9 Innovations for the Great Outdoors
A Towel That Doesn't Get DirtyA Shield That Keeps Electronics DryA Repellant That Baffles BugsA Powder That Keeps Skin Sand-FreeA Grill That CollapsesA Shower That's PortableA Set of Wheels That Go ZoomA Towel That Keeps Cold and Germ-FreeA Lantern That Repels Bugs With Military Strength
Originally designed as a helimat to stop helicopters from kicking up debris during landing, the Sandless Beach Mat ensures no unwanted particles will ever reach your personal belongings. Unlike other beach towels, this beach mat designed by CGear Sandfree Limited will always stay clean, even if you drop sand directly on the surface. Layers of patented woven polyurethane act as a one-way filter, instantly distilling the sand and preventing it from reemerging through the bottom of the mat. The mat, available in three sizes depending on the size of your beach party, also eliminates dirt, dust, and water from the surface, ensuring a good clean time at the beach.
Cost: $59.99 for a medium.
Say there's an amazing game or movie on TV, but you don't want to go inside and miss out on the beautiful summer weather. Now there's no need to miss either, thanks to the new outdoor inflatable theatre from Sima Technologies, a consumer electronics manufacturer based in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. The structure only takes five minutes to inflate, and its weather-resistant PVC construction and water-resistant speakers make it okay to keep outside in the rain, or even nearby a swimming pool. Its 70" screen projects 480p resolution at a 16:9 aspect ratio, and since it's designed to play outside, the display provides 900 lumens for optimal brightness. Should you want to plug in a DVD player, DVR, or Xbox, the theatre can connect to HDMI, VGA, and USB cables and devices.
Cost: $999.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.
Simple repellant sprays have nothing on the BugStorm Shield, a lightweight, portable, cheap solution for repelling and confusing mosquitos. Developed by "a team of perfumers and etymologists" at Aromatic Fusion, a natural scents manufacturer, the BugStorm Shield utilizes two techniques to battle bugs: in addition to being a pure repellant, the BugStorm apparatus also emits a scent that confuses mosquito receptors so they can't find their target, i.e. you. Once activated, the BugStorm will shut off automatically after two hours, ensuring the shield is always powered up and ready when needed. Available in six different colors and optimized for garden, patio, camping, and outdoor use, the BugStorm Shield's 17' radius ensures no bloodsuckers will enter your personal zone.
Cost: $18.50 on bugstorm.com.
Tired of sand sticking to your skin after a long day at the beach? Since showering on the beach only makes you susceptible to picking up more sand, what's a beachgoer to do? Thankfully, there's Sandgone, a new invention from solopreneur Tiffany Smith. Inspired by her own experiences at the beach that left her kids a sandy mess, Sandgone ensures its user never tracks unwanted sand into shoes, the car, or the house. Created from a blend of natural powders, starches, and fragrances, Sandgone's fine powder magically removes dry or wet sand from anywhere you apply it, soothing and perfuming your skin in the process.
Cost: $12.95 plus shipping on Sandgone.com.
Nothing says summer more than a cookout, but barbeque grills are expensive, cumbersome, and make a mess. Instead of lugging around a heavy grill to a pool party or picnic, the Brisbane Tabletop BBQ is a cheap, convenient alternative that does everything a big barbeque does, and more. Despite its small size, the Brisbane is a lightweight tabletop grill perfect for any situation. The Brisbane is very easy to assemble: Just fill it with charcoal, light the coals, add your food items, and you're off and grilling. The Brisbane can cook atop any flat surface, and best of all, when finished, the grill can be folded up and carried like a briefcase, making it an ideal choice for the beach or the park.
Cost: £24.99 (approximately $40) on Firebox.com.
After about two or three days at a music festival, most people are ready for a shower. Instead of washing with water bottles, the Pocket Shower is perfect for a quick wash when you're miles away from a power source. Capable of holding 10 liters of water, the Pocket Shower is essentially a ultra-compact roll-up fabric bag that heats the water from the sun's rays, ensuring a warm shower every time—as long as it's sunny out. Water flow is controlled with a simple twist of the shower head. Just hang up the pocket shower on a tree branch—or ask a good friend to hold it—and you'll be fresh as a daisy in no time.
Cost: $16 Canadian (approximately $26 American) on FireBox.com.
Getting around the city is much easier with a set of wheels. The Skatecycle, invented by New York City's own Brooklyn Workshop, is the ultimate way to traverse the city without expending excessive amounts of energy. While skateboarding and rollerblading require energy and force to go, the Skatecycle is the world's first self-propelled hubless skate. There are no batteries; you slide your feet onto the two slip-resistant plates, and you simply weave along flats or carve down hills like a snowboarder. The Skatecycle also folds up, making for easy storage or transport.
Cost: $149.95 on BrooklynWorkshop.com.
Nothing feels better than a cool towel after a hot workout. That's the inspiration behind the Kool Towel, a towel that stays significantly cooler than the ambient temperature around you, but requires no refrigeration whatsoever. Made from hyper-evaporative material, the Kool Towel is activated by water but always feels dry to the touch. The towel stays cool for up to four hours, depending on conditions, but can be reused several times before it needs a wash. The towel comes in three colors, is both antiseptic and antimicrobial, and is perfect for sports, fevers, or illnesses, or just relief from the hot summer sun.
Cost: $19.99 on KoolTowel.net.
No campsite is complete without a campfire, but every campfire attracts its fair share of nasty pests and mosquitos. Thermacell's new mosquito repelling lantern is the perfect solution for the outdoorsman who wants the light without the bugs. Field-tested by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the lantern uses a butane fueled heater to vaporize a repellant-soaked mat on top of the lantern, creating a 15' x 15' zone proven to repel up to 98 percent of mosquitos. Used by military personnel worldwide, the lantern requires four AA batteries and lasts up to about 16 hours.
Cost: $36.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.