders!) Like their other products, the Relay is covered by CamelBak’s lifetime guarantee for defects in materials and workmanship. $36.99


1320_6625Ibex W2 Sport Tee

Available just in time for the onset of the summer heat, Ibex’s new summer-weight wool layer for men and women is both lightweight and wicking. The W2 Sport T is made from Weightless Wool, Ibex’s lightest weight knit fabric that weighs in at just under 6 ounces for the men’s model and under 4 ounces for the women’s.

Woven from yarn made of Australian Merino wool wrapped around a nylon core, this hybrid of 87% natural fiber and 13% synthetic material performs well as a technical layer. The fabric blend is soft and flexible and the flat stitched construction is durable and comfortable. The fit of the shirt is flattering, but not too constricting. Weightless Wool has natural odor resistance and can be thrown in the washing machine – no special washing instructions required.

This temperature-regulating layer is a versatile top to wear out on the trail or at the gym when you need to keep cool or as a base layer during colder months for additional warmth during winter sports. The W2 Weightless Wool line also comes in other styles for men and women including the long sleeved half zip and short sleeved half zip.

Ibex offers a lifetime warranty against defects and, if you are unsatisfied for any reason, purchases can be returned within 60 days through the Ibex Promise program. Fun fact: when the long life of your Ibex items finally comes to an end, worn out items can be returned to Ibex Headquarters in White River Junction, Vermont for repurposing. All recycled garments are upcycled into reclaimed felt bags. The W2 Sport T is another innovative product offering from this sustainability minded company. It’s perfect for hiking, trail running, climbing, backpacking and biking. $70-$75


otter-creek-fresh-slice-white-ipa-2Beer: Otter Creek Fresh Slice

Citrus IPAs are this summer’s blockbuster hit and Otter Creek Brewery’s offering shines in the spotlight. Fresh Slice is Otter Creek’s newest summer seasonal and the latest in Brewmaster Mike Gerhart’s hop-on-the-bus series. As a nod to his orange Volkswagen bus named Clementine, and a unique variance from the pack, this white IPA imparts its citrus character from clementine juice added along with the orange peel traditionally found in this Belgian style.

In the glass, the texture in the unfiltered, honey-hued brew hangs uniformly suspended while the sudsy head foams like soap bubbles, releasing aromas of wheat and yeast as they burst. Hints of spice and citrus zest make an appearance on the nose and again on the palate from added coriander, orange zest, clementine juice and citrus undertones in the American hops.

Light and fresh with a juicy finish, Fresh Slice is perfect for drinking on a warm, sunny day. This is the brewery’s most successful summer beer in its 24 year history and it should be easy enough to come by throughout the season thanks to its wide distribution in the Northeast. Look for it on draft and in 12 ounce bottles and cans as well as in the OCB summer seasonal sampler. 5.5% ABV

Hilary DelRoss

Hilary grew up in southern New England where she developed her love of nature and outdoor recreation, including learning to ski at Rhode Island's only ski hill. After exploring the Rocky and Cascade mountain ranges, she transplanted to the Green Mountain State where she snowboards, skis, hikes, bikes, kayaks and stokes campfires from her home base in Montpelier.