The Perfect Dome-icile
REI QuaRter Dome UL : $219
There are lighter, sexier, smaller, and fancier two-person tents, but none that so effortlessly combine livability, compactness, and value as the Rei quarter Dome UL (www.rei.com). The three-season shelter weighs just four and a quarter pounds (1.9 kilograms)—split between two packs, that's just less than a full Nalgene bottle each—and it's blessed with dual side doors and vestibules, the remedy for those clumsy, honeymoon-ending 2 a.m. crawl-overs. Ventilation, which stinks in single-wall ultralights, is terrific in this two-waller; enormous mesh panels are pasted everywhere but the floor. And setup takes less than 60 seconds, thanks to color-coded poles and "dead end" pole sleeves. Then, of course, there's the price: You can't beat two bills for a decent ultralight tent.
The Un-Messenger Bag
Timbuk2 Outtawhack: $100
I'll risk heresy and say that messenger bags are overrated for anyone but bike messengers. The Timbuk2 Outtawhack (www.timbuk2.com) is the exception. By replacing a bandolier with backpack straps, it stabilizes loads better than traditional bags, but keeps the comfy angled orientation.
Mark Of A Champ
Woolistic Winter Wool Trainer: $210
Faema was an Italian espresso machine maker that sponsored the legendary cyclist Eddy Mercyx—a cool hook for this retro Woolistic Winter Wool Trainer (www.vintagevelos.com). And though your buds will be jealous over its slick style, you'll be enamored with its warm, easy-to-care-for, machine-washable wool.
Our indomitable (and slightly obsessive) gear guru, Steve Casimiro, taps into this month's buzz.
Spring snow is sticky; waxing's a pain. The best ski and board treatment is Teflon-based Notwax ($15; www.zardoznotwax.com)—just wipe it on and go.
Gear geeks debate down versus synthetic sleeping bags ad nauseam, but the truth is that synthetics have only one benefit: They're cheaper. Suck it up and buy down.
If you're feeling ecoguilt during vinyasas, ditch your PVC-based yoga mat and get one made of natural rubber from Jade ($40; www.jadeyoga.com).
This season Backcountry.com runs a free shuttle up Teton Pass every 45 minutes Thursdays through Sundays (www.backcountry.com). All the backcountry, none of the hitching.
Photographs courtesy of REI; Timbuk2; Woolistic
Pick up the March 2006 issue for more secrets of the Southwest, nine Caribbean adventures, the best gear for runners, and our World Class outfitter trips.
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