Summer's Last Gear Gasp

Before changing into polypro for the next six months, editor Ryan Dionne shares his favorite summer gear.
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Bouldering Gear

As a wannabe climber, I know it’s easier to get into bouldering than to buy a harness, ropes, biners, cams, nuts, and everything else. So to help build a stronger core during the summer that will help me survive big ski days in winter, I opt for a $23 Metolius Access Fund Chalk Pod (a portion of the sales goes to the Access Fund), a $250 Mammut Soho Crash Pad, and a pair of $80 La Sportiva TarantuLace.

Kep’s Balls

After seeing an email that read, “You gotta get these balls in your mouth! Tasty and full of energy.” I was a bit turned off. But the email was right. Lets face it. It’s hard to tell whether energy food actually gives you energy—maybe I’m still buzzing from the coffee I had this morning—so flavor is crucial. And these two-bite (or one big bite) balls are tasty enough to throw in my pack for a long tour. $3 for two balls or $21 for a sack of 20;

Kahuna Creations Land Paddle kit

If you think it’s for transportation, go get a cheap longboard instead. Kahuna Creations Bombora Longboard—the widest board in its fleet—gives you the closest feel to SUPing on land as possible. Use the Adjustable Big Stick to push yourself along and feel the core and upper-body burn. And if you buy the kit, you get the weird looks from passers-by for free. Adjustable Big Stick—Moko, $100; Bombora Longboard, $250;

Sierra Designs Lightning HT2

Summer camping is about getting outside and scoping lines that I want to ski the following winter. Enter the Sierra Designs Lightning HT2. It’s freestanding, so you don’t need to use guylines, it’s easy to setup solo, has two doors, two vestibules, and it’s decently big for two adults. And, like my touring gear, it’s fairly lightweight (about 4 pounds). $280;

Gibbon Slacklines Red Classic

If it’s good enough for Lindsey Vonn and countless other skiers, it’s good enough for me. And unless you’re a throwback traditionalist who will only use carabiners and 1-inch webbing to make a slackline, Gibbon’s got your back. A ratchet lets you get it tight and the 2-inch wide webbing makes you look a little less inept. $75;


Setting up camp for a few nights (or longer), but need a pack for a summit push? The Arc’teryx Cierzo 25 is a great choice. Super lightweight—one ounce shy of a pound—and minimalist, the unisex Cierzo can easily haul a down puffy, outer shell, lunch, a camera, sunscreen, climbing harness, extra pair of shoes and more. It has plenty of lashing options including ice-axe loops and a compression cord that wraps the entire bag and pulls the load close to your body. Plus, the entire pack stuffs into its top lid, compressing down to the size of a football. The thin foam frame sheet is removable to make it even lighter and less bulky—though you sacrifice back comfort—or, as the company touts, it can be used as an emergency sleeping pad. But it is a minimalist pack. That means neither an internal bladder hanger nor hose port, and no external water bottle pockets like you’d find on more full-featured packs.; $99

Summer Gear List: Packs

Here are five packs—from multi-day schleppers to light and fast daytrippers— that’ll get you through the summer.

Weighing in at 13 oz., the Super Cell is an excellent choice for the backpacker or outdoors person that wants a super light Gore-Tex waterproof jacket.  The jacket is helmet compatible, and provides the classic Patagonia styling and quality that we have come to love over the years.  $249

Next Year's Summer Gear

Last week, gear companies were all at the Outdoor Retailer trade show showing off the summer gear they'll be releasing a year from now. Our guy on the floor got a sneak peek at the coolest gear coming out in 2012. Take a look.