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Review: 8 outdoor products for summer adventures

POSTED: July 17, 2017 9:01 a.m.
Grant Olsen/

This is the perfect time for a jaunt in the mountains.

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Temperatures are soaring and higher-altitude destinations are finally becoming accessible. That’s the perfect recipe for a jaunt in the mountains.

Here are some products you may want to consider for your next adventure.

GoPure Pod Water Purifier

PRICE: $24

GRADE: A-

There are lots of water purification options out there, but how many of them are the size of a cork and work lightning fast? The GoPure Pod is definitely an interesting product. Simply add it to any water for purification and flavor enhancement.

It’s a great asset to international travelers, given its small size and low price. And it helps reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles, which is something we can all appreciate. One Pod can last you up to six months.

So how does it work? Inside the Pod is a highly porous ceramic made from food-grade minerals. This component attracts and absorbs impurities. Not only will it purify your water while camping, but it will remove 99 percent of lead and arsenic, and 97 percent of chlorine and fluoride from your tap water.

Under Armour Tide Chaser Shirt

PRICE: $49

GRADE: A

Under Armour’s clothing line has something that really appeals to this taller-than-average guy: a huge size selection. For the Tide Chaser shirt, for example, you can select anything from an XS to a 5XL.

As for the shirt’s performance, it can definitely handle the rigors of active use. It’s specifically designed with anglers in mind, so it features 30+ UPF to protect you from damaging UVA and UVB rays. It wicks sweat away to keep your skin dry, plus the mesh-backed ventilation in the shoulders and armpits are a nice bonus.

Of course, the features that make this a great shirt for anglers will also appeal to other outdoorsmen. The fabric has multi-directional stretch technology, so you get excellent range of movement. And the fabric also repels stains and reduces odors.

L.L.Bean Trail Pants

PRICE: $44

GRADE: A

These pants give you a great bang for your buck. Priced under $45, they’re made with technical fabrics (100 percent nylon) that can handle just about anything you throw at them.

Since these pants are mostly going to be worn outdoors, they are made with rip-stop nylon that wicks moisture and dries fast. The fabric also provides UPF 50+ protection. There’s a pair of cargo side pockets, plus two back pockets with Velcro flaps.

As for comfort, these pants have elastic insets on the waist that give them a snug, but forgiving fit. One thing to note is that they’re designed to sit a bit lower than normal on your waist, so the legs can be a little short if you’re on the taller side. The inseam is 31 inches on the regular size and 33 inches on the tall.

Costa OCEARCH Fantail Sunglasses

PRICE: $189

GRADE: A-

One of the best gauges for the quality of sunglasses is if you can comfortably wear them all day. Too many sunglasses out there simply aren’t made for extended use. But Costa’s Fantails are designed so they don’t put too much pressure on your temples or nose. The excellent lenses also provide enough protection that your eyes won’t get as tired on the water.

Basically, the Fantail is a smaller version of Costa’s Blackfin. They have the same streamlined fit and nose pads to ensure they stay firmly in place. That being said, the frame will fit small- to medium-sized faces but would be too snug for larger heads.

While the Fantail isn’t a new style for Costa, this particular one is unique because it’s part of the Costa + OCEARCH Special Edition Collection. It comes with some extra goodies, and Costa will donate a portion of each sale to help fund the research and conservation work done by OCEARCH.

Adidas Terrex Solos

PRICE: $120

GRADE: A-

Tipping the scales at less than 10 ounces, these shoes really live up to the lightweight name. They have a low-cut design that allows for varied use, from running to climbing.

The mesh upper is super breathable, while the rubber toe cap provides ample protection up front. As for traction, the TRAXION outsole really bites into surfaces. They definitely give you solid grip so you can be confident while scrambling over rocks.

These shoes are quite comfortable, with ADIPRENE under the heel for extra impact cushioning. This is especially nice for trail running. The Terrex Solos are true to size, though it should be noted that their sleek design makes them a little narrow for those with feet on the wider side.

Cotopaxi Pacaya Insulated Jacket

PRICE: $199

GRADE: A

Utah-based Cotopaxi is known for their interesting product names, bold colors and adventure events. But with more and more products like the Pacaya, they’re increasingly becoming known for their high-quality gear.

The Pacaya is designed for the kind of windy and chilly weather you get at high altitudes during Utah’s summer months. It’s made with DWR-coated 20D nylon that is not only breathable but also resists snags. The Polartec Power Stretch underarm panels complete the seamless design and provide full range of motion

For warmth, the Pacaya is stuffed with 100g Polartec Alpha insulation. This lightweight insulation (the jacket only weighs 12 ounces) is super durable and easily packs down for storage. It also dries fast, so getting caught in a summer storm is a lot less inconvenient.

Big Agnes Flume UL 30

PRICE: $469

GRADE: A

This bag is designed to be something rare indeed: one mummy to rule them all. It’s ultralight, so it can be taken on more demanding treks where technical gear is a must. It packs small, and it excels in most conditions (rated to 30 degrees).

The Flume UL 30 has body-mapped baffle construction, which reduces bulk and keeps the warmth where you need it most. And the anti-snag draft tube prevents heat loss along the zipper. Speaking of the zipper, it’s got an oversized pull that makes it easier to zip up from the inside. There’s also a robust anti-draft collar.

Made from nylon rip-stop shell fabric, with a water-repellent finish, it’s durable enough to handle lots of mountain use. And the DownTek water-repellent down repels water while maintaining the heat.

BOB Strides Duallie Jogging Stroller

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A-

The BOB Strides Duallie is definitely one of the best on the market. The suspension is phenomenal and delivers a smooth ride even over uneven terrain. This is thanks to the coil spring and elastomer core shock absorbers that provide 3 inches of wheel travel, and the suspension is adjustable depending on your children's weight. One setting is for up to 50 pounds, while the more robust setting handles 50 to 100 pounds.

The air-filled tires, on high-impact polymer wheels, also make it easier to take your children just about anywhere you want to go. The front and rear wheel hubs have quick-release levers for easy removal. And the wheels’ interior mechanism, where the ball bearings are, is sealed so that you won’t need to worry about maintenance.

Most strollers have adjustable handlebars these days, but the position options are often limited. The Strides Duallie offers nine positions and has 180-degree motion. And even though it’s got a sleeker profile than most other double joggers, this stroller has plenty of storage space. There are two interior seat pockets, a big seatback pocket, plus the cargo basket under the seat.

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