Recreation

Conquer the outdoors with the greatest gear of the year.

Paint That Can Save Your Life

Albedo100 Light-Reflective Spray
Albedo100 Light-Reflective Spray
When it comes to safety, staying visible at night is critical for runners, walkers, and cyclists. That's why Swedish startup Albedo100 has developed a reflective spray that can be applied to clothes and bike parts. The spray is invisible during the day but shines like a highway street sign at night when it comes under the glare of headlights. The spray is benign, so it doesn't damage materials or hurt your skin, and lasts about a week before wearing off. There's even another version of the spray that's safe enough to put directly on your pet's fur. Albedo100 released both versions of the spray earlier this year, and a third that works especially well on metals will be out by the end of the year. It also collaborated with Swedish carmaker Volvo to market the spray under the name Life Paint, which they hope to one day sell in the United States. Never stress over Halloween night again. $19Jonathon Kambouris

Charge Your Phone With A Flame

Stower Candle Charger
Stower Candle Charger
The Candle Charger by Stower uses an open flame to charge your mobile device. Here’s how: You fill a small, specially constructed pot with water, place it on a stand, and set it over a burning fuel-canister candle. A USB cable attaches to the pot, providing a point of connection for your device. As the water boils, the temperature difference between the water and flame creates an electric current that charges your phone. It’s handy in the field but also in power outages. Plus you can then tell someone that you charged your phone with fire—because you did. $100Jonathon Kambouris

The Only Jacket You'll Need

Voormi Fall Line Jacket With Core Construction
Voormi Fall Line Jacket With Core Construction
Unpredictable weather in the backcountry means you have to carry many different layers to deal with the elements. The Voormi Fall Line jacket does away with that. This wool zip-up keeps you warm and comfortable in cool weather but also keeps you dry if you get caught in the rain. The Colorado company calls this Core Construction technology. It knits water-resistant material within the wool into a single layer. This makes it possible to have water-resistant clothes in virtually any material, including cotton and nylon. Voormi released the jacket this fall. From $400Jonathon Kambouris

Golf Coach In Your Phone

Epson M-Tracer Golf Swing Analyzer: Golf Coach In Your Phone
Epson M-Tracer Golf Swing Analyzer
Improving your golf swing is a lifelong pursuit—and an expensive one if you rely on a trainer or coach. The M-Tracer Golf Swing Analyzer and app put that expertise on your phone. A thumb-size "tracer'' clips to your club and, as you swing, records 1,000 samples of movement per second and sends them to your phone. The resulting 360-degree 3D image reveals club speed, attack angle, and more. It also records and saves each swing so you can compare strokes as you go along and track your improvement. $250Courtesy Epson

Failproof Motorcycle Airbag Suit

Dainese D-Air racing Misano Suit: Failproof Motorcycle Airbag Suit
Dainese D-Air Racing Misano Suit
Motorcycle airbag suits and jackets have been around for years and typically require a tether, attached to the bike, to deploy. That’s a problem if you’re not thrown from the bike during a spill, and if they don't deploy quick enough. The D-Air is the first one in the U.S. that doesn’t require a tether. The suit uses a suite of sensors that detects movement of the body or an imminent crash to trigger airbag deployment. This all happens in just 30 milliseconds. Although it’s been available in Europe since 2012, it just reached the U.S. in September of this year. $2,500Courtesy Dainese

Fighter-Pilot Goggles For Skiers

Uvex Snowstrike VT Goggles: Fighter-Pilot Goggles for Skiers
Uvex Snowstrike VT Goggles
Skiing over uneven terrain with obscured vision isn't just annoying, it's dangerous. The Snowstrike VT Goggles make it a problem of the past by using the same technology found in fighter-pilot helmets. The goggles have sensors that gauge the intensity of outside light and send signals to LCD crystals inside the lenses to change the shade accordingly. In a tenth of a second, the tint morphs to purple, blue, red, or clear. So while flying down slopes at high speeds, and in and out of shade, the wearer will never have a momentary lapse of clarity. The tint can also be changed manually. $500Jonathon Kambouris

A Drone That Snaps Your Selfies

Torquing Group Zano Self-Tracking Drone
Torquing Group Zano Self-Tracking Drone
Flying a camera-equipped drone while taking footage requires dexterity. A little slip could send your drone plummeting to Earth. The Zano is a tiny quadcopter with an HD camera that flies and shoots by itself. It does this by following your smartphone via Wi-Fi. Using GPS and a barometric pressure sensor to navigate and estimate altitude, it films you as you go about your vacation or your daily run. Presets can make it stay in one place, or track your every move. The little hummingbird-like drones started shipping to customers in November. From $310Courtesy Torquing Group

Drink Water From A Mud Puddle

MSR Guardian Purifier: Drink Water from a Mud Puddle
MSR Guardian Purifier
The U.S. military asked backcountry outfitter Mountain Safety Research (MSR) to create a device that could protect troops from waterborne illness anywhere they deploy. The company came up with the Guardian Purifier, which uses medical-grade fibers to block out dangerous pathogens, such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, along with particulate matter like sediment and silt. Also, the device never requires a cleaning: It uses about 10 percent of the water it pumps up to flush out the blocked contaminants. Now it's available to you. It debuted in August 2015. $350Jonathon Kambouris

An App That Helps You Avoid Avalanches

Avatech Avanet Cloud Platform/Mobile App: An App That Helps You Avoid Avalanches
Avatech Avanet Cloud Platform/Mobile App
Unstable snowpack and bad weather increase the dangers for climbers, hikers, and skiers in the mountains. To avoid being caught off-guard, mountain-safety company Avatech has built a mobile app that collects crowdsourced weather and snowpack information for backcountry enthusiasts to access in both hemispheres—and hike accordingly. From $5 per monthCourtesy Avatech