Looks like this whiteout winter may finally be waning. Time to soak up a little sunshine; so grab your bike, backpack, rod, oars, harness and a Pocket Ranger official State Park Guide app for Android or iOS and get yourself outside. Why a Pocket Ranger app? Because it’s stuffed full of info about anything and everything related to state parks in your area — for free.
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We say “might,” because we haven’t tested it yet; but sandwiched between the hard exterior shell of Incase’s new Chisel case and the iPhone it protects is a second, soft case with a secret ingredient called Poron XRD — a material we’ve found almost unbelievably excellent at absorbing impact energy.
I have a complicated relationship with gloves. On the one hand, I love that they keep my fingers from falling off in frigid weather. But then there’s the frustration at their complete lack of cooperation when I’m trying to use the touchscreen on my phone. As a result, I end up either constantly removing and re-donning my gloves in an endless cycle that freezes my delicate fingers anyway — or abandoning my phone altogether in disgust.
The problem is that most touchscreens rely on our fingers to act as conductors, and conventional gloves block that conductivity. But glove-makers have rolled with the times, and there are solutions — gloves that allow conductivity to pass through the glove’s fabric and onto the screen. One of the most buzzed about is Outdoor Research’s Sensor Gloves ($69), which use real leather that doesn’t appear or feel any different than leather used in non-conductive gloves.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – It’s pretty unusual to see a major headset manufacturer’s brand-spanking new flagship phone soaking in a goldfish bowl. Then again, if that phone is the new waterproof Sony Xperia Z, maybe a fishbowl is exactly where one would expect to find it.
We’re continually seeing examples of how the iPhone has exploded its horizons to become much, much more than just a phone. Case (ha) in point: Why shell out $300 for an action cam when you already own a video cam with stellar optics and image-stabilizing, a big, beautiful screen and the ability to upload your exploits whenever you damn well please? All you need to turn your iPhone from video cam to action cam is a rugged, weatherproof case with a wide-angle lens, and the ability to stick the whole thing onto a helmet or such. And that pretty much describes the $150 Mophie OutRide system.
Unlike some of the other newcomers to the quickly growing action-cam party (Sony, we’re looking at you), Drift has been making robust little video cameras for a while now. Their latest incarnation is the 1080p Drift HD Ghost, which looks like it’s been packaged with everything but the kitchen sink — including a large built-in screen and a wearable remote.
I have a plan for trouble. When it rears its ugly head again, I’m grabbing my all-hell-has-broken-loose list, dumping the items on the list into my trusty backpack and hauling ass. I figure there’s still the zombie apocalypse and the Mayan whatsit (which may well be the same thing) to worry about, so I might as well be prepared.
I’ve populated the list with things I would need in a disaster scenario: things like a sleeping bag, first-aid kit and rum. Of course, my iPad is also on the list. Oh, I’ll be taking my phone for sure — but the iPad’s large screen will be invaluable in any disaster situation as a navigation tool, for work (yes, even in a zombie apocalypse, blogs must be updated) or just keeping up with current news; mine’s a wifi+cellular, so I suppose wifi-only versions would be somewhat less useful in that last role.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A disaster zone, Eli, is no place for an iPad.” That’s true only if you don’t have the right gear to accompany it. The following list will show you how to turn your iPad from a liability into an asset when things go very wrong.
The Patagonia MiniMass commuter bag ($69) is my first taste of Patagonia’s gear, and I’ve always wondered if their stuff was worth the hype. The company has a bit of a reputation — perhaps fair, perhas not — as the outdoor industry’s bourgeois player, probably due to generally higher prices than the competition, an innovative design ethic and the use of green materials throughout their line.
But Patagonia has also spawned a fanatical following. I once worked with someone who literally camped outside the company’s Southern California headquarters (it sits literally right aross the road from the beach) in the hopes she’d be hired. She wasn’t, but toting around my tablet in the the fantastic little MiniMass let me grasp why she tried.
The MiniMass is the smallest sibling in Patagonia’s family of courier bags (all of which end in “Mass” — a nod to the Critical Mass bicycle movement). This makes the MiniMass a perfect tablet carrier. And even though it isn’t explicitly to ferry tablets, it excels in the task.
LifeProof has definitely made an impact with the digital outdoors; seems I run into their sleek, modular, waterproof iPhone cases everywhere (we love them, btw). Now, the company is focusing on their new Nüüd iPad case, and the second available accessory for the case is the LifeJacket, a flotation device that fits around the waterproof Nüüd case and keeps the iPad from sinking into the murky depths after you’ve, say, calculated your dive profile.
Pelican made a name for itself making tough cases for the military, firemen and other hazardous sorts who generally place their delicate gadgets in harm’s way. Now they’ve taken their extreme-environment case technology and built four new backpacks around it — two of which have crushproof/waterproof compartments.