With the recent news that global doohickey peddler SkyMall has filed for bankruptcy, gizmophiles everywhere are on notice: Your doodads may soon be history, or at least harder to find.
While the announcement hits zombie lawn ornament and vibrating neck pillow collectors hardest, there are plenty of handy and kitsch products the outdoorsman will hate to see go. Below are 11 useful, ingenious and supremely tacky items you need to (maybe) own.
11. Volkswagen Camper Tent: Maybe the coolest thing you can spend your money on at any mall, in the sky or otherwise, the VW Camper Tent will make you the envy of everyone at the campground. This six-foot-tall, waterproof, fire-resistant tent sleeps four, has its own screen door and a partition room-divider. All of it and the respect of every hippie you meet for just $500, also the original sticker price of an actual Volkswagen bus.
10. iPhone Binoculars: If bird- (or neighbor-) watching is your thing, or if the iPhone’s standard camera magnification just isn’t giving you the National Geographic-caliber shots you want, SkyMall has the answer. These standard 36mm binoculars offer 8x-magnification and come with an eyepiece adapter that fits your iPhone 4 or 5 so you can snap pictures or record video with greater zoom quality. Finally, one less reason to ever put down your iPhone.
9. Fyxation Wine Caddy: For the road warrior with a touch of class, Milwaukee urban cycling company Fyxation developed a top tube wine-bottle holster that was just clever and crazy enough that SkyMall had to have it. Unlike Fyxation’s companion device for carrying six packs, which SkyMall also sells, the wine caddy doesn’t require you to ride down the street like a bow-legged mule.
8. Pro2Form Bike Saddle: If SkyMall prides itself on one thing (and that may be all), it’s solving life’s universal little problems like the everyday anguish of the bike saddle. For anyone who has ever bowed out of a long ride solely at the prospect of perching their tender keister on that simple torture device, SkyMall sells an innovative V-shaped gel saddle manufactured by Pro2Form. Made in the U.S.A. from “a specialty foam created by NASA,” this seat promises wider support, fully customizable saddle angle, and … moisture control? Watch for them at the Tour de France.
7. Grand Trunk Hammock Sleeping Bag: SkyMall knows that some customers prefer the creature comforts, while others actually live to rough it. For the latter camp, sometimes being snug as a bug in a rug means surviving the night — enter the Grand Trunk Hammock Sleeping Bag. We reviewed a $600 hammock sleeping bag in 2013. Grand Trunk’s setup will set you back about $200 (without the hammock). With models rated to 30 or 0 degrees, you can outfit your perfect winter hammock camping excursion.
6. Solar Power Cube: If there’s a little extra room in your rucksack, SkyMall has an eco-friendly, gadget-saving device that’s sure to make the other campsites jealous: A solar-powered generator. The beer cooler-size Solar Power Cube has 16-watt solar panels that can be unfolded to charge its 55-amp-hour battery in 18 hours of peak sunlight. Ports for USB, AC and DC mean it’ll charge just about anything. You might think this amazing gizmo costs a thousand dollars — actually, it’s over that at $1,100.
5. Malektronic Speakers: Admittedly, some of the contraptions advertised in SkyMall are hairbrained (a 1:7-scaled Easter Island Monolith statue maybe?). Other offerings, however, absolutely rock. Malektronic’s splash-proof, drop-proof, dust-proof, bluetooth-capable Rocket Speakers are SkyMall at its best. Over 15 hours of battery life, and cup-holder and carabineer-friendly design make this speaker even more durable, portable, and fantastic than a monolith.
4. Portable Chopsticks: We’ve all been there — six hours into a day hike at altitude when you reach an incredible lookout, perfect time for a sushi stop. But the last thing you want is to ruin the moment by eating with your hands (or worse, busting out a fork like an oafish tourist). Thank heaven for SkyMall and this set of $20 Portable Chopsticks. Finally, chopsticks that work anywhere!
3. Instant Badminton Court: If you’ve ever been away from the comfort of your own backyard and yearned for an impromptu game of badminton, you’re not alone — at least one other person has thought the very same thing, and they designed the Instant Badminton Court. For less than a hundred bucks, you can rest easy knowing you’ll always be prepared next time someone asks, “Badminton anyone?”
2. Barocook Flameless Cookware: Don’t be put off by Barocook’s “secret mix of minerals” explanation for how the flameless cooking system works. For hikers and campers heading into remote expanses of wilderness, this nifty (if mysterious) portable cooking system can mean the difference between a hot meal and a cold pouch of tuna. We’ve seen this one in person, and it does work.
1. Seabreacher Customized Boat: Like the $85,000 cherry on a sundae of sheer ostentation, SkyMall’s Seabreacher Customized Boat pretty much blows the doors off of tact and rationality — and that’s saying something for SkyMall. This beautiful abomination allows one pilot and one passenger to skip across and jump over waves at 55mph, and dive underwater at 25 mph! If there are really no charities to which you’d like to donate money, this is an entirely viable way to unload nearly 100 grand — it might even help SkyMall recover, before it’s too late.