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.
Is humanity growing tardier and tardier? It sure seems that way when looking at the coffee-on-the-go market. There's an almost endless supply of travel mugs and vacuum bottles out there, and more and more brew-on-the-go solutions having been joining the fray of late. Some such designs require preheated water or an external power supply, but the Mojoe can operate independently, heating and brewing your favorite coffee thanks to a rechargeable battery.
Camping provides a wonderful way of escaping everyday life and its ringing, buzzing and blinking gadgets. That doesn't mean campers need to go completely old school, though. Much of the camping gear and gadgetry we saw throughout 2015 uses smart design and tech for the betterment of campers everywhere. We've already looked at the big stuff – motorhomes and caravans – so here it's all about smaller, simpler car camping gear.
Ever since the 2013 Italdesign Parcour and Audi Nanuk concepts, we've been waiting and hoping for a legitimate off-road supercar that blends Italian styling with burly drive-anywhere construction. We're not quite there yet, but Turin-based design studio Camal has given us its take on a "hypersuv" it calls the Ramusa.
When it comes to designing concept cars, Rinspeed doesn't just think outside the box; it crushes the box down, rips it to shreds and uses the shreds to light the bonfire it stares into as it daydreams about its next idea. Next year, it's abandoning its longstanding convention of debuting a creative concept at the Geneva Motor Show, instead using the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. The Etos concept adds a little consumer electronic tech to the Swiss think tank's way-beyond-the-box thinking.
We've already looked back at some of the most fun off-road toys of 2015. Those are great for big kids that like to play on land, but what about those folks that prefer to get their feet wet? Luckily, 2015 had plenty of new designs and innovations for them, too. We've plucked our favorite motorized toys, paddle-propelled watercraft and towables from our 2015 coverage to whet the appetite of those anxious to get on the water.
We've seen some truly wild and awesome motor-powered off-road vehicles this year, everything from electric mountain bikes to monstrous expedition vehicles, from luxury-branded 4x4s rolling into dealerships to experimental show trucks. It wasn't easy trimming the list, but we've compiled our 10 favorites from 2015. Collectively, these cars can roll and ramble over virtually every inch of solid ground Earth has in its possession.
After starting up in 2012, Zelectric Motors has quickly made a business out of retrofitting electric powertrains to classic Volkswagen Beetles. The San Diego-based shop also performs its electric magic on other classic cars, including Porsches and Manxes, and recently completed what we'd call its coolest conversion yet: a 1964 Volkswagen Type 2, complete with signature first-generation split windshield, sunroof and sliding door. It's a beautiful example of iconic 20th century automotive design updated with 21st century drive technology, or as Zelectric likes to say, "retro future."
Sure, you can still enjoy the great outdoors with the tried-and-true gear you've been using since the 70s, but there's some pretty cool high-tech gadgetry being designed for the likes of trekkers, skiers, surfers and trail runners these days, and there's nothing shameful about updating your gear list with a touch of cutting-edge tech and design. Whether you're looking for helpful tools to jumpstart a New Year's resolution of getting outside more or shopping for the outdoor junkie in your life, these gadgets are sure to result in fresh air and big fun.
There's not another automaker out there that has the cojones to bring quirky concept cars to life like Citroën does. In the French automaker's own words, it aspires to bring to market "cheery, optimistic vehicles that are different from the rest." The all-new E-Mehari fits that description to a T, as an all-electric crossover cabriolet based on the recent Cactus M concept and inspired by the classic Méhari.
Thanks to platforms like the F-Series and E-Series, the name "Ford" graces the grilles of many a motorhome and camper-hauling truck, including new off-roaders like the Sportsmobile Classic and EarthRoamer XV-HD. Now Ford is moving its badge rearward, to the camper shells themselves. The company will offer a full line of licensed camping trailers, toy haulers and truck campers.