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Review: 7 products to help you get outside for spring break

POSTED March 4, 2018 3:19 a.m.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS — While local temperatures have been an unpredictable roller coaster lately, the unusually warm days and vast blankets of snow have created plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy nature.

Here’s a look at seven products that might be a good fit for your next outing.

Kelty Scree Trekking Poles

PRICE: $69

GRADE: A

These trekking poles from Kelty are versatile enough for year-round use. They’re made from a lightweight alloy (7075 series anodized aluminum), so you’ll hardly notice that you’re toting them around. But as soon as you need them to dig in and give support, you’ll notice how strong they are.

The cork and foam grips are quite comfy, while also providing enough tackiness for good control even in adverse weather.

The poles can be collapsed down for transport and storage, then extended back up to a max of 54 inches. There are height markings all along the shafts, making it easy to find the perfect setting.

Lawson Hammock Gravity Chair

PRICE: $119

GRADE: A-

Lawson Hammock is mainly known for award-winning hammocks. But it recently introduced this hammock chair as a smaller, more lightweight way to relax while traveling.

The Gravity Chair is definitely compact. Once packed into the storage bag, it’s small enough to toss into your backpack without taking up much space. And it only weighs about 1.9 pounds, while it’s still strong enough to handle occupants up to 400 pounds.

While hammocks require multiple anchor points, the Gravity Chair has a single anchor line. So you can suspend it from any branch, rafter or overhang. Once you’ve set it up (which only takes a matter of seconds), you can comfortably sit in the chair in a number of positions.

Adidas Terrex Tivid Mid CP

PRICE: $120

GRADE: B+

These Adidas mid-cut boots are built for comfort and versatility. So, no, they’re probably not a good choice for your most treacherous hikes. But for everything else, they perform like champs.

The Terrex Tivid Mid CP boots are waterproof, with a climaproof® membrane that sheds water and keep everything in check. And the EVA midsole provides substantial cushioning that makes longer treks less of a bear on your feet.

As for traction, these boots have TRAXION lugs that help you stay put even on unsteady terrain. The TRAXION technology is actually designed in partnership with Continental Rubber, a standout manufacturer in the auto and bike tire realm. The result is an outsole that provides about 30 percent more traction in wet conditions compared to other boots on the market.

Deuter Futura PRO 36

PRICE: $170

GRADE: A

Deuter packs often have a long, lean profile. While they’re not as robust looking as some other brands, don’t let their streamlined design fool you. These packs are top-notch and have everything you need for a great outing.

The Futura PRO 36 is distinct because it offers the brand’s new Aircomfort Sensic mesh back system. This pack system was created in partnership with a team of European orthopedic surgeons and is designed to provide better ventilation and flexibility than other systems on the market. And it delivers on most of its promises.

First off, it’s uber-ergonomic. It’s got an elastic spring steel frame, advanced mesh and flexible hip fins for carrying comfort. With its narrow anchor points and pivoting hip belt, your load is evenly dispersed and feels better on your back. Plus, the mesh back panel has a hydrophilic coating so it’ll stay dry and be more comfortable on long hauls.

Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like down insulation and those who prefer synthetic. The Fuego will certainly appeal to the former, while maybe even winning over a few of the latter.

This jacket is packed with water-resistant 800-fill goose down (yes, the down is responsibly sourced). As for the jacket itself, it’s got a sleek fit and elastic binding that keeps it snug to your body. The DWR-treated 20D ripstop nylon shell ensures you stay toasty and dry in most conditions.

The Fuego packs down small and comes with a stuff sack for storage. It only weighs about 14 ounces. Overall, this jacket is pleasantly lightweight, comfy and practical, with zippered hand pockets and two interior pockets for stashing personal items.

Burley Tail Wagon

PRICE: $399

GRADE: A

Burley makes a full lineup of child trailers, but the Tail Wagon is their only trailer designed specifically for pets. While many of the features are similar to Burley’s other trailers, there are some special additions to this model.

One of the first things you'll notice is that it’s got a flip-down tailgate that makes loading and unloading a breeze. The trailer can handle all manner of pets, with a carrying capacity up to 75 pounds. And the suspended floor is removable, so you can simply take it out for a rinse should the need arise.

As with all Burley trailers, the Tail Wagon can also be converted into a stroller with the optional kit. It’s got ample cargo pockets to store your pet’s toys and gear. It also folds down ultra-flat for transportation and storage. Best of all, it’s super easy to assemble and you can be biking within five minutes of opening the box.

Nuna RAVA Car Seat

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A

When it comes to family outings, a comfortable car seat can really help your little ones stay happy longer. Which, of course, results in everyone staying happy longer. The RAVA delivers on this front, with 10-position recline, 10-position headrest and a two-position anchor strap. Basically, you can customize it to the hilt so that your child is as comfy as possible.

Of course, comfort is only half the battle. The RAVA has advanced safety features that help you feel confident every time you take to the open road. The steel frame and reinforced belt path make it a miniature fortress, while the energy-absorbing foam and side impact pods ensure that your little one has the maximum level of protection in the case of an accident.

As an added bonus, it’s aircraft certified so you can take it just about anywhere. The RAVA is recommended for kids up to 65 pounds, with rear- or forward-facing configurations depending on your child’s weight/age. With all these features, it’s no surprise that the seat isn’t lightweight, tipping the scales at more than 27 pounds.

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