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Wow. The Garmin inReach Mini is a in your pocket survival tool.

The inReach Mini is your go-to connection for maintaining off-the-grid contact at home, at sea, or in the back country.

The palm-sized satellite communicator for adventures, lets you send and receive text messages, track and share your journey and, if necessary, trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team. With inReach connectivity, your family and friends will know they can stay in touch globally. This 4x2 inch device can literally save your life.

Specifically, here are the five key things that it allows you to:

> Exchange text messages while beyond cellular range of a cell phone

> Built-in, high-sensitivity GPS provides basic navigation, location and tracking data

> Track and share your journey online for your family and friends

> In case of an emergency, trigger an interactive SOS

So now you are probably thinking that this Garmin inReach Mini sounds too good to be tru, what is the catch? The catch is that a satellite subscription is required. We ask what price is safety? The subscription allows you to tap into the Iridium satellite network which ensures 100% pole-to-pole coverage with no gaps or fringe areas. So where ever you are, you are connected.

As with any electronic device, we wish there was a bigger battery or a solar solution and beware that winter conditions can drain batteries more quickly than normal. So as with any recommendation; try it, test it, and understand it before you rely on it (but we love the Garmin InReach.)

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The Patagonia Black Hole Backpack 25L is the near perfect backpack. And it has the near perfect name.

As a connoisseur of backpacks, I am often amazed at how these big bags can hold so little (usually due to separators, pencil holders, zipper pouches and other unnecessary items.) The Black Hole Bag by Patagonia is quite the opposite. How such a little bag hold so much? And it has the perfect name

as it is truly a black hole. I loved them so much that I actually have three of these bags. First lets talk about the bag.

The Black Hole is made of lightweight and strong polyester ripstop with weatherproof laminate and water repellent finish. The material keep the bag looking new and the contents dry. It is durable enough that it is ready to to withstand any weather challenges that come its way. The bag also includes a top easy-access zippered pocket, hidden front vertical zippered pocket, and two side elastic water bottle pockets (that I have never used, but it a great for holding sunglasses for easy access when you are riding your bike.

Why do I have three? Well my wife stole (ok, borrowed) the first one. I also have one in the back of my car with my yoga clothes and one on my bike with my gym clothes. Both a ready to go when I need them.

The one in my car is protected from the elements. The one on my bike gets used twice every weekend and gets tossed around often. After two plus years of use, you cannot tell them apart. This is one durable bag. The Black Hole by Patagonia is easily the best backpack that I have ever owned.

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Freshette by Freshette

Imagine that you’re on a long hike and you’re all geared up and it starts to rain. And then it happens, that moment you dread on the trail especially when your in a mixed group of hikers. That’s right the moment you realize that you have to pee.

Now you have to stop the group. While they are waiting you have to unbundle and do the "run of shame" into the bushes. While you are squatting and getting branches poking you in the rear-end, you think, how unfair is this that they guys only need to find a tree and unzip.

Now there is an equalizer, the Freshette. Freshette is the device that allows for the quick release of bodily of fluids while in mixed company and without having to do the squat. But they do require practice and sanitizer.

The Good: Other competing products are flexible. Where the part you hold against your body is somewhat soft, which can allow for some possible spillage. The Freshette is rigid so you can press it tightly against you to form a good seal. Peeing has never been more freeing.

The Bad: It does require practice. Because women have historically positioned themselves in a squatting posture while urinating in the dirt/grass, consumers also report that they find difficulty when urinating in an upright stance. Urinating in a standing position will require a little practice.

It is particularly difficult when, in the process of using this device, one becomes aware of an ‘impending intestinal urge.’ In other words, it doesn’t help the #2 problem.

If you have used these, let us know.

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