Gear Junkie's 'Gear of the Future' Wish List

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Outdoors equipment has come a long way from the days of hemp ropes, rain slickers, and hobnail mountain boots. But despite the leaps, I often find my gear lacking when truly pushed in the outdoors. As such, I offer below a fantasy wish list, a made-up line of upgraded products that would satisfy my wilderness wants and needs like nothing before ever seen.

Biodegradable Food Packaging — This new type of earth-friendly packaging will make litter (and the inconvenience of hauling garbage out of the woods!) a thing of the past. Open an energy bar, a gel, or a bag of dehydrated camp food, and simply crumple up the packaging and toss it into the trees. Within minutes, the magic material will fade, dissolve, melt and decay, unseen even by the next hikers coming behind you on the trail.

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Real ‘Future Gear’: Heated suit prototypes from the Extreme Environments Lab, department of Psychology, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis

Instant Water Purification — Drop this omni-purifying pill in your H20 and within seconds all microorganisms, viruses, plankton, slime, and any other bad juju will be dissipated and rendered useless against the mal effect it may have otherwise put upon your gastrointestinal track. Use on streams, rivers, lakes, and swamp water alike. Be sure to pre-filter out any big chunks.

Waterproof-Breathable Jacket — Ah, you say this already exists? Not so fast. For years, jacket membrane technologies like GORE-TEX and its ilk have been touted as both waterproof and breathable. The truth is these jackets are often clammy when your heart-rate is high or you’re working hard. My fantasy outerwear will wick away all sweat the second it touches the fabric inside, creating an ultimately breathable-and-waterproof shell jacket for year-round, rain or shine outdoors use.

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Biomechanical exactitude: Computer analysis of athlete’s stride and pace on a treadmill

Wicking Base Layers — Working in tandem with the jacket above, this fantasy base layer clothing (tops and bottoms) will suck sweat off your skin. Hydrophobic fibers in the fabric will not allow a micro-drop of moisture to soak in or survive next to your body, filtering away the excess sweat and whisking it to the magic layers above for dissipation into the air.

Fog-Less Sunglasses/Goggles — Huff and puff your hot breath on these optics. Fog cannot stick to the glass. Rain beads and rolls off. They are ice-proof, and never again will you need to wipe your glasses with a cloth. These magic eye shields eschew moisture like an enemy, keeping your vision clear and 100 percent unencumbered no matter the conditions outside.

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Real ‘Future Gear’: This custom indoor bike system, invented by Paul Krumrich, melds home-theater components with a computerized hub and bike-training software to allow a rider to become ensconced in a virtual experience

Anti-Gravity Backpack — Not available until 2055, the Gravi-Packer NX is an expedition-ready backpack that includes copious capacity for hauling huge loads into the wilderness. But the real bonus is its zero-gravity field emitter, a device that hums out a localized bubble of outer space to aid in ferrying a floating load on your back. Ultra-light backpacking is a thing of the past with the Gravi-Packer, which easily carts your double-wide cot, mattress, expedition tent, pre-made food, gallons of liquid, sleeping booties, pillows, and all the other luxuries you used to leave behind. Batteries not included.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

Posted by Jordan - 08/22/2011 01:09 PM

Great ideas! Can’t wait til someone makes these a reality!

Posted by SR - 08/22/2011 01:50 PM

Biodegradable food packaging gets my vote for likelihood + would be awesome to be able to just toss discarded GU packets into the ditch instead of having those sticky things in a pack pocket mucking things up.

Posted by James Ring - 08/24/2011 09:58 AM

I think regardless of how harmless the degradeable packaging could be it’s not really setting a very good precedent, we should be discouraging the idea that you can just dump stuff in the outdoors. I’ve never found packets and wrappers to be too heavy or cumbersome.

Posted by Gale Teschendorf - 08/25/2011 05:39 PM

Let the computerized hub and bike-training software control gaming action and you might get kids to exercise.

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