Thus far, 2018 is the year of creativity. Everyone—outdoor clothing, tent, and ski and snowboard gear companies, outdoor cookware manufacturers, and backcountry enthusiasts—is upping the ante with new products that are sure to impress. While ski jackets made from recycled materials, backcountry meals that practically cook themselves, and lightweight couples’ sleeping bags debuted at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer convention, some of the coolest new products on the market actually debuted online. Not only are these products new, they are sleek, stylish, and sure to stand out. Below are five new outdoor gadget inventions of 2018 that should be on everyone’s radar. We’ve rated them each on practicality, versatility, and creativity. Enjoy!
Lead illustration by Kate Johnson
1. Boot Solution
Any person who skis knows that ski boots can be super uncomfortable, even if they are in your size, and even with linings. Enter Envy Ski Frame: a way to wear snowboard boots while skiing! Simply slide on your favorite boot, lock it into the frame with the adjustable straps, and clip into your bindings. Not only will your feet be more comfortable while skiing, you’ll be able to take the frame off and walk around with ease—all while supporting a local company! Find them at http://www.envysnowsports.com.
Versatility: 9/10 (you’ll only need one boot from now on, unless you telemark ski)
2. Sustainable Stove
Ever wonder why there are so many camp stoves on the market? There are camp stoves for car camping, for backpacking, for windy, winter conditions—not to mention all the different fuel types and varying accessories. Well now, you don’t have to search through a small town mini-mart for isobutene-propane or worry about priming your stove or cleaning out the fuel line. The BioLite Camp Stove 2 uses wood as its fuel source, making it 100 percent sustainable. It has a sturdy base, packs up nicely, and also has a blower fan attachment that blows oxygen into the fire, making it very efficient. There’s even a USB charging port built into the unit that uses energy from the stove’s heat to charge your devices. Let’s start saving the environment one fuel can at a time. Find it at https://www.bioliteenergy.com.
Practicality: 9/10 (unless there is a burn ban, this stove is perfect anywhere)
3. Sleeves With a Breeze
If you enjoy early morning runs, long days at the crag, lightweight-backpacking, or are simply looking for a versatile hoody, look no further. Weighing just 240 grams (8 ounces), the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody is one of the lightest jackets on the market. But the real beauty of this hoody lies in the fabric. With 50 UPF protection, moisture-wicking material, and a hood that fits both under and over a climbing helmet, this hoody meets almost every need. It is also treated with Polygiene, which stops the growth of bacteria and keeps it odor-free. Wear it for a week in a row and still smell as fresh as the day you stepped on the trail! Find it at http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com (in men’s and women’s sizes).
Practicality: 10/10 (could wear it anywhere)
4. Block Break’s Best Friend
Think back to the last time you went camping somewhere and really craved an ice-cold beverage but didn’t have a handy, portable cooler. Or think back to when you wanted to have a picnic on the Manitou Incline summit, but had no way of carrying your treats to the top. Now imagine the YETI Hopper BackFlip 24: a lightweight cooler-backpack hybrid. As the first cooler engineered as a backpack, it will carry almost anything you need, up to 25 pounds of food, ice, or 20 cans of soda or beer. With extra padding in the shoulder straps and waist strap and chest strap attachments, there’s no way this cooler isn’t the comfiest one on the market. This waterproof, softshell, and stylish cooler is sure to make your adventure much more satisfying. Check it out at www.yeti.com.
Practicality: 8/10 (depending on what’s inside, it could get heavy)
5. Inspector Gadget
Do you struggle to find that perfect solar-powered music device? Do you ever forget to replace the batteries in your headlamp and find yourself in the dark? Are you ever caught wondering what the weather is like 100 miles down the Colorado River because you didn’t check the weather before boarding your raft? The solution to all three of these problems, and more, is the Eton Scorpion II portable radio and smartphone charger. This radio retrieves AM/FM stations for entertainment, as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather band and NOAA emergency alerts for those sticky situations. It has 3-in-1 power options: solar power, a rechargeable lithium battery, and a hand crank for the old-fashioned camper inside all of us. It also has an LED flashlight and USB charging port for your devices and is splash-proof. You can find this at www.rei.com.
Practicality: 9/10 (think hurricanes, extended backpacking trips, or apocalypse)
Versatility: 7/10 (it’s bulky)
Be on the lookout for these unique innovations; 2018 in the outdoor industry is off to an auspicious start!