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Gear Picks of the Year: Desert

Perfect gear for the desert: sunglasses, hydration pack, trail runners, more.

Text by Steve Casimiro, with gear recommendations from Adventure's Retail Advisory Board

Gear Picks of the Year for Six Environments:

Desert  |  Forest  |  Mountain  |  Road Trip  |  Snow  |  Water

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Best of Adventure: Desert - Gear | Trend  | Destination 

1. The Sun Blocker
Editor's Pick: Best Value

GoLite Chrome Dome  
An adventure umbrella? Surprisingly, yes. The 22-inch (56-centimeter) Chrome Dome ($30; wards off the sun better than any sunscreen and weighs just ten ounces.
Photo: Umbrella
2. The Bike Tire
Slime SRT Tubeless Tires  

Ah, Slime. Nothing fends off cactus flats like the goopy green tire sealant—and now you can skip the messy installation with pre-Slimed tires. The 2.0-inch (5.0-centimeter) cross-country tires ($42;, our favorite, fit on tubed or tubeless rims.

Photo: Bike tire
3. The Astronomer
Editor's Pick: Best Innovation
Celestron SkyScout  
A thousand points of light can be pretty confusing unless you have the SkyScout ($400; This GPS-driven device instantly identifies objects in the night sky—just point, shoot, and learn the name and history of the star, planet, or constellation in question.

Photo: SkyScout
4. The Sunglasses
Editor's Pick: Best Comfort

Smith VTI
For all their style, Smith shades typically haven't been the first choice for hot-weather cardio; sport-specific Oakleys or Rudy Projects were more likely to get the nod. But the new VTI dual-lens shields ($159; are changing that. Best for cycling or running, the feathery frame has all the heft of a butterfly wing, the lens optics are crisp, and venting is so good that fogging is rarely a concern.

Photo: Sunglasses
5. The Hydration Pack
Camelbak Octane 14  

With the carrying capacity of a small dromedary, the new Octane 14 ($95; is one stealthy little exercise in versatility: It's light enough for trail running, vented enough for the heat, and adaptable enough for a one-hour or daylong hike. In short, it's the bomb.
Photo: Hydration pack
6. The Shirt
Patagonia Capilene 1 Crew
The fast-drying, gossamer Capilene 1 Crew long-sleeve tee ($38; might be the ultimate desert shirt: adept when hiking, running, relaxing, or (in its original use) as next-to-skin insulation. All that and it's made from 100 percent recycled fibers.

Photo: Shirt
7. The Canyon Shoe
La Sportiva Exum River  

There aren't many canyoneering kicks, period, and the Exum River ($100; is the rare one that's as comfortable on dry trails and slickrock as it is in wet, mucky slots. The shoe's sticky rubber tread handles rock climbing and scrambling, and its hiking-shoe chassis makes it supremely stable. The standout feature is a strap that cinches down your heel as solidly as a rock shoe does.
Photo: Trail runners

Photographs, from top: Courtesy of GoLite; James Weston; Courtesy of Celestron; Courtesy of Smith Optics; Courtesy of Camelbak; James Westman; Courtesy of La Sportiva

Cover: Adventure magazine
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