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Review: 7 outdoor products

Posted September 1

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Whether you’re planning an overnighter in your nearest canyon or an intense trek over boulders, it’s important to have the right gear. Here’s a look at seven products that might be a good fit for your next adventure.

L.L. Bean Men's Cotton Poplin Field Shirt

PRICE: $54

GRADE: A

The fabric of this rugged shirt looks dense but is actually a lightweight poplin (100% cotton). It’s extremely breathable and allows heat to escape when temperatures rise and you begin to break a sweat.

Not to say that the fabric can’t take a beating. It’s tightly woven and has double-stitched seams, making it snag-resistant and built to last. The solid construction also provides good sun protection.

This shirt is traditional fit for relaxed spacing in the chest, sleeves and waist, so it runs pretty true to size. The one thing to note is that the sleeves can run a tad on the shorter side, so if your arms are on the longer side, be sure to get the “tall” size instead of the “regular.”

Teva Omnium Sandals

PRICE: $85

GRADE: A

Most of us love to wear sandals, but they simply don’t provide enough stability and protection for some outdoor activities. The Omnium Sandals from Teva provides a nice bridge between the freedom of a sandal and the security of a shoe.

For starters, they have a rugged strap system that keeps them firmly in place. The mixed-material upper is tough as nails and won’t blister over time like some other sandal straps do. They’re easy to adjust for size and once you click the straps into place, they won’t budge.

As for the base, the sandals have a Spider Original outsole that gives you great traction. And the covered toe and cushioned heel provide enough protection and comfort that you might even feel like you’re wearing your favorite pair of shoes.

Tenkara Mini Sawtooth Fly Rod Package

PRICE: $199

GRADE: A-

What if you had a fly rod that stretched well over 8 feet, yet could collapse down to the size of a bratwurst? There have been rods like this before, but they are often clunky and stiff, the result of several different separate sections being joined together.

Tenkara has solved this problem by designing lightweight rods made of carbon fiber. The rods are telescoping, so you simply pull the tip to extend it full size. And when you’re done, it collapses back into itself for storage.

The Mini Sawtooth is an excellent package because it offers many of the best things about Tenkara rods. The length (8 feet, 8 inches) is perfect for Utah streams and the weight (about an ounce) makes it perfect for ultralight backpacking trips. With 15 individual sections, it’s at its best when battling small trout or panfish. If the need arises, it can handle fish up to about a pound.

Kelty Low-Love Seat

PRICE: $99

GRADE: A

There are a few different folding loveseats on the market, but the Low-Love Chair is definitely one of the best. Because of its low profile, it’s impressively stable. The steel frame is super rugged and the 600D polyester fabric can handle up to 500 pounds of combined weight.

Tipping the scales at about 15 pounds, this isn’t something you’d want to lug around on a backpacking trip. But it’s perfect for car camping, campfires, barbecues and festivals. It’s plenty big for two adults and the reclined design makes it surprisingly comfortable.

Additional features include insulated beverage holders, adjustable armrests and a roll bag for storage that doubles as a firewood and gear tote once you reach your destination.

Priority Continuum Onyx

PRICE: $999

GRADE: A

This new commuter/tour bike from Priority is certainly impressive. It delivers a smooth, quiet ride courtesy of the Gates Carbon Drive System. Priority bikes have always run on belts, which are long lasting and don’t require as much maintenance as a chain.

The Onyx is specifically designed for safer nighttime riding, so it’s outfitted with 360-degree visibility. There are reflective sidewalls on the puncture-resistant Continental tires, reflective frame decals, a USB-rechargeable rear light and a Dynamo headlight that’s powered by the front hub.

Additional features include the NuVinci continuous geared hub, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, internal cable routing, fenders and a kickstand. Priority uses a direct-to-consumer sales model, so you’ll receive your bike partially assembled in a box. The directions are fairly easy to follow and you’ll soon be ready to roll.

SPY Alcatraz Sunglasses

PRICE: $140

GRADE: A-

These vintage-style sunglasses from SPY feature Happy Lens technology, which is exceptionally easy on the eyes no matter what the weather conditions. Happy Lenses block out 99 percent of the sun's glare and offer excellent color contrast. The lenses actually get their name from their unique ability to filter bad rays, while welcoming in the long-wave blue light that is said to enhance your mood.

The acetate frame is handmade with three-barrel hinges. Acetate is a top-quality material, but it’s also heavier than a lot of other composites on the market making the frames have a nice, solid feel. But it's worth noting that they also might be a little weightier than some people prefer.

The Alcatraz is designed to fit most face sizes, with frame measurements of 53-20-145 and a 6-base curve. They have excellent lenses, a unique retro design and enough features to make them well worth the money.

KICKER Bullfrog Music System

PRICE: Varies by retailer

GRADE: A-

There are plenty of outdoor speaker systems on the market. In fact, there are enough of them that competition has gotten rather fierce. It’s no longer enough to simply be waterproof. Or shockproof. Or whatever proof. For a speaker to really stand out, it has to offer something impressive.

The Bullfrog Music System from KICKER does this by extending its Bluetooth range to 100 feet. This is awesome because you won’t be tethered to your music device, giving you range to move around to different activities. Also, the Bullfrog can deliver up to 20 hours on a single battery charge. Not bad, considering that some of the speakers of the past were famous for petering out on the first day of a campout.

Other features of the Bullfrog are nice, but not quite as impressive. There’s a built-in FM tuner, but that might not get too many people excited. The 360-sound is great, but not dramatically different from a lot of other high-end speakers out there. All in all, this is a great speaker but its high price will definitely deter lots of outdoor enthusiasts.

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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