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Call of the wild

Whether your passion is water or fire, air or earth, there's a new piece of gear to help you master your craft

Jan. 2, 2009 - 08:30AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 2, 2009 - 08:30AM  |  

Reel it in

On your next fishing trip, aim high and heavy use what the champ uses (opposite page). Alton Jones won the 2008 Bassmaster Classic with Ardent's XS1000 free spool casting reel. The XS1000 can cast as far as 150 yards, and it returns with no drag. Plus, it's comfortable to hold, and the lightweight bait caster promises smooth delivery of your catch with minimal backlash. Attach a high-end rod, like this St. Croix Premier Casting Rod, and you'll be catching fish like the pros, too.


See worthy

Bring home visual evidence of your dive vacation with SeaLife's DC800 digital camera, which shoots stills or video at up to 200 feet underwater. Customize your shots with five color-correction modes, an automatic external flash option and a 4X optical zoom. No need to pause to capture the moment: The "spy mode" can be programmed to snap pictures at intervals, and a lithium battery will keep the shoot going most of the day.


Making waves

Feel the ocean spray on your face as you speed through the water on the new 2009 Yamaha FZ5 WaveRunner. Sure, it costs almost as much as a small car, but if you live for H20, then this is the way to go. The FZ series features a lightweight hull that improves maneuverability, as well as a telescopic steering column so you can drive while sitting or standing. The FZ5 holds up to three people, so you can take more than one person on the ride of your life.

Starting at $12,899,

Speed suit

Every male American swimmer who won a medal at the Beijing Olympic Games wore Speedo LZR Racer apparel. Since its debut in February, an astonishing 71 world records have been broken by athletes wearing the NASA-influenced outfit. The superlight LZR Pulse fabric and LZR panels help you imitate fish and slither through water. It's the closest you'll come to having shark skin.


Fire it up

Coleman's portable EvenTemp Instastart three-burner propane stove is just a refrigerator short of a full kitchen. It doesn't need a match to ignite, gets scorching hot (28,000 BTUs) and heats food evenly. Attached metal flaps serve double duty as either wind blockers or side tables.


Hot ‘n' spicy

Shock your taste buds with a collection of more than 400 fiery recipes spanning the globe. Jenni Fleetwood's "Ultimate Hot & Spicy Red Hot Cookbook" is peppered with flavorful dishes from exotic lands such as the Caribbean and Thailand. But a warning to the weak of stomach: There's a 27-page intro on chili peppers alone. This one is sure to make you sweat.


Real rocks

Heated stone therapy is the hottest thing in massage, and Nature's Stones gives you the tools to get the kinks out. A full-body starter kit includes stones for hands, feet, belly and other body parts; a heater mat; massage oil; and a DVD.


Heat hut

Salute Mother Nature by staying warm in eco-friendly style. Woven and insulated with recycled materials, Sierra Designs' Verde 20 men's sleeping bag will heat you up without hurting the environment. Extra insulation at the neck, zipper and feet keeps you toasty in temps down to 20 degrees. The all-natural Cocona lining pulls moisture from your skin and allows odors to be washed out easily.

Starting at $179,

Fill 'er up

Toss out that old rinky-dink bike pump for something that will really pump you up. The JoeBlow Ace is like that old standby on steroids: It's a two-barreled behemoth with three stages, pumping anywhere from 60 psi to 260 psi in a jiffy. Plus, this pump sports padded handles, a large dial gauge, and both ball and air bladder-type needles in case you have a flat basketball that you need to take care of after you inflate your bike's tires.


Snow business

Olympic champion Shaun White practiced for years to perfect his powder-rific snowboarding moves. Now you can catch some air on the slopes just like the Flying Tomato in his new game, "Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip." It'll take you into the world of sky-high thrills in the comfort of your home. With the Nintendo Wii version, use the system's balance board and learn tricks, style your avatars and improve your balance. White even shows up as a mentor character, so you know you won't be left out in the cold.


Gone runnin'

Don't let cold air, rain or wind gusts stop you from going out for a run. You can just throw on the Adidas adiStar Gore Windstopper jacket. The windbreaker, designed to be comfortable for moving muscles, is made of fabric treated to keep out rain and wind chill. The jacket has an MP3 pocket; you can route your earphone wires through the material and up to your head. For safety, there are reflective strips so you can go running when it's dark outside.


Strings attached

It shouldn't take the Air-Yo long before it reaches the fad status of the pet rock or the Hula Hoop. Part kite and part yo-yo, the flying toy is colorful and addictive for kids of all ages. You can perform a multitude of maneuvers with the nylon pseudo-kite, which has a 33-inch wingspan and comes with a control rod and instructions. Buy an extra control rod and invite a buddy to play.

$27 (extra rod, $7.99),

Great links

SkyCaddie's golf GPS units have taken the sport by storm, and the new SG5 is the best of the best. Its large LCD screen shows golfers everything from yardage to the pin to the location of pesky sand traps. IntelliGreen technology provides the info you need to get the perfect putt, plus details on the world's best courses in case you end up at St. Andrews, Scotland, one day.


Mountain do

Ropes, harnesses, chalk bags, shoes, snacks these are all necessary wares for the rock-climbing set. Here's the rub, though: You have to put all that stuff somewhere. The Mountain HardWear Splitter crag pack gives you all you need and more in terms of convenient carriage of your mountain must-haves. Made partly from ballistic nylon, this sturdy pack is ready for adventure, with separate compartments for water bottles, ropes, hardware and clothing, plus durable straps, so it'll go everywhere you go, vertically and horizontally.


Built tough

If you've been searching for the most heavy-duty garden hose ever made, your quest ends here. Armadillo hoses have galvanized steel shells, discouraging the kinks and tangles that drive homeowners crazy. The hoses four models in up to seven lengths are available offer all-weather grips and crush-proof couplings, and they're drink-safe for people and pets.


Survival reading

What would you do if you had to survive in the wild with no modern conveniences? You could do worse than to follow the advice of the guy known as "Survivorman." TV personality Les Stroud has years of outdoor adventure experience as a naturalist and wilderness aficionado, and in his new book, "Survive!" he doles out advice on skills (making a shelter, finding water) that you may never need but it never hurts to have.


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