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Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.
Gear Guide Essentials 200x170Gear Guide Essentials 200x170
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L
M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

C
Cameras

ULTRA-RUGGED Get those dramatic bad-weather shots without worrying about ruining your digital. The 10.1MP Olympus Stylus 1030SW is waterproof (to 33 feet), shockproof (up to a six-foot drop) and freezeproof (down to 14°F). It snapped excellent snowstorm photos in Utah’s Wasatch Range, bright-sun shots atop Mt. Whitney, and sweet underwater video in the saltwater of San Francisco Bay. The processor is fast, and the razor-sharp LCD is big–2.7 inches diagonal. It has a nonextending lens with a 28mm-102mm zoom equivalent that’s great for scenics and close-in action, and it rapid-fires 5.2 frames per second. The lithium-ion battery recharges in about two hours and lasts for about 200 shots. Bonus: A tap control allows you to navigate basic functions when you’re wearing thick gloves. $300; 6.3 oz.; olympusamerica.com

BARGAIN The tiny, 10MP Canon Powershot A1000 IS covers a wide range of scenics and close-ups. Thanks to a versatile 35mm to 140mm zoom, it took sharp, richly colored landscapes in Utah sandstone country and excellent macros of insects. It also has image stabilizer technology, a reasonably short shutter lag, and video. It accepts SD/SDHC memory cards for storage up to 32GB, and AA batteries for go-anywhere power. Quibble: Like most point-and-shoot models, it autofocuses too slowly for quick action. $175; 7.2 oz.; usa.canon.com

Camp shoes
Flip-flop Toe-thong sandals are usually better in theory than practice when it comes to camp use. Not KEEN’s Waimea H2. Equipped with a protective toe bumper and a wider than normal strap, it’s the most wilderness-worthy flip-flop we’ve tried. A cork and compression-molded EVA midsole makes it comfortable enough for a two-mile walk from camp. $50; 15 oz. (w’s 9.5); keenfootwear.com

Ultralight The Sanuk SUV is a minimalist slip-on with lugged tread–ideal for backpackers who want the most comfort for the least weight. The rubber soles are stout and grippy enough for short scrambles to a sunset view, and the tough canvas uppers are crushable enough to fit into a pack lid or pocket. $75; 8 oz. (m’s 9); sanuk.com

River crosser With its sturdy mesh upper, protective toe guard, and self-draining, lugged sole, END’s WOW is as ideal for slippery stream crossings as it is for kicking around camp. And because it has a cushy, supportive midsole, it can even be pressed into service as an ultralight hiker. $80; 9 oz. (m’s 9); endfootwear.com

Carabiner
The stainless steel Nite Ize S-Biner is so infinitely useful (for rigging everything from camera gear to bear bags) that we gave it an Editors’ Choice Award last year (4/08). The newest size, #5, holds up to 100 pounds. $4; 1 oz.; niteize.com

Chair
Chilling in camp? Do it better with Crazy Creek’s Hexalight Power Lounger. The chair’s back extends 22 inches for full spinal support, and the half-inch-thick padding cushions against rocky terrain. Bonus: Unfold the seat to create a minimalist three-quarter-length sleeping pad (great for kids or for bolstering your own pad’s comfort). $56; 1 lb. 6 oz.; crazycreek.com

Chopsticks

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