Besides online reviews, I like two print resources for annual updates of what’s new for hiking and kayaking gear. Of course, it’s not all applicable to Hawaii but many of us take mainland trips as well. In my case having grown up hiking and backpacking in California’s Sierras (http://www.sierrahighlights.net/ )before coming to the islands, I’ve always been interested in what’s available to make these trips more enjoyable and easier for those of us who are getting into the prime time age!
First let’s take a look at what’s in Backpacker magazine’s 2014 best new gear. Their reviews are not as comprehensive as Outside’s annual summer issue, but there were a couple of items that caught my eye that might be of interest to Hawaii adventurers. First, for local kayakers and paddlers, footgear is always high on the list. We’re always on the lookout for something for reef rash protection and traction on slippery rocks. How about the Keen Class 6 water sandal that fulfills our requirements. It’s moderately priced at $90 (it even floats!) but sells at a discount at REI for example. More info? Go to keen footwear.com.
Now for the some hot Go Pro videos on the go, there’s the Vu Pack Pole (vuvantage.com). At first it looks pretty crazy but turns out that this weird piece of gear really works! You just set it up in your pack and you’re good to go. One reviewer even remarked that he used it for a week in Hawaii for SUP and hikes and got some great shots plus it survived wipeouts and mishaps to boot! Official price is $140 but the street price is less if you look around.
I’d say in general both magazines use a bunch of hard core testers, and I’ve found their opinions right on target. In Part Two, I’ll move on to Outside’s summer buyers guide covering 360 hot new products. Going for one of these items does hit us in the disposable income, but when outside in the boonies, it’s not a time to rely on el cheapo items!