Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2017
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Take a hike

Finally: warm weather. Time to start planning your outdoors excursions, before you blink and find summer's over. We suggest six pieces of gear that top lists – from the ultra-light, to the most compact, the most high performance and the most classically Canadian.

Roof over your head

Backpaker Magazine ranked GoLite's one-person Eden Tent as the "Best All-Around." The two-person, Eden 2, shares its virtues and is only a shade heavier. At 1.7 kilos, it's not the lightest of the ultra-lights, but it is among the most commodious. Two adults can lie comfortably side by side and there's plenty of head room. The big fine-mesh zip-up openings make coming and going a pleasure even when you have to climb over your companion at 2AM of a rainy night. The vestibule has plenty of room for boots and packs, even a medium sized dog. Three sets of poles and a minimum of two tie-downs (14 are supplied) makes set up trickier than stand-alones, especially in heavy winds. The reward: size and sturdiness, no skylight though. GoLite is a highly regarded company known for the greenness and high quality of materials and workmanship. US$300 for Eden 1; US$425 for Eden 2. golite.com.

Paddle country

What does Canada mean to the rest of the world? Rivers, lakes, wildlife, adventure in the great outdoors. It's your duty as a Canadian to get out on the water this summer. But to canoe or not to kayak, that is the question. Canoes shaped this country and are still one of the best ways to appreciate it's wonders. And then there's the modern kayak — sleek, light, maneuverable and incredibly popular. Which one should you choose? Canoe: larger, more stable, better for kids and dogs, great on lakes and calmer rivers. Weight: 30 to 44 kilos. Kayak: lighter, less stable, ideal for one or two, better in white water and ocean. Weight: 20 to 40 kilos. You decide. (Hint: check out the Kevlar ultra lights.) Around $700. langfordcanoe.com.

Fleet of foot

Hiking is all about what you wear on your feet. Here are some new boots from Asolo that get raves. They're light, rugged, waterproof — thanks to Gore-Tex — and grip well. Some breaking in before setting out on that 10-day trek might be prudent, but maybe not. Says one reviewer: " (They're) remarkably comfortable out of the box and only get better." Comments another, "These boots are awesome! I've hiked in these for long periods of time, in various conditions, and my feet have always been dry and happy." ASOLO is known for quality and are priced somewhat above other brands. The men's Fugitive GTX retail at US$215; women's Stynger GTX goes for US$210. asolo.com.

Unchain my bike

Chainless bikes have been around for a century but technical advances in the last decade have made them more popular. The chain is replaced by a drive shaft and the gears are inside the hub of the rear wheel. The big pluses are obvious: no chain to catch your pants or shoelaces, low maintenance since nothing is exposed to the elements. Those who own them either love 'em or hate 'em. Pros: gears shift easily, even when you're standing still; the bikes can take a beating; grease the gears twice a year and you're good to go. Cons: if the gears are poorly aligned they can slip on hills and make a racket; they're marginally less efficient; pricier. Dymanic Bicycles' Runabout 7 (pictured here) retails for about US$600. dynamicbicycles.com.

Jacket of all trades

The North Face has been redefining its style from purely technical to urban street wear. Women who love hoodies love the Venture Jacket. It's waterproof, seam-sealed, breathable and comes in 12 colours. Excellent on the trail and fashionable at the coffee shop. The coat weighs just 340 grams and folds down to store in the left pocket. It's also made from HyVent DT EC, a new material derived from natural castor oil from beans which reduces the use of synthetic components, making it a greener choice, too. At $130, you may find it expensive but users never regret the purchase. Comments range from "gorgeous" to "great value." Also available for men. thenorthface.com.

Wearable water

Shoes are important but there is one thing you simply cannot do without, on even a short hike: water. CamelBak has been building hydration systems into their daypacks for years. The 2011 Highwire 25 is one of their most versatile yet. It holds 3 liters of water and there's still room for extra jackets, rain gear, food, maps, sunglasses and so on — a full 25 litres' worth of space. It's the only day pack you'll ever need and it's guaranteed for life. US$115. camelbak.com.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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