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Product review: Gear for family adventures this summer

Posted June 28

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — With temperatures rising and summer in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities for family adventures. Whether it’s an afternoon at the lake, a hike to your favorite waterfall or a multi-day trek in the Boulder Mountains, these outings tend to create lasting memories.

Here's a look at a handful of outdoor products that might prove useful for some family adventures this summer.

Peregrine Refuge Lite Hammock

PRICE: $29

GRADE: A

A hammock can add all kinds of fun to a family outing or camping trip. They’re a simple way to relax in comfort. And unlike tents, which require a flat space, a hammock can be set up on rough or steep terrain. Just find a couple of trees and you’re good to go.

The Refuge Lite hammock from Peregrine is an excellent option because it’s lightweight and packable, yet still gives you a 250-pound capacity. Plus, at less than $30, it’s a great bargain.

The carabiners included with the Refuge Lite are climbing-certified and the hammock itself is made from fairly rugged 70d nylon. A hammock like this is definitely a fun product to add to your outing, because even if you end up not using it, it’s not going to take up a lot of room. It’s a low-risk, high-reward option.

Volcano 3 Collapsible Grill/Stove

PRICE: $159

GRADE: A-

The Volcano 3 is an excellent stove that can be used for backyard grilling or mountain outings. Made from cold-rolled steel, it weighs about 25 pounds. It has solid features that make it hardy enough to last for many years.

One of the biggest advantages of the Volcano 3 is that it frees you from the standard limitations of fuel. Have you ever reached your campsite and then realized your propane tank was nearly empty? If that were to happen with the Volcano 3, you could simply switch fuel. It works great with charcoal, and if that’s not available, you can simply use wood.

In additional to being a versatile, three-fuel stove, the Volcano 3 collapses down to about 5 inches for transport and storage. And it comes with a handy storage bag.

Webbing Wallet Survival Edition

PRICE: $16

GRADE: A

If you’ve ever tried starting a fire with a bow drill or other wilderness technique, it can be a frustrating experience. Matches are nice, but can lose their efficacy if they get wet or too old. For this reason, a reliable fire-starter is an invaluable asset in the outdoors. And if that fire-starter is small enough to fit in your pocket, all the better.

The Webbing Wallet Survival Edition is such a tool. It’s a sleek, polypropylene webbing wallet with a credit card knife inside. There’s also an attachment loop made with 550 FireCord. On the loop is a 1-inch ferro rod.

To start a fire, you assemble the knife, cut the FireCord and then remove the red tinder strand. After teasing the tinder into fluff, you scrape the ferro rod with the blunt edge of the knife. The resulting sparks will ignite the tinder and you can add kindling to build the fire.

This product isn’t fully available yet, since it’s still in the Kickstarter phase. But the campaign has more than doubled its goal, so it’s most likely going to hit the market in October.

Olicamp XTS Pot

PRICE: $29

GRADE: B+

Who doesn’t like shorter boil times? Whether you’re making breakfast on a chilly morning or trying to get your dinner cooked before dark, speed is of the essence. The 1-liter XTS pot from Olicamp can speed things up considerably with its efficient heat transfer system. An added bonus is that its shorter cook times conserve fuel, which can also be a premium on camping trips.

The pot is made with hard-anodized aluminum and weighs about 6 ounces. For convenience, the lid and handles are silicon-covered.

Because it’s compatible with most stoves, the XTS pot is a handy addition for your next trip. It also comes with a mesh bag for easy transport and storage.

Joovy Zoom360 Ultralight Jogging Stroller

PRICE: $299

GRADE: A

There are lots of jogging strollers on the market, but the Zoom360 has some unique elements to help it stand out from the crowd. First of all, it has one of the highest riding seats available so your child will get a smooth ride and have a great vantage point.

Also, the Zoom360 comes with accessories that aren’t standard with other strollers. A parent organizer is included, as well as a tire pump. The stroller also has a large canopy that’s highly adjustable, so you can continually keep the sun out of your child’s eyes as the angle of the sun changes throughout your walk.

Made from aircraft aluminum, the Zoom360 only weighs about 26 pounds. It has 16-inch rear wheels, which are large enough to handle rough terrain. And the 12-inch wheels up front can also take a beating. Best of all, it has an effective suspension system to help your child stay comfortable even on longer outings.

What outdoor products can you not live without during the summer? Let us know in the comments.

Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book "Rhino Trouble." You can contact him at www.grant-olsen.com.

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