Who is the lamest of them all...? [Updated with poll results]

Ah, how we love out gear! How exciting it is to search for the latest must-have gadget – the one tool to rule them all: the most flexible shelter, the fastest drying pair of trail runners, the most innovative stove.

There's such an amazing variety of gear out there, tempting you to reach into your wallet, pull out your credit card, part with your hard-earned money, and incur the wrath of your significant other.

Friends, I have trawled the interwebs for new gear – gear so essential you will not be able to resist. Gear you might have missed in the forest of lightweight tarps. Prepare to be amazed by three absolute essential pieces of kit no hiker should be without.

The first item answers that perennial question we often face in the wilderness, "How on earth am I going to keep my spork clean?"

The Spork Case.

The problem:

You're familiar with the situation. There you are, miles from anywhere. You've been hiking for hours. Your water supply is almost gone. Suddenly, you feel the need, the need for some delicious dehydrated shepherd's pie. You boil your water, you pour it in the bag and... Gadzooks! Your Spork is dirty!!! And you forgot your bisected camp sponge! Disaster! Almost certain death! You hastily begin writing a book in the hope that Danny Boyle will immortalise your adventure in celluloid.

The solution:

 Never fear, weary traveller, for Light My Fire (creators of the Spork) have a solution to your dilemma in the form of the Spork Case. Never again will you risk a spotted Spork. The Spork Case will protect up to two (yes, 2 – ideal for spooning couples!) Sporks from encrustment or in-pack scratchery. Weighing only 21 grams (or just over twice as much as a single 9g Spork), the Spork Case will keep your Spork away from harm, nestled in a coccoon of hard-wearing plastic – in fact, exactly the same hard-wearing plastic that the Spork itself is made from.

But it doesn't end there. Every Spork Case comes with a Spork! You can get them in a range of "civilized colors" and can hang it around your neck for true Spork dorkery. It even fits lefty Sporks. Hey, in a fix, you could probably even use the Spork Case as an improvised Spork, or at least spoon. Multi use!! All we need now is a Spork Case Case, just in case the case gets dirty.

But we have spent enough time in Sporkdom. It's time for problem number two.

The Problem:

You are hiking through the desert, carrying 1 gallon of water per person, per day, just like they told you at the Ranger Station. Seeing as you are on a seven day hike, and you can't read a map, it's a good thing that in addition to the 7 gallons of water you are also carrying two six-packs of beer. Avery Maharaja maybe. Big bottles. You trek along the canyon stream, relishing the cool water trickling over your sandals, cooling your tired feet. You finally reach camp, and settle down for a nice warm beer. But... zut alors! You have forgotten your bottle opener! Disappointment washes over you, in much the same was as the stream did over your feet, but far less pleasant.

But wait! You remember something! Something wonderful!

You are wearing the

Reef Playa Cerveza Sandals


The Solution:

 The only sandals in the history of the Universe with a bottle opener

built into the sole!!!

 Imagine the looks of admiration on your hiking companion's face as you daintily cross your leg and crack open a bottle on your sole. Reef's unique "Thirst Quenching Technology" could very well save the day – and maybe even your life.

Now, refreshed and only slightly well oiled after your 10% IPA, it is time to set up camp.

The Problem:

 You search around for a nice level spot for your tent, but all you can find is crypto soil and sharp, jagged pointies that will rip your ground sheet to shreds. Fortunately your friend has a tarp – but gosh-darn it, he forgot to bring his hiking poles which he needs to erect it. What a dimwit. But wait – here comes another hiker. She happens to have a three-person hammock! Just when you are about to weep in praise of your good fortune, your tears turn to sadness as the three of you realise there is only one tree. Her luxury hammock is useless.

If only she'd bought a 

Tree Tent


The Solution:

 Oh, the luxury! Imagine! For a paltry $50,000, you could be enjoying this "futuristic" love-nest. With enough room to sleep two fully-grown adults in its 9ft diameter, 13ft high hanging palace. Blend in with nature – passers-by will probably think it's a hornet's nest – and put your mind at rest by elevating yourself  "out of reach of wild animals and unpleasant wet conditions."

Why bother with bear-hanging your food when you can bear-hang


All that remains, then, is to answer the question posed by this post. In the spirit of democracy, I'd like to put it to a vote.

Who is the lamest of them all?

And so, the tribe has spoken. Light My Fire, it's time for you to go, and take your Spork Case with you.

While some believed the case would protect the accident-prone Spork from breakage, it's clear that a TiSpork would effect the same protection at a fraction of the weight, and without incurring a blight of plastic Sporks on the planet for future generations to discover, and ask simply, "Why?"

Surprisingly, many people found at least some value in the Reef Playa Cerveza sandals. I suppose they could prove useful in some circumstances, but I would personally never want to carry bottles around with me. When I occasionally carry a beer with me, I take cans. Generally, however, I prefer a wee dram of whisky for it's weight to alcohol ratio.

Although very few voters and commenters could find a place in their hearts for the Tree Tent, one suggestion at least shows some potential for winter use. Imagine outfitting the Tree Tent with a couple of skis and a sail... You could remain enclosed inside as you sail across the tundra, safely ensconced within your aerodynamic, teardrop cocoon. All we need now is $50,000 to buy one and test it out.