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Gear Picks of the Year: Water    
Perfect gear for watersports: watch, sandal, waterproof MP3 player, kayak, 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: Water - Gear  |  Trends  |  Destination

1. The Watch
Timex Expedition E-Tide & Temp

Most tide watches are digital and, well, ugly. But the Expedition E-Tide & Temp ($120; is a pure, classically styled analog. It doesn't tell you much more than the time and when the tide's changing, but, hey, that's all you need.
Photo: Watch
2. The Water Sandal
Editor's Pick: Best Value

Teva Karnali Wraptor  
Maybe it's the superior fit. Or the grippy tread. Or the seat-belt-like strap that locks your heel into place. Regardless, the Wraptor ($100; is the best go-anywhere sandal we've tried.

Photo: Water sandal
3. The Music Player
Freestyle Audio DMP  
Waterproof iPod cases are great, but you can't beat the compactness of an MP3 player that is itself waterproof. The 512MB DMP ($170; stays dry to ten feet (3 meters), holds about 150 songs, weighs 1.2 ounces, and sounds great in the water.

Photo: Waterproof MP3 player
4. The Boat
Editor's Pick: Best Innovation

Hobie Mirage Adventure Island  
Not just a new kayak or sailboat, the Mirage Adventure Island ($3,000; is an entirely new type of watercraft. The centerpiece is a 16-foot kayak propelled by a smartly designed pedal system, stabilized by two Hawaiian outrigger pontoons, and aided by a sail. You can strap it to the roof of your car, set it up in 15 minutes, learn to sail it in ten, and haul up to 350 pounds.

Photo: Kayak sail boat
5. The Drybag
Teva Uropod 37 L
One of the smartest innovations of the year is Teva's new line of PVC-free drybags, the best of which is the Uropod 37 L ($110; The bags incorporate a panel of waterproof, breathable eVent fabric, which lets moisture out but won't let water in. Thus, your stuff dries out and stays dry at the same time. Genius.

Photo: Dry bag
6. The Swimsuit
Editor's Pick: Best Comfort

Speedo XDSkin Corset Back 
Wouldn't it be nice if a swimsuit helped you swim faster? The new XDSkin Corset Back suit ($98; does just that: Compared with traditional Lycra suits, the XDSkin absorbs less water, hugs your skin better to create less drag, and is more comfortable. Even better: It dries much more quickly.

Photo: Swimsuit
7. The Surfboard
Al Merrick's Channel Islands M-BM
Turning to the latest in surf tech, legendary shaper Al Merrick is now making innovative S-Core boards—and they rock. Our pick: the M-BM ($795;, a high-performance shortboard with a squash tail, which excels in smaller, mushier waves. As the longest, widest, and most buoyant of the M-BM boards, the 6'4'' (2 meters) is friendliest for less experienced surfers.

Photo: Surfboard

Photographs, from top: Courtesy of Timex; Courtesy of Teva; James Westman; Courtesy of Hobie; James Westman; Courtesy Speedo; Courtesy of Channel Islands

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