So far we’ve covered the best bikepacking tents and gear, packs and bags, knives and tools, and more random awesome stuff from the Summer OR19 show. Links to all that at the bottom of this post. Here, we have a collection of lights, power packs, portable solar chargers, reusable packable straws and a few more unassociated items worth a glance.
One of the most interesting concepts from Outdoor Retailer was the VSSL survival flashlight series. At first glance, the oversized tubes were reminiscent of the old MagLites. Those massive lights from the ’90s were awesome, but overpowered LEDs and battery packs have made their multiple D-cell sizes obsolete. So, why are VSSL’s lights so big? Because they’re packing a lot of other stuff inside…
They come in several versions, and the red one is their First Aid Kit. For $125, you get a 200lumen flashlight with four modes (high, low, SOS, and red) on one end and a precision oil-filled compass on the other (all models get these same light/compass features, BTW). Between them is a hollow cylinder holding a roll-up first aid kit with the usual basics, plus a clotting agent, emergency whistle, gloves, tape, tweezers and pain meds. But the sleeved wrap lets you add whatever else you need and replace things as you use them.
The VSSL Flask (green shown, silver available, $95) hides two pop-up shot glasses and a bottle opener inside, as well as room 10oz of your favorite beverage. Yep, just pour it right into the canister and the lid seals it, just like a water bottle. Brilliant.
The VSSL Camp Supplies (black or silver, $129) light contains 70 pieces of gear to keep your adventures rolling along, from a wire saw to rope to orange tape you can use to mark your path so you can find your way back. And should you get lost, there’s a fire starter kit and fishing line. Good luck. All of the internal supplies and parts are available separately for refills, too. Check them out at VSSLgear.com.
Lander has added the Boulder, a larger camp light (center) with pop-up 2-port USB charging port that also integreates wireless charging on it’s top. And with a massive 13,500mAh battery inside, you can light your camp and charge your devices. It’s app controlled, and you can pair together multiple lights in their family and simultaneously turn them on and off or even rotate them through a rainbow of colors. Really cool, and for $99 it’s a bit of a deal.
The Thermoline cellphone case keeps your phone working longer in extreme temps by dissipating temps faster. So, when you’re riding the lift in freezing temps, you can still ‘gram that selfie.
The new Biolite Headlamp 200 pumps out a white spot/strobe and red flood/strobe light for up to 40 hours off the integrated USB rechargeable battery pack. At just 45g, it’s light enough to throw in your hydration pack as a backup. The backside of the light is super soft thanks to a fully integrated design where the shell of the light is built directly into the strap, so there’s no edges, and it stays flat against your forehead without bouncing around. Retail is $39.95, shipping in February 2020.
Knog’s PWR series continues to grow, moving the brand more into the outdoor space without dropping the cycling heritage we all know and love. Their PWR system uses interchangeable batteries to power various types of lights and speakers, and each of the batteries also works as a USB power bank to charge your other stuff. The Lantern (left) pops up to light up your entire campsite, and it collapses down for easy storage. What’s really clever is that the battery is the main support, and you can swap that out for any of the PWR battery sizes they offer. Mix and match based on the weight and longevity you need for the trip.
The Bandicoot silicone headlamp is finally shipping, having crushed its Kickstarter campaign, and they might be working on a smaller, lighter (but less powerful) sequel.
The Knog Fang builds on the Tactica mini-tool by adding tire levers to each side. The tool hides several 1/4″ bits, making it a compact, flat mini-tool that easily slips into a small pocket on your hipster shorts. Somehow, it fits 18 tools into the body for $39.95.
Need to recharge your rechargers? The new Goal Zero Nomad 5 ($59.95) is the smallest solar panel they’ve made yet. It’ll clip onto the back of your hydration pack while you ride, or you could probably even strap it onto your handlebar roll bag. Shown above (black, left), it’ll recharge their small power bank battery pack (the one sitting on top of it) in a day, or just stream about 5W of 830mA to charge your device. It has a built in USB port on the back, along with a kickstand for stationary charging.
Their Flip Power Banks now come in 12Wh, 24Wh and 36Wh sizes, the latter being enough to fully recharge a tablet. The smallest is just 2.5oz and should top off your smartphone once, making it a great lightweight companion for day trips. Retail is $25-45.
If you need serious portable power, the new Sherpa 100AC (bottom) gives you every outlet you need, including two USB-C ports. This is big, because it’ll directly charge newer computers that use the USB-C standard, eliminating the power loss of going through the normal plug and converter, giving you more usable power for mobile work sessions. At $299, it’s not cheap, but can you really put a price on being able to work all day out in nature?
The Outdoor Element Firebiner is a new carabiner clip that integrates a small sparker with replaceable flint. While you could light a fire from scratch with it if you can find some really dry tinder, it’s meant to ignite camp stoves, fuel-soaked fire starters, etc.
As shown (the blue one being used), it’s $14.95 for the ti-coated stainless steel carabiner with sparker, rated for 100lbs. There’s also the larger version shown in black that adds a cutting blade that could help you escape a stuck seatbelt in a pinch, and a glass breaking point…as well as the sparker. So, once you escape from your wreck, you can light a fire.
Final Straw & Gosili
For $24.50, you can rid yourself of plastic straws forever. They say this stainless steel folding design with silicone internal stray will hold up to being used twice a day for 15 years, and it includes a lifetime warranty. It also includes a handy carrying case, making it a great option if you love the rigidity of traditional straws as much as you love baby sea turtles.
If your preference is for soft shell turtles, er, straws, the Gosili full silicone straw eschews the hard outer shell for just $2.99-$3.99 each. And it has size options, so you can still drink your bubble tea and be eco-conscious. Just be sure to recycle the plastic cup your bubble tea comes in.
Totally unrelated to any of the other stuff, the DoLittle add-on bike seat was one of the few bicycle-specific brands showing off their goods at OR. Similar to the Shotgun kids seat we saw recently, the DoLittle mounts to your front triangle and lets kids ride in front of you. They say it’s good for kids as young as 18 months, up to 61lbs, retail is $160.
More killer outdoor gear from OR Summer 2019:
- OR Gear Roundup #1: Coolers, cookers, campers, filters & pepper spray paint balls
- OR Gear Roundup #2: Seven killer knives for cyclists & bikepackers, plus a tactical shovel
- OR Gear Roundup #3: New packs for mountain biking, commuting, kids & more!
- OR Gear Roundup #4 – Super light, super cool bikepacking tents, stoves, pads & more
- OR Gear Roundup #5 – Gadgets, straws, power packs & a first aid flashlight flask