Gear Geek: Products to Survive the End of 2016

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Gear Geek: Products to Survive the End of 2016

Any way you slice it, 2016 has been one shitty year. Fires raging in the country (thanks, climate change!), so many deaths (Prince, Bowie, and Cohen sit at the top of a very long list), that trash fire of an election cycle and the perpetual hangover from the results of that election. It’s almost time to bid the last year a solid middle-finger salute, much like John Oliver suggested in his finale. But we need more than anger to survive the dog days of 2016. With that in mind, here are a handful of products to offer a bit of comfort you in these remaining days, and throughout the next four miserable years.

1.Rumpl Puffe Heated Blanket; 2. Spy Cyrus Sunglasses, $250; 3. Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace, $150 for Medium; 4. Fox River Monkey Friends Socks, $14; 5. Drinktanks Juggernaut, $109; 6. Nuun Energy, $5; 7. Outdoor Research Yukon Cap, $40.

Photo: Thomas Hawk, CC-BY-NC

Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).

Rumpl Puffe Heated Blanket

With the Puffe, Rumpl adds some high-octane warmth to their already-plush down-filled blankets. The carbon heating system kicks into gear in seconds, powered by a rechargeable battery that is fully juiced in 90 minutes and can run the blanket for ten hours on one of three temp settings. But it's not just one of the more efficient heated blankets on the market. It also comes with a flashlight setting with three lighting modes—and it can charge your smart devices up to four times before the blanket's battery drains. Choose from synthetic or sustainably-sourced natural down, both wrapped in weather-resistant ripstop 20D nylon. Pre-order now via Kickstarter.

Spy Cyrus Sunglasses

A rose-colored glass outlook can be hard to find these days, but Spy employs some actual science to help boost your spirits. The polarized lenses utilize their "Happy Glass" technology, which filters out the sun's "bad rays" and let's in the long-wave blue light (read: the "good rays"), which has been shown to create an uplift in mood and alertness. Beyond that, this classic model boasts wider arms and reflective gray/green lenses, so no one can see that you've been crying since election day.

Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace

A campfire offers primal comfort. And now you can build one anywhere you have something to burn, thanks to the Pack and Carry Fireplace. The stainless steel device comes in three sizes, collapses flat for easy storage, and comes with a nylon case to make transport a breeze. Snow Peak also makes a cache of cooking and grilling accessories. Ignore CNN/Fox/MSNBC for one night, and just stare at nature's TV.
Snow Peak

Fox River Monkey Friends Socks

It's hard to not smile when you first see the goofy, grinning monkeys that adorn the top of these wool socks. And an instinctive smile is sometimes just the comfort you need. Beyond the blissful aesthetic, you also get a full-performance sock made from a mix of fabrics (nylon, merino, acrylic, poly, and spandex), with memory fit construction to let the sock retain its shape after multiple washes, flat toe seams, and a countered rib top to prevent slippage.
Fox River

Drinktanks Juggernaut

One-up your growler by going big with this 128-ounce beer vessel. The premium stainless steel, double-wall vacuum-insulated growler will keep beer cold for up to 24 hours, and comes with an easy-pour handle and a leak-proof BPA-free poly cap. Then up your game even more with the Keg Cap accessory ($45), which uses a 16-gram CO2 cartridge to turn the Juggernaut into a full-fledged keg. All you'll need after that is access to your most comforting beer, and a few like-minded souls to help you kick it.

Nuun Energy

Recover from that perpetual hangover (literal, emotional, or metaphorical) by tossing a Nuun Energy tablet in your water bottle. Plant-based caffeine sourced from green tea extract adds a boost to your hydration efforts, and tablet also includes vitamin b as well as the four main electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) vital to recuperation—but they're parsed out in a ratio that won't overwhelm the body.

Outdoor Research Yukon Cap

Flirting with the idea of fleeing to Canada? The Yukon Cap may become your new baseball hat. The cap uses a wool blend outer and a soft-pile fleece liner to insulate, with button-up ear flaps that lock in the heat. No eye flaps to hide from reality, however.
Outdoor Research