Gear guide 2012: Mast General Store

Sawyer Squeeze Filter — $60

This may be the best, and last water filter, you ever buy. The new filter by Sawyer is guaranteed for up to one million gallons of crystal clear, ready-to-drink H2O. And, there are no obnoxious pump systems, glowing lights or unpleasant tablets characteristic of other purification systems. Just filling up your water bottle, attach the filter, then squeeze — be it directly into your mouth or another container.

The Squeeze also comes with three different sized water pouches that fit on the filter, and you can screw it onto most standard drinking bottles. It’s small, light (about three ounces) and won “Editors Choice” for 2012 Backpacker magazine gear awards.

Opinel Old No. 8 garden knife — $14

It all started in 1890, when 18-year-old Joseph Opinel took the metal scraps from the hatchet factory he worked at in France and crafted them into knives that bore his name. The comfort of the design and beauty of the blade quickly caught on. Today, it’s a household item in France, but it’s also growing in popularity around the world.

Although the manufacturer makes several designs, the classic, wooden-handled garden knife — also good for chopping food and most chores that require a blade — has become a favorite among the employees at Mast. Its highly durable carbon steel blade is easy to sharpen and safely locks either open or closed. It’s perfect for picnicking, camping, gardening or any other activity. If you want the best of both worlds pair it with the Made-In-USA, DMT Mini-Sharp diamond sharpener for $13.

180s ear warmers with headphones — $35

These aren’t your father’s ear muffs. Sleek, low-profile and sporty, the 180s ear warmers — worn behind the head instead of over the top — now come with built in headphones. Whether it’s grandma, who just can’t seem to turn off the Christmas jams, or your teenage son who is looking for a way to tune them out, these ear warmers headphones come in a wide range of colors and styles, such as down or fleece, for men and women. Added perk: they have a microphone for hands-free talking.

Black Diamond Voyager Lantern — $40

This design is so simple; it’s genius. Black Diamond has come out with one the sleekest and most practical flashlight and lantern combinations. If you want a lantern, pull out the clear, telescoping shade to broadly illuminate the cook site or inside of your tent. If you want a flashlight, flip it around and you have a bright beam of light to point at that glowing set of eyes in the woods by your campsite. The flashlight will reach up to 11 feet and burn for 65 hours on its highest setting.

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