A peek at emerging products from the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Coffee Pod Knife
Finally, a great use for those old Nespresso pods! The quick-coffee manufacturer Nespresso and Victorinox teamed up to make a limited run of Swiss Army knives. The Pioneer Livanto Nespresso Swiss Army Knife uses recycled coffee pods to cast the scaled multi-tool housing. Launching in June, only 750 of the $55 multi-tools will be sold in North America.
Solar Cooking Dish
Grill, saute, stir fry, even deep fry at the campsite without any flame. One Earth Designs’ SolSource Sport solar cooking system is a more portable successor to the original SolSource. The 12-lb. reflective dish cranks out 600W of power, enough to boil a quart of water in 15 minutes. The $249 SolSource Sport is live on Kickstarter with discounts.
Travel-Friendly Touring Kayak
Take this kayak from the open seas to the trunk of your car, TRAK releases “the toughest, most portable performance kayak ever.” The aluminum and carbon fiber TRAK 2.0 weighs 42 lbs. and packs into a backpack/wheel-bag. The $3,600 kayak adapts to rough and calm water with an adjustable rocker and waterline.
Crank up the A/C at the cabin and keep your drinks cool, too. The Ryobi 18V One+ Cooling Cooler has 50-quart storage for beverages and a built-in, battery-powered air-conditioning unit. The A/C runs up to four hours on a single charge. It costs $199 at Home Depot.
Self-Adjusting Women’s Pack
With every step, this pack fits a little better. Kelty’s Reva 60 backpack was developed by women, for women. Accordingly, the $220 pack has contoured shoulder and hip straps to better fit a woman’s body. Plus, the hip belts move and adjust as you walk.
Polartec launches its latest insulating fiber — it’s animal-free and made from 80-percent recycled material. Power Fill will find its way into future winter wear products, providing an alternative to down, wool, and synthetic layers on the market. The fabric is spun polyester that Polartec claims offers superior warmth and softness. Power Fill will be sold in Triple Aught Designs products this fall.
Work-Horse Utility Vehicle
Haul up to 1,350 lbs. and tow up to 2,000. Can-Am’s 2018 Defender Max XT Cab utility vehicle seats up to six people in its fully enclosed cabin, while its 72-hp engine does all the work. The Defender’s 11″ of ground clearance and 4,500-lb. winch mean it can tackle just about any terrain. It looks like a great option for clearing the back 40, if you can afford the $26,000 sticker price.
Serious Sling Shot
Not for horsing around, the $99 Pocket Hammer, according to the manufacturer, is “a slingshot on steroids.” It improves on its Pocket Shot predecessor with a steel frame and grip, which helps it shoot projectiles up to 350 feet/second.
Dive down to 100m without worrying about this simple, made-in-America watch. Fellman Watch Co. releases its debut product, a 3D-printed and laser-etched watch that retails for $150. Although buy in before the Kickstarter ends and grab one for $99.
Wireless Wallet Charger
Juice up your phone without using a cable. The CHAARGO is a synthetic leather wallet with its own rechargeable battery. It uses wireless charging technology, so all you have to do is set your phone on it to charge. The CHAARGO will retail for about $100.
French Blade, American Design
Blonde wood from the forests of France, black-tinted steel, and a century-old design, the $49 No.8 Knife from Opinel gets a face lift. Opinel partnered with Denver’s Topo Designs to add red accents and a custom zip-up carrying case to the classic 3.35″ folding knife.
Wake up, stretch, and hop out of the sleeping bag without rousing your campmates. The Thunderhead SL 30 by Big Agnes is the brand’s offering to the zipperless sleeping bag market. Clip-and-loop construction and a cocoon-style design keep the heat trapped on this 16- to 30-degree bag. Available in regular and long ($150-$170), the Thunderhead uses RDS-certified, water-repellent down.
Walk with extra bounce thanks to Superfeet’s cork insoles. The brand built the $120 Stuart shoes around the cork-EVA blend insoles with slip-resistant, synthetic-rubber outsoles, a mesh upper, and a microfiber tongue.
Kick back on the beach or at the campsite with this tablet-sized backrest. The BackTab is a glass-reinforced plastic deck with foldable legs that supports up to 220 lbs. It measures about 7 by 10 inches, is less than an inch thick, and weighs less than 2.5 lbs. The BackTab launches on Kickstarter June 7th.
Meet the world’s most carbohydrate-rich drink mix. Maurten’s Drink Mix 320 crams 80 grams of carbohydrates into each 500 mL serving. By comparison, a Red Bull packs 28 grams per serving. We’re testing this now, but you can get it for about $50 per 14-serving box.