5 Awesome Products for the Summer

Although the heat of summer is upon us, that’s no reason to stay home and stay in!  With the right gear, you can stay cool, comfortable, and hydrated even when the mercury starts to rise!

1. Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

Available in both Men’s and Women’s, this shirt has a number of features that make it awesome for summer; mesh side-and-back panels to keep you cool, a collar that flips up for added sun protection on your neck, a UPF 30 rating to prevent sunburn, and seams that are rotated away from the top of the shoulders to prevent hotspots when worn with a pack.  Also comes in a long-sleeve version if you want to keep the sun and bugs off your arms!

2.Montrail Mountain Masochist

There’s a reason these shoes won a 2009 “Gear of the Year” award from Outside magazine- they’re light and comfortable, but still provide good support and underfoot protection, and their breathable mesh and gusseted tongue keep debris from getting in while letting heat and moisture out.  Where most trail shoes employ a stiff plate to protect the foot from rocks and uneven terrain, Montrail has used a flexible plastic shield that makes the shoe more lightweight, sensitive, and agile.  Suitable for everything from trail running to light hiking, the Mountain Masochist is available in both Men’s and Women’s.

3. Nuun

The “sports” drinks marketed to most athletes are not an option for use on the trail, route, or mountain- they’re too heavy, are considered too sweet by some, can be expensive, and leave plastic bottles that must be packed out and recycled.  Also, most sports drinks are sweetened with sugar, which is not complex enough to be metabolized effectively in long days in the mountains and can cause bottles and hydration bladders to become contaminated as they bond to the plastics.  Nuun is sugar-free, and contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are far more effective than sodium alone for maintaining electrolyte balance.  One reusable, recyclable tube of Nuun contains 12 tablets- each will turn 16oz of water into a sugar-free, electrolyte balanced drink with a light, refreshing flavor.

4. Deuter Streamer

Hydration bladders are not a new product, but the Deuter Streamer deserves a mention anyway.  Most bladders tend to develop a bit of “funk”, and are hard to clean due to their small fill opening.  The Streamer solves these problems with a smooth-as-glass inner coating that can store water for days and even weeks without getting funky.  And when it’s time to clean, just slide off the orange clip to access the full-width opening- you can get your whole arm in there!  The bite valve is great too- it has a water stop tap that is opened by a simple quarter turn- it stays closed to prevent leaks or remains open for easy drinking.  There’s even a plastic cover that keeps your bite valve clean when not in use.  Available in both 2 and 3 liter capacities.

5. Steripen Classic

Traditionally, we’ve made water safe for drinking through filtration or purification.  However, these methods have some drawbacks- filters have moving parts that can wear out or break, require the user to sit or squat near the water source while pumping, and must be cleaned and replaced.  Also, although filters can remove protozoa and many bacteria, viruses are so tiny (about 1/100 the size of bacteria) that they cannot be filtered.  As a result, filters alone are unsuited for travel to some destinations.  On the other hand, purifiers will kill viruses, but often use chemicals such as iodine or chlorine that leave your water tasting (and sometimes looking) a bit off.  However, the ultralight (5.7 oz) SteriPEN Classic offers another alternative- by immersing its ultraviolet (UV) lamp into a liter of water, the Steripen eliminates over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness.  No moving parts, no pumping, and no more chemicals in your drinking water.  If clear water is not available, SteriPEN also makes a pre-filter that removes large particles before purification.

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