August marks the start of the end. The days get shorter, the air gets a little chillier, and the plants start to droop. This is a season to savour. Outside editors utilised the following equipment to do just that.
Trippin’ Lil Fanny Pack ($25) by Mountainsmith
I’ve been wearing this adorable small pack on all of my shorter mountain bike rides this month. It fits a snack, my flat kit, and a light layer while remaining low-profile. Because my back and hips have a smaller surface area, I sweat less and suffer less in the heat. It works well for rides up to two hours, when I start to crave trail beers, PBJs, and more water. Then there’s my Dakine Seeker 6L ($90) bag. —Associate editor Abigail Barronian
Ford Fusion 2011 ($0)
I was fortunate enough to obtain a Ford Fusion from my grandfather, who had quit driving, three years ago. It’s dependable, comfy, and fuel-efficient. I’ve always envied my friends’ trucks, vans, and Subarus, wishing for something a little more adventurous—or at the very least four-wheel drive. My small silver automobile, on the other hand, has finally shown itself this summer. In July, I installed towers and bars on the roof, which made it possible to transport two kayaks, five people, and our dry bags to Utah for a Cataract Canyon expedition. I discovered that if I fold down the seats near the base of Mount Culebra in Colorado, there’s just enough room to snuggle up at a trailhead for an early-morning start. I drove it about 800 miles to Jackson, Wyoming, without breaking down. When winter arrives, I’ll put on my ski rack, crank up the seat warmers, and drive to the hill (very carefully). Now, I’m not advising anyone seeking for an adventure vehicle to go out and buy a 2011 Ford Fusion—there are plenty of better options available. Rather, as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young put it, “love the one you’re with.” —Maren Larsen, host of the podcast
($900) RXair400 Air Purifier
August has been a difficult month in Ashland, Oregon. We experienced 15 days with an air quality index of over 100 due to wildfires, with six of those days over 175. When the temperature rises above 150 degrees, my wife, three-year-old daughter, and I avoid going outside. While my family has been fortunate in being able to escape to the seaside on weekends, we have nonetheless been engulfed in smoke for the better part of a month. The time spent indoors is bad for my mental health, but I know we’re inhaling clean air owing to our full-time RXair 400, which is FDA and EPA approved. Our HVAC system’s canned air smells pleasant and fresh, owing to a UV-light purification system that kills 99 percent of bacteria and viruses in an area of 800 square feet. —Gear Guy Joe Jackson
Fillo Nemo Pillow ($40)
Since purchasing Nemo’s Fillo Pillow, my sleep on hiking excursions has improved substantially. It’s not the lightest inflatable pillow in the world (and I’m sure the fast-and-light types would sneer at me for bringing one at all), but a slab of foam inserted on top of the baffled air cells makes it so pleasant that you forget you’re using one. It also has an attached stuff sack and a removable cover that can be washed. I’ll never go backpacking again without a pillow. —Senior editor Luke Whelan
De Havilland Black Label Stone Glacier Jacket ($290, S-XXL)
In the arid climate of New Mexico, I’ve long preferred wearing a single soft shell jacket rather than a midlayer and a waterproof shell. The De Havilland from Stone Glacier is my favourite of all the ones I’ve recently tested. The jacket was cut exactly by this little Montana manufacturer, so it has a slim fit yet never inhibits my movement. Pit zips have helped me shed heat on long scrambles, and strategically placed pockets have been useful for carrying important items (phone, wallet, etc.) without getting hidden under straps when I was carrying a pack. Although I prefer the black version, the company also provides a variety of basic colours ($229). —Contributing writer Jacob Schiller
Rigd UltraSwing Multi-Fit Hitch Carrier ($1,400)
All-terrain tyres are a must-have improvement if you’re overlanding or going for lengthy periods of time on rough roads, as we’ve preached many times at Outside. These tyres may be properly blown down for extra traction, and they’re far more robust, so they won’t blow up. Many folks choose a brand new rear overlanding bumper with a tyre carrier built in to carry a full all-terrain spare. The issue is that these bumpers are often difficult to install. To make things easier, I recommend Rigd’s swing-out hitch, which fits into the two-inch receiver that’s already on the rear of your rig and doesn’t require any body work. It easily accommodates a huge BF Goodrich KO2 (in my opinion, the best all-around overland tyre), and it also has its own two-inch receiver for mounting a bike rack. When I need to open the tailgate, the swing-out arm moves the hitch entirely out of the way, and it can carry up to 250 pounds, so I can load it with a huge spare tyre and two mountain bikes without worrying about anything bending out of place. J.S.
Surf ‘n Turf 4′′ Short ($62, XS-L) by Rabbit
If I were travelling on a warm-weather trip and just had one pair of athletic shorts, I’d carry these: the perfect cross between a board short and a running short. The poly-spandex combination is light, wicking, and quick-drying, but it’s also more robust than many fragile performance textiles (I’m completely comfortable exposing the Surf ‘n Turf to ocean water and rough granite without fear of pilling or degradation). These have a zipped butt pouch instead of waistband pockets, which would get in the way in most watersports. Rabbit also added a drawstring to its iconic wide-flat waistline for enhanced security against waves and strong currents. During a kayaking trip on the coast of Maine in late August, I wore these for five days straight, from early morning beach walks and porch relaxing to five-hour paddles and afternoon road runs. —Senior editor Ariella Gintzler
Ciele GOcap SC Running Hat ($40) Ciele GOcap SC Running Hat
I’ve been a runner for the majority of my life, but I’ve never been one to wear a running helmet. I always wear sunglasses, so I didn’t think I needed one. But, until this year, I’d never run a marathon during the summer. Because of the epidemic, the Boston Marathon is being held in October rather than April this year, so I’ve been running far more than normal during New York’s peak sticky season. I’ve been wearing one of Ciele’s GOcap running helmets for nearly all of my training runs for the past few months, and I’m a convert. This hat is extremely light and quick-drying, so it shields my face from the sun without adding undue weight when I’m sweating profusely. It’s also machine washable, making it simple to maintain. Plus, it comes in a variety of colours ranging from bright to muted, and it looks a lot less ridiculous than the running helmets that have kept me away for years. I’ve already set my sights on another. — Digital deputy editor Molly Mirhashem
The Zeus Portable Jump Starter and Charger ($150) from Uncharted Supply Co.
When it comes to packing for a trip, I’m not the kind to bring too many just-in-case items. When your car is carrying the load, though, it’s difficult to justify leaving anything smaller than a loaf of bread behind that could rescue your entire journey from disaster. The Zeus has enough power to jump even large overland vehicles multiple times, and it comes with cables and simple instructions for jumpstarting your dead battery without the use of another vehicle. After waking up to a dead battery during a single desert car-camping trip, I started keeping the Zeus in my trunk. Fortunately, I was close enough to other people to ask for assistance—and I had the phone signal to do so. However, the Zeus has provided me with amazing peace of mind since then. Meanwhile, it’s come in handy as a flashlight and phone charger when I’m away from home or when my power goes out. — Editorial assistant Natalia Lutterman
Women’s Gregory Jade 28 Pack ($150)
In August, my best friends and I embarked on a three-day inn-to-inn journey down the Northern California coast. I discovered I only had a large backpack and a little daypack a few days before I travelled. I needed something in the middle, lightweight, and with minimum straps to keep my back from sweating—which I knew was coming given that we were hiking nine miles a day with plenty of hard ascents. This pack was ideal for my needs and did not disappoint. There are no problems from me, and I have received several praises. The simple, streamlined form appealed to me—no lid, a small top zipper and a large U-shaped zipper to access the cavernous interior, and three generous pockets to store items I used frequently. Small touches like a handy elastic sunglasses hook, a vented back panel, and a zippered interior pocket to store my car keys are also highlights. The best part was that it fit under the plane seat in front of me. Perfect. Copy editor Tasha Zemke