Each month we review outdoor gear and local beer. Want us to review something in particular? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gear: Nemo Helio Pressure Shower
This is a pretty nifty little number that finds welcome homes in many outdoor activity applications. Simply fill the reservoir with water, pump up the volume with your foot and voila! You have an instant 2.9-gallon pressurized shower! It’s a really nice addition to just about any base camp or any longer-term camping spot, as its 7-foot-long hose allows everyone 6 feet 5 inches and under to bathe, and you can wash dishes with it. For shower purposes you can let the water warm in the sun or add some stove-heated water to cold water in the reservoir. Nicely, you don’t have to hang it off anything to use it, as the base makes it free-standing and it doesn’t require gravity for water flow. Less obvious uses include, but are not limited to: bringing it in the car and washing off your mountain bike with it (some sort of brush helps here) after a long muddy ride (anyone been on any of those yet this season?!); bringing it to Lake Champlain and using it to wash the sand off your feet and/or sandals; and finally (my favorite), bringing it to a ski race and using it as a squirt gun to make the other competitors hypothermic so that you can win (not actually recommended!). The tubing between the pump and reservoir and the reservoir and the showerhead kink easily, and I do have some concern that they will become weakened over time. Also, the filling hole for the reservoir is on the small side and is difficult to fill directly in a shallow stream or river; it’s better filled with some sort of tap. These facets seem like only small roadblocks to an otherwise fabulous execution of an equally wonderful idea! Nice innovation, Nemo!
$99.95; C&C Outdoors, Waterbury; Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington
Gear: Chaco Hinterland
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that Chaco makes some of the most durable, comfortable sport sandals on the market. And they have for years—I’m often shocked when I think about how long my various Chacos have lasted me. A pair of have, for instance, was a hand-me-down from a friend, who gave them to me in 2007. They’re still rocking. So we were psyched to hear Chaco continues to extend its line of footwear beyond sandals with its Active Adventure Collection, including these Hinterland boots. Seam-taped, waterproof bottoms and water-resistant uppers, these rugged yet lightweight boots are beckoning for the trail. Comfortable right out of the box, and roomy enough for wider feet, the Hinterlands are ideal for day trips up and down the Green Mountains. The line of shoes is built on Chaco’s renowned Luvseat long-lasting comfort and support platform and anchored by a completely new midsole/outsole combination. The Adventure collection offers two height choices, durable Nubuck and suede uppers with rubber toe cap and heels, and a waterproof option. A new EcoTrea outsole pattern with a 4-5mm lug depth keeps feet grounded. —Sky Barsch
Beer: Covered Bridge Lucky Me
Billed as a blonde/pale ale, this one comes from a relative newcomer and Lyndonville-based brewery. I had it on tap at the Pub Outback in East Burke. The first thing that really struck me about this beer was actually the last: a late dwelling of sweetness in the form of a dark, bready, pumpernickel flavor that made my mouth water and crave more. But before that I noticed an herbaceous flavor, including thyme and oregano and some other high notes, pleasant and refreshing to my palate, which was dry from a recent trail ride on the nearby Kingdom Trails. My nostrils may initially detected citrus, particularly orange zest, and spices … cloves or coriander perhaps. The lovely liquid glows a bright gold with a slight orange tint when held up to the sun (don’t look right at it, even through the beer!), and it feels light and thin in the mouth, which seems perfectly refreshing for the (hopefully) hot summer days ahead.
Josh Gleiner is the Beer and Gear editor for Vermont Sports. He can be reached at email@example.com.