Each month we review outdoor gear and local beer. Want us to review something in particular? Send a note to email@example.com.
Gear: Switch Sunglasses
I don’t say this very often: I love this product! Switch has taken a common problem—difficulty changing lenses in eyewear—and put a simple, yet critical twist on it: adding a working magnetic interchangeable lens system. One set of frames holds several different pairs of lenses thatare held in place by magnets. The lenses can be changed out in less than a minute, so if you’re biking and the day starts sunny but becomes cloudy, just change out the dark lenses for the yellow ones during a short break. What’s more, the magnets are strong enough to hold the lenses in place even through jarring activities like mountain biking and trail running. Most of the time, the lenses didn’t fall out, even when I dropped the glasses. There are 14 different frame styles available, including three new styles for 2012, and they range from fashion frames to triathlon-specific sets. All frames come with a pair of dark lenses and a pair of Low-Light Rose Amber lenses, a lens pod for the spare pair, and a microfiber cleaning pouch. Seven other varieties of lenses are available for purchase (all of which are polycarbonate scratch-resistant, 100 percent UV blocking, and available in prescription), including lenses specifically designed for golf and tennis, driving, skiing, use on trails for hiking and mountain biking, road cycling, and reading outdoors. I am a master at losing sunglasses, but I sincerely hope I can hold on to these. I’m considering implanting magnets in my face, just to make sure. My only remaining question: when will Switch start making winter sports goggles?
Frame packages starting at $119; replacement lenses starting at $40. Vermont Family Eyecare, Williston. switchvision.com, or at REI.com
Gear: Gear Aid Mirazyme Odor Eliminator
I inadvertently got the opportunity to test this product when my dog got skunked earlier this spring. I skeptically put her in the tub and doused her in this solution and let it soak in for five minutes, all the while thinking of tomato juice and various other at-home solutions I’ve heard about over the years. To my surprise, this stuff worked fantastically! After rinsing and drying, only a faint smell of mint remained. This natural, biodegrable blend of enzymes and bacteria is safe for use on tents, clothes, packs, and pets, and I think if this will take out skunk odor, it should have no problem with mildew, molds, body odor, and whatever other lovely smells you can stink something up with.
$2 for 2-oz. bottle; Umiak Outfitters, Stowe; Waterfront Diving Center, Burlington; Ragged Mountain Equipment, Intervale, New Hampshire
Beer: Woodchuck Hard Cider
I know, I know, it’s not technically a beer. But some of our readers require a gluten-free diet, and we don’t want to leave them out of the carbonated alcoholic beverage fun. Woodchuck Cider delivers a refreshing, crisp flavor that fits in splendidly with the seasons of Vermont.
You don’t have to take it from me—Woodchuck earned a first-place finish for hard cider at the 2011 North American Beer Awards and also a numero uno in the 2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards.
The Middlebury-based company offers four limited-release seasonal brews each year. Available now is its summer cider, which is lighter and has a bit of blueberry sweetness (thanks to the addition of fresh blueberry juice). It pairs well with many seafood dishes, and works wonderfully to baste chicken. Woodchuck also offers Farmhouse Select Cider, which uses only locally-sourced Vermont cider. (The other varieties use some Vermont cider, but the demand is so high that they must use cider from other Northeast orchards as well.)
And coming soon: Woodchuck Amber in cans.