The Black Diamond First Strike is conceived as a junior trekking pole, but it strikes us as a no-brainer for parents of budding alpine skiers. It’s a two-section pole with an easy adjustment system that allows it to grow from 25.5 to 43 inches. As Black Diamond says, that ought to get your growing boy or girl through four seasons, easy.
Now that DSLRs are the cameras of choice, bringing it along on your vacation is the next order of business. Lowepro’s new Passport Sling does the job nicely, with a padded camera box that has room for a camera and two lenses, along with a built-in pocket for memory cards. The camera box is collapsible and removable for use without camera gear, and the sling also sports a roomy compartment for your other techy devices, a wallet, a light jacket, a book or whatever else you like to pack along. It’s available in the standard black, as well as in blue and brown.