The sun’s out, the trails are dry and the water’s warm. Here’s the gear you need to get out there.
The Portable SUP
There are nearly as many types of SUPs now as there are SUPers: ones for yoga, ones for racing, ones for waves, ones for touring. But if you are looking for a board that you can take anywhere, one you could pack up and hike with to, say, one of Vermont’s more remote lakes, the Red Paddle Sport MSL ($1,520) may be your best bet. Unlike older in atable boards, the Sport is sti enough for touring, thanks to rocker-sti ening (RSS battens) and its monocoque structural laminate (MSL) construction, which RedPaddle estimates saves more than 2 pounds over similar boards. So how does it work? You simply unroll it out of its carrying case (a backpack), insert the battens, use the Titan pump to in ate it and you are ready to go.
We’ve been waiting for a while to find the perfect hydration pack for mountain biking and Gregory’s Drift $99.95 (Amasa, for women) comes pretty darn close. Where do we start? For one, we love the fact that the new 3D hydro reservoir dries more like a waterbottle than a clammy pack. A magnetic sternum strap is easy to close with one hand and also connects to the magnet on the DryLock bit valve — no more fumbling blindly to find the bit, with one hand on the bars. We also love the quick stow packet for sunglasses that’s right on the shoulder harness. Inside, there’s a dedicated removable, zippered pouch for your trail tools (so they don’t bounce around) and pockets for spare tubes, pumps, etc., and a crash pad protection lined with foam to protect your phone or other valuables. The packs come in 6, 10 and 14 sizes in green, red and black. The largest, the 14 has a volume of 20 liters and if you pack it up, you’ll really appreciate the fact that you can adjust the hip belt so it rides higher or lower on your back.
A Big Charge
If you need a charge, there are all sorts of tiny pucks and other battery supplements for iPhones and GoPros and such. But if you are headed out away from civilization and must (simply must) bring your laptop (or anything else with a regular AC plug) what do you do? A USB cord just won’t cut it. We tried the myCharge Adventure Ultra ($129.99) portable charging hub and inverter and were pleasantly surprised. The charger has two USB ports as well as a standard plug. Once you charge the base station, you can get a full charge on a laptop, eight charges on an iPhone or 8 hours of power out of a lamp with an LED bulb, the company claims. With a 20 V power supply and an AC 110 V 45 W output, it’s a powerful little thing for its size but, a 1.05 pounds, maybe not something you’d want to carry around all day.
If you’re headed for the crags of Smugglers’ Notch this summer (or plan to climb anywhere else), check out Lowa’s Rocket ($145) climbing shoe. It’s not a shoe you’re going to want to pad around in but once you go vertical, it will give you an added boost and it’s thick, reinforced toe has plenty of protection. A single Velcro closure and three straps (one on the tongue, two on the heel) make it easy to slip on and o and the soft suede upper has just enough give for comfort. Still, this is relatively aggressive performance shoe has a sharp tapered toe, making it ideal for edging and toe hooking. The extra-stiff midsole offers protection for those jam cracks, and will ease the strain on your foot for multi-pitch climbs. The toe-down style gives you a boost on steep climbs.
Here Comes The Sun
It’s summer and in honor of the fact that it finally stopped raining, we’re celebrating with sunshine of all kinds. While Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine remains a favorite (and we are looking forward to the new tasting room opening in Waits eld next year), our shout out this month goes to RockArt in Morrisville. RockArt, the brewer that brought us Sunny and 75, a witbier ale brewed with cracked coriander and hints of orange, malt and spice, comes something even sunnier. On June 27, Rock Art became the first Vermont brewer to go 100 percent solar. Working with solar panel provider SunCommon, the 20-year-old, family owned brewery put in a 67kW, 200-panel array on its roof that will meet all its electricity needs. To celebrate, Rock Art created a special brew, Sun Rocked IPA that will be distributed in cans around the state in July. It has “nice tropical fruit, berries and citrus flavors – everything that summer sunshine represents,” said Matt Nadeau, co-owner of Rock ArtBrewery. Stop by the Morrisville tasting room after a ride on the new sections of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.