Local adventurers tick off favorite gear and other gift tips



At Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor, Assistant Store Manager Shelby Saucier models a Aurora AG 50 backpack. Saucier recently bought the newer model to replace her Osprey pack that she has used on journeys all over the world. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

At Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor, Assistant Store Manager Shelby Saucier models a Aurora AG 50 backpack. Saucier recently bought the newer model to replace her Osprey pack that she has used on journeys all over the world. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Outdoor adventure is a prime reason to stay in Maine, if you’re from here, or settle here if you’re not.

If you plan to exchange gifts this holiday season there’s a good chance at least one of the folks on your shopping list a hiker, camper, boater, skier, cyclist, snorkeler…the list goes on.

Asked for recommendations for great gifts this year, staff at Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor focused on luggage and packing — ways to transport your gear and keep it organized.

Assistant Store Manager Shelby Saucier had an older model backpack from Osprey that’s been with her to Costa Rica, India and Africa. She recently bought a new Aurora AG 50, a super comfortable women’s pack, and handed down the other to a friend.

“It hugs your hips even when the hip belt is not clipped,” she said. “The structure pushes the load slightly away from your body so you have this really nice ventilation system.”

At $230, she said, “this would be my ultimate gift.”

The comparable men’s line of packs is called the Atmos, in either 50 (for liters of internal volume, roughly 3,100 cubic inches) or the 65. Many of the Osprey models come in different sizes to match the length of the wearer’s back.

Cadillac carries separate airplane bags for large packs to keep all the straps together and baggage handlers happy. For organization and saving space inside the pack, there are stuff sacks and compression sacks, which aren’t just for sleeping bags anymore.

Saucier says she keeps different articles of clothing in a different color sack. “Blue for pants, red for shirts, yellow for jackets. I can compress them all down so I don’t have to be digging through all my stuff.” She also said small organizers with zip pockets, like ones that can hang in a bathroom with toiletries, also are useful for jewelry, electronics chargers and more.

Alish Fahey, a product advisor at Cadillac, is excited about a new line of tents from Mountain Hardwear.

“They’re bigger, for 2.5 to 3.5 people, so you actually have room for your backpack, or enough room if you travel with a dog,” she said. The Optic line allows for stargazing and enjoying the view wherever you are with full-size doors on adjacent sides. The adjustable flap and tie-backs can create up to a 180-degree view down the mountain or across the river.

For stocking stuffers, the store has a huge selection of camping gizmos, dog gear, multi-tools and electronics.

“Diver Ed” and “Evil Edna” Monat ticked off an Underwater Kinetics Mini Q40 flashlight,  floating wraparound sunglasses by Gil, a Spyderco Atlantic Salt folding knife and other state-of-the art gear for their underwater adventures.

“Diver Ed” and “Evil Edna” Monat ticked off an Underwater Kinetics Mini Q40 flashlight, floating wraparound sunglasses by Gil, a Spyderco Atlantic Salt folding knife and other state-of-the art gear for their underwater adventures.

It has the Fetch, a dog harness with a mount for a GoPro camera to capture video and photos from a dog’s-eye view. Musher’s Wax helps keep paw pads from drying and cracking on ice, snow and salt (and also in hot conditions). There are nearly a dozen different camping coffee-maker options, including one that brews joe right in your water bottle.

We asked a pair of local celebrities about their favorite things that might make good gifts — folks who spend a lot of time outside, and much of it underwater. “Diver Ed” and “Evil Edna” Monat are, together with a crew of sidekicks, apprentices and friends, the League of Underwater Superheroes.

In the summer you’ll find them aboard their boat the Starfish Enterprise, running passenger trips dubbed “Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater.” In the winter, they’re diving and snorkeling in warmer climes, sometimes teaching. Or sometimes back home, even in a snowstorm, you’ll find Eddie face down (and snorkel up) in a mud puddle or under a bridge because he got curious.

Their top gift recommendations are useful even for non-scuba divers and can be found at Hamilton Marine, such as floating wraparound sunglasses by Gil. On a boat, sunglasses tend to go wherever you don’t want them to, so at least you’ll have a fighting chance to scoop these up with a net.

Eddie uses a Spyderco Atlantic Salt folding knife as a dive knife.

“It’s not a dive knife but everyone uses it for diving now,” he said. “For scuba divers, we’ve always had knives that we lose, or that rust. This is made of a metal called H1 and will not rust. I don’t even have to rinse it off. It’s got a serrated edge so you can cut something wicked fast.

“Technical divers use it, commercial divers, rescue folks, everyone.”

Their favorite flashlight is an Underwater Kinetics Mini Q40.

“Believe me, I’ve gone through lots of different types of lights,” Eddie said. This one has a very bright LED array, runs on 4 AA batteries, and has a silicone strap. It’s waterproof up to 300 feet.

“Firefighters use it on their helmets, you can put it on your scuba mask. You can drop it, run it over — these things are bulletproof and we love them.”

If you do have a scuba diver or aspiring one on your list, Eddie and Edna recommend a frameless mask by Scubapro and fins by Hollis.

Despite the really advanced technology such as dive computers that have come along in his lifetime, Eddie says, “the best invention in scuba diving is fins with spring straps. Because for us cold-water and shore divers, once you put all your gear on, it’s wicked hard to put your fins on. But spring straps get them on and off fast.”

His diving suits are custom-made by Abyss Diving Suits, a tiny family operation in Halifax. Nova Scotia. He and Edna enjoy the magazines Diver and Dive Training.

Perfect edible stocking stuffers for lovers of the sea, they said, are Kelp Crunch snacks by Maine Sea Coast Vegetables in Franklin and chocolate sardines, available online.

You could get someone a DVD of a classic movie like “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Jaws,” or “The Life Aquatic,” Eddie said. LEGO and Playmobil make scuba diver figures. There’s an old GI Joe doll you could track down online called the Perilous Rescue model, complete with dive gear, a throw ring, rope and knives.

The Monats also recommend the marine collage art of Jennifer Booher of Bar Harbor and a children’s book about alewives called “Swimming Home” by Susan Hand Shetterly and illustrated by Rebekah Raye.

For adult readers, they suggest “Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve one of the Last Mysteries of World War II,” by Robert Kurson.

 

 

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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