Covet

Is it a truck or a snowcat?    

Ford F-150 RaptorTrax

And you thought your truck was badass.

Is it a truck or a snowcat? Whatever you call it, this is a backcountry lover’s biggest dream—a Ford F-150 with Mattracks instead of wheels.

The vehicle comes with about every toy you can imagine. The roof rack doubles as a cargo holder and can also be used as a rail for skiers and snowboarders to ride. Need a winch and a roll cage? Um, yes. Snowboard rack? Of course. Enough lights to spotlight the run you're hitting even when it's pitch black outside? That’s included. There are also super comfy Recaro racing seats in both the front and the bed of the truck.

This Ford even has a disco light. No, we’re not joking.

$120,000, specialvehicleconcepts.com

0 Comments

This sturdy camper will get you to just about any campsite.     Photo: Courtesy of pagrimes.com

Moby1 XTR

A towable camper rugged enough for forest roads.

As rugged as a Sportsmobile, the sexy, athletic Moby1 XTR is a handcrafted hook-up-and-go trailer. The 1,500-pound teardrop is big enough to store all of your camping gear, and it’s sturdy enough to get you to just about any campsite. All you have to do is dream up the appropriate adventure.  

The Moby1 XTR has more than five inches of suspension on independent A-arms with adjustable shocks, a multi-axis coupler, and a reinforced frame. Essentially, it’s like a dual-suspension mountain bike with storage that’s ready to tackle rough, steep terrain. Add a rooftop tent, awning, a sink with hot water, propane heat, toilet, solar panels, and a generator, and you might move in permanently.

Starting at $16,500, moby1trailers.com

0 Comments

The new FiveFingers CVT Hemp doesn't look anything like most of the company's other shoes.     Photo: Courtesy of Trevor Brown, Jr

Vibram FiveFingers CVT Hemp

Not your average minimalist trail shoe.

Most of us know Vibram FiveFingers as the shoe of choice for runners who are serious about minimalism. Now the company is introducing its first hemp casual lifestyle piece—the CVT Hemp.   

The CVT is a far cry from the other FiveFingers, whose colors tend to fall on the euro-fluorescent-techno end of the spectrum. Birkenstock wearers might be temped to convert.       

Made from a blend of hemp and polyester that’s supposedly breathable, durable and sustainable, these slip-on shoes have the same sole as the other casual FiveFingers. You can even fold down the heel and wear the shoe as a clog. Take note that unless your toes are perfectly aligned, the shoes still take some effort to get on.

The CVT hemp will hit shelves this August.

$100, vibramfivefingers.com

0 Comments

The Snolo Stealth-X isn't your average sled.    

The Snolo Stealth-X Sled

This isn't child's play.

Grab your helmet and maybe some pads, because the Snolo Sled Stealth-X isn't intended for a leisurely slide down the local sledding hill.

This is the high-performance alpine sled for the extreme sledder. The race car of sleds, the Snolo is designed for maximum speed and maneuverability. You sit in it as you would sit in a Formula One vehicle and lean into turns as you plummet down the slopes. It’s just a matter of how steep you dare to go.

The carbon fiber slider—which looks like the love child of an old-school sled and a high-tech luge—is relatively easy to carry even if you’re venturing into the backcountry. Just fold down the back rest and slip on the shoulder straps. The foot pegs can be adjusted to the height of the rider.  

Still not convinced the Snolo is extreme enough for you? The average speed during test runs was 40 mph.

$2,549, snolosleds.com

0 Comments

Outdoor Tech's indestructible Big Turtle Shell speaker.    

Outdoor Tech Big Turtle Shell

The rugged speaker for blasting your neighbors away.

Get ready for spring with Outdoor Tech’s Big Turtle Shell—the world’s loudest, most rugged outdoor speaker.

This water- and sand-resistant Bluetooth speaker—which has enough battery power to last much of the night—is definitely loud enough to catch the neighbors’ attention during your next outdoor barbeque. 

Wirelessly connect your phone to the Big Turtle Shell to stream audiophile-approved aptX sound from up to 32 feet away. You can charge your phone mid-fiesta with the speaker’s USB port. Want surround sound? You can easily add another Turtle to your phone’s controls.

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here

$230, outdoortechnology.com

0 Comments

Design your perfect ski with Wager.     Photo: Courtesy of Brett Schreckengost

Wagner Custom Skis

Design your perfect boards.

Think Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin buy their skis directly off the rack? Think again. Professional racers fine-tune every last detail of their skis to ensure they’ll perform in a variety of conditions.    

And thanks to Wagner Custom Skis, you too can tweak your boards just like the pros.  

Colorado-based Wagner, the manufacturer of the world’s most customizable skis, is known for blending art and science. Since 2006, the company has recorded the properties of every commercially made ski to help its designers home in on what’s best for each skier. 

The company even uses the Microsoft Windows 8 Winter Sports app to track your speed, air time, preferred terrain, vertical feet, and total on-snow time. Wagner then takes this data to help make your perfect ski.

Skis start at $1,750; wagnerskis.com

0 Comments

Add some style to your dinner table with these steak knives.    

Morakniv Steak Knives

Curly birch meets stainless steel.

Morakinv has been crafting ice drills and work knives for more than a century in the Swedish town of Mora—a 400-year-old knife-making mecca.

So it should come as no surprise that the family-owned company produces exceptional steak knives. Morakniv’s Curly Birch Steak Knives are made from cold-rolled, heat-treated stainless steel. The result? A strong, sharp blade that holds its edge very well, and a unique curly Masur birch handle. The knives will be available in March.

$200, morakniv.com

0 Comments

The June bracelet from Netatmo is your personalized sun-protection coach.    

Netatmo June Bracelet

Adding a touch of style to UV monitoring.

The June bracelet is more than just a fashion statement. This new device and its app from Netatmo monitor sun intensity and your sun exposure in real time.

It’s a personalized sun-protection coach that offers SPF advice and alerts you when you should reapply sunscreen, put on a hat, or step inside. Depending on your skin type, the app can determine your maximum daily sun exposure.  

It's like having a worried mom on your wrist telling you to apply more sunscreen, but thankfully it's less annoying—and shinier. The technology hides in a sparkly faux diamond, which can be worn on a bracelet or as a brooch.

$99, netatmo.com

0 Comments

Meet Earl, the rugged survival tablet.    

Earl—the Rugged, Revolutionary Tablet

Leave the iPad at home.

Your iPad doesn’t mix well with the outdoors. Even if you keep it away from water and grit, you still have to contend with the lack of internet and electricity in the backcountry.   

That’s where Earl comes in. This new backcountry survival Android tablet works where your smartphone or iPad would fail. The rugged tablet can forecast the weather, determine your location, elevation, and let you communicate with folks back home.

About the size of an iPad mini, Earl is one tough gadget. It’s waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and it will work in temperatures from 32 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. You can submerge it in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes with no ill effects.     

Earl's GPS uses an internal magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope to track your position. It’ll guide you even if you’re navigating dense vegetation or an urban jungle without a line of site. It also gives you access to more than 300,000 trails through the site everytrail.com and high-resolution topographical maps of North America. With Earl in your hand, you have no excuse to get (unintentionally) lost.

The little guy also has ANT+ and Bluetooth capabilities, so you can record heart rate, pace, and cadence. It comes with internal sensors—including a thermometer, a hygrometer to measure humidity, a barometer, and an anemometer to measure wind speed—to forecast the weather. 

Earl’s two-way radio connects you with friends, family, and emergency services. It can access analog and digital radio frequencies up to 20 miles away, and send secure text via Walkie-Talkie to let emergency responders find you if you get in trouble. An internal radio tuner lets you listen to music and emergency radio. 

The battery lasts for about 20 hours. And while Earl works worldwide, it currently only has North America maps. But Europeans, Aussies, and Kiwis need not worry—maps of Europe and the land down under will be available later this spring.  

Earl goes on sale this March.

$330, meetearl.com

0 Comments

The Foobler feeds and entertains your dog at the same time.     Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Foobler Dog Feeder

A Bluetooth puzzle for your pup

You’re at work and your dog is bored, hungry, and probably chewing on the couch in revenge.   

To avoid this scenario, a development team created the Foobler—a puzzle-feeder hybrid that releases kibble according to a schedule you set with a phone app. The designers and engineers—who previously developed pet toys for Sharper Image—decided it was time to come up with a toy that could both feed and entertain your pet.

The Foobler has six internal feeding pods that will dispense food every 15 to 90 minutes. So rather than one big meal, your dog eats in small increments for up to nine hours. It’s a nifty solution to both overfeeding and boredom.  

You can program the Foobler so it rings when it’s about to release kibble—your pup will probably start drooling all over the carpet. The device runs on two AA batteries and will go on sale this April. You can pre-order the Foobler now.   

$65, foobler.com

0 Comments

Derringer's board track-style electric bicycle.    

Derringer Electric Bike

A mini motorcycle inspired by board track racing.

Los Angeles-based Derringer, known for its gas-powered machines, is grabbing a bit more street cred with its new board track-inspired electric bikes.  

Inspired from the board track racing days—when riders turned bikes into mini motorcyles with souped-up engines and sped around circular wooden tracks—the new Derringer has a twist-grip throttle so you can actually rev the engine. Plus, the bikes are completely customizable—you pick the seat and bar styles as well as the colors for the frame, rims, and spokes. Metallic sparkle orange catch your eye? Go for it.

$3,500 to $6,500, derringercycles.com

0 Comments

Redington's fly fishing starter kit.    

Redington Topo Outfit

Everything a novice fly fisherman needs.

Getting into a new sport can be expensive and intimidating. Fly fishing is no exception, so Redington put together a starter kit that’s affordable, functional, and includes everything a new fisherman needs to hook browns, rainbows, or steelies.

The lightweight easy-casting graphite Topo Rod has a carbon fiber reel seat making it strong and durable. Alignment dots keep you from fumbling when you assemble your rod.

The Topo Crosswater reel has a large arbor—the center part of a fly reel—to help you reel in the big ones quickly and easily. The easy-to-swap spool is very versatile and doesn’t require any fancy knots. When you do start to feel more comfortable, you can use the included nippers and extra spool tippet to fine-tune your rig.

This is a setup that will get you into the sport, and that you’ll supplement but never outgrow. Fishing license not included. 

$200, redington.com

0 Comments

A simple tool with lots of possibilities.    

Bergaffe Multi-Functional Tool System

A simple tool with lots of possibilities.

Thanks to a team in Austria, you might no longer have to stuff a shovel, a rake, a tripod, and a GoPro action stick in your backpack. Their solution is called Bergaffe—essentially a tube that can attach to other tubes that can attach to tools. It’s a basic system with endless possibilities.  

The main component is a lightweight tube that can be screwed onto other tubes, letting you lengthen your shovel or heighten your tripod. You can also make a bench to hold your snowboard or you can opt for "The Buck," thin metal antlers that can hold your hat or other wet gear after a day on the slopes. To get the most out of the prototype system, you'll need to invest in a few tubes and additional tools.

We’re excited to see how this Kickstarter campaign turns out.

$TBD, kickstarter.com/bergaffe

0 Comments

Carry your beer in style with the Fyxation Leather Six Pack Caddy.    

Fyxation Leather Six Pack Caddy

Carry your beer in style.

Made from Midwest-sourced full-grain leather and riveted in Fyxation’s Milwaukee workshop, the Leather Six Pack Caddy is your new tool for getting from the house to the party with panache. 

Riding or walking with a sixer in a paper bag has its obvious hazards, but these are concerns you won’t have to think about again thanks to Fyxation. The leather carrier fastens to your bike’s top tube and seat tube, keeping the beer safe and away from your pedals.

The caddy also has a leather strap handle so you can carry the beer to the neighbor’s barbeque in style. Prefer the grape to hopped barley? Fyxation makes a Wine Caddy, too.

$60, fyxation.com

0 Comments

The Ktrack Bike Kit lets you shred powder with your mountain bike.    

The Ktrak Snowmobile Bike Kit

Turn your bike into a human-powered snowmobile.

So you want to keep riding even though there's snow on the ground, but you don’t have the cash to buy a true fat bike. That’s where the Ktrak Snowmobile Bike Kit comes in handy.

The kit turns your mountain bike into a human-powered snowmobile. Replace your front wheel with a ski and the rear one with the snow track—voilà, you now have a snowbike that’s ready for those deep powder days.

The kit is compatible with most standard mountain bikes, according to the company. 

$612, ktrak.es

0 Comments

Shimano's CM-1000 Sport Camera will be available in May.    

Shimano CM-1000 Sport Camera

The bike components behemoth enters the action cam arena.

Come May, Shimano will release what sounds like a pretty impressive little POV camera.

The new CM-1000 Sport Camera with Wi-Fi isn’t just another GoPro wannabe. You can submerge it in up to 30 feet of water—no additional case required. It’s also very lightweight. Shimano’s new cam weighs just 86 grams (compare that to the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition, which weighs 136 grams), and is about the size of a deck of cards.

Plus, it has an F2.0 bright lens that’s ideal for low-light performance, with a large 16MP backlit CMOS sensor that will enable it to shoot brilliant 1080 HD movies and high-quality stills.

Shimano designed the Sport Camera with ANT+ capabilities so it can connect wirelessly with heart rate monitors, power meters, and other training devices. This lets numbers nerds overlay their performance stats within the video. 

The camera has multiple lens modes—standard 135 degrees as well as super wide 180 degrees—and an auto image rotation feature to keep the picture oriented with the horizon no matter how you hold the camera.

The Sport Camera comes with a lens cover, an adhesive, and a helmet mount—no tools required.

$299, shimano.com

0 Comments

Katie Peterson rocking a pair of Astis mitts.     Photo: Alex Irvin/Flickr

Astis Mitts

The most stylish mittens on the slopes

These are definitely the flashiest mittens on the slopes. And they happen to be functional, too.  

Astis—the Cree word for mittens—makes suede mitts and gloves with elaborate bead designs and fringes. They look like nothing else on the market, and I’m stoked about them for a few reasons.

The company uses Kevlar threads to sew the beads onto the mitts, preventing the artwork from falling off after only a few uses. The products are all made from silicon-injected suede leather and lined with high-loft Polartec fleece—my hands stayed warm and dry even during the dreaded polar vortex.

I’ve found that I can’t make it through a lift line without eliciting compliments when I’m wearing these mitts. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Pro riders like them too—Kaylin Richardson, Colby West, Jess McMillan, Nick Martini, Mark Morris, and Katrina DeVore all sport Astis. 

This year, Astis is moving its production to California. Rumor has it that by next season custom beading will be available. In the interim, Astis offers 39 different patterns and styles in short- and long-cuff gloves and mitts. Look for six new designs this fall.  

$145-$225, astis.com 

0 Comments

The North Face Ice Project is a great way to organize your gear at the crag.     Photo: Courtesy of The North Face

The North Face Ice Project

Finally, a great way to organize your ice climbing gear.

You need a lot of gear to ice climb. Most of us throw crampons, screws, boots, harness, helmet, slings, ‘biners, rope, and everything else we’ll want at the cliff into a big bin in the back of the car. We’ll later load the stuff into a pack to haul to the base of the climb. 

The North Face aims to streamline that process. The company created the Ice Project, an ice cragging pack that lets you actually organize all of your gear. Designed with input from superstar mountaineer Conrad Anker, the tub-style pack easily holds boots as well as two sets of axes. Crampons get their own pocket.

The pack has a removable ice-screw holder that protects delicate threads. The front panel, which comes with a special stuff pocket for extra layers, unfolds into an insulated pad you can sit on while booting up. The exterior has backpack straps, plenty of handles, and a ski pack-style helmet carry.

$200, thenorthface.com

0 Comments

The Ski Bumper prevents your skis from scratching your car.    

Sport Bumper Magnetic Strip

To protect the finish on your car

We’ve all done it. You lean your skis on the side of your Subaru, and while you’re fishing around for keys, the skis fall over and take some paint with them.      

Sport Bumper prevents that from happening with its magnetic rubber strip that attaches to the outside of your car. It keeps your skis or snowboard from sliding on the finish and scratching your paint. 

When your gear is loaded in the trunk, just pull the strip and toss it in the car. Each strip holds two pairs of skis or two snowboards. Sport Bumper offers the same device for fishing rods and shotguns.

$16, sportbumper.com

0 Comments

Louis Garneau's Course 721 racing snowshoe.     Photo: Minesh Bacrania

Louis Garneau Course 721

Lighter and sleeker than any other racing snowshoe on the market.

Like most places, Taos County hasn’t seen much snow this winter, which was bad news for the snowshoe race I was scheduled to run last Sunday at the Enchanted Forest XC Ski Area in Red River, New Mexico.

Rather than have athletes navigate patchy singletrack, organizers of the Low O2 Challenge decided to hold the event on the area’s groomed cross-country ski trails. The new course was firmly packed and in some places very icy. There was no powder to break, no sketchy off-camber sections to traverse. Just two hilly loops of wide-open trails for the taking.

Which was perfect for the type of snowshoes I was wearing.

But first, a primer.

Unlike mountaineering snowshoes, which come in various sizes that correspond to your weight, running snowshoes are all fairly similar. To facilitate normal running form, they’re light (fewer than three pounds per pair) and small (at least seven inches wide by 20 inches long, as mandated by the U.S. Snowshoe Association). 

Over the years, gear companies have tried various ways to shave weight from their racing kicks by incorporating features such as composite or titanium frames, aluminum crampons, minimal decking, and single-pull bindings.

And all those features have worked. Year after year, the very best snowshoe runners show up at the National Championships wearing the latest racing models from companies such as Atlas, Dion, and Crescent Moon.

But that might change with Louis Garneau’s recent crack at a racing snowshoe. At 1.6-pounds per pair, the new Course 721 is significantly lighter and sleeker than any other racing snowshoe on the market.

How? Well, for starters, the aircraft-grade aluminum frame is only a half-inch in diameter. Frame weight alone accounts for one-third of snowshoe weight, so LG literally sheds pounds by opting for a lower profile, thinner skeleton. And amazingly, the narrow frame doesn’t sacrifice strength and durability. The aluminum band comes together at the tapered tail—the least stressed area of the snowshoe—where it is connected with a durable nylon tip.

The deck is a polyurethane-polyethylene weave that connects to the frame at 11 locations, meaning there are plenty of strategically placed cutouts (gaps between the decking and the frame) that also save on weight.

Although the mesh decking is super strong, it’s also slick, which is really my only complaint about this product. If you’re on uneven singletrack, your foot will slip. Say, for example, the trail the tilts to the left. Your heel, when it comes down on the decking, will slide to the left. It’s a little annoying. I think putting some skateboard grip on the heel area might help, but I haven’t tried that yet. Perhaps changing shoes would help, too (I wear Saucony Peregrines). 

However, if you’re on a mostly smooth surface, you can power forward, no problem. That’s why the Course 721 was great for my race. I could soar over those groomed cross-country trails and not worry about slipping and sliding to either side.

This confidence was boosted, of course, by also having toothy crampons underfoot. Racing snowshoes don’t boast super-aggressive cleats, but they typically offer enough grip to keep you grounded whether you’re pulling yourself up a mountain or flying down an icy hill. 

Lastly, a dual boa closure—a rarity among racing snowshoes—keeps your entire foot secure in the 0.13-pound binding (LG calls it a harness). You’ll never worry about pulls or buckles wriggling loose as you run, and because the Boas tighten evenly across your feet, hot spots and toes falling asleep are not a concern.

I won the race last weekend and will compete in the National Championships in Vermont on March 1. I’m a little skeptical how the Course 721s will do on technical singletrack and fresh powder, but I am definitely not worried about them weighing down my carry-on.

$250; louisgarneau.com

0 Comments

Comments