The right stuff

With winter just around the corner, innovative and fun items can come in handy

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— Having "stuff" may be one component in a human's life that separates the species from the plethora of other living organisms on the planet.

But what separates humans from each other is not only having "cool" stuff, it's having the most functional, innovative and fun stuff there is.

Here are four outdoor products that have made a splash into the world of outdoor "stuff" in the past year or so that are pretty dang cool and would come in handy, just in time for winter.

B.A.P!'s Lost Dog shell

Made by Schoeller Dryskin

Cost: about $200

Schoeller is the newest, and some say the best, in the evolution of synthetic fiber based outdoor clothing.

The Lost Dog, which is considered a "soft" shell coat, is tough, warm, light, wicks moisture away from the body and breathes.

"You are not going to tear like a normal shell," said Bill Gamber, owner of B.A.P!

The tough Schoeller fabric is laced with the material that backpacks are made of, which makes it almost impossible to tear. But the fabric also is comfortably windproof and water resistant. Gamber said it is completely versatile for the Rocky Mountains.

"Right now it's a big, big movement" in outerwear, he said.

On sunny, cold days the jacket is a perfect shell. On wet, snowy days it's also ideal as a layer.

Other companies make Schoeller coats, Gamber said, but the perk of having B.A.P! in the community is that people can have the coats custom made.

Snowskates

Cost: About $150

It may be the next big thing to do on snow or just a good idea, but the snowskate, which is made by a few companies, has made it to a third year. But its new design this year is expected to stick. The snowskate is basically a skateboard deck with a small ski blade attached to the bottom. There are no bindings, which makes it the true missing link between snowboarding and skateboarding.

"It's meant for downhill," said Cary Williams, an employee of The Click skate and snowboard shop.

However, he added he thought most people would be using them for park-riding or in backyard, makeshift parks. The original snowskate appeared about three years ago and was just a deck no blade on the bottom. The blade was attached last year. With it, the rider can carve on snow or "Ollie" (jump up from a flat surface) to perform freestyle tricks. This year's model has a new set of trucks which attach the blade to the board. The trucks allow the deck to flex. Williams said it is hard to tell what the snowskate will be used for primarily, but people are out there right now being the pioneers of the sport.

The Ava Lung

Made by Black Diamond

Cost: $200

This novel device will save your life if an avalanche buries you. It basically is a vest that has a filter and breathing tube fitted into it. When covered by snow, the victim breathes into the tube. The filter takes the carbon dioxide out of the air going into your lungs, so only oxygen is breathed in. When breathing out, the warm air goes through the vest and out the back.

"It increases the length of time (you can be buried) by 'X' amount," said Bryan Gilmore of Backdoor Sports.

Though Gilmore said he hasn't heard of actual instances when the Ava Lung was used in an emergency, he said tests have shown the device works.

Leatherman Juice tools

Cost: $75

Here is the newest in Leatherman multipurpose tools. Just like the original leatherman, the five different Juice models have numerous hidden tools in its pliers-like shape up to 15 tools in all. But the Juice is more compact and the five different models have different tools in each.

"And they are in fun colors, too," said Amee Prevenslik of Straightline Sports.

Each model has its own designer color.

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