Muscles Not Motors Gear Review

Ryan James LeClerc
Posted January 24th, 2009

Voile Split Decision Kit
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.
A big storm is settling in and they’re gonna be measuring the accumulation in feet, so you and your friends are hiking Mad River and spending the night in the Stark’s Nest. Here are three especially cool items that you’ll want to take along.
If you’re a snowboarder like me, hiking MRG is the only way you can ride it, and if you’ve done the hike, most likely you’ve been scolded by skiers for snowshoeing in their precious skin track. (Their dogs, mind you, with their poop and their pee and their four postholing paws are more than welcome in the skin track, but snowshoeing snowboarders are a big no-no.) Armed with the Voile Split Decision Kit, you not only abide by backcountry etiquette, you conserve all the energy you would’ve lost breaking your own trail on the way up. The two halves, with their extra wide skins, make superior climbing skis, and when transformed back into one, you’ve got a perfectly decent powder board. From now on, you can save the snowshoes for snowshoeing.
Split Kit hardware—$160; Split Kit skins—$150.
Once you’ve made it to your mountaintop shelter, you’ll need some light. I recommend the BD Orbit lantern, which is a technical marvel that any powder-poaching overnighter, weight conscious camper, or super-cool–lighting-device enthusiast should own. Cranked up to full power, this 84 gram, one-watt LED mini lantern will cast a six-foot radius of light, making it perfect for illumination in the Stark’s Nest or the Stone Hut. Use the dimmer switch to reduce the output for a nice, cozy glow while saving battery life. As with all Black Diamond products, the Orbit Camping Lantern is well thought out: light output is maximized while lantern shadows are minimized with the use of dual reflectors and a frosted globe, and the cleverly designed top hooks can quickly and securely attach to a nail in the wall, a hook on the ceiling, or the frame of an old, beat up, gas powered lantern. $29.95.
You’ve dazzled your friends with your split board and your LED lantern, and now it’s time to achieve the status of a Backcountry Wizard. When it is time for some hot and hearty grub, bust out the JetBoil PSC and cook up some delicious noodles or freeze dried Wild West Chile and Beans. With the click of a button, the stove fires up and two minutes later, you’ve got boiling water. In the morning, make fresh coffee using the coffee press accessory. When it’s time to go, the components, fuel canister, and press all fit into the cup itself. While the rest of your friends are still trying to assemble their stoves, you’ll be getting first turns, and only your single S-turn will indicate that you were even there. Just make sure you stay away from the skintrack.
JetBoil PCS—$99.95; JetPower Fuel Canister (110g)—$3.99.

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.