Gear Lust in Utah.

The stadium scene.
Feb. 9 2004 4:10 PM

Gear Lust in Utah

Ice-climbing tools! Hummer footwear! How to shop for outdoor gadgets you don't need.

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The Bottle Belt: Colorado businessmen Lon Black and Alex Hearn have created a twin-loop strap that fits around your Nalgene water bottle, letting you easily attach it to a backpack using a carabineer. Critics point out that Nalgene bottles come with a plastic lid-loop that serves the same function, but the Bottle Belt press kit scoffs at that: "Bottle flops around immensely—irritating!"

Hummer Footwear: Jordan Saliman has licensed the rights to make shoes and boots in the spirit of GM's popular Arnoldmobile. "These are top-tier integrity shoes," Saliman says. "We don't go into stack-'em-high, let-'em-fly retailers." Made with features like Himalayan yak leather and manikin-flesh-colored nubbly soles, Hummer models include the Backfire, Mudflaps, Hubcap, Hitch, and Lugnut.

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Tugz: You know when you're skiing and you're being driven crazy by those cords that hold your eyeglasses on? No? Well, the makers of Tugz Cordless Eyewear Retainers say it's a problem, so they've designed teeny neoprene wedges that fit behind your ears and keep your glasses on. Available in "Hiker's Orange" and "Bicycle's Green."

I closed out my O.R. experience with something I'd been saving: a visit to conference room 151D, an eerie space housing forlorn Asian companies. In the back corner I stumbled upon my personal Best of Show: "ITI: Foremost Meat Processor Supplier from China!"

This Shanghai-based company makes sausage grinders, but they also produce a line of sturdy cast-iron camp cookware. Marketing manager Sam Liu eagerly showed me the wares, at one point holding up a small, rectangular cast-iron grate with two fixed rings in the center.

"What is this?" I asked. "Does it sit on a grill?"

"No!"

"Well, what then?"

"It is just the thing," he said, "for your cold beer and turkey!"

Ah, at last. Thank goodness somebody covered that base.

Alex Heard is the editorial director ofOutsidemagazine.