Best of Adventure 2007
Gear Picks of the Year
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; www.timex.com) 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.
|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; www.teva.com) is the best go-anywhere sandal we've tried.
|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; www.freestyleaudio.com) stays dry to ten feet (3 meters), holds about 150 songs, weighs 1.2 ounces, and sounds great in the water.
|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; www.hobiecat.com) 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.
|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; www.teva.com). 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.
|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; www.speedousa.com) 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.
|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; www.cisurfboards.com), 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.
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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