Equipment that’s better designed, smarter and lighter can make your next trip more enjoyable. Australian Traveller looks at some great new gear for anyone heading for the horizon.
By Lucas Trihey*
Berghaus Paclite jacket
Not only does the new GoreTex Paclite fabric keep the rain out, it simultaneously vents your perspiration to help keep you drier. Doubles ingeniously as a wind coat and, at just over 300 grams, is about half the weight similar rain jackets used to be. This weight saving means you’ll spend less effort lugging your gear around and have more energy left to enjoy the surroundings (or maybe you’ll just take an extra bottle of wine). Packs into a soft drink can-sized stuff sack. (02) 9438 2266 or www.berghaus.com.
Ramit Merino women’s top
Remember the smell of wet wool and how scratchy and uncomfortable it felt? Well, banish those memories forever. Australian manufacturer Ramit is producing next-to-skin thermal underwear that’s likely the most comfortable you’ll ever wear. Using the finest merino wool and a clever knit, Ramit has managed to hit all the right buttons; these garments are warm in the cold, cool in summer, easy-care, durable and non-irritating, making them ideal travel garments. Even better, you can wear them for days (some people do for weeks) and they won’t get smelly. Available for men and women in boxers, long bottoms, T-shirts and long-sleeved tops. Medium-weight garments are coming soon. (08) 9496 0057 or www.ramit.com.au.
Keen Newport sandals
Is it a shoe or a sandal? The Keen designers have taken sport sandals to the next level. The funky looking Newport is comfortable, clever, cool and airy and offers unsurpassed toe protection. Perfect for everything from a casual stroll on the beach to kayaking, or for walking in areas where stray sticks or rough rocks might mess up your latest pedicure. (03) 9836 3833 or www.keenfootwear.com.au.
Petzl Tikkina head torch
At just 78 grams (including batteries) the tiny Petzl Tikkina head torch should always be in the top pocket of your travel pack. A great backup light sporting two LEDs, the Tikkina is bright enough to find your way along the roughest walking track back to your car and is perfect for messing about around camp or looking for your keys. Runs for an amazing 120 hours on three AAA batteries. (02) 9966 9800 or www.spelean.com.au.
Fairydown Axtom two-person tent
The Fairydown designers over the Tasman have certainly been taking their smart pills. The new lightweight Axtom tent weighs just 1.7 kgs and can be pitched using trekking poles (instead of the supplied poles) to save even more weight. This three-season tent offers comfy accommodation for most campsites below the snow line. For summer use, the tent fly (made of quality UV-resistant polyester) can be pitched on its own – perhaps not in areas with lots of insects – and provides sleeping room for four people, all at just 750 grams. www.fairydownbedware.co.nz.
Jet Boil personal cooking system
The Jet Boil lightweight stove packs into one smart little package – neoprene covered cooking cup included – and boils water super-fast thanks to an integrated heat exchanger. No more washing dirty dishes! With a couple of extra parts, it morphs into a coffee plunger and can even hang from the roof of your tent. Suitable for one person, with optional larger cooking cup for two. There’s a great Australian connection to this internationally acclaimed new invention: Dwight Aspinwall, the US inventor, says he was inspired to develop this product during a ten-day bushwalk along the remote South Coast Track in Tassie. (08) 9221 6617 or www.jetboil.com.
Oricom PMR1000R UHF two-way radios
Cheaper to run than a mobile phone and a lot more fun than texting, a set of hand-held UHF radios will keep you in touch with your travelling companions on the slopes, in the backblocks of Brisbane or on the trails of Tassie. There are no call charges and no need for a license. The 40-channel radios weigh just 138 grams each (including batteries) and offer a range of up to seven kms. Charger, headsets and additional colour faceplates are included. (02) 4572 5055 or www.oricom.com.au.
Katadyn Exstream XR water purifier
Question: What do Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Buenos Aires and Kuta have in common? Answer: Drink tap water in any of those cities and you risk introducing a nasty bug to your digestive tract. The Katadyn Exstream XR removes protozoa, bacteria and viruses from your water as you need it. Just fill the bottle with suspect water and suck on the straw: the internal filter and an iodine treatment delivers nothing but sweet, safe water. (02) 9438 2266 or www.katadyn.com.au.
Leatherman Juice C2 multi-tool
The colourful Leatherman Juice weighs just 122 grams and can be used for everything from trimming toenails to fixing ski bindings, repairing your rucksack, opening a tin of baked beans and lifting a hot pan off the campfire. They’ve even been used for emergency dentistry and surgery! Once you own a multi-tool you’ll wonder how you survived without one. (02) 9818 1955 or www.leatherman.com.au.
*Lucas Trihey publishes the Adventure Gear Guide, an annual magazine packed with gear facts and advice. Next issue on sale October 12 from newsagents, outdoor stores or from www.adventurepublishing.com.au.