Worried you won’t stumble upon many laundromats throughout your backpacking adventures? Bring a washing machine with you, minus the machine, with Scrubba. Small enough to fit in a pocket, just unfold Scrubba, fill with water, cleaning liquid, and some clothes, then press and rub over the internal washboard — which is packed with nodules that efficiently de-grime fabrics — for between 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on how good of a clean you’re going for. It’s also lightweight at 5.5 ounces and spares you the cost of hunting down and doing business with often-overpriced laundromats.
Sure, you’ve got a backup battery to recharge your smartphone, but what charges your backup battery? If you’re backpacking, hiking, or are simply on the go far too often, the chance at plugging a backup battery to a wall outlet is nonexistent. Ampy instead harvests motion and vibration, leveraging kinetic energy to recharge its 1000 mAh internal battery which can, in turn, be used to refuel your gear. Sure, this small, lightweight gadget’s capacity isn’t massive, and you’ll need to move around quite a bit if you plan on generating enough power to churn out hours of Infinity Blade III, but Ampy can keep your devices running in places you’d never dreamed they’d go.
Check it out at Kickstarter – $85
The Bic lighter: inexpensive, widely available, and functional enough, but not particularly rugged. Exotac’s fireSLEEVE takes this simple, minimal lighter and equips it to better suit outdoor use scenarios. Fitting over your Bic like a glove, fireSLEEVE protects the gas button from being pressed accidentally in your pocket or pack and renders the lighter waterproof to 3 feet for 30 minutes. It also floats, improves grip, and boasts a gas lock which holds the button down for you, protecting you from hot thumb. And when the included lighter inevitably runs dry, just slide it out and drop a couple of bucks on another.
Find it at Kickstarter – $15
Front derailleurs are finicky little contraptions. Never tune one again with Efneo’s 3-gear front gearbox, a clean, low-maintenance alternative to the most bothersome bicycle component in existence. Equipped with a concealed planetary gearbox, it’ll fit on any frame designed for a tapered square axle bottom bracket and smoothly shifts between three gears under load or even at a standstill using a one-cable paddle shifter. Plus, it works equally well with rear derailleur-equipped bikes as to add a few gears to a fixie.
Learn more at Efneo – $TBA
There was a time that every gentleman carried a pocketknife. Bushkill’s flagship model Necker isn’t that knife. Like all Bushkill blades, the Necker is handcrafted in Bushkill, Pennsylvania. Though diminutive in size with an overall length of 5.5” and a drop point cutting edge of just 2.5”, the 1/8” thick 80CrV2 high carbon steel with ¾ height hollow grind plus a convex cutting edge (yeah, it’s just that cool) and HRC rating of 61 make this blade tough enough for any job. Designed to be worn around the neck for easy access, each knife comes with a kydex sheath that’s set up for standard milspec carry options with breakaway clasps for safety. Blade finish options include polished chrome, gun metal grey, stone grey, and Alabama Damascus (shown), with handle options available to customize your knife further.
Find it at Bushkill Blades – $100+
Bicycle accessories are all too often cheap-looking or poorly constructed, resulting in an object you’ll never want attached to a sleek, two wheeled urban cruiser. Not so with this cup holder from Brooklyn-based Death at Sea. Known for putting out killer laser-cut products, Death at Sea’s holder is made of rugged die cut black or grey silicone rubber and fits best on a men’s style bike frame, in reach right up front where the tubes meet. Plus, should you inevitably spill a bit of iced coffee in it while taking a drop, it wipes clean easily.
Grab one at Death at Sea – $50
Boots are always a tradeoff: with added toughness comes significant weight and inflexibility. Cole Haan does away with all of that in their ZeroGrand Tall Boot, which couples a leather upper to an EVA midsole and a slitted rubber outsole that grants these boots rare flexibility that conforms to your step. They’re also naturally storm welt and boast ZeroGrand cushioning, all in all making for a boot that’ll still go anywhere and is atypical with regards to comfort.
Learn more at Cole Haan – $298
Winter is coming. Ensure sure your base layer isn’t the weakest link in your outdoor wear with Triple Aught’s Pursuit Half-Zip. A bi-faced knit construction puts Polartec Power Dry on the inside to wick moisture away from your skin, drawing it into the natural wool outer to dissipate and kill odors, all in all drying twice as fast as cotton-only fabrics. Other features include nylon reinforced shoulder caps for putting up with straps and slings, low-profile flatlock seams to eliminate chaffing, an auto-locking YKK zipper, and welted thumbholes. Its well-fitted design and functional styling are the cherry on top.
Hit up Triple Aught Design for details – $90
Constantly tripping over your tent’s stakes and guy wires after the sun sets? It’s a little difficult not to considering most aren’t designed with visibility in mind. StakeLight, on the other hand, avoids this problem thanks to a 17 lumen LED light integrated into each aluminum stake that illuminates the ground around it. Naturally, they’re also water resistant, and run for 10 hours on a single AAA battery, or 24 hours in strobe mode. Couple it with some reflective cord for a synergistic bonus.
Grab a set at Amazon – $18 for four
Quickly create a bonfire — minus all the fussing around with logs or fire starter — using BlazingBlock. This carved-up block of Southern Yellow Pine lights up with a single stick of included Fatwood and burns for three hours atop anything that won’t catch fire. Suggested settings include the beach, camping, firepits, or concrete patios, and it even boasts an attached carrying handle to get it there easily. It’s our last hope this season at making smores and exquisitely roasted marshmallows over a veritable fire.
Grab one at Plow & Hearth – $30