Muscles Not Motors – August 2009 Gear Review

Ryan James Leclerc
Posted August 3rd, 2009

Whether you’re a snowboarder or snowshoer, mountain hiker or mountain biker, Nordic skier or Nordic walker, you need gear. Each month, I review, right here, three items that I personally feel are especially cool. Here are my picks for this month.
At your next barbeque, when you’ve played enough Bocce, Corn Hole, or Beer Pole, set up a Gibbon Slackline. Before you know it, everyone will be taking a shot at walking in air on a two-inch-wide stretch of high-tensioned webbing. The Gibbon Slackline, with its simple ratcheting system, can be set up in minutes but will provide hours of fun. Best of all, unlike most barbeque pastimes, slacklining will help burn off those burgers, dogs, and kebobs, as it engages multiple muscle groups, while building strength and improving balance and mental focus. If balance and mental focus are lacking among the guests at your particular barbeque, you can set up your slackline nice and low to the ground so when your cousin Lenny takes a digger attempting to walk across the line while drinking a beer, he won’t hurt himself too much. To really get the party going, set one or two up over the pool and let the fun begin. $79.99 for 15 feet; $99.99 for 25 feet.
They may not be able to spell, but the folks at Klean Kanteen sure can make a great beverage container. Made from fully recyclable 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, Klean Kanteens are lightweight, durable, and BPA and toxin free, and, as any bottle should be, are 100 percent safe to drink from. The Wine Karafe is a 750 ml bottle designed to transport a bottle of delicious wine safely to the top of a mountain, the edge of an island, or the middle of nowhere. Best of all, it won’t leach or retain flavor, so although you may find notes of citrus and green pepper in your Sauvignon Blanc, you won’t find notes of Cabernet Sauvignon in your Klean Kanteen. The wide mouth makes it easy to fill up and pour your favorite varietal, and when you’ve emptied it, cleaning only requires a quick rinse with some mild, biodegradable soap. And as always, please enjoy your delicious wine responsibly. $20.95.
If it decides to rain, as it probably will, based on the weather we’ve seen so far this summer, do not run for cover and proclaim that the party is over. Instead, outfit yourself in technical raingear and insist that your guests do the same. The Sierra Designs Isotope jacket and pants are made of Nanolite rip-stop fabric, are ultra waterproof and ultra breathable, and are designed to allow natural, uninhibited mobility, so there is no excuse to take the slackline down. Perfect for hiking, the super lightweight Isotope jacket and pants will take up minimal space in your pack when the sun finally re-emerges. If it never does, don’t fret. Just slip on the hood and keep going. When you’ve made it to the top, pull out your Klean Kanteen Wine Karafe and make a toast to enjoying yet another rainy Vermont summer. Isotope Jacket, $139; Isotope Pants, $99.

Ryan James Leclerc

Ryan James Leclerc used to be single and used to work on the sales floor of Onion River Sports. He is now married and works in the office of Onion River Sports. The creative license he procured in a back alley allows him to occasionally narrate from the past as though it were the present.