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Product review: Outdoor gear for the summer
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The RIG 650 has a 70-ounce capacity and weighs about two pounds. - photo by Grant Olsen
Warm weather is upon us and summer outings are in full swing. From breathable trail runners to high-performance life jackets, this article looks at a diverse selection of outdoor products that can handle the rigors of summer use.

Vasque Pendulum II

GRADE: A-

Sleek and lightweight, the Pendulum II is surprisingly rugged. These trail runners employ aggressive lug geometry and a low overall lug height to provide superior traction on loose terrain. And on top of all the performance, theyre really easy on the eyes. It can sometimes be difficult to find a shoe with gorgeous design that also offers this much utility.

The secret to the Pendulum II comfort is the one-piece mesh upper (no stitching to irritate your feet.) It delivers excellent breathability so you can wear these shoes while running in the middle of a Utah summer.

The Pendulum II has a 3 milimeter Flux Foam footbed that is intended to adapt to your feet. The idea is that the footbed will mold to the contours of your feet after youve worn them for a while, though it still has enough compression resistance to prevent it from getting too squishy. These shoes are as comfy as ever.

Smith Overtake Helmet

GRADE: A

If youre looking for a lightweight helmet that delivers best-in-class protection, youll probably want to check out the Overtake. Smith has really upped their game in recent years, producing streamlined helmets with impressive features.

The Overtake started with the simple idea of making helmets more comfortable. Mission accomplished, because many riders report that they actually forget theyre wearing the Overtake. This is largely due to using lightweight materials that also give you lots of ventilation (thanks to the AEROCORE construction.) Additional protection comes from the Koroyd material used on the interior. Given the amount of airflow produced, this is really impressive stuff.

The Overtake comes with an adjustable fit system thatll ensure it remains snug on your noggin for the entire ride. It also has sunglass integration, but be aware that not all brands and models are perfectly compatible.

Bogs Tumalo Waterproof Hiking Boot

GRADE: A

Bogs is famous for their waterproof footwear and these boots build on that reputation. The leather is 100 percent waterproof and the rest of the design is such that these boots protect your feet incredibly well. Theyre lined with EverDry to absorb moisture and help your sweat evaporate, ensuring that the protection extends inside and out.

The Tumalo are solid from the moment you put them on your feet. Theyre the kind of boots that feel substantial, giving you confidence on any terrain. Constructed out of nubuck leather, theyre durable enough to give you many years of top performance.

The Tumalo excels in other areas as well. This is a boot you can comfortably wear on long hikes. The lugged outsole really bites into the ground to give you stability and traction. And because the soles also have rebound technology, theres less foot fatigue. All these benefits combine to ensure these boots keep you dry and comfortable on all sorts of treks.

Numinous 55L Rucksack

GRADE: A-

Whether youre camping in the Boulder Mountains or traveling abroad, its important to keep your belongings safe and secure. Numinous specializes in making backpacks that keep thieves (and sharp-toothed rodents searching for food) at bay. Its like wearing a miniature vault on your back.

The 55L rucksack has many layers of defense. The anti-puncture zip and lock keeps out unwanted guests and is rugged enough to take years of heavy use. The entire pack utilizes anti-slash technology, keeping your belongings safe.

Other features include a locking system that allows you to secure your pack to a tree or other fixed object, a padded inner compartment, compression straps, padded lumbar support and airflow system, mesh side pockets and side carry handles. As with other high quality packs, it also has a height adjust system so you can customize it to your body type.

There are lots of adventure packs out there, but Numinous rucksacks are some of the toughest on the planet.

BlackRapid Double Camera Strap

GRADE: B

BlackRapid products are gaining a lot of fans in the photography world. Theyre intended for serious photographers who want to safeguard the cameras theyve invested so much in. While their single straps can be a good option for even casual shooters, the Double (for two cameras) is most relevant to those with a bit more experience.

The Double is designed to be a heavy-duty cargo hauler, though its still ergonomic and sleek. You can detach one side to make it a single R-Strap or keep it together for maximum effect. It comes with two FastenR-3 connectors, which attach to the standard -inch 20 tripod socket on the camera body or lens, giving you top-tier compatibility.

BlackRapid straps are known for their smooth gliding action. Bringing your camera up into position has never been easier. The Double has a length adjuster to ensure that each photographer can get a custom fit. The strap has a polyester base bolstered by a 1.4 centimeter-thick PU foam padding. Wearing two cameras all day is always going to take a toll on you, but with the Double, its going to be as effortless and painless as possible.

Selkbag Patagon

GRADE: B+

Although theyre still considered a novelty by some people, Selkbags have seriously stepped up their game in recent years. The Patagon represents the highpoint of this new technology.

First of all, the Patagon has much stronger and lighter shell material. This is significant because many people assume a wearable sleeping bag will snag and tear during normal use. The Patagons shell is rip-stop nylon with a water-resistant finish. Its not impervious to damage, but it gives you a lot more confidence than earlier models.

Another big update is to the insulation. The Patagon uses synthetic Krekran, which is known for its thermal efficiency. In conjunction with the improved fill, the Patagon keeps you warm with features like snugger fit to reduce air space, baffled construction, a thermal collar around the head and neck, and enhanced draft tubes to stop heat loss around zippers. Of course, if all that heat-hugging technology becomes too much, there are vents for convenient cooling.

The Patagon comes in three sizes and fits most people. The medium weighs 4 pounds, the large weighs 4.3 pounds and the extra-large weighs 4.7 pounds.

Wenzel Backyard 30-Degree Sleeping Bag

GRADE: A-

Wenzels Backyard mummy bags come in two colors and are perfect for kids who want to have their very own bag. As their name suggests, these bags are rated at 30 degrees. They have quilt through construction for comfort and warmth, plus a drawstring hood for chilly nights. And at less than $30, theyre a great bargain.

The Backyard bag is 66 inches long and 26 inches wide, giving children plenty of room. It has a 190T Polyester outer that is fairly rugged. For the fill, Wenzel uses Insul-Therm, which is good for retaining heat. The main zipper is a two-way, giving you venting options for warm night. And on the warmest summer nights, the bag fully unzips to become a blanket.

These bags also come with a stuff sack for storage and transport. With their versatile fill, they compress down to about 15 inches by 10 inches.

Camp Chef Mesa Aluminum Camp Table

GRADE: A

Since the early 90s, Camp Chef has been making high quality outdoor cooking products. This rugged, versatile table is a great addition to their lineup. With its adjustable legs, it can be adapted for just about any terrain. The legs go from 27 inches to nearly 40 inches. This means you can set up the table on a rocky, uneven hillside and still get a flat surface.

The table is also quite portable. Camp Chef uses aluminum for the construction, which gives it decent strength and keeps the weight in check (though I wish it were a bit lighter than 22 pounds.) When not in use, the table collapses down and fits into a carry bag.

Built to withstand the elements, this table really fits many uses. Its great for a quick picnic in the backyard or can be hauled to campsites further in the mountains. Its dimensions are a spacious 48 inches by 27 inches. And because it has a middle support crossbeam, you can trust that the table will remain solid and stable.

Pro-Tec City Lite Kids Helmet

GRADE: A

The City Lite is one of the newest helmets made by Pro-Tec. Its got all the features of their Classic model, but weighs 30 percent less. Much of this improvement is due to the low-profile in-mold shell that is fused to the EPS liner.

While a lot of kids dont care for wearing helmets, the City Lite has a modern look that will make it more desirable than other styles. It comes with a mesh cycling cap that only adds to the look and comfort.

As for the safety elements, which are obviously the most important, the City Lite excels. It has a dual direction fit system that ensures a snug fit. This is crucial because an ill-fitting helmet does little good for your child. Another bonus feature is the integrated LED in the back of the helmet. It has four light modes and makes it easier for drivers to see your child.

Geigerrig CAMO RIG 650

GRADE: A

The hydration pack market is getting increasingly crowded, with brands like CamelBak, TETON, DAKINE, Deuter and Osprey Packs. More and more adventurers are discovering, however, that some of the worlds best hydration packs are made right here in Utah. Geigerrig is based out of Ogden and has introduced significant innovations to the industry.

The RIG 650 has a 70-ounce capacity and weighs about 2 pounds. Heres the thing about Geigerrig products they pack a ton of features into a compact space. Because of this, the RIG 650 fits like a daypack but delivers like a bigger pack.

Made from 600 D polyester, this pack has the durability for a rugged hike. The ergonomic straps are padded, so even when youre lugging a full load of water it wont put too much pressure on your shoulders. Theres also a slider chest strap to efficiently manage the weight.

With so much to offer, its no wonder that the RIG 650 is a favorite accessory for an increasing number of adventurers.

L.L. Bean Rambler XL Wagon

GRADE: A

The Rambler XL is definitely an upgraded version of a basic wagon. For one thing, its got a 600-pound weight capacity. That means it can handle up to four riders. And when its not toting your children around, you can remove the side rails and use it to haul gear around your yard or campsite. The deck is 46 inches by 23 inches, ensuring theres lots of space for riders or cargo.

Durability is nice with an outdoor product like this and the Rambler XL is built tough. The deck and side rails are made from Canadian hardwoods, while the 10-inch pneumatic tires can handle most terrain. The wagon weighs nearly 50 pounds, so you know its substantial enough to take a beating.

One really fun feature is that the side rails have vertical sockets so you can add flexible poles and a cover, like a Conestoga wagon. The sockets also work great for supporting a flag or banner.