The best tools, clothes and gear to start your outdoor adventure
By MH Staff - Posted on 31st March 2012
The best tools, clothes and gear to start your outdoor adventure
1 Sierra Lite Hi-Tec
The Boots for Conquering Your Bucket List
Up until now, Hi-Tec hiking boots have been an insider’s secret, known only to hardened hiking vets and grizzled guides. The Sierra Lite is one of their new weapons and it comes bristling with off-road technology and die-hard materials. The outsole is created with super-durable Vibram, which is made up secret rubber compounds that act like bulletproof Kevlar, but for your feet. It’ll handle any surface you’ll encounter and it won’t wear down quickly (unlike some of its Vibram-less competitors). Hi-Tec has also used a cutting-edge, ridiculously thin (as in over 1 000 times thinner than a human hair) nano-coating called the “Ion Mask” to waterproof these boots against both rain and stains. It stands up to its impressive Star Wars type name, and repels raindrops without affecting the boot’s breathability or weight, thanks it’s thinness. The last bit of tech that you’ll appreciate is the ortholite inner, which is anti-microbial, odour-fighting and moisture-wicking – and it’ll provide great support, no matter if it’s in your first kilometre or your 300th. All-in-all, this is a tough, hardworking boot that will help you to tick off any of your hiking adventures.
2 Gerber Apocalypse Kit
The Cutting Edge of Knives
The Walking Dead is an US TV series about zombies taking over the planet and Gerber being the savvy company that they are, decided to help out humanity by putting together a set of their most powerful, efficient blades in their impressive arsenal. The result? Seven fearsome weapons encased in a black roll-up canvas carry case that are able to either maim and decapitate the undead, or if you have more practical needs, they can also be used to slice branches, cut down trees, chop up firewood, make paths through brush, remodel your garden or set up camp. Invest in this bag of bladed goodness and you’ll never have to buy anything sharp ever again. If you don’t want all seven of these tools, you can buy each one individually through Gerber. Our pick? The Bear Grylls parang (or, as we know it, a panga), a modern-day machete that’ll take care any of any plant life that’s in your way while out on an adventure. Or use it in your garden to keep the hedges in shape and your neighbour will suddenly be a whole lot more respectful.
capeunionmart.co.za 021 464 5800
3 K-Way Treklite 2 Person Tent
The Tent That Laughs at Mother Nature
When the weather turns foul during a hiking adventure, you need to rely on good equipment in order to keep enjoying the great outdoors, or else it all turns more miserable than Grey’s Anatomy, and it can all happen faster than one tear-filled episode. The lightweight Treklite is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers as it’s streamlined shape means it can withstand evil, buffeting winds. It also has a high waterhead, which means it sloughs off an obscene amount of rainfall before any of it gets into your cosy tent. We also really like the design of this tent, as it has a number of smart little touches that we appreciate. Like the reflective guy ropes, which stop you from tripping and falling face first into the mud whenever you walk around your tent at night. And the roomy vestibule in front (that v-shaped entrance space) lets you keep all your wet, muddy kit outside, but still under shelter. Most importantly, it’s easy to set up, so when you’re tired after a long walk or mountain bike ride, it only takes a few minutes to set up your home away from home.
R1 399 www.capeunionmart.co.za 021 464 5800
The sleeping bag of the future
Let’s be honest here, your first reaction: you look like a bright Yeti. Yes, it may look a little strange at first, but trust us on this one, this will be the comfiest sleeping bag you’ve ever stepped into. Think back to all the leg-turning and fabric bunching that happens in the original, flat sleeping bag – that’s all in the past when you invest in own of these. And best of all, when you need to get up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature, you won’t lose all the warmth you’ve created. And if it gets too hot, use the smart zips around the bag to let some of your body heat escape. The temp rating of these bags are pretty decent too, meaning they’ll keep you warm in very cold conditions. Even though you won’t be using these while summiting any of the big five, it’s perfect for most of the weather we face here in South Africa. For extra fun, choose the black version and sneak up on unsuspecting camping mates. That’ll show them for teasing you about your Selk’bag.
selkbag.co.za 021 464 5800
5 Leatherman Wave 2
The Tool That Outsmarts McGyver
Tim Leatherman is our kind of guy. He created the Leatherman multitool after travelling overseas. While on a budget trip with his wife in 1975, he needed to fix a dodgy car and hotel plumbing along the way. He tried to make do with his pocket knife, but he soon realised that he needed a tool that combined a boy scout knife with a set of pliers. So he made one. Fast forward a few decades, and the man has revolutionised the multi-tool industry and has helped many men that have been stuck in less-than-ideal situations. The Wave 2 is the sequel to their best selling product, and now the 17 tools have been improved even more. The knives are larger, the pliers stronger, the wire-cutters longer and the blades are now all-locking. The beauty of this tool is that it balances the need for pure strength (the wirecutter can cut paper as well as gnaw through big nails) with the need to keep the tool incredibly light and compact (241gm). To do even more testing on his product, Tim Leatherman chose the Wave as his tool of choice when he recently drove overland from Joburg to Nairobi in a truck. And guess what? It passed with flying colours. So invest in one of these and rack up the man points.
R1 099 capeunionmart.co.za 021 464 5800
6 Garmin eTrex 20
Ever heard of geocaching? It’s like an Easter egg hunt, but for adults. And without any chocolate. Before you start complaining about the lack of the good stuff, geocaching is a smart way to explore the outdoors and to improve that sense of direction that you brag to your wife about. To do this, you need a proper, outdoor-specific GPS and that’s where the eTrex 20 comes in. It’s a small, rugged unit that has up to 25 hours of battery life, a glare-proof colour screen and is dead-simple to use. Check out opencaching.com for some local geocaching options in your next adventure. If you want to skip the treasure hunt and make you own way in the wild, the eTrex allows you to define your own route on your computer before you leave, so all you do is download your proposed route via a USB port and you’re set. Not only will you never get lost again, but you’ll also start building an impressive sense of direction. If you have any other Garmin devices, then you need to pay a little extra and get the eTrex 30 (R2 965) which offers wireless unit-to-unit connectivity (you can share your routes, tracks and waypoints) with other Garmin products. Smart.
R2 380 capeunionmart.co.za 021 464 5800
7 Salomon XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 GTX
Trail running has exploded globally in the last few years and South Africa is no exception thanks to the fact that we’re blessed with both blistering trail talent and the kind of race landscapes that get runners’ salivating. We’ve got the heartbreak hills, awe-inspiring single-tracks and a humbling variety of terrain that keeps your ankles and core muscles guessing. To negotiate these trails, you need proper trail shoes – foot hardware that can handle any kind of surface. These Ultras are Salomon’s undercover operators, they’re not as popular as some of the brand’s other ranges, but they’re the proven performers with state-of-art support tech and tough-as-titanium materials. They have GORE-TEX to repel both water and mud, ortholite inners to keep your feet comfy, contagrip outsoles that adapt to any surface, a rubber toe cap (to stop you from getting broken and black toes and toenails) and a smart quicklace system that uses a toggle to tighten the shoes around your feet. No more double or triple knots needed. Consider it support for your feet.
R1 599 capeunionmart.co.za 021 464 5800
8 First Ascent Summit Jacket
The Fluid Fighter
Staying dry is not as easy as you think. Firstly, you need material that repels water with the force of a Willem Alberts hand off. But then, you can’t walk around with heavy fabric that feels like you’re giving Alberts a piggyback. To correct this, you need a thin, lightweight material that’s coated with a water-repellent chemical. The Summit is a three ply hard shell jacket that weighs in at 570gm and uses the next-generation eVent fabric – which not only employs scientific trickery to keep water rolling off, but also has microscopic pores that lets your sweat escape too. So not only do you simply shrug off any storm that comes your way, you also skip creating a portable sauna while hiking in the rain. In fact, First Ascent are so happy with the sweat-clearing skills of eVent that they’ve done away with pit zips (the original method of trying to get rid of body heat and moisture). The other bits of design cleverness: there’s a double slider zipper that plays nicely when wearing a harness; a hood that’s big enough to cover a helmet (so the rain doesn’t end your playtime) and welded abrasion patches in high wear areas, (like over the shoulder areas when the backpack straps sit). Smart. This show-stopper of a jacket is not only for hardcore hikers and outdoor adventurers, this is for anyone who wants to stay totally dry (and sweat-free) in any thunderstorm.
R2 999 firstascent.co.za 021 787 9380
9 Olympus Tough TG-810
The Outdoor Memory Maker
The latest trend in outdoor enjoyment is to invest in a small action camera, strap it to a part of your body (or a participating friend, mountain bike, kayak or dog) and then become a star in your own Bruckheimer-worthy, high-octane flick. Don’t get us wrong, it’s one the best ways to spend a day in nature, but the truth is, those action cameras can’t shoot decent quality photos (or stills in video language). Most of them are also pretty finicky and chew through energy faster than Pacman. That’s where this shiny devil comes in. It captures brilliant, vivid images of any adventure, is good in almost all light conditions and is tougher than a honey badger. It’s freeze-proof (up to -10°C), waterproof (up to 10m), shockproof (withstands a drop from two metres), and is crushproof (to 99kg of pressure), and those aren’t just marketing claims. We bounced it off floors, threw it into freezers, chucked it into swimming pools and even stood on it (we did, however, use our lightest MH staff member). Best of all, it records HD video too. Consider this your ticket to new adventures outdoors.
R3 863 sacamera.co.za 0861 112 868
10 PYGA Industries ONETEN29
The 29 inch Mountain Mover
Patrick Morewood is a genius. The original creator of the Morewood brand has now broken away from his namesake and started Pyga Industries, and we were lucky to get our dirty mitts on the breathtakingly brushed aluminium prototype of this flagship model. Morewood’s sublime engineering skills and metalworking magicking has resulted in a trail machine that’s speedy up and down hills, supple through singletracks and ballet-dancer-balanced on the rougher stuff. Granted, it’s not the lightest (12.15kg for the medium), but it can still race more technical courses with more skill than many of its lighter peers (that have much heavier price tags). With this model, you choose the components you want, but we really like the set-up that that the prototype had (it’s what Morewood chose himself). This is an underdog in the truest sense, an unknown that has no hype or previous brand pedigree to rely on, but it delivers more than even its creator could have hoped for. Neil Gardiner, tech editor for Bicycling, reckons it’s in another league and it’s what we should all be riding. You heard the man, it’s time to ride to the next level.
R16 000 (incl. rear shock and VAT) or R31 000 (with the above setup), pygaindustries.com