can certainly come in handy, but they are
one more thing that has to be stuffed in a pocket or hung on a belt. That's where the Leatherman Tread comes in. It's a stainless steel bracelet that incorporates 25 tools within its links. Additionally, because none of those tools are knives, it shouldn't cause problems going through airport security.
There have been several attempts to improve upon the basic umbrella in recent years – the Rain Shield
, which offers shelter from the wind; the Air umbrella
, which uses a fan to stop the rain; and Nubrella
, which is worn like a space helmet. Now, we have the smartphone-connected Kisha.
Last March, we first heard about the North45 scarf
. Created by Canadian entrepreneur Dimitri Poliderakis, it's designed to keep winter sports enthusiasts' faces warm while simultaneously not causing their goggles to fog up – a feat that regular scarves often can't manage. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, it went on sale at the end of last winter. I got a chance to try one out this
winter, and I can tell ya right now ... it works just as advertised.
Dedicated winter anglers will travel long distances across frozen lakes, in order to reach prime ice-fishing spots. While many of these fishermen use a snowmobile to do so, such vehicles can cost US$10,000 or more to buy new. Wisconsin-based sportsman Adam Ford, however, has come up with an alternative. He's created an ice-going go-kart that utilizes the motor of an ice auger, which the user would be carrying with them anyway.
Have you ever wondered how many helium-filled balloons it would take to lift you up and let you fly among the clouds? Extreme sports enthusiast Erik Roner recently found out. Roner attached 90 helium-filled balloons to a sun lounger and rose to 8,000 ft (2,438 m).
Mavari is a cleverly conceived "surf cloak" that uses a triple-layer fabric to keep you warm and dry in bad weather, and dry you off after a session in the water. Its versatile design also means it can be folded into a backpack.
Budding polar explorers take note! In December 2011, this Toyota Tacoma set the world record for the fastest overland journey to the South Pole – the Thomson Reuters team of Jason De Carteret and Kieron Bradley used it to cover 1,114 km (692 miles) in 39 hours and 54 minutes. The vehicle cost US$400,000 and many human lifetimes of experience to build. It will be sold to the highest bidder (no reserve) at Russo and Steele's 15th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction.
With objects you need to take camping or that you need to keep on you at all times, portability is key. Reducing camping cutlery down to an absolute minimum is the approach Micah Baclig has taken with his new spork. The Kuma fits into the palm of a hand.
Whoever said that losing your mobility also meant giving up your independence? We've already seen that the adventurous wheelchair user or walking-impaired person can head off road with a six-wheeled electric all-terrain vehicle
or a caterpillar-tracked micro EV drive train
. Now there's another option: Rocket Mobility's Tomahawk all-terrain personal utility vehicle, which allows the wheelchair-bound to traverse up to 12 miles (19 km) cross country at a maximum speed of 6 mph (10 km/h).
Another year, another few dozen ways to escape urban life and set up camp in the wild ... 2014 has been an interesting year for campers. From the heavy-duty off-road machines of Overland Expo
to ultralight bicycle campers, and from familiar campground designs to new concepts of sea and air camping, the year has seen a large variety of innovative designs from around the world. Here are our picks for the best tents, camper vans, trailers and mobile homes of 2014.