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Gerber’s Gator Machete also doubles as a saw — you can use the machete for normal bushwacking, or if you run into some downed wood blocking your way, flip the knife over and use the saw blade.

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Gerber makes the head and handle out of high carbon steel and then wraps some rubber around the handle to give it a tactile* grip. The 25.7″ long knife has a 18″ blade and weighs 18oz. They include a nylon sheath either to protect the blade or to protect you from the blade — take your pick. Gerber’s Gator Machete retails for $30, but you can find it for under $20 before shipping.

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Sure, tons of ice and snow falling on your town can mean lost services and difficult travel. But there’s lemonade in those lemons — especially if you’re a hockey fan. More than a few enterprising people have turned this winter’s abundance into home-made hockey rinks!

The kid-sized rink pictured above, for example, was built by this man out of basic lumber, decking screws, some vapor barrier, and a garden hose. Admittedly, he purchased a RinkRake — an ice-grooming tool that (like a Zamboni on big rinks) helps smooth out the ice. But other than that, it’s pretty much a local big-box special.

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So it’s too cold to plant. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole winter sitting around on your butt. Sue Bucher of the Adams County Master Gardener co-op in Pennsylvania offers some great suggestions to keep you busy during those winter months. Our favorite (and her #1 recommendation): clean and repair your garden tools.

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While up North you’ve been experiencing snowpocalypse, down here in the South we’ve just been a bit cold. Admittedly, the heavens dumped 12″ of snow on us a week ago, but it was gone quickly — albeit not quite quickly enough to keep me from wishing I owned the ultimate winter warrior’s tool: a snowblower.

But since we’re lucky to see only one or two snows a year — usually less than 2″ — I don’t know a damn thing about ’em. So educate me: What separates a brilliant snowblower from the everyday — and the crap?

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Ever since we spent some time in a pair of 8″ Wolverines, I’ve become a fan. I’ve generally worn only really cheap boots because hey — they all seem the same, right? Maybe not. While I won’t argue that there’s nothing wrong with a $25 pair of work boots, the $170 Wolverines kicked some serious ass in the shop and around town.

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Thankfully we don’t have to deal with this kind of thing down here in Texas, but for those of you who live in two-season (frozen and not frozen) climates, here’s a product to help save your gutters: a cable-type de-icing kit. Here’s the lowdown: You string this cable around the edge of your roof, then plug it in. Resistance heating clears a path for melting snow, shunting it through your gutter instead of allowing it to run off just anywhere — and possibly damage your roof.

It’s important to note that this product doesn’t clear all the ice and snow off your roof. It just prevents ice-dams from forming. A few other caveats from the manufacturer:

“Never install on a flat roof. Never install on combustible materials. Not suitable for use on metal roofs. Contact Easy Heat for appropriate cable solutions.”

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Next time you need to go logging underwater, your gas-powered or electric chain saw isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a tool like one of these air powered chainsaws from CS Unitec. They manufacture a few models of air-powered chain saws, including the underwater model with an exhaust valve.

Besides underwater, air-powered chain saws are safer in hazardous or wet locations. Drawing 92CFM at 90PSI to produce 4HP, the low maintenance saws start easily and the motor and chain have separate lubricating systems.

The saws come with 17″, 21″, or 25″ bars and a standard “Super Chisel” chain. You can also buy carbide tipped and ripping chains for the saws. One of these air-powered chainsaws will run you about $3000 new, but it looks like you can rent them for $130 a day.

Air Powered Chain Saws [CS Unitec]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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Anybody who’s ever left water sitting in their CamelBak or other similar water bags knows how nasty they can get. That’s why it’s important to dry them out if you’re not going to be using them for a while.  Sure, there are drying hangers, both store bought and DIY, but the ZEROGOO claims their hydration bladder dryer works faster and dries them more completely.

Fit the the bladder dryer in the bladder’s fill opening, remove the bite valve, and plug it in. The fan inflates the bladder and forces air out the drinking tube. The constant flow of air removes moisture from all the nooks and crannies of the bladder.

The bladder dryer works on CamelBak’s hydration bladders with either large (newer) and small (older) fill openings. It’ll run you $30.

Bladder Dryer [ZEROGOO]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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ArmyNavyUSA.com is offering a deal on Wolverine’s 6″ DuraShocks Slip Resistant Work Boots for $99.95, and all of their boots over $89.99 qualify for free shipping through January 30.

Toolmonger previously covered Wolverine work boots in 2007 and in 2008 with Sean’s detailed Hands-On review of the 8″ Raiders. This winter, since half the U.S. is covered in ice, these #W02038 slip resistant, waterproof boots might be handy to have on hand (or foot).

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Winter’s in full swing and it’s time for all the wacky shovel designs to make their appearance. The SNO-Easy shovel looks like another beaut. You wince when you hear the commercial because the stereotypical infomercial announcer’s voice reminds you of such products as the Egg Wave or Liquid Leather. The only thing that’s missing is a jingle from Linda Ronstadt — It’s SNO-Easy to fall in love. It’s SNO-Easy…

Putting aside the bad marketing, the concept behind the SNO-Easy is that you don’t have to bend over to use it. A second handle attaches to the shaft near the shovel head with a pivoting hinge. With this configuration you can lift the snow closer to the load without bending. Then twisting both handles and swinging your arms throws the snow. The head of the shovel is smaller so you can’t load as much snow, but the makers claim you still can shovel faster than with a conventional shovel.

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