Gadgets Galore! CES Trade Show Report

The annual International CES trade show, held last week in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest gathering of consumer technology companies, geeks, and technophiles of all types. But hidden in the halls of technology are outdoor brands and dozens of gadgets that cater to an adventurous crowd. I traveled to Vegas to seek out the best of what’s new. Here are a few items that caught my eye. —Stephen Regenold

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GPS ‘Bug’ — The Garmin GTU 10 is a locator device that can be attached to objects for security purposes. Another use: Put it in your kid’s backpack, or on your dog’s collar, to know their location at any time. The tiny, unobtrusive device is essentially a GPS transmitter “bug” that blips out a signal to tell you where it is. When hidden in a backpack or attached to an object, GTU owners can go to a computer to track the signal in near real-time online. $199.99, www.garmin.com

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Garmin GTU 10

Portable Power — Eton Corp. bills itself as an “emergency-preparedness company.” The new Raptor product offers preparedness in the form of an all-in-one, solar-chargeable unit that has an altimeter, barometer and compass built in. There’s a USB port on the unit, letting you plug in cell phones or gadgets to recharge via solar. The Raptor also has an AM/FM digital radio, a digital clock with an alarm, an L.E.D. flashlight, and pre-set radio channels with NOAA weather alerts. $TBA, www.etoncorp.com

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Eton Corp. Raptor

Swiss Storage — Swiss Army knife manufacturer Victorinox continues to expand its reach into a different genre of multifunction tool. The company’s latest USB flash storage drives offer industry firsts and a neat Swiss aesthetic to boot. Examples include the Victorinox Slim, a USB drive with an astounding 128 gigabytes of storage capacity, and a drive with a tiny built-in screen for displaying customized images or text. www.swissarmy.com

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Swiss Army storage drive (top) and Victorinox knife (with USB storage and L.E.D. light)

Oakley 3D Glasses — Three-dimensional television has hit the mainstream, including sports programming and even outdoor-adventure flicks like Teton Gravity Research’s new “Light The Wick,” a ski movie viewable in 3D. Oakley offers an upgrade to the standard red- and blue-lens cardboard glasses with its 3D Gascan, a pair of shades said to be the first “optically-correct” 3D glasses on the market. Oakley says the glasses extend the wearer’s peripheral viewing angle and provide “truer alignment” of 3D images. $120, www.oakley.com

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Oakley 3D Gascan glasses

SPOT Smartphone Connection — The claim: “Turn smartphones into personal one-way satellite communicators.” That’s the gist of what the SPOT Connect product can do. It is a small GPS device that talks wirelessly with a smartphone via the Bluetooth protocol. SPOT then provides a link to a network of roving satellites, letting phone users communicate (text, Facebook, Twitter) far beyond where their cell networks end. Bonus features include the ability to send location-based text messages viewable on Google Maps and the option to blip out an SOS message in a backcountry emergency. $169.99 (plus required subscription of $99.99 per year), www.findmespot.com

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Smartphone and SPOT Connect

Solar Power Plant — The Guide 10 Adventure Kit from Utah-based GOAL ZERO includes foldable solar panels and a “power pack” device to store your solar juice. Made for charging cameras, computers and phones in the wilderness, the kit can capture and store enough electricity to run gadgets for hours. The power pack has four rechargeable AA batteries inside and a USB output port. The solar panels can charge up the battery pack in four hours of full sunlight. Available in March. $139.95, www.goalzero.com

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Guide 10 Adventure Kit

Easy GPS Marketed as “easy and intuitive for the novice user,” Magellan’s eXplorist 310 is a GPS device with a 2.2-inch color screen and a simple interface. The device is waterproof and powered by two AA batteries (for up to 18 hours of use). The company touts a “highly-sensitive” SiRFstarIII GPS chipset that provides 3 to 5 meter accuracy. It will be sold as a GPS for geocaching and general use on hikes and other outdoor adventures. $199.99, www.magellangps.com

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Magellan eXplorist 310 GPS

Bluetooth Helmet Cam — Contour will debut a major feature upgrade at CES. The company is adding Bluetooth wireless capability to its ContourGPS video camera, and the connection will enable a smartphone to serve as a “live viewfinder” for the camera. (You can see what your camera sees on your phone’s screen!) Further, the wireless feature will let Contour users configure settings or preview just-shot footage on their phones. A mobile application was built to work with Android or Apple iOS phones. The Bluetooth feature is available to all current ContourGPS camera owners via a firmware upgrade from the company’s website. www.contour.com/mobile

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ContourGPS video camera with Bluetooth connection to smartphone

Timbuk2 Tech Bags — The California company that pioneered a unique messenger bag design way back in 1989 has gone from stitching one-offs in a San Francisco garage to making products ready for the Apple iPad, Amazon’s Kindle reader, and TSA inspectors in airport lines. At CES, Timbuk2 unveiled several products, from a photographer’s backpack to a foam-shelled iPad case. The company’s Command messenger bag, new at the show, is a TSA-compliant “leisure suit for laptops [that] features metal hardware, sophisticated Oxford nylon fabric, and Timbuk2’s signature laptop ‘love glove.’” It costs $130. www.timbuk2.com

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Timbuk2 photo bag (top) and TSA-compliant Command messenger bag

KODAK Moment — Waterproof up to 10 feet under, and made with a drop-resistant case, the latest KODAK PlaySport camera is a pocket-size video camera built for the outdoors. It records 1080 HD video or 5-megapixel still shots. There’s a two-inch LCD screen on back. Kodak includes a “one-button upload” feature to let you e-mail footage or upload shots to social-media websites like Facebook right from the camera with little fuss. $179, www.kodak.com

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KODAK PlaySport camera

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