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OR Show, gear highlights

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Mike Santi, Online Publisher of THEGEARJUNKIE.com, and I just returned from the OR Show in Salt Lake City. (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006, if you’re counting.)

This is Gear Junkie heaven, with hundreds of manufacturers each holed up in a booth showing off the latest in shiny new outdoors toys.

Here’s a quick look at a few product highlights. . .

Crank power
No batteries required with this tiny LED lantern, which gets its juice from a hand crank that generates electricity. The little light, which is made for camping and emergency situations, shines for about an hour after just a minute of hand cranking the integrated lever. ($40, www.freeplayenergy.com)

Utility trailer
Thule has introduced two small sport trailers for anyone with overburdening gear-hauling needs. Both have a removable heavy duty cargo cover and a drop-down tailgate for loading gear into the trailer bed. Sizes are 7×4 feet for the $1,500 iteration, called Model 1700. The other trailer, Model 1500, costs $1,200 and measures in at 5×3.5 feet. (www.thule.com)

Hot food container
Stanley Outdoor’s Food Jar looks like a small thermos for hot liquids. But as its name portends, the Food Jar is a leak-proof vessel made to keep your food—including soups, pastas, noodles and stews—warm for hours on the trail. ($30, www.stanley-pmi.com)

One-handed multi
Buck Knives’ Whittaker X-Tract is a multi-tool gadget with a pliers, wire cutter, screwdriver, blade and other essentials. But what makes it unique is the product’s one-handed operation, which lets users access all accoutrements easy and quick with just a single paw. ($50,

Wooly wear
The Synergy Jacket from SmartWool combines a cozy wool interior with a nylon face fabric to create a hybrid jacket that wicks and breathes while keeping you warm and dry. It can be used as a mid layer underneath a shell in winter or alone as a lightweight jacket in more temperate times of the year. ($150, www.smartwool.com)

Coco clothing
Discarded coconut shells are used to make the unique fabric for GoLite’s DriMove Long Sleeve Zip Top shirt. In addition to a soft feel, the company touts the fabric’s “activated carbon,” which is purported to keep odor at bay. ($35, www.golite.com)

Formal function
New Zealand-based Icebreaker is known for its sleek, fashionable wool apparel, and the company’s new windproof merino outerwear, which includes the Escape jacket, is no exception. This jacket, a pseudo-formal design with an iPod pocket, is at home in the city or on a mountain trail. ($269, www.icebreaker.com)

Party pack
The Cooler Party pack from Jansport is a 2,100-cubic-inch backpack made purely for casual recreation. Indeed, the pack has a cooler pocket with a 12-can capacity. For tunes, it has a headphone port, a button panel to control iPod functions, and built-in speakers on back to pump out music on the go. ($199, www.jansport.com; available next

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