The intelligent choice is the 2016 winner of the Gear Institute's Best in Class Award winner — Eagle Creek's Gear Warrior 32. The honor shows that quality and versatility can come in one hipster package. I never could get my old bag into the sizing frame at the ticket counter - something always bulged out. My old bag was usually overweight, so I had to either check it or toss something out. But Eagle Creek's TrueFit Gear Warrior bags have solved my problems.
The Gear Warrior 32 is so light weight (6 pounds, one ounce) that I can pick it up with the grab straps with one finger. The size of the Gear Warrior 32 is deceptive. It was designed especially to fit into the sizing frame, but its boxy-ness means I can get more stuff stuffed in without an embarrassing at-airport apparel toss.
Eagle Creek is known for innovation, quality construction, and durability for its newly redesigned Outdoor Gear line of luggage. The Gear Warrior 32 is made of reinforced Hypalon material for blocking and bumper protection. The Eko-Skelton composite fabrication strengthens wear points; water repellant Geo Ripstop and Helix fabric with bartack reinforces its strength.
I was amazed by the Gear Warrior 32's ease of use and separation of gear and clothing. I also appreciated features like multiple grab handles and the trade marked Equipment Keeper, with bottle opener that allows equipment to be attached to the top of the bag. Eagle Creek added industry-leading innovations like the glue-laminated Exo-Skeleton composite fabrication, delivering supreme durability and light weight for its carry-on line.
I was surprised that my collapsible mono-pole for my Sony camcorder fit into the main cell of the bag, but at an angle. I carry lots of photo and electronic gear; I am able to get my padded Lowes camera case and chargers into the main valise along with my clothing neatly bundled with the cool Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes, coming in a set of three in three sizes.
My old-style packing cubes were huge squares of inflexible netting that added weight to my carry-on. But the colorful Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes are amoeba-like, lying flat, rolled, or crunched, depending on what I put in them. The different sizes means I have the right size for necessities or accessories. I threw camera batteries in the medium-size Pack-It and stored it in the exterior zip pouch; I used the smaller bag for toiletries and the larger bag for socks, ties, swimsuit, and underwear. Because they are flexible they are easy to stuff into nooks and crannies between other apparel and gear. The Pack-Its are washable, durable, and stain and water-resistant. Little plasticized outer straps mean I can hang them in the sun or on a hanger. There are many styles of the Pack-It cubes so check them out at:
Even with the expansion zipper extended to bulk out the bag by another inch or so, it easily slid into the sizing frame because the outer compression straps pulled down tight, like squeezing empty air out of a plastic bag. The two outer compression straps clipped over the zippers preventing the bag from opening accidently, or unzipped by others. Interior apparel compression straps kept my clothing secure.
I was amazed at the size of the outer zip pouch. Most outer sleeves are dinky, but the Gear Warrior 32 is large enough for my note pads, extra shirts, dress pants, and still has room to spare, AND, this pouch piggy-backs over an even larger pouch where I store rain gear, more clothes, tablet and case, and other accessories. An interior zipping net pouch was perfect for caching my formal lamb-skin jacket from Turkey, keeping it from all other items.
The double zippers operate easily with leather pull tabs and when paired together anywhere along the zip line larger eyelets can accommodate a small lock. The aluminum pull handle slides effortlessly into a zip pouch cleverly designed on the back of the bag, thus saving space on the top of the bag, and thus making more room within the main compartment.
Nothing on the Gear Warrior 32 is redundant or superfluous. I only use bags with four wheels, for easy rolling in hotels or airports, and the Gear Warrior 32 supplies them to operate in any direction. The over-sized treaded wheels have a protective housing and a durable kick plate. This award winner comes with a lifetime "No Matter What" warranty.
“We are really honored to be presented with the Best In Class award from The Gear Institute,” said Roger Spatz, President, Eagle Creek. “We are known for building the best performing, longest lasting luggage on the market, and are pleased the testers appreciated the time, energy and devotion that went into designing and reinventing the newest Outdoor Gear bags.”
Log on to www.EagleCreek.com
I may not have wings on my feet like the Roman god Mercury, but I do have a light weight pair of Icebug Treading Footwear Juniper boots. I will never lug any lug sole boots again.
(Opening photo above: fall hiking to backwoods miner cabin in the Black Hills. Photo left: hiking the limestone canyons in the world's second oldest mountains in Vanocker Canyon where General Custer came through in 1874.)
During the summer I live in the Queen City of the Black Hills which always gets on the top ten list of Outside Magazine's best outdoor towns. My town is surrounded by mountains on three sides like a Queen's tiara, and a trout stream runs through it. So I need a stylish pair of boots for hiking and then dashing down the trails from Lookout Mountain to the Common Grounds coffee shop; I found my style with the Icebug Juniper boots.
My boots are appropriately name because I pick juniper berries in the fall, and wild rose hips as the snow falls, so I need a boot that works in the wet, but still has class. My Icebug Juniper's Gore-Tex membrane keeps my feet dry in the wet forest. The upper tongue is laced tight and the robust Honeycomb textile is easy to clean. Icebug’s outstanding sticky rubber RB9X soles have amazing traction on every wet surface, like a gecko foot pad; I will never slip again on the quartz trails on Crow Peak. The Juniper is a walking shoe but serves as a running shoe as well for the marathon down the canyon or mountain biking the Big Hill trail.
The Juniper is so light weight I feel like I have wings on my feet; it is built on the same sole unit as Icebug's popular model Anima. Icebug makes many models of shoes and boots in chameleon-like colors or plain tones.
Icebug produces cool content and stages outdoor events to use your Icebug Juniper boots. Check out an Icebug adventure at:
www.icebug.com/joinus or check their other products at www.Icebug.com
Do you have an old pair of shoes that are so comfortable and broken in that you can't throw them out when they start to fall apart? I have a pair of fishing shoes like that and I now hold them together with Rhino tape. They are still a great pair of shoes but when the insoles ripped out I was so happy to replace them with Icebug insoles with its trade marked Arch flex system technology.
My sole style is the Icebug FAT - medium insoles. Fat means the most cushioned support; medium is for arch height. The Icebug insoles built-in form-fitting actuation strengthens my feet dynamically by reacting to my body weight or activity. A foot has three arches and the Icebug insoles strengthens them all in three layers: A low-friction top cover; a soft and breathable open-cell Polyiyou foam middle layer; and a shock absorbing EVA foam bottom layer. All three layers are fused into one unit. The double arch design absorbs shock and cups the heel's soft tissue so energy rebounds to the feet. The dynamic support goes lengthwise along the mid-foot arch and crosswise along the forefront arch. Icebug also makes BUGweb, a removable carbide-studded traction web that fits over their boots and shoes and acts like crampons on winter ice.
Choose your style, arch height, and foot size at www.icebug.com/insoles
Check out the entire line at www.Icebug.com
Happy trails until we meet again.
Adventure travel is all about being comfortable and practical, and dry. In the tropical heat light weight clothing is best, and quick-dry material is essential in a rainforest. Long pants are best for protection from insects as well as the sticks and spiky vines that occasionally trip you up. Long sleeves are not an option in some regions, both for cultural sensitivity and for protection from the flora and fauna. Most of the time you will be in the shade of the rainforest canopy, but proper attire, such as Craghoppers, helps keep you cool.
Whether you are on a day trek, overnight trek, or longer, the golden rule is: less is more - and Craghoppers apparel fills this rule. with exceptional line of clothing for kids, women, and men.
These days you need a Zika mosquito netted bug hat even on the beaches of Miami, and Craghoppers supplies them, along with stylish broad brim Fedoras and ear flap caps. Craghoppers keeps you covered in any season. I especially like the feel of their material, it is soft, but light and packs down to a small size. I like their material for another reason, it is easy to layer when going from savannah to high veldt.
Craghoppers creates its long-sleeved jerseys in bright colors with InsectShield repellent that ensures that biting bugs do not get attracted; a super choice for hot-climate travel. Give seasonal showers the brush off in Craghoppers' new light weight packable parka. The jacket’s watertight AquaDry Membrane construction features colorful contrasting inner and outer faces and incorporates a neat grown-on hood for extra coverage. Stylish and practical wet-weather wear.
Before I was introduced to the cool Craghoppers fashion line I had never heard of elastane, but their new Active Fit shirts, are 86% NosiLife polyester and 14% elastane. The elastane adds a design of agility making the shirt easy to move around in, great for photographers that need to swivel in multi-direction on a game-viewing truck. With a sun-protection of UPF40+ and SolarShield protective collar, and added Insect Shield insect repellent, this travel shirt fuses light weight stretch construction with a clean contemporary performance. I wish I had one when the mosquitoes stormed out of the woods on a Maine Windjammer Cruise lobster bake on the beach. The shirt is easy to roll up and to dry with hanger loops. Underarm venting keeps you cool.
New this season for the ladies is the Craghoppers Aurora Long Skirt | Dress - kind of a sassy navy swabbie-style jersey in either nautical stripes, patterns, or plain, with 61% NosiLife polyester, 36% cotton, 3% elastane, with protective InsectShield.
The AdventureFit Bailly is a great cruising choice for windjamming or shore excursions. It wards off the Zika pests in style and works well with Craghoppers seasonal tops and tunics. This cleverly designed NosiLife dress quickly converts to a skirt by rolling down the top and using the fabric neck strap as a waist tie. Handy for transitioning from beach to bar to boat – pair it with a NosiLife tee or tunic.
Craghoppers has many other fall and seasonal designs to pique your fashion curiosity.
While on an adventure I always rip or tear something on my clothing, usually from sharp thorns or branches. So now I carry NOSO Puffy Patches, because there is no sewing required. Once applied they stick like scarred over tissue. They fix rips, tears, holes, and stop long gashes from expanding. I slapped a patch on the front and back of my Eagle Creek Gear Warrior pack so it will stand out in the piled luggage from the Drifters Adventures expedition truck touring Namibia. The patches will repair sleeping bags, tents, tarps, climbing pants, jackets, shirts, and other apparel, even down jackets.
Puffy Patches are made of 30D nylon ripstop material and are heat and light inhibited to keep them from peeling. The patches are heat activated once applied, just place the patch towards the sun to activate the adhesive. No iron is needed. The patches won't gum up in the washer or dryer. Puffy Patches are available in 6 colors,13 shapes, and three to a packet. For more info visit http://nosopatches.com/
— Feature by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine, Cabinweb.com and FishShootouts.net