Sure you’ve got your QuickClot and your AH1, but where are you going to keep them - in a fragile, water-permeable cloth pouch? Sure, if you want to die in the woods. Survival kits should be protected by something lightweight, waterproof, and ideally as close to indestructible as possible.
For example, the LIFECAP from Exotac. A carbon fiber and milled aluminum piece of functional art that’s designed to keep essential gear attached to you and safe from the elements at large. Sadly, its limited production run has come to an end, but the company says a similar product is in the works. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Formerly available directly from Exotac for $135.
As far as I know, the first widely available 21:9 screen was Philips’ Cinema 21:9. Unfortunately it was quietly put to death this summer due to “lack of demand.” Presumably lack of demand for a $7500 TV, not lack of demand for the aspect ratio.
Because this aspect ratio is sexy. The LG EA93 has a 2560x1080 IPS panel and is available now in everywhere that isn’t the US, though they can be found on eBay in the $900 range.
Now if they could just make one that’s curved.
The Nest is by no means new at this point, but they just released the second version of their smart thermostat. It’s as gorgeous as the first one, but with improved hardware and software. It’s also, in what I can only interpret as a nod to its iPod roots, 20% thinner.
This is one of those things that has essentially no competition in the market, despite what Honeywell would have you believe. It’s multiple generations ahead of anything else you could put on your wall. Of course, this does raise an important issue — should you upgrade your thermostats every time one comes out that’s 20% thinner?
I love headphones. Since I started carrying my first MP3 player in 1998, I’ve generally had a pair either on my person or nearby.
Early on, I came to the conclusion that I needed two types of headphones - something thoroughly portable and moderately disposable like earbuds, and a big, cushy pair that I can wear for extended periods of time. Now that I’m parked behind a desk for most of the day, a comfy pair of headphones has become part of my standard work equipment. At the moment I’m rocking a pair of older Bose TriPorts. Amazon reviews for them are all over the map, citing sketchy sound quality and physical frailty. I have to admit, I’m a poor judge of sound quality, but they seem alright to me. And I’ve been carting them around in bags and backpacks for years now with only a few scratches and dings to show for it.
Still, I’ve been on the lookout for an upgrade. After some research, the first thing I came across was the venerable Sennheiser HD280. Well-reviewed, affordably priced, and universally loved for years. But I’m not a huge fan of the design. The HD598s are better, but open back, and I don’t want my coworkers to know how much Ellie Goulding I listen to.
So like a lot of things, I figured I’d know what I was looking for when I saw it. And the Sennheiser Momentum is definitely what I’m looking for. Filled with what audiophile websites have assured me are at least halfway decent internals, and wrapped in a combination of stainless steel and leather; it looks like some kind of retro-futuristic steampunk starfighter pilot’s headset. Allegedly available mid-September, though they don’t seem to have shipped yet. Estimated retail of around $300-350.
When I’m hauling my photo gear somewhere sketchy, I carry a Pelican 1510. Pelican cases are more or less everything-proof. Mine also doubles as an uncomfortable seat and dangerous stepstool. The only downside is lugging the thing around. Sure it rolls, but quite often if I need a case that rugged, I’m not on a flat surface. The RucPac, designed by UK photographer Laurens Parsons, solves this problem in a simple and cool way - by adding backpack straps. RucPac straps fit a surprisingly wide range of Pelican cases, and can be rolled up to store inside. Available direct from Laurens for £69.99 ($110.00).
I really love backpacks. And every once in a great awhile I come across one that’s unabashedly designed for pure utility. This is such a beast.
The J51M is built around the classic ALICE pack frame, which probably doesn’t help much with weight, but makes it ungodly sturdy. It unfolds to allow expansion either by adding pouches to the PALS straps, or by just strapping stuff inside. Like gas cans or chainsaws.
This seems like it would be useful if one were, say, building a survival structure (carrying supplies) or even for rescue work (packing out someone else’s gear). The only downside? It’s about twice the base weight of my camping pack.
Available for $299 directly from Eberlestock.
I love this thing. It fills a niche between multi-use chopping blades like machetes and survival knifes, and dedicated wood splitting tools like hatchets. Hatchets and axes can be a pain to store and carry. Besides, it totally passes the “looks badass” test.
News about the Kick Axe first broke in 2009, and has been making the rounds again lately. Unfortunately, it was never released, and according to Gerber, never will be. When I went looking for more information, links to the Gerber site turned up dead, and there was no news at all after 2009. So I emailed the company, who said-
The Kick Axe was announced for release in 2009 and due to a number of concerns was not released. Production of this product has been cancelled indefinitely.
I have a Gerber Sport Axe that’s been amazing, and held up to all kinds of abuse. I can’t imagine a folding axe taking the kind of punishment. Not for the announced $90 price anyway. The hinges would have to stand up to incredible amounts of stress.
On a forum, someone said-
I made sure to ask Gerber about this one at SHOT this year. Apparently it was killed by the lawyers.
That makes sense. There are lots of ways to hurt yourself on a broken folding axe.
It doesn’t seem like an impossible project though. Maybe we’ll see it again if they ever get the kinks worked out. I’d certainly buy one.
Sometimes my strategy for researching gear is “I’ll know it when I see it.” I’m occasionally fooled by flashy presentation over substantive quality, but usually I can tell at a glance if a product is worth consideration.
Recently I decided I needed a machete. You know, for blazing trails and fending off bears. Of the various blade types available, I felt the kukri would serve my needs the best. The Cold Steel version is the most popular of those, on account of its good performance/price ratio.
But following the “I’ll know it when I see it rule,” well, Cold Steel’s wasn’t it.
Eventually I made my way to the website of an Italian company I’d never heard of before - Extrema Ratio, high-end makers of all things bladed and tactical. They make a a tactical machete simply called the Kukri KH. I could go into specs, but does it really matter? This is clearly the most badass machete on earth. Further research turned up a few other tactical machetes, but nothing of this class.
$350-500 if you can find one in stock (and most retailers are in Europe). I think I’m in love.
I have an early memory of asking my dad about a mysterious two-liter-soda-sized orange canister on the boat we lived on. He said it was an emergency radio beacon (EPIRB), and if we ever got into some kind of trouble we couldn’t get ourselves out of, we could activate it and someone would come to rescue us.
Technology being what it is, that device has shrunk to the size of a pager, and now uses GPS and satellite communication to pinpoint your position and send that to rescuers. There’s also a full-featured nautical version. Coverage is virtually universal.
The SPOT Connect pictured above takes this functionality to a new level with the option to connect an Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. Among other things, this allows you to update Twitter and Facebook while out of cell range, as well as send text messages. Naturally there’s a small catch — aside from the device’s $170 purchase price, the service costs $100/year, messages must be purchased separately in packages, and their length is limited to 41 characters.
But Twitter aside, that’s cheap insurance if you regularly venture into the backcountry, or anywhere without cell coverage.
I recently picked up this cool piece of kit to replace a decade-old Sierra Designs Microlight. It’s made from a new type of Gore-tex called Active Shell, which is waterproof, stretchy, and breathable enough that it doesn’t need zippered vents. It can also be machine washed and dried, which apparently restores the waterproofing.
I’ve been keeping mine in a small pouch at the bottom of my hiking pack, for unexpected Northwest rain storms. The stretch in the fabric is worth the price of admission, and I really like the cut - generous in the hood and sleeves, with no excess length or bulk in the torso. The only thing I’d change is the color - green wasn’t available when I got mine. $375 from Outdoor Research.