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The Gear File, Vol 6

NZ-made Crafty Weka Bars have been given the nod of approval by American Backpacker magazine.

Gear editor Mark Watson provides a round-up of the new and interesting products he’s discovered lately.

Crafty Weka Bars named one of the best foods for trampers

Crafty Weka Bars – made in Christchurch – have been named one of the ‘Best Backpacking Foods of 2022’ by American Backpacker magazine.

After trying them on bikepacking trips a couple of times over summer, I have to concur that these energy bars hit the spot.

Created in small batches, the bars, which come in four flavours, are packed with protein, fibre, and whole grains making for a calorie-dense snack that delivers up to 24g of fat and 10g of protein (per 100g). 

Crafty Weka uses 100 per cent natural sugars, including manuka blend honey, coconut sugar and natural fruits and the bars are packed with peanuts, oats and nutrient-rich seeds, which the company claims ‘have a good blend of low, medium and high GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates for sustained energy’. The bars are free of agents or additives.

Bars are $54 for a box of 12.  

MSR’s Lowdown Remote Stove Adapter makes it safer and easier to use bigger pots.

MSR Lowdown Remote Stove Adapter 

If you’ve been car camping with your backcountry butane/propane stove and felt the need for a more stable cooking arrangement when using bigger pots, the Lowdown ($119.99) provides a nifty solution. 

It’s a compact, foldaway unit that creates a tripod-style, wide and low base for the burner unit. A short hose connects it to the fuel source and flame control. This makes a tall, tip-prone stove much safer when using large pots, frying pans and when there are kids around. It also makes it easier and safer to adjust the flame because you don’t have to reach under the pot. It works with pretty much any canister stove burner, big or small (think MSR Pocket Rocket, or even a Jetboil).

It’s durable and well made with typical MSR quality. At 176g it’s not something you’d pack for a lightweight trip, but for easier social or larger group trips where loads are shared, or when car camping, it’s handy to have. 

The Ruike M31 is a good option for trampers.

Ruike multi-function knives

Also on our radar are Ruike Multi-Function knives. This brand makes a range of knives, many featuring the classic tools you’d expect to see on a Swiss Army-style knife. 

We took note of the M31 ($79.99), which has a 71mm blade, along with generously-sized scissors, screwdrivers, corkscrew, awl/needle, belt/rope cutter and tweezers, among others. 

The M42 ($99.99) is also a good one for trampers, featuring the same tools as the M31, along with a wood saw. 

The knives are made from high-quality Sandvik stainless steel, and the handle has a grippy, tactile touch due to a combination of fibreglass and resin. 

Ruike also makes blade-only options.