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The X Factor

By Racer X

The X Factor


Late summer and early fall is my favorite time to travel the countryside in Japan. The trails are quiet and the weather still warm enough to sleep outside even at higher altitudes. But be careful of the occasional typhoon or sudden rain showers. They can make rivers swell quickly. So, check the forecast before you go and be sure to always camp on high ground away from the river.  

GoPro HD Hero Camera
Don’t miss the action. 

Watching a recent YouTube clip of surfing at Pipeline, I was amazed to find the board-mounted camera was a consumer brand GoPro Hero model. The Woodman Labs tech geeks have matched the frenetic pace of adventure sports. Their latest Hero model offers HD resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second, and the camera also has a cool feature that allows you to take 5MB still photos at various intervals while you are filming. The convenient mounting accessories keep the camera stable whether fitted on a helmet or handlebars.


Nike + iPod Sport Kit
Innovative ways to keep you moving.

Personally, I like to support small, local brands but, when the big boys get it right, I take notice. The iPod Sport Kit from Apple and Nike is a glimpse into the future. The real time feedback and ability to plan your run or exercise with music is fun and motivating. The sync mode connects to the Nike Website, allowing runners and athletes around the world to share and compare workouts. You do have to buy the shoes and have an iPod but, If it gets more people off the couch out and outside, I'm all for it.


Montbell sleeping bag liner
Try this before you buy a warmer bag.

My ultra-light sleeping bag packs down small and is comfortable, but it’s a bit chilly at higher altitudes. I was considering buying a new bag for winter but opted for a 180-gram silk sheet inner liner from Montbell. Living like a sultan on the mountain is great, and it will extend the life of your favorite bag by keeping the original fabric from touching your body. A 250-gram cotton warm-up sheet is also available. It’s more affordable and recommended if you don't like the silky smooth material.


Mammut Trion guide Packs
A quality fit with all the bells and whistles.

Tough construction and high tech features make the Trion pack worth the coin. I like the versatility of the fully adjustable and removable butterfly suspension system and how the compression straps can be adjusted at the side or front, helping keep the fit close to the body without sacrificing freedom of movement. Alpine climbers will like the bombproof 840D Nylon Ballistic with a reinforced front pocket for crampons and the daisy chain gear carrier for other sharp objects. The pack is compatible with hydration systems and made for all seasons. Take this pack to high elevations with confidence.