Outdoor Smarts

By Karen Berger
Illustrations By John R. Fulton, Jr.

Shopping for a camper this holiday season? Or maybe you're making your own wish list. Either way, we've got you covered—and Fido, too.


Boy Scouts of America Special Edition. Who wants to be the thimble when he can be the pocketknife? Monopoly now features a custom Boy Scout playing board, with specially designed cards, money, and tokens: Be a campaign hat, pocketknife, flashlight, or backpack. Perfect for a tent-bound rainy afternoon. $35.95. www.scoutstuff.org (BSA No. 14218)

SteriPEN purifier

The SteriPEN uses ultraviolet light to destroy waterborne microbes, including bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. A prefilter removes larger debris, and the unit fits on a Nalgene bottle. It purifies up to 32 ounces of water in 1.5 minutes. $159.95. www.steripen.com

Cocoon MummyLiners

Want to extend the life of your sleeping bag and add 5 to 12 degrees to its temperature rating? Cocoon MummyLiners do both. Manufactured in several fabrics, including cotton, nylon, silk, flannel, and CoolMax—a material with special moisture-wicking properties—the liners protect your bag from body oils and sweat. This protection helps the insulation stay intact and reduces the need for laundering. $20 to $65. www.cocoonusa.com

Palisades Pack II and 3D Bark'n Boots by Ruffwear

Bringing Fido along on a hike? Make sure she carries her own weight. The Palisades Pack II has room for food, bowl, treats, toys, and water in its own integrated hydration system. From $79.95. Protect your dog's feet from snow and ice, hot sand, or sharp rocks with 3D Bark'n Boots. $38. www.ruffwear.com

Jetboil personal cooking system

This integrated stove and pot burns with 80 percent fuel efficiency—twice as efficient as most other camping stoves. A layer of neoprene insulates the pot. Pot size is one liter, although with an additional stabilizing adapter, you can also use other pots and pans. Boil time is estimated at two minutes per liter at sea level. $79.95. www.jetboil.com

Dryzone Boot Dryer

Drying boots in low-temperature ovens, a microwave, or near a fire can destroy leathers and glues (not to mention your microwave). The Dryzone Boot Dryer, made by Dampire, solves the problem with moisture-absorbing crystals that dry boots quickly, help eliminate odors, and reduce the spread of bacteria. $19.99. www.dryzoneusa.com

Smith Cariboo OTG Airflow Series Goggles

These goggles protect against snow, wind, and blinding winter light. They're also ventilated, which reduces fogging and allows them to be worn over a pair of glasses. The lens filters UV light as well as blue light, which improves contrast, shadow definition, and depth perception. $44.95. www.smithoptics.com

Orikaso bowl

Orikaso's foldable polypropylene dishes weigh only a few ounces and take up less space than traditional bowls because they can be folded or stored flat. With a few simple folds and snaps, these colorful sheets morph from cutting board to bowl, cup, or dish. $3 to $6. www.orikaso.com

Eagle Creek's Switchback Max ES 25

Eagle Creek's convertible luggage is a wheelie suitcase and a backpack rolled into one. At 11 pounds, it's too heavy for extended backcountry use, but the molded hipbelt is comfortable for short trips. A detachable daypack is suitable for day hikes. $295. www.eaglecreek.com

Medical Emergency Data System

This stocking stuffer can save a life. The reflective dog tags are actually mini-medical histories. Waterproof and wear-resistant, they contain spaces for listing you or your Scout's contact information for emergencies, as well as pertinent information about medications, allergies, medical providers, and recent tetanus shot history. $7. www.scoutstuff.org (BSA No. 01082)

Petzl Myolite 3 Headlamp

Use the long-range (about 250 feet) halogen headlamp for hiking and the energy-saving short-range LED light for reading or camp chores. The halogen lamp can be adjusted even if you're wearing gloves. The LED light runs for 120 hours. $44.95. www.petzl.com

MSR MIOX Purifier

Developed in conjunction with the military for use in Afghanistan, the MIOX Purifier kills protozoa, bacteria, and viruses in a process involving salt and batteries—and you don't have to pump a single stroke. The device can treat up to a gallon of water at a time. Killing Giardia takes about 30 minutes, but Cryptosporidium takes up to four hours. $129.95. www.msrcorp.com

Karen Berger is the author of Backpacking and Hiking (DK Publishing Inc., 2005). Visit her at www.hikerwriter.com.

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Copyright © 2005 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.