Gear suggestions for holiday weekend trips outdoors

Summer is in full-swing and with the Independence Day weekend right around the corner, people are planningfor trips to the great outdoors. From hiking to camping, getting into nature is a great way to enjoy the holiday and unplug from your everyday life. However, if you’re going to do it right, you need to have the proper gear. Last year, we set you up with the ultimate camping gear guide. All of those great products are still staples in our collections, but we’ve discovered some new accessories that will make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable. Whether you’re spending July 4th in a tent, on the trail or simply on a picnic in the park, you’ll want to check out our latest outdoor gear suggestions.Packs

If you’ve packed many of your supplies in your daypack, it makes it heavy when it comes time to use it on a hike. Rather than unpack all of your gear and risk losing or forgetting it, it’s easier to have a second pack with you that you can take with you out on the trail. The Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack folds into itself when you’re not using it and carries plenty of provisions when you’re ready for a day away from camp. It’s a bit pricey at $79, but it’s durable, sturdier than other packable bags and holds 26L when you’re ready to attack the day.

If all you need is the bare essentials when you go for a hike or a mountain bike ride, then the Black Diamond Flash Pack is perfect for keeping things light. It holds only 9L but it’s hydration compatible, has enough pockets to keep you organized and its low profile will prevent you from snagging a strap on a tree as you barrel through the bush.


When you need a knife larger than anything on your multitool, you’ll want the Gerber Metolious Clip Folder. It’s big enough to handle tough jobs but small enough to fit in your pocket or clip to your belt while not scaring away anybody you might encounter in the wild. Whether you need to cut some rope or field dress a fresh kill, this knife is a reasonably-priced option for outdoorsmen of any experience level.

We mentioned the Black Diamond Apollo Lantern in last year’s gear guide, but they’ve supersized things with the new Titan Lantern. It’s 250-lumen LED system will illuminate your entire campsite, making cooking a breeze long after the sun has set. Never underestimate the importance of a strong, reliable light.


Venturing outdoors requires you to pack layers. If you’re like me, you hate carrying that extra weight in your pack. Thankfully, when it comes to preparing for rain, at least, you can now pack a jacket and not even notice it. The Eddie Bauer First Ascent Sirocco Wind Shell Jacket is the lightest jacket we’ve ever encountered, yet still manages to be durable, well-made and have strong seals around all of the zippers. It might not pack into one of its own pockets like some other lightweight jackets, but it packs easily and does the job of coats five times its weight.

Should you pack hiking shoes or sandals? Why choose (or deal with lugging them both around) when you can have two in one with the Keen Kanyon? They dry quickly, are ultralight and provide a closed toe for optimal protection when you’re using them as hikers. The bungee lacing allows for an optimal fit without having laces dangling off of your shoes when you’re out on the trail.

If you prefer a more closed shoe, then the Teva Churn is a must. The breathable mesh still allows you to fully submerge them in water when dragging your canoe onto shore, but you can trust that they’ll dry quicker than most hiking shoes. The fold-down heel also allows you to wear the Churn as a slip-on when you’re back in camp.

No matter what you’re getting into this weekend – and the rest of the summer, for that matter – make sure that your gear is in good shape. If not, replace it with our suggestions and you’ll be set for a holiday away from work and immersed in nature.

What’s your favorite outdoor gear? Share your suggestions in the comments.

Photo of the Day (12.19.10)

You might say that today’s photo pick, taken by Flickr user WitChi Wotcha in Sicily, has a bit of an “edge.” The first visual element your eyes fall on is that giant freakin’ knife in the sharpener’s hands. What do you cut with that thing?? Soon your eyes move away from the knife and you notice the wonderful mix of other small details in the scene, like the curious expression of the man on the right, his gaze caught in a mixture of surprise and puzzlement. Add in that great collection of cutlery on the back wall along with the various tones of red and green, and we’ve got quite an interesting image here, don’t you think?

Taken any great travel photos recently? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Man stopped at airport security for water bottle, but not knife

Priorities, people. Where are they?

A water bottle is what caught the eye of officials, when Adrian Elvy went through the airport security line in Bristol, UK.

But on the other side of security, Elvy was the one to notice that he had also accidentally left a blade in his carry-on bag–a six-inch, stainless steel knife, with serrated edge. He uses it to open boxes for his stock delivery company. Where was the knife found? In the side pocket of the bag.

Elvy even narced on himself, pointing out the knife to a policeman. The police then took the knife from him and asked which x-ray machine it had gone through. (Let’s hope they shut that one down…)

Good news: Elvy got his knife back on the return trip through Bristol. Oh, and a special thanks from a Bristol Airport spokesman “for acting responsibly in bringing the matter to our attention,” who also took the opportunity to “remind all passengers of the need to take care when packing hand baggage.”


Russian man too drunk to notice a knife in his back

Man, those Russian can really drink! I mean, can you honestly be too drunk to notice somebody stuck a knife in your back? Not figuratively speaking–I know that happens all the time when one is intoxicated–I mean literally: a knife in your back.

As The Irish Examiner reports, a Russian electrician took the bus home from a vodka binge, ate breakfast and slept off his hangover never realizing a kitchen knife had been plunged into his back. The discovery was made by his wife who noticed the handle of the six-inch knife sticking out of his back when she went to wake him.

Yuri Lyalin, 53, said he had been sleeping peacefully before his wife woke him with the bad news. Fortunately, no vital organs were harmed, provided he still has any functioning vital organs left. I don’t think he would exactly make the liver donor list.

Apparently, Lyalin’s drinking partner is responsible for the stabbing. Why? The answer is engraved at the bottom of a vodka shot glass, my friends. I am sure he meant no harm.

TSA steals traveler’s pudding, leaves him armed with knife

I purposely copied the title of this post directly from BoingBoing because it’s funny and worth repeating. Just read it: “TSA steals traveler’s pudding, leaves him armed with knife.” Seriously? Take a man’s pudding away, but let him keep the knife. That pudding, after all, might have been explosive. Here’s what went down:

“I was passing through Sacto airport security checkpoint. I sent my carry-on backpack through the Xray machine. The operator found something, and raised her hand for assistance. Another TSA person came over and pulled my bag out of the machine and commenced with a hand search. Inside he found a package of unopened Hunts Pudding Snacks in my lunch. He confiscated the pudding “it’s a liquid” and sent me on my way. Absurd, but forgettable. However later in the day I had a layover, and was going through my backpack looking for a pen and came across my Swiss Army Knife with a 4″ locking blade.”

It’s not that I think the TSA is doing a horrible job (or do I?) — everyone makes mistakes and misses things — but we’re talking about pudding here. True, it is a liquid (right?), and I understand that….but if you’re going to inconvenience a passenger enough to take his snacpac away, the least you can do is properly search his entire bag for items that could truly be a threat to flight security.