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Tag Archives: Outdoors

Biotop Natural Pools – Like A Billabong In Your Backyard

Biotop Natural Pools (Images courtesy Biotop)
By Andrew Liszewski

Had the company existed back when Jed Clampett first struck it rich and moved to Beverly Hills, I’m pretty sure he would have jumped at the chance to convert his family’s ‘cement pond’ into one of these Biotop Natural Pools. Think of them as a kind of backyard pond, but large enough to swim in. And without any carp. The general idea is that the Biotop pools look far more natural, surrounded by reeds, tall grasses and rocks they better blend into the landscaping around your backyard.

In fact, the pools apparently stay clean and algae free without the need for any harsh chemicals like chlorine thanks to its natural approach. A plant based filtration system keeps the water clean and clear, while a naturally working ‘Carbonator’ which uses air pipes and rocks battles the algae problem. Not only does the passive system not require a continual investment in chemicals like chlorine and salt, but it also seems to be pretty hands-off when it comes to maintenance. My only concern is that the local wildlife might see your new addition as a giant restroom.

[ Biotop Natural Pools ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Ofess 0% Umbrella Looks Like You’re Carrying A Wine Bottle

Ofess 0% Umbrella (Images courtesy Rakuten)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not sure when umbrellas became more of a style accessory than a way to stay dry in a downpour, but I’m wholeheartedly behind the fad. And if carrying around a faux sword isn’t your thing, perhaps an umbrella camouflaged as a bottle of spirits will fit the bill? The Ofess 0% umbrella looks like a stylish bottle of wine when not in use, but comes apart to reveal your standard rain shield, using the bottle’s neck as the handle. While you then have to deal with the inconvenience of carrying an empty tube when it’s open, it also provides a place to store a wet umbrella so it doesn’t drip everywhere. Available in a variety of colors and vintages (I hear 1988 was a lovely year for umbrellas) for ~$36 (¥2,800) from Rakuten.

[ Ofess 0% Umbrella ] VIA [ Matomeno ]

Concept Umbrella Funnels Water Down Into A Squirt Gun In The Handle

Squirt Gun Umbrella (Images courtesy Alex Woolley)
By Andrew Liszewski

It kind of defeats the purpose of carrying an umbrella on a rainy day to stay dry, but the kid in me (who pretty much runs the show) really likes this more entertaining take on the brolly. The tip of the canopy is actually sunken so it works like a funnel, channeling the rain drops down into a squirt gun that doubles as the umbrella’s handle. As long as you’re the only one carrying around this special umbrella you’ll stay completely dry, while the random strangers you pass on the street won’t know what hit them. It was created by Alex Woolley as a concept piece sadly, and I’m almost certain it hasn’t gone into production. Otherwise there’d be one hanging on my door already.

[ Alex Woolley - Encouraging Adults to Play in the Rain ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Timberland Radler Trail Camp Shoes Zip Into Themselves For Easier Travel

Timberland Radler Trail Camp Shoes (Images courtesy Timberland)
By Andrew Liszewski

Having an extra pair of shoes when traveling is a real asset, if you can find the room to pack them. Whether you need to switch to a dry pair, or a different pair altogether when battling blisters, it’s a worthwhile bit of extra weight. And Timberland has just made it a bit easier to toss an extra pair of shoes in your suitcase, or clip them to the outside of your pack, with their new Radler Trail Camp Shoes. They’re a low-cut pair of thick-soled, outdoor-friendly trail shoes that zip into themselves thanks to a compact and thin upper design.

Made from waterproof, ripstop fabric and durable soles composed of 42% recycled rubber, the Radlers might not be ideal for extreme hiking situations given the lack of ankle support, but for light trail walking and life around camp they look pretty rugged. And when zipped shut they can be clipped to the outside of your bag. Personally I think it would be far more ideal if the shoes zipped into themselves the other way, containing the dirty soles so they could be easily thrown in a bag of clothing, but I can still appreciate their space-saving design. And at $65 they’re not terribly expensive either.

[ Timberland Radler Trail Camp Shoes ] VIA [ Acquire ]

Sea-Doo 4 Person Inflatable Aqua Lounge Includes Its Own Sound System

Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 4 Person Inflatable with MP3 System (Image courtesy Sea-Doo)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since the thought of even spending one precious second of our lives away from our music, possibly having an intellectual and enlightening conversation with another human being, is so scary to us, it seems everything we own will eventually feature a built-in iPod dock. Or at least a way to connect and enjoy our MP3 players. The latest company to provide such a ‘convenience’ is Sea-Doo with this massive inflatable man-made island that allows 4 people to lounge about on a lake, generating sufficient noise pollution to annoy fellow weekenders.

The specifics on what exactly the built-in ‘MP3 system’ is composed of is glossed over in their product description. But in addition to a set of waterproof speakers, it’s probably safe to assume it at least has a line-in cable allowing you to connect any audio source with a headphone jack. And hopefully some means to keep the connected device high and dry. I’m not sure if that’s enough to justify its $299.99 price tag, even with the float’s quadruple air chamber design which keeps it stable no matter what the weight distribution of the occupants is. But it’s a small price to pay if it saves us from having to talk to each other right?

[ Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 4 Person Inflatable with MP3 System ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Black Diamond’s New Magnetron Auto-Locking Carabiner

Black Diamond Magnetron Auto-Locking Carabiner (Image courtesy Black Diamond)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m convinced that 80% of the world’s carabiner production is used by first year college students. But if you’re just using one to hold your dorm room key, student I.D. and meal card, a locking mechanism isn’t necessary. For the remaining 20% which are used to keep mountain climbers securely attached to their safety lines, being able to easily and securely lock and unlock them is an important feature. And that’s what prompted Black Diamond to engineer their new Magnetron auto-locking Carabiner.

On either side of the carabiner’s brightly colored locking ‘arms’ you’ll find a strong magnet that’s attracted to a steel insert, keeping the locking mechanism closed until you depress both sides to open it. And once opened, the opposing magnets actually have the same polarity so they repel each other, keeping the arms held open until the carabiner is closed again. (If my description is making things sound more confusing than they really are, just watch this promotional video from Black Diamond which eventually shows how the new system works.)

Don’t run out to your local outdoor shop just yet to pick one up though. They won’t be available until July 2012 at the earliest, presumably to allow for ample safety testing first.

[ Black Diamond - Magnetron Technology™: The reinvention of the auto-locking carabiner, coming July 2012 ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

OhGizmo! Review – Selk’bag 4G Lite

Selk'bag 4G Lite (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

When you’re packing for an adventure in the great outdoors, particularly one that involves a lot of hiking and carrying, multi-purpose tools are the only way to go. Axes that double as shovels, spoons that double as forks and even diaries that double as toilet paper will make your trek far more enjoyable. And who says that a sleeping bag has to only be a place to sleep? Not the people at Selk’bags, that’s for sure. While their sleeping bags do provide warmth and comfort while you doze all night, their unique design allows them to be enjoyed when you’re awake as well. In fact, wearing one is kind of like never having to get out of bed!

We had the chance to try out their latest model, the Selk’bag 4G Lite, at the cottage last weekend, and you can check out our full review of it after the jump.

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Folding Canoe Fits In A Backpack

Adhoc Folding Canoe (Image courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

The Boy Scouts of America’s motto is simple: “Be prepared.” And with this folding canoe strapped to their backs, they’ll certainly be one step closer to that goal – at least when it comes to flash floods. Created by Tsor Design’s Ori Levin, the Adhoc canoe (more like a kayak actually) weighs in at just 4.1 kg and can be collapsed into a backpack-sized package that’s easy to carry. It’s made from carbon fiber for the hull and support struts, as well as aramid, a strong, light, heat-resistant synthetic fiber used in body armor and racing sails.

It can be assembled in a mere 5 minutes, and broken down probably even quicker, making it the ideal companion for a portaging adventure. But the slightly exotic materials it’s made from ensure it would definitely be on the pricier side were it to ever go into production.

[ Tsor - industrial design ] VIA [ designboom ]

Toro’s Lawn Striping ‘System’

Toro's Lawn Striping System (Image courtesy Toro)
By Andrew Liszewski

For any of our readers who wished they lived on a golf course or a professionally-groomed baseball field, Toro’s so-called lawn striping ‘system’ will let you pattern and customize the look of your grass, in your front or backyard, making it look like you actually know what you’re doing. And by ‘system’ Toro of course means a $90 accessory which is basically nothing more than a heavy roller that trails behind your lawn mower as you push it around your yard.

All you have to do is attach it using a few simple tools, fill it with dry sand and then decide what pattern you want to leave behind. As it rolls over the grass it simply bends the blades forward, and by changing directions you can create contrasting stripes. You can get standalone lawn rollers too, but if you’ve already got a self-propelled push mower why not let it do all the work?

[ Toro Lawn Striping System ] VIA [ Werd ]