Ryan James Leclerc
Posted August 6th, 2010
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.
Teva Illum Lighted Flip Flops
Headlamps have been around for many years and are great for finding your way in the dark. They work so well for that purpose that the idea of a ped lamp certainly had never crossed my mind, but it crossed the minds of two lifelong adventure surfers who were tired of fumbling their way down dark, treacherous paths, stubbing toes, and rolling ankles as they made their way to the water for pre-sunrise “dawn patrol.” The designers at Teva, the footwear company with the most commonly mispronounced brand name in the world—pronounced “teh-va,” not “tee-va”—felt the ped lamp idea was brilliant, so they went ahead and designed a line of lighted flip flops called Illum that feature an integrated waterproof LED to provide a “Glow From Below.” Sure, a headlamp lights the way perfectly well, but anyone who has ever owned a headlamp knows how easy they are to lose, so with a pair of Illum flip flops, you have one fewer thingamajigs to worry about. For me, this is a great thing, as I can never keep track of gadgets. Of course, I also have a hard time keeping track of my sandals. Available in leather ($60) and synthetic ($50). www.teva.com.
The Tecnica Tarantulas may not have an integrated light, but the orange highlights that accent these multi-function shoes are so bright they virtually glow. The Tarantulas are built with innovative TRS technology, designed to allow the user to go faster and longer during trail runs, speed hikes, and outdoor adventures. TRS (Tecnica Rolling System) technology features an oversized roll zone and flat sole on the rear two thirds of the sole with a rolling rocker on the front third. This unique design “rolls” energy forward for better energy transfer, while reducing heel strike for a smoother ride, and the increased ground contact enhances grip for optimal safety in varying terrain. Utilizing a sock construction that features a stretchy upper, the Tarantulas require a bit more effort to slip into, but once on your feet, they provide a fit that is remarkably snug and comfortable. Best of all, the tongue is gusseted rather than free, so it stays in place instead of creeping like a spider. $115. www.tecnicausa.com.
AquaPac Waterproof Backpack
The Wet and Dry Backpack from Aquapac means it can rain all it wants, but your camera, phone, notebook, peanut butter sandwich, and last pair of clean socks will stay dry. For your clothes and other items that do get drenched, it has a separate waterproof internal compartment to stash them away. The roll top design, featuring Aquapac’s specialty hardened seam, which ensures a tight rolling action, is the secret to keeping the water out. With three rolls, you are guaranteed a 100-percent waterproof seal in torrential downpours and full submersion. Loaded with tons of clever features such as an external mesh bottle pocket, a hydration bladder sleeve, and a clear key pocket, the Aquapac Wet and Dry Waterproof Backpack is a trusty companion for the outdoors that just simply works. $85. www.aquapac.net.