Camping and outdoor gear is one of the top cateogries of items on people’s ShopAdvisor watchlists. Some of those items have been there for weeks, even months. And, it looks like May could be the time when price-drop alerts start showing up on mobile device and email inboxes. According to Deal News, May is the month to “look for hiking, fishing, and camping accessories to hit appealing prices.” Here’s a look at the items at the top of the ShopAdvisor watchlist charts.
Smith Optics PIVLOCK V90 Max Interchangeable Sport Sunglasses. This is far and away the most popular outdoor gear item onShopAdvisor watchlists. I found the bestest review of the Pivlock V90s by Marc Basiliere at Bike Rumor. Now, Marc laments that ”the bike industry is awash in hyperbole,” but to earn himself a place among the mostest, he indulges in his review: “the Pivlocks are so light, in fact, that they can only be described as the lightest performance interchangable, rimless sport style [eyewear] in the world today. Beat that.” Appropriately superlative for the top-watched item.
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Vibram KSO. A close second on ShopAdvisor lists are these 5-toed shoes. I like reviews that have a storyline that starts with “It was a dark and stormy night….” and, barefoot shoe guy type Damien Tougas of Gear Junkie does not disappoint. “Last year on a backpacking trip, standing atop a steep descent in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I began to have second thoughts about my footwear choice for the trip. Rain had plagued the day, and the trail was a muddy mess. On my feet, I wore the toe-equipped Vibram FiveFingers KSO shoes (yeah, I am one of those barefoot shoe guys) and the smooth soles were no match for the slick mud I was about to face.” You can read the rest of the extensive review at Gear Junkie.
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Core Mens Rubber Watch. This watch is not only popular among the outdoor set, but it is also one of the most-watched watches on ShopAdvisor watchlists. I’ve posted all the ‘most-watched watches’ on our Pinterest board, if you want to see it among the watch-as-jewelry set. The camping world has no shortage of serious reviewers of gear. Ryan Jordan, of Backpacking Light, includes the Core watch as a representative example of a good compass/altimeter watch as part of his hailed 3-Season, 3-Day Backpavking Gear Checklist. “Backpacking Light publishes comprehensive gear reviews that are critical, honest, and founded on both sound technical analysis and rigorous field use.” Like I said: serious. But, they are quite laid back, as well. “We started Backpacking Light in our garage, have employed mostly friends and family, let people bring their dogs and babies to work, and remain committed to owning a company that values community – and a passion for restoring their soul outside.”
This gravity+soul mixture works well, as Ryan and his readers seem to be on genial and familiar terms. Says one commenter, ”Great list, Ryan! But LMF Ti Spork?!? You could save whopping 8 g by switching to Spork Original! Or even 10 g with Spork Little ” And another playful jab, “Ryan – a canister stove! you’re getting soft in your old age.”
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MSR Flex 3 Cooking System. Also on the ShopAdvisor community’s watchlists is this collapsible cooking set. Busyboo‘s Avi De Leon calls it a “perfect camping cooking set [with] the basics (and so much more) for cooking in the wild: 2.3-liter pot, 3.3-liter pot, strainer lid, talon pot handle, three deep-dish plates and three stainless-steel mugs. The pots are made from hard-anodized aluminum that makes them incredibly durable but still lightweight,” Busyboo is not your typical camping and outdoor site, though. “Our mission is to be a source of inspiration for good design, both inside and out.” Indeed, they take a look at well-designed items from bottle openers to lunch boxes to new-age insect-repelling screen doors.
Flex 3 Cooking System Waiter’s Tools Bottle Opener
Cool Lunch by Menu Bug Off Instant Screen Door
Thermarest Women’s ProLite Mattress Regular. This is a popular item among ShopAdvisor users. Now, what can I say? Did they read the reviews at Outdoor Gear Lab? Apparently not. The key to Outdoor Gear Lab’s reviews is that they make side-by-side comparisons with competing products, helping to point out differences that may matter to campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s what they said about the Therm-a-Rest Women’s ProLite Plus: “[It is] a high quality, all-purpose inflatable foam pad… But it’s also quite large (3.26 liters) and heavy (21 oz.)…. The Therm-a-Rest Women’s NeoAir XLite is our top rated women’s sleeping pad. This pad is 22 percent warmer than the standard XLite, weighs a mere 11 oz. and packs down to the size of a large cucumber… The pad is 2.5” thick and cushions even the shapeliest women. Our testers with large hips loved the Xite!”
According to Outdoor Gear Labs, “Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of [editor] Chris McNamara’s life on earth had been spent on the face of El Capitan – an accomplishment that left friends and family pondering Chris’s sanity.” Hey, any editor that can manage to put the phrases large cucumber and shapeliest women and large hips into a single review — that’s an accomplishment all on its own in my book.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
Marmot Plasma 30 Sleeping Bag. Marmot gear shows up in a lot of watchlists in ShopAdvisor. Among the most popular Marmot items is the Plasma 30 sleeping bag. I’ve never spent $300+ on a sleeping bag, so I can see why people want to “watch” for a better price. I guess its worth it, though, as the bag has recently won a Nat Geo Gear award, according to the Get Outdoors blog. “Sleeping bags have traditionally used horizontal baffles or channels sewn into the bags to distribute the fill, which leads to bunching at the sides, knees and feet. So basically cold extremities and uneven heat distribution from your warm core. With vertical baffling the fill is distributed more evenly so heat from your core flows across your whole body, keeping you toes and sides toasty… Big Agnes was one of the first bag makers to adopt the technology for their ’12 Spring Summer line. RAB has also introduced vertical baffle bags.” It’s nice to get some technical education so I can sound smart when I talk to the experts in the store.
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Marmot Limelight 2-Person Tent w/Footprint & Gear Loft. Another popular Marmot is this 2-person tent. I don’t recall seeing these tent pole engineering marvels when I was a kid, but I can hardly imagine setting up a tent without them now. Don Jurries of The Gear Caster gives an insiders view of what goes on at one of the top manufacturers of tent poles. “Korean company DAC has been at the forefront of tent pole, tent frame, and tent design for a number of years. DAC is the key supplier to most high-end tent brands, including The North Face, Sierra Designs, Marmot, Hilleberg, and Nemo. I had the privilege of sitting next to DAC’s Founder and President, Jake Lah, on a flight from Salt Lake City to Seattle after the recent Outdoor Retailer trade show. An exceptionally knowledgeable man, Mr. Lah gave me a two hour history lesson on tents over the last 20 years and his thoughts on potential tent designs for the future. He also showed me examples of how a line of pole ends, connectors, joints, hubs, stoppers, and clips, called DAC Toys, are helping tent makers create innovative new tent shapes.” I guess I will look for new tent shapes next May 2013, when it again is the best time to buy camping and outdoor gear.
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I was particularly attracted to The Gear Caster’s mission: “We profile emerging companies and technologies in the outdoor sports industry. We also review soon to be released gear, helping you decide what to buy for your outdoor adventures.” That is another great reason to use ShopAdvisor, to watch for announced but not-yet-released products, and to use ShopAdvisor’s alerts remind you to take another look when the products finally arrive.
(Also, Amy’s picture rocks.)
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