Lightweight and practical gear that could save your life
The most common mishap to befall hikers in the Southern Appalachians is getting lost, which isn’t necessarily life-threatening if you’re prepared. Here are five common sense items—that weigh less than a pound combined—to keep in your pack on every outing.
1. Princeton Tec Byte Lamp This miniscule headlamp is built to take a beating. It projects a respectable 35 lumens with 96 hours of burn time and weighs only 2 ounces $20. princetontec.com 2. The North Face Verto Emergency Shell Pack the Verto down into the size of an energy bar, and you’ll have instant protection from the elements when you need it most. 3.2 ounces. $35. thenorthface.com
3. HeatSheet Emergency Bivy The reflective sleeping bag is ultra thin but reflects and traps 90 percent of your body heat. 3.8 ounces. $16. adventuremedicalkits.com
4. Core Lite SOL Knife The strong, steel blade folds out of a thick handle, making it easier to whittle kindling. The handle also houses a whistle and tiny LED light. $25. adventuremedicalkits.com
5. Katadyn MyBottle Water Purifier The bottle incorporates three layers of built-in filtration and purification to remove bacteria, micro-organisms, and viruses. No chemicals, no pumping, no batteries. 9.7 ounces. $50. katadyn.com
THE WRINGER Columbia Heat Elite Jacket Columbia claims its Omni Heat jackets will keep you 20 percent warmer than similar jackets without the lining. It sounds gimmicky, so we put it to the test in sub-freezing adventures.
Columbia’s new Omni Heat technology combines 60 grams of synthetic insulation with a liner that’s covered with tiny mirrors designed to reflect and trap your body heat. The Heat Elite has a sleek, athletic cut, but it claims the warmth of a thicker parka. It’s an attractive combination for people who like the warmth, but not the bulk, of a puffy.
Columbia is basically repurposing the old emergency blanket technology developed by NASA in the 60s, which has been shown to trap 90 percent of your body heat using the same reflective concept. To avoid moisture buildup, Columbia placed a wicking material between the reflective dots in order to release some of the body heat and moisture you create when skiing or hiking in the cold.