Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
The brainchild of former NASA engineer Garrett Finney, Texas-based Taxa isn't the camper company to call if you're looking for a run-of-the-mill teardrop or fifth wheel. It's a place where trailer building mixes with science and art, resulting in otherworldly campers like the Cricket and the FireFly. Its latest effort, the TigerMoth, is a small, 910-lb towable that uses some innovative solutions to camp two in blissful, breezy comfort.
We're not sure it says great things about our society, but we've been seeing more and more casual bulletproof clothing in recent years. BulletSafe is working to become a key player in that market. In December 2014, it launched a Kickstarter for what it calls the "world's first bulletproof baseball cap." Just over a year later, it's turning its attention to a bulletproof T-shirt. If your company softball team happens to play in a free-fire zone, you know who to call for uniforms.
Since we first looked in on VL Automotive in 2013, it's earned itself a big F. Henrik Fisker has joined the team of Gilbert Villarreal and Bob Lutz. He's made his presence immediately known, penning the lines of the radical carbon fiber body on the new Force 1, an all-American Viper-powered sports coupe.
Since introducing its first folding kayak in 2012, San Francisco startup Oru Kayak has been growing its lineup with modestly evolving origami-inspired kayaks like the Bay+. Its latest is the all-new Beach, a 12-foot model designed for super-quick set-up and stable paddling.
Mini introduced the second-generation Clubman last year, but it stayed quiet about one significant new addition: AWD. It has officially added two extra drive wheels this week, announcing that the Clubman will join crossover models like the Countryman in offering the ALL4 all-wheel drive system as an option. The upgrade gives the new Clubman better grip in the slick stuff and improved playfulness around the twists.
It may not go down as one of the best Red Bull stunts ever, but in what definitely qualifies as an interesting use of a Red Bull F1 car, Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen gained and dropped vert on the world-famous slopes of Kitzbühel, Austria. The stunt served as an appetizer of on-snow speed ahead of the Hahnenkamm-Rennen ski races. The 800-hp RWD Red Bull RB7 would never be our first choice for navigating pure snow, but it sure looks cool doing it.
The "world's smartest headlamp" is getting smarter. Petzl introduced its reactive Nao headlamp back in 2012 and has now returned with an upgrade, the Nao+. The new model packs more than double the lumens of the original Nao and features smartphone integration to give you greater control over lighting when you're on-the-go.
Wearable tech has had a variety of interesting twists and turns over the years. Perhaps the most interesting is the category of wearables that turns you into a piece of action sports equipment. Jetpacks and wingsuits are a couple common examples, and we've also seen a wearable sled and underwater jetpack in recent years. The WaveWrecker joins the category as a wearable surf suit that turns the bodysurfer into his own board.
As great as the smartphone is, it's not always the perfect tool, especially in the smart home. Once you start piling up numerous smart devices and the tangled array of apps that go with them, the smartphone becomes ... kind of dumb. Apps like Wink can help streamline that clutter, but French startup Sevenhugs believes the solution lies in better hardware. It ditches the smartphone completely in favor of a remote that finds the sweet spot between old fashioned clicker and touch-based mobile.
Just days after revealing the Titan Warrior, Nissan is putting another Warrior on the front lines. Unveiled at the Montreal International Auto Show, the Rogue Warrior braves the Canadian winter with a secret weapon: a full snow track system that turns it into a crossover snow machine. With warriors like these, Nissan's army will be able to wage war on all types of ground.