The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Gear

9 Car Camping Upgrades

Despite what some preppers might have you to believe, the most popular form of camping in the U.S. has nothing to do with eating bugs or building your own makeshift shelter. That’s right: most of us will drive right up to our campsite this summer with all our gear stowed in the trunk. And hey, you’re not roughing it, so why not go the extra mile to turn that site into a luxurious base camp? The following nine products will help.

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Kuberg Free-Rider

It looks like something Batman might ride when the Batmobile is in the shop, but the Kuberg Free-Rider is no DC Comics' fantasy.   

Kuberg, an electric motorcycle company that usually builds bikes for kids and teenagers, designed the electric Free-Rider to be quiet, lightweight, versatile, and, most importantly, fun. The new bike only weighs 84 pounds and can reach speeds up to 34 MPH. It'll run for an hour on one charge.

So while the Free-Rider might not be powerful enough to leave the bad guys in your dust, at least it sure looks cool.  


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Real Men Groom with Charcoal

If you’ve relegated charcoal to the backyard or the water filter, you’re missing out. The activated form, typically made from bamboo, is ultra-porous so it’s highly absorbent and makes quick work of oil, sweat, bacteria, and airborne funk—all fixtures of warm-weather workouts. Here are five products to keep you clean this summer.

Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Bamboo Charcoal

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The antithesis of clean: a musty-smelling washcloth, sponge, or pouf. Konjac sponges are an addictively scrubby, traditional Asian grooming tool made from their namesake plant’s starchy roots. This one from Boscia gets a skin-cleansing boost from bamboo charcoal that also helps it resist shower-dwelling microbes. Bonus: It gets skin clean without soap, too. $18,

Craftsman Soap Company Rough Stuff Exfoliating Bar

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This soap looks tough—and it is, with ground pumice, walnut shells, and coffee beans that slough off every last trace of that five-mile trail run. Some charcoal cleansers leave skin overly stripped, but Craftsman Soap’s blend includes olive, coconut, and avocado oils to keep things smooth. $6.50,

Morihata Binchotan Pumice Stone

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Pumice stones are great for keeping calluses in check, which tend to harbor bacteria and fungus—the last things you want grinding against your feet. Morihata’s Binchotan Pumice Stone is actually made of polyurethane foam that’s been blended with ultrafine charcoal powder, so it fights irritating, odor-causing microbes while you scrub. $16,

Origins Clear Improvement Mask

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Slim-cut, move-with-you athletic wear has huge performance advantages. The price, however, can be an unfortunate flare-up of backne—or its even more unsightly colleague, buttne—anywhere that seams or panels trap moisture long enough to clog pores. Origins Clear Improvement mask pairs charcoal with white clay to absorb oil and debris. Masks are usually a chore to use, but this one isn’t: when you jump in the shower, just soap up and rinse off the affected area, smear on a thin layer, and let it work while you tend to other matters. By the time you’re ready for the final rinse, you’ll be in the clear. From $17,

Mini Moso Charcoal Deodorizers

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If you’re like us, you’re occasionally guilty of leaving sweat-soaked workout clothes to moulder for days in your gym bag, maybe excavating them for a spur-of-the-moment lunchtime run or yoga class. Believe us, then, that these tiny sachets work wonders. Toss a couple in your bag or stuff them in your sneakers and they’ll absorb the brunt of BO and bacteria after even the most brutal CrossFit session. Just give them a few hours of direct sunlight once or twice a month and they’ll be good to go for up to two years. $9.99 for two,

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Monkii Bars

You won’t find this equipment at your local park. Instead, the Monkii Bars are a lightweight, portable suspension-training tool.

Use them at home, in your office, at a park, or while camping and traveling—the whole system is completely self-contained within the sleek bars.

Here’s how it works. Remove the 18-foot suspension line from the bars, then throw the line over a branch or hook it up to a door with carabiners and webbing. (A door-attachment accessory is still in the works.) Use the loop to adjust the length, and voilà, you have a personal-training system. The kit also includes training and set-up-anywhere guides.  

Work on upper and lower body strength or use the bars to extend your flexibility. Because the Monkii Bars can be used and stored almost anywhere, you’ll have no more excuses for not working out. The product is set to ship later this summer.

Pre-order for $98,

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The Closest You'll Get to Super Vision

Maui Jim Bamboo Forest ($219)

Credit featherweight MauiPure lenses and new-gen plastic frame material for the amazing lightness of these stylish shades. The greenish tint of the polarized lenses, engineered to work well in low-light conditions, makes the most of cloudy days and heavy shadow. And the subtle golden, double-gradient mirroring (high and low on the lens, but not in the middle) reduces the brightness of reflective surfaces while enhancing detail, especially on turf and tennis courts.

Rudy Project Airblast ($350)

You spend this much on performance eyewear for the same reason you buy a slick Italian frame and trick it out with top-end components: excellence for the sake of excellence. The single lens wraps high, low, and wide, putting edges out of sight while providing bombproof protection against sun and wind. Plus, Rudy Project’s photochromic Racing Red tint darkens from barely pink to deep rose with increasing brightness.

Smith Tenet ($199)

Smith’s polarized Low Light Ignitor glass lenses peel the surface off clear streams and ocean flats so effectively, you can watch fish ignoring your perfectly hand-tied flies. A special lens coating sheds water, and rubber at the ears and nose gets stickier when wet, adding to the angler appeal. But unlike a lot of other fishing sunglasses, the Tenets are actually handsome, with shapely curves and a bit of bling at the hinge points.

Oakley Special Edition Heritage Eyeshade ($200)

This isn’t retro weirdness; it’s history. Oakley’s big single-lens shield, chopped off straight at the sides, is a reissue of the first eyewear made specifically for outdoor-sports use and worn by Greg LeMond in the 1984 Tour de France. The new Eyeshade is actually quite a bit better than the original, with dark, color-neutral Black Iridium lenses that are up to searing brightness and about as good as nonglass lenses get.

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