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Review: Outdoor products for fall adventures

Posted September 28

The HD2 action camera can definitely hold its own in the water. (Deseret Photo)

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Another summer has passed and the nights are getting cooler and cooler. If you head into the higher elevations, you might even get snow. Yellowstone was recently hit with a nasty blizzard, reminding adventurers that it’s important to always be prepared for inclement conditions.

The following review looks at a handful of products that might be a nice addition for your next autumn outing.

Sierra Designs Night Glow Accessory

PRICE: $14

GRADE: A

There are lots of options when it comes to camping lanterns. You can go with a robust option like the Coleman Northstar or a more lightweight option like the Streamlight Siege Lantern. Or you can simply get an accessory like the Night Glow, which converts your headlamp into a lantern.

The Night Glow is perfect for backpackers because its efficient design ensures that it takes up very little space in your pack and only adds .7 ounces of weight. Yet when attached to your headlamp, it gives off a soft, even glow throughout your tent.

This clever product is simple and effective. By diffusing the light from gear you already have, it could mean you’ll have to bring one less thing with you into the backcountry.

ALPS Mountaineering Caldera 5500 Backpack

PRICE: $199

GRADE: B+

The Caldera 5500 pack from ALPS is a beast. It has enough capacity (90 liters) to handle just about any adventure and also includes numerous pockets, a hydration chamber and a massive main compartment. At the same time, it’s probably not going to win any design awards. This is a pack dedicated to utility.

Features include an adjustable suspension system, an internal horizontal divider to arrange your gear and an integrated rain cover. There’s even a rescue whistle built into the buckle on the sternum strap. Another nice element is how the pack extends with a spindrift collar, giving it added capacity. For extended trips, it’s like adding the extra part of the milkshake that rises above the lip of the cup. And there’s an over-the-top compression strap to stabilize your gear.

The Caldera 5500 is made with ripstop polyester and tips the scales at well over 5 pounds. It’s rides fairly comfortably, but puts more pressure on your shoulders than some other packs on the market.

Costa Harpoon Sunglasses

PRICE: $189

GRADE: A

Costa Del Mar focuses on making “seaworthy” sunglasses. Their products truly excel on the water, combining durability and comfort.

Take the Harpoon, for example. They’ve got a heavy-duty TR 90 nylon frame, so you could accidentally sit on them and probably won’t hear an ominous snap. The frame has a large fit (DBL of 20.1 millimeter and temple length of 130 millimeter), so you won’t get a pinched feeling on your temples. And the optical spring hinges are sturdy enough that the arms won’t begin to wobble after extended use.

The lenses for the Harpoon are also excellent. They provide 100 percent UV light blockage and their complete polarization eliminates reflected glare so effectively that it saves your eyes a lot of strain. You can choose between plastic or glass lens options. The plastic versions are lightweight and impact-resistant. The glass versions are a bit heavier, but give you the greatest clarity.

Intova HD2 Waterproof Action Camera

PRICE: $249

GRADE: A-

In the crowded action-camera market, it can be tough for a product to stand out. The HD2 stakes its claim by featuring a 150 lumen photo flash and video light. It’s also fully waterproof to 330 feet, which is impressive.

Like many other action cameras on the market, it captures 1080p video and 8MP photos. But the aforementioned flash and light help boost the quality in low-light and night settings.

The HD2 has a rechargeable 1600 mAH battery that gives up to two hours of life. There’s also a 2.4G remote for filming and photographing on the fly. Just note that while the remote is water-resistant, it isn’t designed for underwater use. And speaking of underwater, you’ll want to be careful to keep the O-ring clean on the camera housing. If sand or debris get on it, the door might not close completely. And any resulting leaks wouldn’t be covered under the product’s warranty.

Smith Envoy Max Sunglasses

PRICE: $239

GRADE: B+

The Envoy Max might be among Smith’s most polarizing sunglasses. The reason for that is the frame: Many people find it to be streamlined and comfy, while others complain of an ungainly fit. For this reason, you may want to go to a store where you can try these on before you consider ordering them.

The Envoy Max has a medium fit with 8 base lens curvature. The frame is made with Evolve material, which is strong and lightweight. And the hydrophilic nose and temple pads help the frame stay snug even when your face is drenched in sweat.

As for the lenses, they are top notch. The Envoy Max has Smith’s proprietary ChromaPop lenses. They eliminate glare better than most other lenses on the market. So even after a full day at the lake, your eyes won’t feel too fatigued. The lenses also have hydroleophobic and anti-reflective coatings to repel water, smudges, scratches and reflections.

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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