2019 Guide to Gadgets: Some of the Latest High-Tech Widgets and Whatnots
Some of the latest high-tech widgets and whatnots for comfort, survival, and adventure
Everyone's checklist for four-wheeling and overlanding—and the side adventures that go along with those—is pretty similar. It's the things you need for the getaway. But then there's the fantasy list that you might not even write down—the things that would make it all easier or more fun. That wish list is what we've complied here. The good news is, those gadgets are often more affordable than you might think. Here are some that we've added to our go-pack, as well as a few of our own wants.
Mil-Spec, Multichoice Deflator
What It Does: Airs down your tires to an adjustable preset air pressure.
Tech: These rugged, mil-spec deflators are built in the UK and have always been some of our favorite tools in our recovery bag. Available in either the Rock Crawler model (2-12 psi) or the standard flavor (10-20 psi), these deflators can precisely deflate your tires in 2-psi increments with the simple turn of a knob. We carry two in our gear bag, which makes airing down simple and fast.
Benchmade 365 Outlast
What It Does: An EDC knife that's ready for any situation.
Tech: We rarely leave home without a knife in our pocket, and one of our go-to blades of late is the Benchmade 365 Outlast. It features two blades: an S30V stainless steel drop-point; and a thicker, fully serrated, opposing-bevel 3V tool-steel blade with an integrated O2 wrench. As if two blades weren't enough, the 365 Outlast also includes a rescue hook for cutting webbing or seatbelts and a carbide-tipped glass breaker. With all this in one knife, it's not a hard choice to grab this one for a typical day—or one on the trail.
Power Tank Builder Series
What It Does: Onboard air system for doers.
Tech: Tired of low-capacity onboard air systems that get less effective as they heat up? If so, the Power Tank CO2 solution might be for you. Whether you want to engage air lockers, power tools, or quickly air-up tires, Power Tank has the right setup for your needs. With its new Builder Series packages, spec'ing out a Power Tank is easier than ever. First, you customize the base tank with your choice of color, size, regulator, and hose. Then, you choose the accessory package that fits your usage case and then the mounting system. New systems feature an updated color palette and finishes, billet parts, as well as new stainless steel flexible braided line that comes out of the regulator coupler for strain relief. With a generous warranty policy, this could be the last onboard air system you ever need.
Cost: Starting around $500
JKloud Jeep Hammock
What It Does: A versatile rollbar hammock for your Jeep Wrangler.
Tech: For those who don't want to mess with a tent, the JKloud rollbar hammock is easy to set up and allows you to comfortably sleep above your gear—with your roof on or off. It also can be installed as a full-length sunshade or a weather-resistant cargo cover. Whether you want to spend the night or take a quick trail nap, the JKloud gets you off the ground and stows much smaller than a tent.
K at NV 2.0
What It Does: A sturdy, hitch-mounted platform bike rack.
Tech: Designed to be a secure and wobble-free bike rack, the K at NV 2.0 is one of the best choices on the market. The adjustable front tire cradle system will fit up to a 29-inch tire (as large as 4.8 inches wide). The smartly designed and fully integrated cable locks keep your bikes safe, and each bike position will hold up to 60 pounds, which means your eBike can come along for the ride, too. An optional expansion rack means the NV 2.0 can carry up to four bikes. It's made in America.
What It Does: Camp chairs designed with your back in mind.
Tech: Whether it's the traditional Elite, Guru, or the Low Gravity 2.0 Beach Chair, Strongback chairs are made sturdy and include a patented frame-integrated lumbar support. The seats are designed with posture in mind, so no more uncomfortable slouching at camp. The chairs fold up compactly, include cupholders and padded armrests, and have wide footpads to prevent sinking into the sand or mud. Elite models are a full 23 inches wide at the seat and are rated up to 300 pounds. For the ultimate camp statement, check out the Low G Recliner for stargazing.
Cost: Starting at $70
Lanmodo Night Vision System
What It Does: Gives you James Bond-style tech to see better in the dark, including while off-road, thanks to a night-vision camera.
Tech: There's an 8.2-inch screen with 1,080-pixel full-color image—functional even at night—with wide-angle vision for seeing nearly 1,000 feet in the distance. It's available with or without a rear camera.
Cost: Starts at about $500
CRKT Persevere 5-in-1 Survival Tool
What It Does: Gives you a tool for pretty much any situation encountered in the wilderness: axe, knife, chisel, adze, and splitting wedge.
Tech: The powdercoated Persevere weighs 6.8 ounces, features carbon steel, and has a 5.4-inch blade. The company said, "One pin and two wedges are neatly packaged within the compact sheath, so when the need arises, a solid branch can be lashed to the system with the included paracord, transforming the head into a powerful chopping machine. "
Cost: MSRP is $34.99
Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller
What It Does: How does it sound when we tell you that you could repel skeeters by way of a 15-foot protection zone? No spraying needed.
Tech: There's a mounting system, it's lightweight, you can take it anywhere, it's DEET-free, offers 12 hours of protection, and it's ergonomically friendly. There are also holster and armored versions (the armored one, for example, gives you a visual on that zone).
Cost: Starts at about $25
Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier
What It Does: We rarely cover kid-themed outdoor/overlanding/four-wheeling products, but this gadget for getting around with them on the trail is very innovative.
Tech: There's a fully framed and padded "cockpit" with adjustable harness, torso adjustability for the carrier, UPF 50+ UV/shade protection, a lightweight folding aluminum frame, zippered pockets and compartments, grab handles, hydration sleeve, and drool pad. We assume that's for the wee one.
Cost: $330 (but the regular Poco model is less)
4thD XP80 Solar Panel
What It Does: When your vehicle is parked once you hit camp, you'll still want to power your accessories, like the fridge, and solar panels allow for that, even for extended periods of lingering-away-from-it-all time.
Tech: It uses trifold Merlin patented MST tech and is worth 80 watts. Some numbers: current imp, 4.20 amps; isc, 4.36 amps; voltage pmax, 18.92 vdc. We'll have more on this panel in an upcoming issue of Four Wheeler.
Suaoki USB and Solar Lighting
What It Does: The clover-style, collapsible, portable unit has solar panels and also a USB port. It'll recharge in 3 1/2 hours.
Tech: Lantern, flashlight, SOS alerter—it's the jack of all lighting needs. But you'll stay for the hook engineered into it for hanging inside your tent for overhead lighting. There are 18 LED beads, and in the lowest setting you get 4 hours of light (2 in the other modes).
Cost: Around $20
Giant Trance 29er
What It Does: A short-travel 29er that keeps you going when the two-track turns single.
Tech: Finally, a modern 29er from Giant. What we can tell you is that the Trance is one fun and well-rounded bike. With great climbing ability and surprising downhill performance, it's a trail ripper for the everyday rider. With a decent kit that includes an aluminum frame, 130mm Fox Float Rhythm fork, 115mm Fox Float DPS Evol shock, SRAM NX Eagle 1x12, SRAM Guide T brakes, and Maxxis Minion 29x2.3 tires, you can get out on the trail right out of the box.