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Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Homemade Chalk Bags, A Beast of a Generator

Plus, another indestructible iPhone case and theft-resistant bags.

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Today I got to play with one of the coolest pieces of gear I’ve ever seen, talk to a man who made his love and passion his job, found a basecamp and emergency generator, and got an in-depth look at a company that wants to make you and your gear safer. Ladies and Gentlemen… Day 3 of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market:

Phone Cases – LifeProof

iPhone 4 and 4s users listen up. LifeProof has created the best protective case EVER. This bad boy is waterproof, shock proof, dirt proof, and snow proof. I threw it, dunked it, dropped it, covered it in sand, and stuck it in snow. It won’t break. It has a waterproof headphone adapter, so you can swim with your phone, and camera quality glass over the lenses, so you’re guaranteed to get great pictures and video as you’re snorkeling, mountain biking, kayaking, or just shooting video from underneath your favorite waterfall. In terms of accessories, you can get mounting clips for you bike, arm, chest, belt… you name it, it’s there. Can you tell I’m enamored of this thing? In addition, it’s slim. Extremely slim. It is barely millimeters thicker than the phone itself, and weighs less than an ounce. On top of all of this, the LifeProof case is also designed to enhance the speakers of your phone, creating a reverberation chamber to add bass and clarity to the phone’s speaker output. Now, this particular piece of gear is already available for $79.99. What you need to keep an eye out for is the iPad 2 case that is due out around the middle of this year. It will meet all the same protective specs as the phone case, and rumor has it that it will be priced around $130. These cases are tanks, so if you’re an Apple user and want your beloved gadgets to survive the Mayan Apocalypse, even if you don’t, then these are for you. MSRP for the phone: $79.99, expect about $130 for the iPad. Release: phone – available now, iPad: mid-year 2012; Case weight for the phone: 28 g.

Chalk Bags – Krieg Climbing

I was walking the aisles when I saw this guy at a sewing machine putting stitches into a FedEx envelope. That man is Sam Krieg of Krieg Climbing, and he has found a way to make his passion his life. When his favorite chalk bag finally fell apart, and he discovered that he wouldn’t be able to replace it, he used his minimal, Home Ec 101 acquired sewing skills and his mother-in-law’s old sewing machine to refurbish his much beloved bag. Then, he made one for a friend, then another, and another, and eventually he built a company out of the most visually diverse chalk bags out there. You want to order a custom bag for a friend? Or repurpose that dying but sentimentally important t-shirt or back pack? Send it to Sam. MSRP: $20 for one of his many production designs, and about $30-$40 for custom jobs.

Solar Generator – GoalZero’s Yeti 1250

GoalZero’s Yeti 1250 is one aptly named piece of gear… It’s a beast. At about 100 lbs it is a little heavy for a backpacking trip, but would work great for car camping, emergency situations, or base camp. In a pinch, the Yeti could run your refrigerator for a couple of days. It’s about the size of two microwaves, and has all the outlets you could desire. There’s even a display showing you the amount of energy being put out, and if you have the solar panels hooked up, the amount of energy coming in. You’ll be able to purchase the Yeti 1250 as a standalone unit, or as a kit that will include two solar panels and their stands. Stand alone or kit, it’ll come with a cart to help you transport the beast. MSRP: solo- $1499, kit $1999; Weight: 103 lbs.; Release: May 2012.

Theft-Resistant Bags – PacSafe

Ever seen the mesh wire that you can put on a backpack to help keep it secure? That’s from a company called PacSafe, and they’ve come a long way since then. Their new Venturesafe 32L is packed with cutting edge, theft deterrent technology. It has hidden clips to keep zippers secure, is made of slash proof fabric, and has a cool clip on the shoulder strap that allows you to secure it to another object (think attaching it to a table or tree, so it won’t walk off so easily). All of this tech is inconspicuously housed in a great looking, black backpack. What does all this mean for backpackers? Your bag, whether in a through hike shelter or at the coffee shop, is less likely to be stolen or have anything stolen out of it, and, slash proof fabric means this thing can take a beating, so you won’t have to worry about the abuse that comes from a bushwhacking adventure or a tumble down a slope. MSRP: $149.99; Available: Now, it hit shelves January 1, 2012.

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