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OR Report #2: More Cool New Outdoor Gear for 2011

What new gear will you find at REI this year? Here is another look at some of the highlights of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show.

Steripen FreedomSteriPEN Freedom: I’m a big fan of these UV-light water treatment devices, so I was both delighted and dismayed to see they’ve made their product—shown at far right—even smaller (5.1 inches) and lighter (2.6 oz. w/o batteries) than previous versions—and with a rechargeable battery, too. I’m delighted at the improvements; dismayed because it means I’ll be shelling out for another one. Available in fall.

REI Revelcloud JacketREI Revelcloud Jacket: This is part of our “technical trail” clothing line that is just hitting REI stores now. Revelcloud features warm PrimaLoft Eco insulation and a recycled shell fabric to earn our ecoSensitive tag. On the practical side, it’s warm, packable and weighs just 12.5 oz. Comes in men's and women's styles.

Natural High Pure Organic Fruit Snacks: Maybe it was trade-show fatigue, but I thought these samples were especially delicious. The freeze-dried snacks include real apples, bananas, blueberries, mangoes and strawberries. Natural High is billing these as a tasty alternative to an energy bar, and, mmm, I agree.

Yaktrax XTRYaktrax XTR Extreme: These are the burliest Yaktrax shoe chains yet, suitable for ice-covered hills or snowy trails. In fact, with 4 sharp steel points for traction, they’re almost like crampons. At the show, I test-drove them on a long sheet of solid ice, and they do really seem to dig right in.

National Geographic Maps: OK, paper maps may not qualify as innovative, but National Geographic is venturing into new territory in 2011. For the first time, you can get NG maps for many popular U.S. recreational areas (e.g., Angeles National Forest near LA, Boston Harbor in Massachusetts) as well as international destinations (e.g., Costa Rica, Tuscany, Thailand). As a map geek, I’m thrilled.

BCA B-1 ShovelBackcountry Access B-1 Shovel: You don’t want your snow shovel to be a weak link in your backcountry safety setup. The new B-1 improves upon old designs with a welded ferrule where it attaches to the blade for more strength. Its new 30-degree rake angle promises greater shoveling power, and it offers a more packable design.

What items are you looking forward to the most?

Preview photo: Natural High Pure Organic Fruit Snacks.

Posted on at 11:18 AM

Tagged: Backcountry Access, National Geographic, Steripen, Yaktrax and rei

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All good except Yaxtrak Extreme. Heard bad / unsafe reviews. I'd stick with Kahtoola microspikes.

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I agree after my issues with my first pair of Yaktrax. (They broke in under 2 hours of cold weather use.) I'll stick with my Kahtoola MicroSpikes and ICEtrekkers Diamond Grip depending on conditions.


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