Spring Gear Guide 2018

You have been planning your adventure calendar for months, and your outdoor to-do list is miles long. Here is the hiking, biking, running, and travel gear you need to tackle new adventures in style this spring.

RinseKit LUX

Hiking: RinseKit LUX, $160

RinseKit, the portable pressurized shower system, is ideal for mud-splattered adventurers looking forward to a warm shower after a long day on the tail. The new RinseKit LUX, provides 3 gallons of pressurized water for washing off gear and skin, and the accompanying Hot Rod Water Heater plugs into a car’s accessory port and can heat the water in your RinseKit in 10 minutes.

Hiking: Columbia PFG Flycaster Long Sleeve Hoodie, $50

New for fall 2018, Columbia’s Flycaster Hoodie is lightweight, sweat-proof, and packs easily, yet it is durable and built to handle anything that Southern Appalachia can throw at it. The Omni-Wick fabric kept our wear-tester wickedly dry, even on a humid afternoon, pulling moisture away from the skin so sweat can evaporate quickly. The ergonomic seaming keeps water out, too, while the hoodie’s Omni-Shade technology provides UPF 30 sun protection. For the mix of weather in the Southern Appalachian spring, summer, and fall, this hoodie is a must-pack for your next camping trip or day hike.

Hiking: Salewa Wildfire, $129
The new Wildfire is already wildly popular with A.T. thru-hikers. Designed for aggressive scampering or a long push on the A.T., the Wildfire is agile and light (only 400 grams), but built to handle mega-miles on the trail. The mesh uppers keep grit out while still providing good airflow. The lugs provide outstanding traction and grip, especially on muddy, rocky  Southern Appalachian footpaths.



Osprey Levity 60


Hiking: Osprey Levity 60, $270

These ultra-lightweight, streamlined packs are built for speed, but they also can pack a hefty load and handle the toughest, harshest conditions. Cordura Nylon on the exterior provides outstanding durability, and the ventilated back panel breathes well. It’s a rugged, reliable pack for thru-hikers as well as day hikers.

Ecoths Drake Hoodie

Hiking: Ecoths Drake Hoodie, $40

This comfy, lightweight hoodie feels even better knowing that it’s 100% organic cotton and fair-trade certified. It is rugged, durable, and packs well, and it’s perfect for staying warm on cool spring evenings around the campfire. In addition to their commitment to organics and fair trade, Ecoths also provides three meals for every garment sold.


Hiking: Salewa Wildfire, $129
The new Wildfire is already wildly popular with A.T. thru-hikers. Designed for aggressive scampering or a long push on the A.T., the Wildfire is agile and light (only 400 grams), but built to handle mega-miles on the trail. The mesh uppers keep grit out while still providing good airflow. The lugs provide outstanding traction and grip, especially on muddy, rocky  Southern Appalachian footpaths.
The Starlight III is a -8°C/18°F- rated bag that’s perfect for Southern Appalachian camping and backpacking. The Polarloft insulation is cozy warm even on cold winter nights, and the outer shell is durable and water-resistant, with a snug fitting anatomical hood. It’s  a lightweight, affordable, and rugged bag that can handle tough conditions.

Running: Hoka One Clifton 4, $130

A featherweight 9.7 ounces, the Clifton 4 are one of the quickest, speediest Hokas. As always, the Hokas provide max cush, but the Clifton 4s are a bit sleeker and streamlined, providing a firmer and faster ride. The 9mm heel-to-toe drop is substantial, which can be an adjustment for some runners. The Cliftons are also impressively durable, able to withstand mega-mileage even on rugged terrain.

RUNNING: XOSKIN Pulse Compression Shorts, $75

Seam-free and highly breathable, the XOSKIN compression shorts provided peak performance in both hot and cold weather. They provide a full range of motion and don’t feel restrictive, yet they also contain body-mapped sweat traps to maximize airflow. They eliminate chafing and improve blood flow to your legs when you need it most. Copper ions in the XOSKIN fabric are a natural microbial, killing bacteria that cause odor. Finally, here are running shorts that pass the stink test even after weeks without washing.

BIKING: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Elevate Biking Shoes, $180

These are some of the most versatile bike shoes we’ve ever tested. Built for all-mountain riders who require off-bike capability, the high-performance shoe handles long rides, thanks to its seamless upper and form fit. It also uses an aggressive Vibram sole to deliver great traction even in wet conditions. A lightweight EVA midsole offers off-the-bike cushioning, so you can hop off your bike for a walk in the woods without a gear change.

BIKING: Castelli Velocissimo IV Bibshort, $129 

These are the industry standard and the go-to bib shorts for cyclists worldwide. In this fourth edition, Castelli has given the Velocissimo a new anatomical shape that moves stitching away from areas that can bother the rider, and they have even managed to completely eliminate the leg-ending elastic band by borrowing technology they developed for the Premio short.

Biking: Vya Pro Headlight and Taillight, $50 and $60

These lights are made from waterproof, plant-based materials, which enables them to be 50 percent smaller than other high-powered rechargeable lights, while still delivering up to 250 lumens of illumination that can be seen over 1.25 miles away. Both the headlight and taillight offer 6 hours of run time, and the Auto Sense Headlight detects ambient light and automatically adjusts to the safest riding mode, pulsing in the daytime and remaining steady at night. Vya incorporates Smart Sensors into the platform so there are no on/off buttons. Bike commuters just lock it in the mount with an easy quarter-turn and go. The motion sensor turns Vya on automatically when the bike is in motion, and shuts it off when stopped, with a delay built in for stoplights.

BIKING: Adidas Pacyr Sport Sunglasses, $119

These lightweight, durable shades use cool lens tech called light-stabilizing technology to improve color perception and making contrasts appear more vivid. It’s perfect for outdoor sports like trail running and mountain biking that take you in and out of shaded areas. No-Slip contact points at the insides of the temples keep them in place, even on a sweaty face, and an adjustable nosepiece with a flexible yet shatterproof frame means these shades are as tough as your next adventure.

DZR Minna


Biking: DZR Minna, $119

Need a shoe for biking to work and wearing at work? The Minna handles the street and the office in style. Commuting is easier with a cycling shoe that is performance focused but also cool and comfortable off-the-bike. The natural gum rubber and flexible heel shank make them easy to wear. Built-in clips and reflective heel badges ensure a smooth ride to and from the office.

BioLite SolarHome 620

TRAVEL: BioLite SolarHome 620, $150

This completely self-contained system of solar lighting and charging can provide off-grid electricity to any van, camper, pick-up, RV, or tent—and it all fits in the size of a shoebox. Containing a 6-watt panel, 3 daisy-chaining lights, and multi-function control box, the easy-to-install system is ideal for VanLife, cabins, car camping, or emergency kits. The SolarHome 620 is currently used in more than 40,000 households across sub-Saharan Africa. The system’s internal 20Wh battery provides up to 14 hours of power on a single charge, which requires about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. It can power four lights and 2 USB ports.

Weego 44 Jumpstarter

TRAVEL: Weego 44 Jumpstarter, $149 

Weego will jumpstart any car or truck engine, charge laptops, tablets, and phones, and power a wide range of 12-volt products like pumps, lamps, fans, and cameras. It’s durable, lightweight, easy to throw in your pack for your next adventure.

Keyport Pivot

TRAVEL: Keyport Pivot, $20

It’s part key organizer, part multi-tool, part Bluetooth tracker and locator (so you never lose your keys again); and it’s 100% awesome. The Pivot keeps everything from keys, a USB memory stick, pocket knife and flashlight stashed in a sleek modular stack … all ready at the push of a button.

GSI Outdoors’ Microlite Vacuum Stainless Bottles

TRAVEL: GSI Outdoors’ Microlite Vacuum Stainless Bottles, $25

Stainless steel water bottles are the best – but they can be heavy and bulky. The Microlite is 25% more compact and 33% lighter than traditional designs, but their 2mm walls still keep drinks cold for over 20 hours. The flip-and-twist lids are simple, easy-to-use, and leak-free.

Places to Go, Things to See: