Our new column offers a peek at emerging products, culled from crowd-source sites like Kickstarter, PR campaigns, and industry scoops on the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design.
Stronger than steel and super light, Dyneema is a remarkable fiber. Now, a brand launched on Kickstarter is coming to the retail market with Dyneema socks. Free Your Feet socks by the Swiss Barefoot Company puts a protective fabric under your tootsies for sports like kitesurfing, beach volleyball, slacklining, or anywhere you need the barefoot feeling with cut-resistant protection.
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GoPro’s virtual-reality camera, dubbed Odyssey, began shipping this week. The 16-camera, professional setup creates immersive content in high resolution via a 360-degree view. This one is not available to the masses; you have to sign up to be considered. If GoPro dubs you worthy, be ready to pony up $15,000 for the state-of-the-art VR rig.
Attach a GeoOrbital Wheel to the front of your bike and roll at up to 20 miles-per-hour under electric power. That’s the concept behind this after-market e-wheel, which converts normal bikes to powered rides. Wheels come in 26″ and 700c sizes, and they aren’t cheap ($699). But the campaign has blown up, raising more than $600,000 to fund the launch.
Most surfboards are made from toxic substances (so much so that the country’s largest foam-maker, Clark, was shut down by the Feds a few years back). Eco-Flex uses recycled foam and plant-based bio resins in the production of its new boards. According to the company, the $600 boards are lighter, stronger “and perform with more flex dynamic than traditional polyurethane/polyester boards.” Because Eco-Flex absorbs minimal water if punctured, the company touts they can last much longer than traditional boards.
A basic tool to carry (and cut) parachute cord, the Paracard ($50) is at its core an odd-shape knife. Made from 440c stainless steel, it comes with a Kydex sheath, wrapped cord, a lighter, and a sharp blade hidden beneath, ready to cut.
Stainless Pocket Tool
The Stainless Pocket Tool ($10) is a basic bit-driver with a few cool additions. It can function as a bottle opener, double key (triangular and square) for gas and electricity meters, and a mini screwdriver that holds standard bits in place with a magnet.
The Wishbone Wrench is a neat take on the EDC keychain. It has a clip and a nice compliment of tools — screwdriver, ruler, pry bar/scraper, semi-serrated edge, wire stripper, wrenches, and a bottle opener, all stamped from stainless steel. It’s cheap at $10, and it looks useful for quick fixes at home or outdoors.
Zipper Hammock Hanging System
The Zipper Hammock Hanging System straps are light and look easy to use. They function similar to the light friction adjusters on many backpacks or helmets, but they are machined from aluminum to hold up to 400 pounds with a 5.2 ounce system.
Touted as the “most comfortable travel pillow ever,” the Pretzel Pillow, $30, lets people sleep while seated in an airplane (or anywhere) with their arms supported by the soft slings of the “pretzel” shape. It looks cozy, and it might help on those long flights in coach, be you seated middle, window, or aisle.
New camera angles (and a more stable shot) are the promises of the STABYLIZR ($91). The stick has a tripod mount for cameras including GoPros, and it “dampens and minimizes” body movements while you film, ostensibly resulting in better footage.