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The Road Team’s Favorite (new) Under The Radar Gear

Mountain Smith Zirk 40 Backpack

There’s no doubt about it. This pack is for moving fast. We’ve been pushing our limits distance hiking over the past summer, and this pack made it possible. It’s a Frankenstein hybrid of a running vest, overnight backpacking pack, and day pack, all in one. It has pockets and features galore, and somehow carries weight well fully loaded or with a few items. As someone who only hikes fast, and rarely runs, I was happy to see the chest pockets on the shoulder straps. While those are often found on runners vest, the added snack and personal locator beacon storage was a welcome change from most packs. This pack is light (28 ounces) but doesn’t sacrifice durability. Multiple items are removable or tuckable, so you can configure the pack exactly how you want it. I appreciated the large mesh pocket on the outside to hold a helmet that won’t jangle around while scrambling. You do have to fashion your own ice axe or hiking pole holders, but there is a bungee cord to do that. The torso is short and not adjustable, so it is mainly for me (Roxy) to hike with because it falls in an odd place for tall man Ben, but that is removable also!

Hydro Flask Insulated Tote and Backpack Cooler

Hydroflask is well known for its full lineup of stainless steel water bottles but lately, we’ve been really enjoying their new insulated totes and backpack style coolers. In true Hydroflask form, these things are built to last and truly lightweight. We even packed one into our carryon for a recent flight to visit family.   They are perfect for a quick run to the grocery store but we’ve been using them for long days spent fishing in the mountains. We also foresee using these on car camping trips or even outdoor concerts. The totes will keep food chilled for up to four hours. The coolers can keep things cold for up to 48 hours. We love the durable feel of the coolers. They have been a great addition to fishing days and river trips where the coolers have help up well against abusive rocks and shorelines. Hydroflask has made their cooler lineup watertight ensuring that they won’t leak. What we found most impressive about the cooler is that they are actually quite comfortable to wear and they carry weight well. To round things off you’ll also find a mesh water bottle pocket on the side, as well as a separate top pocket to stash your dry goods. When we’re carrying the cooler, our friends know it’s going to be a great afternoon park hang out or relaxing beach day at A-Basin.

LEMS: Waterproof Boulder Boot (men’s and women’s)

We’ve been huge fans of the classic Boulder Boot from LEMS for a long time. In fact, it’s not uncommon for everyone at the Elevation Outdoors HQ to be wearing them at the same time. LEMS, out of Boulder, Colorado has been making minimalist shoes that look great and feel even better since 2011. The Boulder Boot is known for supreme flexibility, a zero-drop platform, and unparalleled packability. That’s why we consider it the perfect travel shoe. Now, LEMS is taking this classic boot a step further and introducing something that we have been waiting for for a long time; a waterproof version.

The NEW Waterproof Boulder Boot is featherweight at roughly 12.9 ounces (depending on size) and includes new features such as a 100% breathable waterproof membrane, a fully gusseted tongue, and a beautiful full-grain oiled leather upper. LEMS has also taken some time to rethink the construction of the Boulder Boot and beefed it up a bit with thicker gauge thread and overall stronger outer construction. The Waterproof Boulder Boot JUST hit the market, just in time to look fashionable as you traipse through winter slush.

Gili Gear: Earth Mat (Large)

A double layer sand-free mat might not be what you traditionally think of as outdoor gear, but this has been one of our favorite products for a long time. Ideal for vanlifers, we throw down this mat at every campsite. The double-layer mesh allows sand and dirt to filter through making it the perfect mat to lounge on at camp. We use ours year-round. When we’re traveling in the van during winter, we try to keep as much snow out of the van as possible. We use this mat as a front porch to our van. We use it when putting on and taking off all of our ski gear. We also love what Gili Gear is doing in the outdoor space. All of their products are made from repurposed vinyl mesh from the rafting industry. The Earth Mat is waterproof, UV and mildew resistant, and handmade in Colorado. Forget traditional ground tarps and blankets. The Earth Mat feels like it will last forever.

Moonfab: MoonShade Portable awning 

We’ve been on the lookout for an affordable awning solution for our van for quite some time. Everything is far out of our price range, has to be installed by making holes in your vehicle, or need electricity to extend. Not MoonShade. This awning works on almost all vehicles, or even without a vehicle. You use the included suction cups to attach one side to the side of your van, and two poles to prop the other side up. It has shock-corded poles so set up is intuitive. Packed down, it’s just a little larger than a yoga mat, and only eight pounds. It’s like a mix of an EZ up and van awning that’s affordable, lightweight, and maneuverable. We’ve used ours to keep the rain out of our van, while still enjoying the side door wide open, and also to keep the sun off us while cooking dinner in the evening. If you’re a frequent car camper, kids baseball game watcher, or vanlifer, this is a must-try. Their Kickstarter is live now!

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