As outdoors enthusiasts, we are always on the lookout for new gear to buy, and I try to keep track of it. This is a running list of camping, photography, and motorcycle gear — along with the occasional watch that has caught my eye, or someone’s whose opinion I respect.
Camping & Outdoor Gear
Osprey TrailKit Duffel Pack
Through Labor Day, for $10 more than the Folsom 20, below, you get twice the capacity, 40L of space, with a helmet carrier and compartment for carrying shoes. Plenty of pockets and sleeves to keep everything organized.
Folsom 20 Pack by Mountain Hardwear
This daypack has ample room for all your essentials, plus a light jacket and a lunch. Not enough room for a family’s worth of gear, but it will get what you need for yourself where you want to go, including the side of the next face you climb. Everything from Mountain Hardwear is tough and designed to be rubbed against rock surfaces all day. It should survive plenty of walks in the woods too, with or without a laptop. Available in four dark colors and on sale for practically nothing right now at REI.
Flash Air 1 Ultralight Tent by REI Co-op
This tent probably has me most excited of all the tents I’ve seen in awhile. If you use a trekking pole as the tent pole, the trail weight of the tent is 1.25 lbs. If you bring along the included aluminum poles, it weighs 1 lb 10.5 oz. That’s by far the lightest tent I’ve ever heard. Only knock against — and explains it’s low weight — is that it is a single-wall tent, not a mesh tent with rain fly, and it is not freestanding. You have to use stakes, a boulder, a tree, or your motorcycle to string up the guylines and hold it up. Not a deal killer, but I love a freestanding tent. It does have a spacious vestibule for your stinky boots and gear.
They also make a 2-person version for duo trekkers or someone riding pillion. If my 2-person Half Dome tent bites the dust, which I doubt will ever happen (see my article), these tents are atop my list to replace it.
Orient Watch makes probably the best value in high-quality watches. I have the first version of their Mako Dive watch, one of their most popular models, in orange, and it’s in my Top 3 Rotation of watches I wear. Orient just released the Mako III — and I don’t like it! But that brings me to the recommendation here, the Mako II with blue dial and Pepsi bezel.
The newest version lack Arabic numerals and, as far as I’m concerned, any of the character that makes it different from the slew of other dive watches. All three iterations are excellent watches regardless of my aesthetic opinion. The first version had a crown at 2 o’clock that set the day of the week. The Mako II dropped the extra crown, switched to a new movement that has hand-winding and seconds hacking, and made the bezel 120 clicks. It’s kind of perfect.
The Mako III is mechanically the same as the II, but all have hour markers with different styles of bars — no options with numerals — and provides some groovy classic-modern color schemes, new hands and bezel options. But not as cool as the I & II, IMHO.
And that means you can now get the beauty below, as well as all-black or all-blue, for under $130, which is an unbelievable value for a watch with this level of production quality and precision. It’s the most accurate automatic watch you’re likely to find that’s less expensive than a Rolex.