Gear Addiction: A Junky's Birthday Wish List
Published on 02/22/2013
It was my birthday last week, so bake the cake (or pie, in my case). Fire up the candles, now as hot as a funeral pyre licking the ceiling. Open the presents, hoping (but not really believing) my Birthday Fantasy List is wrapped up inside.
WHEELS OF FORTUNE: Yeti Cycles Big Top 29R
From deep inside this rockin’ Colorado big maker came a 29R movement. Big Top is one expression of this desire for easy-rolling, hard-charging performance. The hardtail format combines an alloy front with a high modulus carbon rear. Frame-only weight of 4.0 lbs. leaves plenty of room for trail-ripping components designed to dance across rocky outcrops and drive through muddy creek bottoms. Three kits, Enduro, Race and Pro, move between SRAM, Avid and Shimano parts as reliability improves by moving up the ladder. Is this ride beautiful? No doubt. Does it live out the Yeti tradition in the larger MTB format? Absolutely. This is one B-Day blessing that doesn’t need wrapping paper to say “you’re special today.”
GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO: The Pathfinder School Advanced Class
Taking the Basic Class in mid-2012 meant arms torn up by brambles, little sleep and singed eyebrows from dozens of all-conditions fire building tests. Where do I sign up for more? Advanced Class goes beyond the first 72 hours of survival skills to settling in for what could be a longer break from civilization’s comforts. Securing calories comes to the fore as does constructing semi-permanent shelter and mastering advanced navigation techniques. With Dave Canterbury and a competent team of wilderness living experts at every turn (except during field exercises where the Guardian Angels aren’t always a stone’s throw away), the ability to learn by trying and failing is what makes it work. Pressure and repeated practice builds competence for times when survival is no party trick.
BRAND IN THE BAG: Rab Expedition Kitbag MKII
If you’ve been fortunate enough to wear or travel with RAB gear, you know why no bountiful birthday wish list is complete without something from these U.K. outdoor gurus. This category, travel and expedition luggage, is the ideal complement to insulated layers and shells in their complete line. This year, the kitbag takes the cake. Constructed of 1000 Denier Inca canvas, the 100-liter duffel carries shielded pockets, haul handles and detachable shoulder straps. Compression straps further improve the bag’s utility and carrying ease. Inside, the base is lined with 420D nylon fabric. Sixty and 140-liter options are offered as well. Going down a nearby bumpy road? Taking an adventure by plane, bus, trail or rickshaw? Ready to set up base camp for peak bagging? RAB will now, quite literally, carry the day. Birthday or not.