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December 17, 2009 / John B.

The Piranha Pocket Tool

    PocketToolX now offers a uniquely designed single-piece, multi-tool called The Piranha. The Piranha at only 3.875 in. long and .15in. think is truly a pocket tool, and it boasts some unique features. Read more…
December 16, 2009 / John B.

Hydrapak Gel-Bot

If you’re a long distance runner, you’re probably familiar with energy gels. If not, energy gels deliver simple and complex carbohydrates to runners in an efficient, easy to use way. When I run long distances, I use energy gels as quick fuel to ward off fatigue and replenish some nutrients. The Hyropak Gel-Bot combines a water bottle with a gel dispenser, so that runners can get the water, and fuel, that they need from a single bottle.

From the Gel-Bot website:
No more sticky fingers. No more wrestling with foil packs. Gel-Bot delivers your two performance essentials in one easy-access bottle. Load the chamber with energy gel, fill the bottle with water. Gel-Bot’s patent-pending technology lets you fuel or hydrate without slowing down.

The Gel-Bot holds 24fl. oz. of liquid and 3.2 oz. of gel.
Hydropak originally made the Gel-Bot for cyclists, and due to its popularity, now also produce a bottle specifically for runners (pictured here) that comes with a hand strap.

The Gel-Bot could be a great Holiday gift for any endurance athletes that you know.

Gel-Bot Run | $19.99

December 15, 2009 / John B.

National Geographic ADVENTURE Magazine Publishes Last Issue

I’m pretty sure I flipped through the pages of the National Geographic Magazine since before I could read. The beautiful photos, even without the inspiring and informative stories, transported me to foreign continents, deep jungles, and arid deserts. When National Geographic began publishing ADVENTURE in 1999, I read that too. My family never got a subscription for National Geographic ADVENTURE, but since then I have bought copies whenever I’ve visited grocery stores, pharmacies and news stands. Through its pages I have traveled around the world for the past 10 years.

Unfortunately, the era of National Geographic ADVENTURE has ended. After 10 years, the December/January issue currently on newsstands will be the last issue the National Geographic Society publishes. Steve Casimiro, an editor for ADVENTURE, reported that National geographic issued a press release saying:

National Geographic is transitioning its Adventure brand from traditional print to a multi-platform model that will include newsstand editions, books, e-magazines, mobile applications and a robust Web site. National Geographic will also continue to honor the world’s great explorers and adventurers with the National Geographic Adventure Awards. “We’re tremendously proud of what John Rasmus and his team have accomplished over the last 10 years,” NG Publishing President John Q. Griffin said in making the announcement. “They have consistently delivered award-winning editorial to an enthusiastic audience of readers and advertisers. But given the current advertising environment and the opportunities we see in emerging digital platforms, we think the time is right to transition the Adventure brand.” Griffin shared the news at a staff meeting in New York today. A total of 17 staffers in New York and Washington are affected.

I’m sad to see the magazine go, but I’m glad that they will continue creating content in other media. I’m sure ADVENTURE’s new form will be as inspiring as the print magazine. In 1911, sociologist Georg Simmel wrote that

what we call an adventure stands in contrast to that in interlocking of life-links, to that feeling that those countercurrents, turnings, and knots still, after all, spin forth a continuous thread. An adventure is certainly a part of our existence, directly contiguous with other parts which precede and follow it; at the same time, however, in its deeper meaning, it occurs outside the usual continuity of this life.

According to Simmel, an adventure by its very nature has a beginning, a middle, and an end; it must have a departure, a story, and a return. It’s only fitting that ADVENTURE would come to an end; its 10 years of reporting has been an adventure in itself.

December 14, 2009 / John B.

Winter Gear: ColdAvenger® Expedition Balaclava

Talus Outdoor Technologies has made a balaclava for when it’s really fuckin’ cold outside. When a gator just doesn’t cut it, why don’t you pick up the ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava? According to the Talus website the ColdAvenger® “mixes inhaled cold air with exhaled warm air to achieve a dynamic balance of warmth keeping the face dry.”

The ColdAvenger®:

  • Keeps skin face dry by wicking moisture away from your skin
  • Protects your skin and airways from the cold, dry winter air
  • Keeps temperature inside 40°F to 60°F warmer than outside temperatures
  • Fits with goggles, headphones and even a hydration tube.
  • One size fits all

If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors this winter (or any winter), you might consider checking out this high-tech balaclava.

ColdAvenger® Classic | 49.95

ColdAvenger® Expedition Balaclava | $79.95

December 14, 2009 / John B.

Discount Gear: steapandcheap.com

Some of you may already be familiar with bargain sites like woot.com or uneetee.com. If you like these sites, or just like great deals, head over to steepandcheap.com. This website is perfect or the secret, or not-so-secret, adventurer who needs gear but doesn’t have a huge budget to spend on cool gadgets. Steapandcheap.com offers one killer deal on a piece of outdoor gear until they’re sold out. As soon as they sell out, they put up a another deal, all day long. So check their site throughout the day to get GREAT bargains. You can also use their Instant Alerts feature to get updates on your desktop, through your RSS reader, or even through Instant Message!

Right now they have Women’s Transition Tights from Mountain Hardware for $49.99 (55% off from $109.95). Earlier they featured a Shift Composite Jacket from Backcountry.com for $59.99 (68% off from $189.95). Who knows what gear they’ll have next.

Here’s the link again: steepandcheap.com Check it out!

December 12, 2009 / John B.

Tools of the Trade: Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 Survival Knife Review

Any good survivalist will tell you the knife is probably the most important survival tool. During my Standard class at the Tracker School, Tom Brown, Jr. told us all “If you’re in the woods and you have a knife, it’s not a survival situation.” That’s how important, and useful, it is to have a good survival knife in your kit, but a good knife can get expensive. That’s why Doug Ritter, the founder of Equipped to Survive, teamed up Mel Pardue of Benchmade, to create the Doug Ritter RSK Mk1.

At only $118, the Mk1 delivers an affordable knife without sacrificing reliance or durability. The knife features a 2.44 in. drop point blade made of durable S30v stainless steel, Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock, a sturdy Griptilian handle design, and only weights 2.82 oz! The knife also has a pocket clip for everyday carrying. The Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 is perfect for people looking for an affordable, durable everyday utility knife that won’t let you down when things get rough.

I thought about buying this knife from the first time I saw it. When I worked at Coyote Tracks in New Jersey, two of my colleagues had this knife, and used it every day. When I had some extra money to spend, I ordered the knife off of AeroMEDIX.com. They delivered my knife promptly and with no troubles. The knife came with a soft bag to store the blade in, but after taking the knife out of the box, I’ve worn it almost everyday, so I haven’t used the storage bag much. The blade came really, really sharp and ready to use. Almost immediately, I felt like I could trust my life in this knife.

A lot of “survival knives” come with unnecessary bells and whistle, like hollow handles, serrated blades, etc. All these extras look great, but don’t serve much purpose in the field. A real, good utility knife should be made to cut and carve, and this knife can certainly do that! The wide blade makes me feel like I have a lot of control over my carving, and I have had no trouble carving traps and fire kits out of all kinds of wood.

A good survival knife needs to be extremely durable. You don’t want your knife to break when you need it the most! Folding knives often sacrifice strength of a fixed blade knife for the convenience provided by the hinge, so whenever I get a folding knife I really put it through a beating in order to test its strength. The RSK Mk1 features Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock, an ambidextrous locking mechanism that locks the blade open when a small steel bar slides into place over the knife tang. This is my first folder that features the AXIS lock, and I’m impressed. I’ve split logs with this blade without any problems with the locking mechanism.

The only complaint I have with this knife is that it doesn’t do as well as I hoped in water. I’ve taken this knife swimming a few times, and the knife developed some rust in the hinge. The hinge still works fine, but I won’t take this knife swimming anymore. If you’re expecting to need your knife in a marine environment, I’d recommend getting a knife specifically suited for that purpose.

All in all, I’m really impressed with this knife. Its strong, sharp, and simple, all qualities of a great knife, and at only $118 this knife is a real value buy. I highly recommend this knife to anyone looking for a good knife to carry with them everyday.

Double Life Rating: 4/5

Doug Ritter RSK Mk1 | $118

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