Outdoor

The gear our editors loved in April

The transition is a constant in most people’s lives, but an entirely different level of change has occurred over the past year. This is why the ongoing spring start feels so cute this year. The sun is shining, trees are budding and people are vaccinated millions of times. Here’s what outside editors are using to get out of their cocoons.

Ma Wovens Ritual Carpet ($ 188)

(Photo: Courtesy Ma Wovens)

April is a difficult time for me: the ski season is coming to an end, the cycling season is starting and my body is usually very, very tired. I’m slowly learning to take it easy as I switch between seasons, which has brought a lot of yoga this year. This unique mat from Ma Wovens was part of my ritual to stretch, strengthen and reconnect my body so that I don’t have to ski turns. I’m a sucker for aesthetics and I love the way this mat, hand woven with hemp and non-toxic foam, looks like a piece of home decor. The hemp strands are ideal for sweaty exercises and offer a grip similar to a yoga towel. The mat can be wiped off easily. (I air it out after particularly hot sunshine exercises.) I recommend combining it with one of Lacy Kemp’s Bellingham Treehouse Yoga classes. The mountain biker from Bellingham, Washington teaches challenging free flows that are perfect for outdoor athletes. -Abigail Barronian, Associate Editor

Rabbit Pocket Shorts 4-inch ($ 65)

Rabbit-bag-short_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy of Rabbit)

I recently discovered that tiny Californian clothing company Rabbit makes up around 80 percent of my running shorts collection. The secret for me is the cut: Even the brand’s shortest and minimalist offerings are just box-shaped enough to skim – not restrict – my hourglass shape and muscular thighs. The super wide (but not too thick) waistbands make me feel safe, but not stifled. I’ve been living in the aptly named pocket shorts lately, which have an impressive five storage zones – two on the front waistband, one zip on the back, and one zip on each thigh. They’re my go-to stop for quick lunchtime trips on the bike path when I want to carry my phone, keys, and headphones but don’t feel like stuffing it all into my bra. – Ariella Gintzler, Senior Editor

Dash Mini Waffle Maker ($ 12) and Kodiak Cakes Buttermilk Flapjack and Waffle Mix ($ 10)

waffle-maker-mix_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Dash and Kodiak)

I’m pretty sure my three year old daughter is 40 percent waffles. I bought a Costco size waffle iron and bag of mix this month to help cut the cost on the mountain of frozen pucks my family bought. While this purchase was primarily for my daughter, my wife and I found something magical about the easily digestible whole grain waffles during our long runs this month. The Dash hardly takes up any space in our overcrowded kitchen and delivers crispy little waffles every time. The Kodiak Mix works so well with my stomach that I plan to make a few extra waffles next week to shove in my backpack and eat while I work out for an upcoming 50 miler. – Joe Jackson, Gear Guy

Buy Maker Buy Mix

Thule Tepui Low-Pro 3 Roof Tent ($ 1,900)

thule-rooftop-tent_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Thule)

I’ve tested nearly a dozen rooftop tents, including some of the most expensive on the market. But I decided to return to this simpler old-school three-person tent for the 2021 camping season for two reasons. First, the Low-Pro 3 folds in half to make a perfect square when on my roof, saving up valuable rack space that I can use Vehicle recovery equipment or Pelikan storage boxes. It also weighs only 120 pounds as opposed to 170-180 so it’s easier to install and make My rig is less top-heavy and safer to ride. Unlike some of the more feature-packed models from companies like Alu-Cab, James Baroud, and Go Fast, the Low-Pro 3 takes longer to set up and reduce fuel consumption (roughly a mile per gallon). But the benefits make these tradeoffs rewarding. – Jakob Schiller, contributing writer

Wandrd Camera Sling Strap ($ 54)

wandrd-camera-strap_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Wandrd)

This month I got the chance to test Sony’s new flagship camera a1, which costs 6,500 US dollars and is by far the worst mirrorless model on the market. I wanted a comparable camera strap to lug it around with and ended up on this one from Wandrd. The 1.25 inch wide nylon is a bomber so I never feared it would break while dragging a setup around worth more than my car. Silicone grippers on the underside of the strap held it firmly on my shoulder, and the adjustment mechanism made it possible A breeze to tighten or loosen the strap with one hand while moving. An intelligent carabiner-like system attached the strap to the camera in seconds. And I dug up the all-black, low-key design. – JS

Argali outdoor Kodiak belt ($ 70)

kodiak-belt_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy of Argali)

The key to losing weight on the trail is taking less stuff with you. And the way to take fewer things without getting caught unprepared is to find items that can perform multiple tasks. That’s the idea behind the new Kodiak belt from Argali Outdoors, a tiny hunting brand based in Idaho. By adding a tungsten carbide rod and 800 grit diamond plate into the buckle, and adding a 6-inch leather strap to the strap, the belt allows you to sharpen knives and fishhooks in the field. Of course, none of this would matter if it wasn’t a good belt at all. The small, slim buckle lies flat and allows the practically indestructible nylon fabric to be adjusted continuously. It’s so comfortable that it has become my favorite belt for everyday city and outdoor use. Not bad for 3.8 ounces. – Wes Siler, contributing editor

Ponyback hat ($ 50)

pony-back-hat_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy of Ponyback)

It’s time again for last chance backcountry laps, sunny lunchtime runs, and park drinks with friends. In other words, it’s baseball hat season, baby. I already own way too many brimmed hats (I had to set up a special organization system in my closet to keep them all on hand), but when I saw the cotton ponyback I knew I had to try. The magic is the back: the back seam, which appears to be closed, is lined with magnets and opens up to accommodate even the tallest or thickest ponies. The best part is that the gap is even big enough for a bun. If you’d rather wear down your hair, it will close again and look like any other customized cap. File under “Innovations that should have happened a long time ago”. My only request is that the company make a more breathable, synthetic version for extra sweaty activities. – Karen Larsen, co-editor

Strong Pivot V2 $ 349

Pivot-Hitch-Rack_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Kuat)

A good towbar stand like the Thule T2 or the Kuat NV is the most convenient way to carry your bikes in your car. However, towbars have one annoying disadvantage: they hinder getting in and out of your trunk or tailgate. I drive a pickup truck over the bed with a topper for camping so I also operate a Kuat NV two bike tow hitch stand. The addition of the Kuat Pivot, an adapter that allows me to pivot the bike rack outward from the tailgate up to 120 degrees, changed the game. My tailgate no longer falls and hits the bike rack. I no longer have to climb over it or remove bikes to get things in and out of the bed. When camping, I just swing the pivot out to give full access to my truck bed while the bikes remain secured on the luggage rack. It works with any towbar rack that has a 2 inch towbar receiver and makes your life easier even if you don’t own a truck – these are also great for vans and SUVs. It’s simple and easy enough (39 pounds, claimed) to install for one person, and the quick release lever makes it convenient to open and return to its locked position before setting off. – Gloria Liu, feature editor

Rux Packable Storage Box ($ 212)

rux-storage2_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy of Rux)

As an equipment editor and avid nature lover who lives in a small apartment, I spend a lot of time efficiently storing or transporting equipment. So I was very happy to test the soon to be released Rux: A collapsible, durable box has become a crucial part of my transmission. In essence, it looks like a spacious, weatherproof (but not waterproof) lid container with a soft structure. The outer material consists of a bomber nylon with 840 denier and lashing points, so that it is suitable for roof racks. You can also use it as a bag: it comes with straps that can turn it into a backpack or bag. While it’s great for home storage, the most common use I use to carry gear for weekend camping and climbing trips. It fits nicely in my trunk and I even filled it with groceries. It’s worth noting that I tested a prototype. I would like a little more stiffness when it is expanded: a corner would often collapse if I hit something while moving, but it would always pop back up with a quick nudge. – Jeremy Rellosa, editor of the reviews

Wishbone Bike RE2 3in1 ($ 270)

Wishbone-Bike_h.jpg(Photo: Courtesy Wishbone)

My 20 month old daughter got on this convertible trike three months ago and has not left it since. Each day is full of multiple drives up and down our cul-de-sac to look for pigeons, ride through the neighbors’ garden beds, and bomb the hill (we put a limit on how high she can go to reduce her top speed) . Mom and Dad like that there is a sturdy platform that is difficult for them to tip over – not that it will stop them – and that the sturdy plastic frame made from plastic bottles and carpet can be recycled when our family is done with it. But that won’t take long: the nice thing about the three-in-one setup is that we can adjust the seat higher as it grows, and then convert it into a two-wheeled Strider bike when it isn’t ready take longer. This will definitely be the first bike for her soon-to-be-born little brother too. – Will Taylor, Gear Director

Main photo: ADDICTIVE CREATIVES / Stocksy

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