Nite Ize Inova STS Headlamp from Best New Tech: O.R. Winter 2014
Best New Tech: O.R. Winter 2014
Nite Ize Inova STS Headlamp
Rather than a button, this waterproof, 142-lumen LED light uses a “swipe-to-shine” touchscreen sensor to turn on and switch modes. For white light, swipe your finger over the sensor. Want night vision-preserving red light? Simply swipe in the opposite direction—a considerable improvement over endlessly cycling through modes. It has most of the standard features, including adjustable angle and, importantly, a lockout mode that prevents it from turning on in your bag. The major bummer for winter users is that they’ll have to remove gloves to operate the STS.
Jetflow Hydration Packs
Here to shake up the hydration pack industry, which we didn’t even realize needed revolutionizing, is startup company Jetflow. Its modular system (from $25) accepts almost any bottle—from a 1L Nalgene to a gas station Gatorade—and fits any small hydration pack, though it works best with the brand’s own packs (from $60). The advantages are that whatever you’re drinking doesn’t taste like a polyurethane bladder (there’s a reason it’s called “P-U”), and it’s easy to clean. Another unique feature is that, when you drink, a second “Jet Valve” hose releases air into the bottle, releasing the vacuum and making liquid flow faster.
From $85; jetflow.com
Goal Zero Rock Out 2 Solar Portable Speaker
This Bluetooth speaker is charged by sunlight while it rocks tunes in the great outdoors; enough, in fact, that you’ll theoretically never need to plug it in. And at one pound, it’s small, rugged and water-resistant enough that you can bring it camping, boating or to the beach. Just be ready to deal with angry locals—animal and human alike—should you choose to blast One Direction from the mountaintops.
ICEdot Crash Sensor
This little yellow sensor, which mounts to any helmet, could save your life in the event of a crash. It detects changes in forces corresponding to crash-related head trauma and, when paired with a smartphone app, sounds an alarm. If the alarm isn’t disabled, the app notifies up to 10 emergency contacts and sends your GPS coordinates, so they can get you the help you need.
Scarpa FI Evo
This is, without a doubt, the world’s easiest to operate alpine touring boot. Skinned uphill, and ready to reap the rewards? Just click your heel into the bindings, and the boot locks into downhill mode so you’re ready to ski. To switch back into walk mode, simply lift your boot out of your bindings and—voila!—you’ve got 62º of cuff rotation. Beyond that, they’re lightweight at less than 2.5 pounds, and feature a stiff carbon fiber frame that aids in power transfer to the ski.
BioLite BaseCamp Stove
BioLite’s new BaseCamp Stove is big-boy version of its electric generating CampStove, but with a few notable improvements that make it far more practical. Where the original was bigger than most backpackers were ready to schlep, but small for the car camping set, the BaseCamp is perfect for car campers. What’s more, it burns larger sticks and small logs, which can be loaded from the side while you’re boiling water or grilling on top. The thermoelectric generator is bigger at 5W—enough to power a tablet or smartphone—and stores power in an internal battery for later charging.
Protect your bikes, boards and boats with this bombproof little beacon from the GPS geniuses at SPOT. Attach it to your gear and the moment movement is sensed, you’ll be alerted with a text or email. If something’s stolen, pull up Google Maps on your phone or computer to see it’s exact location and (with police help) get your gear back. At $100 a year, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Service plans from $100; findmespot.com
Jigabot AIMe Camera Mount
For all of those times when you’re doing something sweet—hitting the terrain park, flying off a jump on your local singletrack or practicing tricks on your skateboard—and don’t have a buddy around to film it, AIMe’s got your back. This “smart” robotic mount spins 360º horizontally and rotates 120º vertically to seamlessly track a small remote beacon that you carry or wear. Wherever AIMe “looks,” so does the mounted smartphone, video camera or GoPro (or other POV camera), ensuring you’re at the center of every frame. It’s still in prototype phase, but should be ready for retail by June.
Smith Optics ChromaPop Sunglasses
With these new-to-market lenses, Smith claims to filter out light where color wavelengths cross over, “eliminating color confusion for the brain.” The result, they say, is that you register true colors faster and with greater precision. That may or not be true, but what’s definitely true is that they supersaturate individual colors, and make the world clearer and more vibrant (you know, visually speaking). The last time a lens tech this cool rolled out was when polarization was invented. See it for yourself in 21 different frame styles.
$209-$269, depending on frame; smith-optics.com
Jaybird’s new fitness tracker is smarter than most. Like the rest, it measures and quantifies your running, walking, swimming, cycling and sleep. Then it uses that data, along with detailed sleep metrics (time and quality of sleep, based on how much you toss and turn) and heart rate readings, to help you determine how to work out each day—get some R&R or go for a PR. An integrated smartphone app stores your data, and gives you a user-friendly workout readiness report card in real time. Finally, all that data made useful.
Petzl Reactive Lighting
We’ve talked about Petzl’s “reactive lighting” tech before. Starting with the NAO headlamp in 2012 and spreading to more budget-friendly models (Tikka RXP and Tikka R+) last year, it uses a built-in sensor to “know” where you're looking—near or far, bright or dim—and automatically (and fairly instantly) adjusts the light’s power accordingly. This year’s models look the same on the outside, but get a performance boost from brighter, more efficient LEDs inside. The NAO, for example, gets a bump from 355 lumens to a blindingly bright 575. That should prove a boon to mountain bikers, trail runners and anyone else moving fast in low light conditions.
From $90; petzl.com
Sugoi Zap Jacket
It’s almost a miracle that Sugoi managed to make a high-vis jacket that’s not, well, geeky. Somehow they managed to silk-screen the entire exterior with highly reflective ground glass “pixels”…or was it pixies? Either way, the coating is nearly invisible in daylight, allowing the waterproof, breathable jacket’s sharp styling to shine through (left). But under direct artificial lights—like the kind that illuminate you on nighttime rides—and the whole thing turns into an ultra-bright, full-jacket reflector (right).
Best in Show
Want to see more of the coolest gear hitting stores this year?
Click HERE to see our 12 top picks from Outdoor Retailer