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Things I Can't Live Without...

A Seattle apparel company owner relies on a digital tape recorder and a Leatherman Pulse tool -- and covets a pretty luxe cruiser.
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Name: Barry Barr.

Occupation: Founder and president of Kavu, a $4.5 million outdoor apparel company with two freestanding stores. Kavu products are also sold at 700 retailers in the U.S.

Age and home: 32, Seattle.

Employees: 14 full-time, plus 30 contract sales reps.

Etymology: Derived from CAVU, "ceiling and visibility unlimited," an aviation term. For his company, Barr changed the C to a K.

So he's a pilot? "Yes. I grew up with a bush plane in Alaska. In the Northwest, you get days when you can see from Mount Baker to Mount Rainier to Mount St. Helens -- that's a CAVU day. They inspire you to just get out there."

Best practices: Barr doesn't advertise, but he sponsors kayaker Seth Warren to drive the Kavu RV to summer festivals. He also sends gear to top backcountry guides in the coolest adventure vacation hubs, like Jackson Hole, Wyo., Interlocken, Switzerland and Voss, Norway. The best marketing, he insists, is living the lifestyle he promotes: "We create products for people who believe in the same thing we do."

How the clothes come in handy even on a non-CAVU day: "A kid in Michigan was on the beach, and his car got stuck in the sand. He wasn't supposed to have the car and was afraid he'd get busted by his parents. They towed it out using the belt -- which has a 5,000-pound breaking strength -- from our Chilliwack shorts. He sent pictures."

Things I Can't Live Without...

Flight Design Twin 3 Tandem paraglider, $4,000: "My wife and I have had tons of hours in this wing. There is nothing better than to share the feeling of foot-launched flight."

Pacific prawns: "There is a saying in San Juan Island, where I grew up: 'You starve to death, you deserve it.' We fished, clammed, and crabbed. You could eat like a king for free."

Sony ICD-B25 digital tape recorder, $130: "I don't try to remember things. That just stresses me out. I get it out of my head, and then I retrieve it."

Chaco Z/1 sandals, $85: "These are so snug, I can walk anywhere, even on the beach, without getting sand in them."

Leatherman Pulse, $72: "With this and duct tape, you can solve basically any problem."

...And What I Covet

Delta 58-foot purse seiner, $425,000: "I'd love to refit it into a cruiser. I could cruise to the Mediterranean or Bali. It'd be called Camp Kavu."




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