For better or for worse, electronics such as GPS devices, cellphones, and LED lights have become de rigueur in the backcountry. But keeping them charged isn’t easy. Solar panels don’t work well in heavily wooded areas, and spare batteries add weight to a pack. The coffee-can-size BioLite CampStove solves that problem—and cooks meals at the same time. Campers put fuel, such as sticks, pinecones, and brush, into the stove’s combustion chamber. Waste heat radiates into a thermoelectric generator, which channels electrons into usable current. Some of that current powers a small fan, which boosts airflow within the burn chambers for more efficient combustion; the BioLite burns as hot as propane and can boil water in five minutes. The remaining current, a steady stream of about two watts, runs to a USB port. For phones, 20 minutes of charging yields up to 60 minutes of talk time.
The HeadsUp collision-avoidance system can save adventurers from a very expensive mistake: pulling into the garage with bikes or boats on the roof rack. Drivers place small radio transmitters on their sporting equipment and install an LED alert sign in the garage. When the sign’s 2.4-gigahertz wireless transceiver senses roof-mounted gear approaching, the LED lights up and a connected in-car audio module beeps alerts. $170