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The X Factor

By Racer X

The X Factor


Japan is an archipelago of more than 3,000 islands with a serious rainy season and a raging typhoon season. So, if you like to play outside, odds are you are going to get wet. Here are some useful Items to make getting drenched more fun and a bit more comfortable.

Air-conditioned footwear for your "Hybrid Life"

I appreciate Teva's no-nonsense approach to upgrading their best-selling footwear. The Terra-Fi 2 sandal offers zinc-based anti-microbial protection. A patented mid-foot shank and a fully adjustable padded heel for excellent support and comfort. Popular with backpackers the world over, they feature the original non-marking "spider rubber" compound and are at home in the water.

Keen Footwear has been riding a healthy wave of good publicity with their eco approach, funky advertising and well-made products. The "Newport H2" sandal is made for water. It has fast drying nylon straps backed with neoprene and a funny looking, but completely functional, toe cap that have won over paddlers and river guides who rave about the comfort and protection. Some of my customers wear them hiking in the summer. Check the land lover "Newport" model if you plan to stay dry. Sizes tend to run a bit small.


Foldable, seaworthy and well designed

The K1 Expedition Kayak is a boat lover's wet dream. Fast, responsive and good for intermediate and advanced paddlers, the V-shaped hull offers excellent performance. The larger cockpit is designed for comfort on multi-day trips while the internal air sponsons ensure stability. The two-person "K2" boat has maximum storage capacity with bow and stern hatches for gear/ It packs into one bag or two for easy carrying in the most remote paddling destinations.


Leave the bumbershoot at home!
The "Seattle Sombrero" is made of waterproof and breathable 40D Gore-Tex. This wide brim rain protector is designed like a firefighter hat—a bit longer in back to keep your shoulders dry.
It is wind resistant and features Velcro tabs on the brim and dome to allow for convenient styling. I wear mine for outdoor events and concerts. Also great for fishing or outdoor photography.


Dont leave home without it.

Leave it to Mont-bell to cram the essential first aid items into a large water bottle and sell it at a reasonable price. Regardless of your activity, having at least a small emergency kit is advised. I keep one in the genkan (entryway) just waiting for a serious Tokyo earthquake. There are also larger packs with carefully selected items for groups and rescue situations. Be prepared for the worst, as the life you save could be your own.