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Check Out New Gear For Summer

Allentown, Pa. — Now that we’re past Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, it’s time to delve into some of the equipment and gear that will help make the Summer of 2013 your best outdoors season ever.

Obviously hunting takes a back seat to fishing, camping and hiking in the summer time, but hunters should use the summer to physically prepare for the rigors of the fall and winter hunting seasons by staying (or getting) in good physical condition.

There’s nothing like hiking to do the trick for conditioning.

Wearing a backpack to transport your gear like raincoat, food, cooking stove and utensils, water and other items adds weight to your load and helps to increase the calorie burn and conditioning intensity.

The Companion and the Cargo Carrier by Rakuda (www.rakudabags.com) is a canvas-tough, leather-enforced, high-quality backpack that gives any European-style rucksack a run for its money. Both styles feature cinch-pulling open mouth rope enclosures and buckle-down straps to keep your pack secure. There are plenty of additional outside pockets to store items needed for quick retrieval.

What should you pack in your backpack? In addition to water, first-aid kits and other essentials, if you’re going to be out for the day, you may want to take along some cooking gear.

The incredible SlatGrill (www.slatgrills.com) weighs just 1.4 pounds in the titanium Summit style, and 2.8 pounds in the stainless steel Scout style. It literally comes apart to form a fold-up package of 4 inches by 9 inches, no thicker than a normal paper notebook. It can support 100 pounds of weight and utilize almost any type of fuel, including white gas, propane, butane, alcohol, gel, charcoal, wood or pine cones. The Summit can be arranged in a dozen different configurations to accommodate the size of what you’re cooking.

Inventor Chris Weyandt designed the grill after serving as a leader for Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

“I used to carry a big Coleman gas stove in a wooden box,’ he said, “and while I wasn’t willing to give up the meal is it produced, I knew there had to be a way to keep the cooking capacity without keeping the weight.”

Utility tools are important carry-alongs. Pocket knives and Swiss Army-style multi-functional items are great accessories.

The Pocket Monkey by Zootility Tools (http://zootilitytools.com) weighs just one ounce, is one millimeter thick an includes a dozen tools, including a bottle opener, phone kickstand, flathead and micro-flat head screwdriver, two-dimensional Phillips head, hex wrenches for four bolt sizes, ruler, letter opener, door-latch opener, straight edge and orange peeler. It fits like a credit card in your wallet.

Chances are if you’re taking a long hike, you’re going to be camping out overnight. Eureka! (www.eurekatent.com) features some outstanding lightweight, quick set-up tents that are perfect for hiking/camping trips or regular summer camping

The Taron is a two-pole aluminum dome tent with two- and three-person sizes with two vestibule areas to store gear in the larger model, plus a vertical strut for the vestibule to give the storage area more space. Both have interior pockets, which allow you to find essential or valuable items quickly.

The Midori comes in similar sizes with similar but with side entry and a hood vent plus a gear loft in the three-person size. The Amari Pass is an entry-level aluminum framed backpacking tent.

If you are going on a camping, campfires are always a fun time to tell stories, sing songs and roast hot dogs, marshmallows and make s’mores. Duraflame (www.duraflame.com) has assembled an ultimate camping kit designed to help big kids rekindle their youth when they gathered around a campfire.

The kit is based around a Duraflame log and includes a bag of marshmallows, special metal roasting forks, a deck of cards, a harmonica and two kazoos, all of which fit in a sling back for easy transportation to the beach, from the car to the camp, or into the backyard.

As long as we’re talking adults here, many of us have our beverage of choice while out by the fire. A nice glass of wine is a relaxing way to spend the evening, and can be heart-healthy if you don’t overindulge. But how to seal that bottle?

CapaBunga (www.capabunga.com) features some very cool bottle toppers that won’t leak when you’re resealing that bottle in the outdoors. It completely seals the bottle opening, and in a pinch, can work on a beer bottle or hard liquor bottle.

The bottle toppers come in a variety of colors and with a variety of sayings on top.

If you are sitting around a campfire, chances are pretty high it will be dark. The new double-barrel Night Owl LED flashlight from Impeltronics (www.impeltronics.com) is equipped with CREE LED lights and gives up to 50,000 hours of bright light time with a double-light capacity of 1100 lumens and 10 different light settings.

If you’re walking around in the dark, or kayaking and need your hands, Energizer (www.energizer.com) has recently upped the lighting power in its popular headlight series of lamps. The Pro 4 LED Headlight was upped from 20 lumens to 40 lumens with three light modes, including red for night vision.

The Pro 7 was increased in brightness by 72 percent to 58 lumens. Both headlamps pivot 90 degrees and are water resistant.

If you like to take your dogs camping, Pet Shade + Pet Kennel (www.quickshadepets.com) offers quick pop-up shade on a raised canopy to keep your pet off the hot ground and in the cool.

The kennel adds screening to the sides to keep your pet ventilated. They’re perfect for the beach, backyard and camp site.

If you’re taking your dog hiking, that means planning to carry extra water and separate food. The new Yaffbars (www.yaffbar.com) by Mudd + Wyeth is the first nutrition design designed for you to enjoy and share with your pet. The Yaffbars are pretty tasty and come in three flavors: blueberry carob, banana peanut butter, and cranberry almond.

In order to find your way, you need a good map or atlas. National Geographic Maps (www.nationalgeographic.com) has released several new state atlases specifically geared for outdoor enthusiasts and explorers.

The new atlases, including one for Pennsylvania, include top maps, road networks, places of interest for outdoors-minded folks like state game lands, paddlesports spots, campgrounds, state parks, trails and more.