ConocoPhillips Won’t Invest in Projects That Require $50 or Higher Oil Prices to Profit FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Financial Times:ConocoPhillips, the largest US exploration and production company, has ruled out investing in projects that need an oil price of $50 or higher to make a profit, as it attempts to raise shareholder returns after years of poor profitability.Ryan Lance, Conoco’s chief executive, said the company was seeking “returns over growth.”He is trying to maintain cost discipline, with managers seeking support for investment projects in spite of the rise in oil prices since June. US benchmark crude ended last week at about $56.70 a barrel.“You don’t even get through the door unless you are below $50 cost of supply, and you don’t really get to the table in the capital allocation fight unless you are $40 a barrel or below,” he said.He added that those were “fully loaded” costs, including components such as spending on acquiring drilling rights, investment in pipelines and other infrastructure, and corporate overheads, which are often excluded when US oil companies present figures for the economics of their wells.The majority of the capital spending for growth is going to “unconventionals” — shale and similar resources — especially in the Eagle Ford shale and the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. Shale oil is attractive both because its costs are competitive, and because spending can be raised and lowered relatively quickly, Mr Lance said.More: Conoco sets $50-a-barrel oil price ceiling for new projects
U.K. investment firm teams up with U.S. storage developer FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Building on its background developing renewables and natural gas-fired power plants, Chicago- headquartered Hecate Energy joined with London-based investment firm InfraRed Capital Partners to launch a new energy storage joint venture called Hecate Grid LLC that could compete with gas peaker projects in North America.“Energy storage is somewhat of a panacea we’ve been looking for,” Gabriel Wapner, Hecate Energy’s director of development, said in an interview after the companies announced their venture Oct. 16. “It allows us to firm and shift energy, potentially replacing peaking capacity. When we look at peakers on the grid today and see how little they are used, we see storage can serve the role of the peaker while adding value and use.”Hecate Grid will develop, build, own and operate utility-scale energy storage facilities in the U.S. and Canada seeded with an initial portfolio of 126 MWh of operating and contracted storage projects developed by Hecate Energy and another 600 MWh of projects under development.“We believe the time is now to invest in the North American energy storage markets,” Thomas Buss, investment director and transaction lead for InfraRed, said in a news release. While the companies did not disclose the terms of their agreement, InfraRed Capital, which manages more than $10 billion in equity capital, will own a controlling interest in Hecate Grid, Wapner said.The company is eyeing projects across the continent but already has a head start in two key markets: California and Ontario. In California, Hecate Energy has 10-year contracts with Edison International subsidiary Southern California Edison Co. for the 10-MW Hecate Energy Johanna 1 Battery Storage and 5-MW Hecate Energy Johanna 2 Battery Storage arrays. It also has three operating battery storage facilities in Ontario, combining for nearly 15 MW, and another 30-MW project under development.While Hecate Energy is developing large-scale solar, wind and gas projects, the joint venture will focus primarily on stand-alone storage projects, Wapner said, adding that the investment from InfraRed will help Hecate Grid deliver “hundreds of megawatts in the next several years.”More ($): UK investor joins US energy storage developer to compete with gas peakers
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Forbes:The global energy transition is happening faster than the models predicted, according to a report released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute, thanks to massive investments in the advanced-battery technology ecosystem.Previous and planned investments total $150 billion through 2023, RMI calculates—the equivalent of every person in the world chipping in $20. In the first half of 2019 alone, venture-capital firms contributed $1.4 billion to energy storage technology companies.“These investments will push both Li-ion and new battery technologies across competitive thresholds for new applications more quickly than anticipated,” according to RMI. “This, in turn, will reduce the costs of decarbonization in key sectors and speed the global energy transition beyond the expectations of mainstream global energy models.”RMI’s “Breakthrough Batteries” report anticipates “self-reinforcing feedback loops” between public policy, manufacturing, research and development, and economies of scale. Those loops will drive battery performance higher while pushing costs as low as $87/kWh by 2025. (Bloomberg put the current cost at $187/kwh earlier this year.)“These changes are already contributing to cancellations of planned natural-gas power generation,” states the report. New natural-gas plants risk becoming stranded assets (unable to compete with renewables+storage before they’ve paid off their capital cost), while existing natural-gas plants cease to be competitive as soon as 2021, RMI predicts.RMI analyzed the four major energy-storage markets—China, the U.S., the European Union and India—and found two major trends that apply to each: 1) “Mobility markets are driving the demand and the cost declines,” and 2) “the nascent grid storage market is about to take off.”China dominates the market for electric vehicles and solar photovoltaic technologies, thanks to early, large and consistent investment. The RMI report notes that China also has an advantage in upstream ore processing, critical materials and component manufacturing.The report does not, however, explore what happens should China weaponize those advantages in the trade war, restricting or embargoing imports of critical materials to the U.S.More: Huge Battery Investments Drop Energy-Storage Costs Faster Than Expected, Threatening Natural Gas Energy-storage costs dropping faster than expected globally, threatening natural gas
U.S. fracking giants prepare for repeat of 2016 collapse, expect little help from Wall Street FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Two of the world’s biggest oilfield service companies are warning of a bigger shale crash than the one that hit the U.S. and Canada just five years ago.While the decline in North American drilling rigs could approach the lows seen in 2016, the drop could be much faster this time around, Schlumberger Ltd. told analysts and investors Tuesday on a webcast hosted by Scotia Howard Weil. And as the most financially troubled oilfield service providers seek to stay afloat, there’s not much help this time around, Halliburton Co. said on the same webcast.“Wall Street is shut to the industry,” Lance Loeffler, chief financial officer at Houston-based Halliburton, said during the webcast. “There is no more lifeline. Financial markets aren’t lending their support.”Halliburton, which generates most of its business in the U.S. and Canada and leads the world in fracking, is planning for the possibility that nearly two thirds of rigs in the region could be shut down by the final three months of the year. Schlumberger, the world’s biggest overall oilfield services provider, said it’s slashing its own spending by as much as 30% in 2020.While changes to rig activity generally lag the movement of oil prices by several months, shale explorers have wasted no time cutting where they can. Oil drilling in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, home to the world’s biggest shale patch, plunged to its lowest level since the nadir of the last crude-market slump in early 2016.At its worst, the U.S. rig count could see a 70% drop over a six-month period, eclipsing the greater than 60% cut in 1986, according to Raymond James.[David Wethe]More: Fracking giants warn shale crash will be faster this time
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The Danish parliament has approved a climate act that, among others, will pave the way for the establishment of two energy islands and an offshore wind farm of around 1 GW.The climate act sees the energy islands connecting 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, up from the 4 GW announced in May, and housing power-to-x technologies in the long term.One of the two islands is the natural land mass of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, which has been selected to connect 2 GW. The other one will be an artificial structure in the North Sea with the capacity for 3 GW and at least 10 GW in the long term.The parliament has also given the green light to the development of an offshore wind project in the Hesselo zone in the Kattegat area between Denmark and Sweden. The project, the second of three offshore wind schemes envisioned in the 2018 Energy Agreement, is slated to be connected by 2027.The climate act, approved by a landslide, also includes plans for more charging stations for electric vehicles, energy efficiency improvements in the industrial sector, green power and more biogas, the Danish climate, energy and utilities ministry said.Denmark has a target to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and work towards reaching net-zero by 2050. Under the climate act, the government will be setting milestone targets every five years, each legally binding and with a ten-year perspective. An indicative milestone target will be defined for 2025 in the upcoming Climate Action Plan.[Sladjana Djunisic]More: Denmark cements plans for 5 GW of energy islands, 1 GW offshore wind Danish government approves plans for massive offshore wind build-out by 2030
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands who flock to the New and Gauley Rivers each year for a whitewater rafting trip, you may hear something louder than the roar of the rapids: the sound of dynamite blowing off the top of Gauley Mountain. Permits have been issued to Powellton Coal Company to blast Gauley Mountain for mining. Access roads have been gutted. Trees have been felled.Sign the petition to stop mining on the Gauley Mountain here.Mountaintop removal mining already has devastated much of West Virginia, but Gauley Mountain could set a new precedent in just how far this irreparably alarming industrial practice could extend its reach. The mountain sits right between the revered New and Gauley Rivers and borders a federally designated national recreation area. This is the Mountain State’s epicenter of rock climbing and whitewater recreation. It’s a booming tourism spot that attracts 275,000 annual rafters, who bring millions of dollars to more than 40 independent outfitters and local businesses.“We’re keeping an eye on the development of this for possible impact,” says Mark Lewis, director of the West Virginia Professional Outfitters. “We are always concerned with anything that could impact our guest experience.”Beyond scarring a beloved natural resource and turning away tourists, mining will endanger the health and livelihoods of locals. The small town of Ansted is situated directly between the New and Gauley Rivers. The once-bustling mining town was abandoned in the 1950s, but in the past two decades it has made a comeback as a tourist destination for the recreation opportunities in its backyard. The town is planning to build a trail that would connect the New and the Gauley Rivers.Citizens are fearful that mountaintop removal will quickly degrade the scenic appeal that has recently returned to town. They have formed the Ansted Historical Preservation Council specifically to fight the mining project. Town mayor Pete Hobbs has boldly voiced his disapproval—something most politicians in West Virginia won’t do when it comes to King Coal. The council initially became concerned about the mining when word broke about a proposed coal-haul road that would run right near an elementary school. West Virginia has a long history of fatalities at the hands of big-freight trucks that carry tons of coal. Permits say the trucks could run through town 24 hours a day. The Ansted Historical Preservation Council conducted a study for a 100-megawatt wind farm on Gauley Mountain and discovered that it could bring in nearly as much county tax revenue as coal severance.“Coal will go out in 15 to 20 years, but wind will be here forever,” says Cary Huffman, an Ansted resident and former miner. “We’re just a group of citizens coming together, just trying to save a little bit of the beauty we have now. I have grandkids, and if we take the tops off of the mountains, they won’t be able to roam the woods like I did growing up.”——Sign the petition to stop mining on the Gauley Mountain here.
The recent death of champion freestyle skier Sarah Burke was nothing short of a tragedy. The world lost a young athlete with limitless potential. Sarah was as comfortable in the X-Games superpipe as she was on the red carpet, and she recently succeeded in getting the sport of free skiing into the Olympics. She was an icon, and her family, her sport, and her nation are still mourning her. That accident brings something to the forefront that we as athletes sometimes try to push out of our consciousness… the sports that we love can sometimes take our lives.The most disturbing part of Burke’s death is the circumstances. She was performing a routine trick in a non-competition setting, and was wearing proper safety equipment. She died as a result of a severed neck artery that led to cardiac arrest, and doctors said that better protective gear would not have changed the outcome. When events like this occur, they force us to explore the relationship with risk in our own lives, and ask the question: Is it worth dying for?This is a never-ending consideration that adventure sports athletes have grappled with. Climbers want to climb larger mountains, skiers want to ski more difficult lines, and kayakers want to push the envelope of runnable whitewater. These adventurous desires exist inside all of us, and those who possess a larger than normal helping are the ones who are out there pushing their sports to new levels. Climbing Everest, surfing the most massive waves that the planet can produce, or flying a wingsuit is inspiring to the rest of the world, and lifts the hearts of the entire human race to imagine the possibilities.But where do you draw the line? The inevitable reality of this flirt with the limits is that a few of us may actually find them. Passing away as a result of chasing what you love is something that is embroiled in controversy. You will probably hear as many opinions on this subject as the number of people you ask about it. But fatalities in the outdoors occur for a number of reasons, and are not always the result of negligence or bad decisions.Sometimes, things just go wrong. One saddening example of this was when professional kayaker Pat Keller lost his best friend on a remote river in British Columbia, Canada. The two were paddling together, and a freak surge sent the young man back upstream into a dangerous rapid after the two had walked around it. Pat was helpless to assist, eventually falling into the river himself from his rescue efforts. He did everything that he could, and then made the walk out of that river all alone to find help.Nearly ten years later, Pat describes his bittersweet relationship with paddling:“As I get older, I have to constantly balance those risks with the consequences that I know are there. And oftentimes these days I find myself being more conservative.”This was an example of a misfortune that could not necessarily have been avoided. The other side of the coin is that the youth seem to have different proclivities with regards to risk today than in the past. Don’t get me wrong: every generation seems to have those opinions about the previous generation, but there are major societal forces at work today that influence the judgment and aspirations of the impressionable youth. Massive corporations are shifting their marketing budgets to enable willing athletes to push their sports to new heights through death-defying stunts. Extreme sports are edging their way into the mainstream via reality TV shows such as Nitro Circus, and people are now turning their attention from other traditional New Year’s Eve pastimes to watching hugely publicized motorcycle, snowmobile, and car stunts. It definitely seems as though “invincible” public figures are glorified, and although these stunts are extensively planned by professionals, the average teenager watching TV may not understand this. It would certainly be difficult to turn down: fame and riches in exchange for pushing your sport to its limits.Growing up as a whitewater kayaker, things weren’t always like that. As a kid, I was taught a solemn respect for nature and to never push it too far or too fast. Through the course of my life, I have definitely been told that what I do is foolish. I usually let that kind of thing slide, but it cuts a bit deeper when I hear it from family. I do not consider myself to have a death wish at all, and I look forward to a full life in which my contributions to the sport of kayaking are only the beginning of what I have to offer the world.I do not resent those who say these things to me, because I know that their feelings ultimately stem from fear. It seems as though Americans today fear a great number of things, but the recurring theme is the unfamiliar. Whether it is disease, terrorism or heights, we fear that which we do not understand, and subsequently judge those who don’t fear the same things. That is a dangerous state of mind, and flies in the face of the adventurous spirit that founded our country in the first place. What ever happened to the “go out and skin your knee” mentality that used to exist? Is it possible to have those same experiences via the Internet or video games? One interesting paradox lies in the fact that automobile accidents are a huge cause of death in the U.S., and most of us aren’t filled with dread when we put the key in the ignition every day.I will admit that I’ve had a few brushes with death during my 15 years of paddling whitewater. One instance in particular could easily have gone the other way. I was paddling the Chattooga River one Christmas Eve, and I managed to pin myself in a slot on one of the rapids of the dangerous Five Falls section of the river. My boat sank deeper and deeper as the force of the current wedged it into an underwater crack, and to my surprise I realized that I could not get out of the boat. The current was pinning me down, and my legs were trapped.The situation went from a fun, carefree day with friends to a struggle for my life in a matter of seconds, and as I flailed underneath the infinitely powerful waters of the river, I suddenly felt very guilty. How could I put my family through this on Christmas Eve? After my own death became a dire possibility and that thought flashed through my brain, I fought like I’ve never fought before. I very easily came to the realization that I wanted oxygen badly enough that nothing else mattered, and I somehow kicked off my shoes inside the boat, and made every effort to bend my legs sideways to slide out of the boat. In my mind, breaking my legs at the kneecaps was completely acceptable. They bent in a way that they never had before, and I tumbled out of my boat after over a minute of struggling. I couldn’t walk for a week, but I survived.That experience was a reminder of something that I already knew: the decisions that we make out there can have very real consequences. It also reinforced my determination not to die on the river. I have lived my life in a somewhat non-traditional way… doing my last year of high school by correspondence to travel, taking a year off between high school and university, and making the outdoors and discovery of nature a high priority in my life. If I were to pass away doing what I love, the people who criticized me in the past would say, “it was only a matter of time,” and would take my death as a validation of their own ignorant assumptions. I’ve always wanted to prove that the rat race is not for everyone, and that I can live my life the way that I love without compromise. That may take different forms as I grow older, but I hope that I can feel as though I’m doing that forever.So how do we reconcile ourselves with this (sometimes unavoidable) risk that comes with our sports? The first step in my opinion is to acknowledge that it is present, and to think very seriously about how much risk we are comfortable with accepting in our lives. This will help to guide every decision in the future, and will be different for every person.Once this is done, it’s important to become as educated as possible on the many ways to minimize that risk. No matter what your sport, it is important to carry with you the appropriate safety gear and know how to use it. Think avalanche beacons, pin kits, and medical provisions. The aim should always be to turn yourself into the biggest possible asset to your group, and as I write this I can think of a few ways that I will improve my own portfolio of skills this year.It’s also important to learn any lessons possible from past accidents or tragedies in your field. It is never productive to point fingers after an event like this, but knowledge can often be drawn from these events, and carried with us for use in case of a future crisis.Finally, when it comes down to the moment, we should affirm that the decision to go is for the right reasons. Taking a calculated risk should not be for the cameras, to impress anyone, uphold a reputation, or because it will create a legacy. Do it because it feels right, and because you are 100% sure that you can follow through successfully. Make decisions for yourself, and follow your gut.This dialogue brings up a final and pivotal question that seems to be at the heart of this fine balance: On a subconscious level, is this risk and the stark reality of our own mortality part of what draws us to these sports?Perhaps making life and death decisions and proceeding with confidence is in fact an infinitely purifying and rewarding process. Believing in your own abilities with the ultimate price on the line is something that few people have actually experienced, and that self-confidence can transfer to and carry value in any aspect of life, from business to relationships. There is a part of us that still needs to live the primal life. It is our way of facing the tiger and reacting swiftly and confidently.Our sports can be dangerous at times, but with humility and a safety-minded approach, they can provide a lifetime of joy.“The sensations one feels in these activities is comparable to falling in love,” says Keller. “You never know when your heart may break, but until that point, it’s all love.”For some amazing music from the likes of Great American Taxi and Paul Thorn check out this month’s Trail Mix!
Editor’s Note: Blue Ridge Outdoors contributor Chris Gallaway is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. He will be periodically checking in with BRO and sharing the story of his hike. This is his first dispatch from the A.T. Read his first entry from the trail: A Cold Start.There are many hard days on the Appalachian Trail, days that end in a feeling of such thorough exhaustion that you can’t imagine going on and a gnawing hunger so deep you think it will never be vanquished. One of the secrets of the trail, though, is that the bottom-scraping lows make life’s luxuries all the more sweet. It’s wonderful how quickly your spirits can be restored upon arriving at the shelter and laying down your pack. Within moments of putting on warm layers and eating a bite of food the day’s trial is washed away, and it all feels worthwhile.This contrast is made especially vivid when you are blessed with trail magic along the way. Trail magic is the unforeseen help and support provided by others as you make your hike. It can come in the form of a bottle of water offered by a tourist at an overlook, or a back woods-buffet set up by a trail angel who dedicates months of their time to offering support to thru-hikers.My first experience of trail magic came in Tesnatee Gap, Georgia on Valentine’s Day. My hike that day had unexpectedly grown from seven miles to thirteen, and as I came down to the Gap in a chilly afternoon I was faced with a precipitous climb ahead of me and no water left in my reservoir. Enter “Zipper,” a former thru-hiker who just happened to be setting out on a day-hike as I passed through. Knowing the value of trail magic, Zipper launched into action and scrounged through her car to provide me with a few peanut-butter/chocolate Valentine’s candies and a bottle of water. It was just the kick I needed to get me up the next climb and through the final five miles into my shelter at Low Gap. Moments like that make you so grateful for the generosity of strangers and the close community of support that the Appalachian Trail engenders.In my first month on the trail I had so many experiences of trail magic: Gary and Lennie who opened their hostel early so that I could come in from a cold snap and sleep by the wood stove on a twelve-degree night, a man named Mike who talked with me over breakfast at the Bearland Grill in Gatlinburg and then quietly picked up my tab as he left the restaurant, trail angel Apple who magically appeared in a tent at Burningtown Gap, offering donuts, coffee, hot dogs, and conversation to anyone who happened to be passing through in late February. But by far the greatest experience of trail magic for me came on a fifteen mile day when I was hiking from Blue Mountain Shelter to Deep Gap.I had made two long climbs through Unicoi Gap and over Tray Mountain in the morning. In the afternoon the weather alternated between balmy sun and biting wind crashing along the ridge, making it impossible to temperature regulate. At mile seven I felt upbeat and fresh; by mile ten I was whipped and discouraged. Just as the temperature dropped and snow began to fall in the afternoon I came across a hunting dog that had been separated from his pack. He was friendly and began to follow me as I trudged up the trail. The sight of him ambling along ahead of me wagging his tail was welcome distraction—I called him “Gus.” I thought I’d bring him to the shelter with me, help him stay warm through the bitter cold night that was forecast, but I couldn’t help worrying over the fact that I was down to my last dinner and had no surplus food to share.The day’s hike ended with a terrible climb up Kelly Knob: a sharp point going straight up and down as it appeared on the elevation profile of my map. The wind was blowing away all of my resolve and endurance, and the climb seemed to have no end. I’d saved half of my last Snicker’s bar to feed to Gus when we reached the shelter, but I was so hungry that when we reached the top I waited until the dog was not looking and guiltily scarfed my snack. We made the cold descent down the backside of the knob as the afternoon light dwindled—I prayed there would be someone at the shelter who might have extra food for Gus. When we came to the sign pointing us to Deep Gap Shelter there on the post we found a couple of bags zipped tied with a note: “For the Northbound Hiker and Puppy Dog—Woof Woof!” It was a handful of candy (Skittles and Starburst) and a bag of dog treats. That was a sweet moment and the perfect end to a long day. Gus enjoyed his doggie chews almost as much as I savored my candy, and we settled in to the shelter for one of the coldest nights yet on the Appalachian Trail.Click the image to see a larger version and play a slideshow.
Another year down, another great rotation around the sun for Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. We have enjoyed 2013 immensely, but now it’s out with the old and in with the new!We have exciting things planned for the upcoming year, and it all starts with this January 2014 issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors.The centerpiece of this issue is our Blue Ridge Outdoors Ultimate 100. We list 100 activities, goals, and hotspots to guide you through a year of outdoor adventure in the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and Blue Ridge Mountains. Join the BRO staff in ticking off the adventures throughout the year. We’ll be updating our status year-round and we want to hear from you using #BROUltimate100. For more details on the project, check out the story.We also want to help you get 2014 started on the right foot, and that means keeping that New Year’s resolution to be more active and maybe even drop a few pounds before Easter. Our Adventure Fitness Guide gives you the tools to do just that by staying out of the gym and getting back to basics with natural workouts. We also list the top 10 outdoor jobs to strive for in the new year.In Departments, we interview the youngest A.T. thru-hiker in the history of the trail, the top female collegiate ski racer in the Southeast, and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck on his new classically inspired album. Plus we list the best winter paddling gear, because the rivers don’t stop when the temperatures drop, and taste the newest innovation in brewing: beer concentrate for your next backcountry adventure. Then our experts get into the mix with a debate on whether CrossFit is bad ass or a bad idea.Welcome to 2014 readers! It’s going to be another great year.FeaturesThe Ultimate 100Adventure Fitness GuideTop 10 Outdoor JobsDepartmentsDebate: CrossFit – Bad Ass or Bad Idea?The Youngest A.T. Thru-HikerThe South’s Collegiate Ski ChampBackcountry BeerThe Best Winter Paddling GearTrail Mix: Bela Fleck Goes ClassicalEssayHow to Date a Paddler
Not sure what to wrap up for the outdoorsmen and women in your life this holiday season? Good news: we’ve done the hard work for you in our 2014 Blue Ridge Outdoors holiday gift guide. Here’s our take on some of the best gifts sure to please all year ’round.Green Guru Upcycled Zip PouchGreen Guru is on a mission to give your gear an ecological makeover. Based out of Boulder, Colorado, these guys don’t let anything sit in the trash – bike tubes, wetsuits, climbing ropes, and plastic bottles all contribute to the magic. Recycled, or “upcycled”, old rubber bike tubes make up their line of Zip Pouches. These simple bags come in a variety of sizes, to hold anything from loose change to your phone, wallet, or travel accessories. Green Guru’s Zip Pouches redefine waste without sacrificing style or quality, and give your gift an extra kick with a creative background story.Wojo WalletA fancy leather wallet might impress your friends at the office, but won’t do so well in the great outdoors. The Wojo Wallet offers an alternative that can stand up to the elements while also cutting your wallet size in half. This minimalist storage system, made from tough silicone and neoprene, fits up to six cards in its main sleeve and can carry cash or a key under its secure outer band. The rubbery material keeps this wallet safe in your pocket, and protects against water or sweat. With Wojo, you won’t have to worry about losing your wallet during your outdoor adventures or ruining it along the way.SOG BladeLightThe name says it all: Blade + Light = BladeLight. This folding knife from SOG combines these two outdoor essentials into one compact product. The handle boasts six powerful LEDs built in at the base of the blade, carefully oriented to shine without shadows even when the knife is open. Each of the features can be used together or separately, so the choice is yours; cut, shine, or both. Nice and simple, the SOG BladeLight does the multitasking for you.Kavu Beber BeltThe scene: you walk in the door after a long day at play or on the job, ready to enjoy that refreshing beer you’ve been looking forward to. The problem: your bottle opener has gone MIA. Rather than put your teeth at risk or bang the bottle against the counter, look no further than your trusty Beber Belt. The Beber Belt from Kavu not only holds up your pants, but also solves this all too familiar beverage frustration with a built-in bottle opener on the buckle. The belt itself, made from sturdy nylon webbing, is easily adjustable and comes in three different patterns. You never know when beer will strike, so make like a Boy Scout and be prepared with the Beber Belt.Farm to Feet Wool SocksSecond only to a steaming hot tub, wool socks are one of the best ways to warm up those chilly feet when temperatures take a dive. Farm to Feet serves this important person with the added benefit of a 100% American supply and manufacturing process. Farm to Feet uses merino wool from sheep industry ranchers across the country, and produces their first-rate socks through local East coast factories. The Mount Airy sock and the Conover sock each work as an everyday versatile choice from the office to the trail, complete with a snug compression fit to give your foot that extra comfort it craves. The Mount Airy features full density padding all throughout the sock for the highest quality support, while the Conover favors a simpler design with lighter padding along the bottom of the foot. Plus, both socks come in fun and colorful patterns to make your morning dress routine just a bit more exciting. No matter your style or comfort needs, Farm to Feet gives the priceless gift of cozy toes.Rocket BearAs every parent on a plane with a screaming child in hand can tell you, traveling with kids can be a challenge. But there’s no denying the fact that global experiences have a big impact on young minds. So when travel plans don’t pan out, the Rocket Bear takes over. Rocket Bear, a unique subscription service, sends a postcard to your child every week from a different location. The postcard presents each place with a colorful picture of the bear on-site and interesting facts about his adventures. For either a sixth-month or full-year period, Rocket Bear makes the foreign world a little bit more familiar and gives your kids a present that lasts long past the holidays.Hydrapak Stash BottleIt’s pretty obvious that water tops the list for any camping or traveling plan, but empty bottles can be a major burden for the weight- and space-conscious packer. Hydrapak‘s unique Stash Bottle, however, finally takes this issue off the table. The bottle stores 750 mL of water at a full height of 7.2 inches, but folds down to a mere 2 inches when empty. The collapsed disk is then small enough to fit in any compact pocket, freeing up those precious inches for whatever else you tow along.Backcountry: The Game of Wilderness SurvivalMost BRO readers will agree that hiking certainly makes for a day well-spent, but could sometimes use some extra perks – especially on a tired night after plenty of miles on the trail. Backcountry: The Game of Wilderness Survival first reared its head when the founders of Trailside Games, John Isley and Jason Butler, decided to bring a little more excitement to their quiet campsite during a long trip through the Tetons. The game, now available for a variety of backcountry locations (including our very own Appalachian Trail), uses a map and a set of instructional cards to lead players on a fantastical wilderness adventure within their own real one. Keep the thrill of the outdoors alive no matter where you are with a game of Backcountry in your pack.Oru Folding KayakOru Kayak has tackled one of the most difficult problems to face boaters on the move – packing. Kayaks don’t transport well, either in the car or in your arms, and can turn a fun sport into a giant burden without the right planning. But with the Bay Kayak from Oru, your boating adventures don’t have to be a hassle. This innovative kayak features all the size, space, and quality of a standard recreational kayak, while also boasting extreme portability. When not in the use, the boat folds down from an impressive twelve-foot long water machine to a convenient 32 x 13 x 28 inch box. Both mobile and powerful, the Oru Bay Kayak is up for any challenge.Voltaic Solar ChargerNature doesn’t have charging stations. But for all those eye-catching sunsets and exciting summits that just beg to be remembered, Voltaic Solar Charger Kits can help keep your battery full and ready to capture that perfect moment. Available in a variety of sizes and powers, from 2 watts to 18, these chargers can handle your smartphone, camera, or full-on laptop. Simple, compact, and energy-efficient, Voltaic Solar Chargers make room for technology anywhere the sun may shine.SteriPEN UV Water PurifierWater may be easy to take for granted in the comfort of your own home, but unfortunately your kitchen sink can’t travel with you. Steripen Freedom UV Water Purifier makes it easy to stay healthy, safe, and hydrated throughout your outdoor adventures. In a mere 48 seconds, this turn that dirty stream water into your next clean beverage. Small but powerful, the 2.6 ounce Freedom UV Water Charger has all your best interests in mind.Bristol Rhythm and Roots Weekend PassWe asked, you voted: The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, a celebration of musical and cultural heritage in the Blue Ridge, recently won the prestigious award of “Best Festival” in our annual reader poll. Now, the festival is offering the exclusive chance to attend the weekend event for only $50 with a discounted Weekend Pass Holiday Gift Box! Great experiences come in small packages, so wrap up a piece of future fun and start counting down the days.Oxygen PlusDon’t let high altitudes make your lungs angry. Oxygen Plus gives you the priceless gift of easy breathing, from base camp to the summit. Portable O+ Oxygen Containers store 95% pure oxygen in a variety of sizes to suit whatever heights and journeys call your name. The O+ Mini holds 24 full breaths in a mere 1.5 ounces, while the Skinni fits 50 in a “tall and trim” 8 inches and the Elevate Pack offers reusable refills. With these three styles to choose from a flavors ranging from Natural to Peppermint to tangy Grapefruit, Oxygen Plus has you covered.Fugoo Go Anywhere SpeakerNo matter your choice of adventure, the Fugoo Go Anywhere Speaker is ready to put a soundtrack to your journey. Through wind and water, dirt and dust, this speaker can handle it all. In all its durable glory, the Go Anywhere Speaker can survive 3 feet of water for 30 full minutes, falls on concrete from up to 6 feet, and even a trip under your car tires. Plus, a 40-hour battery life keeps the tunes playing through every bump and bang.ThermaCELL Heated InsolesWarm feet are happy feet, and ThermaCELL wants to keep those piggies cozy this season.Stick these Heated Insoles in your ski boots, running shoes, or even your bedroom slippers to keep your feet ready for the cold. Choose your level of heat, from 100 degrees to 111, with the touch of a button on the included remote-control. Find full winter comfort in seconds with ThermaCELL, and thank your feet for a job well done out in the cold.ColdPruf Performance LayersShow those winter chills who’s boss with base layers from ColdPruf. Both Classic and Premium Performance lines offer warmth no matter what the weather report may read, from lightweight tops and bottoms of simple 100% merino wool to heavier pieces in polyester and spandex. Throw on some ColdPruf this snowy season and take those low temps by storm.Swix Wax KitGet your skis slop-ready with Swix, offering a full line of updated waxing gear for the fast-approaching snow season. Cera Nova X packs in a wide range of Glide Waxes and Cera F Powders, Liquids, and Solids for you to choose from. Completely redesigned and updated just this year, this quality wax will help protect your gear from all the winter wear and tear that lies ahead while also giving your slope style an added boost at every turn. Swix Wax will do you the favor of keeping both you and your skis at the very top of your game.