Taking the Oru Kayak for a ride. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
I consider myself to be “the adventurous type” but I’ve never once kayaked, thanks to two big hurdles: I live in the desert, and I drive a tiny Fiat that barely fits four grown humans in its cramped interior.
Water activities in these parts of Arizona require a gas-guzzling truck and a garage big enough to store your boats, putting kayaking out of reach for most urban dwellers. Oru Kayak destroys both those necessities with a foldable boat that’s strong enough to take on a lake or river, while also compacting into a box small enough to fit in your closet.
Before the Oru Kayak glided into my life, my go-to outdoor activity was hiking. Point me to a waterfall 15 miles away in the desert and even if that AZ ‘dry heat’ was boiling the tar on the highway, I was totally there. Now that there’s a boat that fits in my car, everything’s changed.
Los Angeles-based TRTL BOT turned to Kickstarter for the latest project: A massive, multi-use iPad 2 case/stand called The Shell, with a nod to keeping an iPad safe during brutal use. Like when it’s in the hands of kids.
Ok, we’re a little baffled why this dude is pulling out an iPad in this sitch. Last-minute conditions-check? Confused about the term “surf the web”?
What’s pretty clear though, is that the blindingly yellow G-Form iPad Extreme Sleeve case ($60) he’s peeling off his iPad is now shipping. We love talking about this case; partly because we’re fascinated with the extreme-sport-derived protective material it’s made from, and partly because we’re mesmerized by the crazyvideos G-Form keeps releasing to demonstrate the Extreme Sleeve’s protective ability — which seems formidable.
Right now, it’s only available (thankfully, also in black) from G-Form directly.
Seems practically everyone has cottoned on to the idea that the iPhone makes for a stellar cycling computer — because hardware that turns the iPhone into a feature-packed riding companion keeps popping up. The latest is Velocomp’s iBike Dash series of app-enhanced hardware stashed inside their waterproof Phone Booth case that work with its free iBike app.
The unit starts out at $200 for the waterproof case with built-in ANT+ receiver and a speed sensor for your bike; $329 will bag you the Deluxe kit that adds a heart-rate strap, cadence sensor and supplemental battery for the iPhone. Velocomp also sells the Phone Booth case only — without the ANT+ electronics in it — for $50.
The waterproof case looks pretty rugged, but pricing strikes us as a tad steep compared with other kits out there from Wahoo, Digifit and New Potato Technologies (even though we were less-than-enthusiastic about the latter).
The iPhone is a phenomenal tool for a bit of tromping about in the bush; navigation, stargazing, photographing/filming and even staying alive can all be accomplished with the help of the little gadget. That is, if it’s got any juice left.
Solio’s Rocsta ($80) — a solar panel mated to a thin slab of a battery in a sleek, flat, user-friendly housing — seems to have been created with a nod to minimalist adventurous types who want a rugged, no-fuss solar charger aong on their next Iditarod or photo shoot for National Geographic.