It feels like it’s been summer here since february or so… and when we were checking out at the supermarket, had a nostalgic moment when i spotted Smashball - that beachy wooden paddle ball game thats been around since the 70s with such an adorably iconic logo. It also seemed like a fun one to experiment with in the Laser Cutter! Remember the hexagon experiment from the laser challenge? Well we threw some of those patterns together and played with painting and etching it into the paddles and toying with some custom colored plastidip. Take a peek at more details of the experiment on the next page!
Entries tagged with: outdoors
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So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.
On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!
So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!
Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!
I’m a sucker for smart/fun uses of reflective materials… and often the are far more satisfying to play with in person than any picture. Such is the case with these JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that just showed up from the nice folks at JBL Audio! These work out headphones come in a Bluetooth and Wired version in iOS and Android versions - and while i loved the design, but was iffy about the sound quality of the JBL J46BTs - i’m curious whether the sound quality of the Synchros BTs will be better. As for the JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that are wired - i’m loving them! The design details - from the flat cables with double sided reflective coatings to magnetic earbuds, the way the remote buttons FEEL to the sound quality… to the thoughtfulness of a shorter cable for use with armbands, and an extension cable (also reflective!) for use in normal situations. And the nicest touch - even the packaging has a shimmering foil to denote the reflective nature of the cables. Oooh and i almost forgot, the earbuds! Surprisingly comfortable and they lock in nicely, so they aren’t going anywhere. Ready to see all the details? Head to the next page…
What happens when a professional chef (Jennifer Scism of Annisa and more) has to spend a lot of time in the backcountry? Good To-Go gourmet dehydrated meals! I’ll admit i was first drawn in by the bright, bold, playful packaging - especially that background pattern! But when it comes to dehydrated meals it’s all about the taste - and the ease of rehydration. Think of it as fancy cup o’noodles? They say “Each recipe was developed with one goal: to elevate your expectations of what trail food can taste like.” Currently there is Thai Curry (Spicy yellow coconut curry with vegetables and jasmine rice), Smoke Three Bean Chili (Traditional chili with corn and caramelized onions), and Herbed Mushroom Risotto (Classic risotto with sautéed mushrooms and basil pesto). We received one of each to try and had a little faux-backpacking dinner out in the yard last night to try it out. Basically just tear it open, add boiling water, zip it back up, let it sit for 20 minutes - then bon appetit! See all the close ups on the next page!
We’ve been intrigued ever since Heimplanet (the guys behind the amazing inflatable geodesic tents) dropped hints at a car tent in an email recently… and then THIS popped up on their instagram, which filled me with curiosity to know and see more! Luckily, I ran into this Autoblog piece which features it front and center! So what is it? The press release describes it as “…a newly developed concept called the “Q3 camping tent,” which with a wind load rating of up to 70 km/h is also suitable for harsher weather. The tent structure can be removed from the supplied bag and set up in roughly seven minutes: roll it out, pump it up and the free-standing tent is ready. It can even be fastened to the open rear hatch of the Q3, if necessary.”
Take a peek at the details on the next page ~ all i’m wondering now, is if an inflatable rooftop tent is a NOTFZJ80 possibility…
I “needed” a new hydration/trail pack. And while i’d been curious about ACRE (a special division of Mission Workshop) since they launched back in Fall ‘13… the website has such stunning images! But it wasn’t until i ran into the packs in person in Portland that i couldn’t get them out of my head. So i finally gave in and ordered The Hauser Weatherproof Hydration Pack 10L and couldn’t be happier! This biggest seller for me on this bag in person was the material - photos just don’t do it justice. The Dimension-Polyant 210d nylon VX ripstop with waterproof laminate has such subtle diamonds that add another dimension to the simplicity of the Hauser’s design - which is packed with such thoughtful, useful details… from the perforated padding to the tool roll, the multiple anchor points to the watertight zippers, the flap down to the rolltop option, and more! Check out the details up close on the next page!
On fun packages that just arrived… We’ve seen pictures online of the Alite ultra-lightweight chairs for some time now, but it wasn’t until trying them all in person at OR that we truly understood how awesome they are… and how incredible the tiny design details are! For starters, i thought my 13” macbook air was light (not even 3lbs)… their three chairs range from 1.1 to 1.6lbs! With their butterfly logo and the sling style of their chairs, it’s hard not to have the iconic butterfly chair come to mind. With a similar single piece fabric sling and a collapsible thin metal frame, merged with the materials/tech from outdoors goods like aluminum tent poles and ripstop nylon, the result is a collection of incredibly versatile, ultra-lightweight, sling chairs that are perfect to pop up just about anywhere! They have used them on kayaks and canoes, rocky waterfalls and paddleboats, and more! I felt like Goldilocks as i tried each model out, the Monarch, Mayfly, and Mantis, my favorite is definitely the MAYFLY! While the Monarch is lightest, you’re constantly on your feet and rocking… and the Mantis gives you the stability of a traditional chair with it’s 4 feet firmly planted on the ground, but no rocking… the Mayfly gives you the best of both! You’re stable on the ground, you can tilt back and rock, AND you can even remove the front leg for a rocking-only Monarch style seat! From most of the pictures i’ve seen online, it has been easy to overlook just how tiny and lightweight these things are since they support full grown folks (up to 250lbs) with full back support. So, take a peek at my unboxing of the Alite Mayfly on my DESK (alongside my 13” macbook air and bulleit water bottle) to see all the design details on the next page! (As well as their fun video! and a peek at the other models!)
p.s. These would be amazing at music festivals!!!
I haven’t been able to get these insanely awesome rock climbing holds out of my mind - So Ill Holds! First spotted them when we were exploring the very inspiring Outdoor Retailer Show… and every time i run into their tab that’s been open on my computer, i realize how fun and unusually designed (and still super functional) they are. Their choices in naming, geometries, and collections are noteworthy - whether you like/agree with them or not, they definitely make you think differently. Staring at the bumps(steroids) and curves (lockjaw) hanging from the walls of their booth was what first pulled us in. From afar they looked a lot like giant 3D prints… in fact they got my mind racing with all kinds of forms you could 3D print or mill that could be turned into awesome and unusual rock climbing holds, and how they can be quite the art form… Additionally, their branding is strong and playful (though the green cross does initially make me think of medical marijuana dispensaries), their medicinally themed packaging for other products is quite fun, there are LED enabled holds, and they even have recycled billboard bags! Take a peek at more details as well as a fun video with a parking attendant putting their holds to a whole other use on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
On another OR product… The Scrubba caught my eye for it’s playful branding, packaging, and concept. The idea is that when you’re on the go (and washing machine free) you can use this enhanced dry sack to wash your clothes nearly as effectively as a washing machine, and far more effectively than hand washing. Basically The Scrubba is a dry sack with a built in washboard, air vent (think beach ball valve), and a non slip bottom. Toss in your day or two of clothes, some soap, some water, and scrub away for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, then drain, rinse, hang dry! Simple, right? Perfect if you’re backpacking… or even a mom on the go with some kid messes at the beach/etc? Paired with a hairdryer that can pull from the car battery, you might even be able to wash and dry smaller things quickly for on the road emergencies?
The packaging (by Happy Studio Co) and design are super cute as well… the logo, well, i can’t seem to stop seeing a maxi-pad of sorts… and the concept, it is fun! It works! But part of me feels like it could have been designed simpler? Is it really so different than using a dry sack you already have? And maybe some dryer balls, etc instead of a built in washboard? But i do like the idea as an alternative to hand washing, even when at home, to get a more effective clean, use less water, and have less of a splashy, soapy mess. Take a peek at The Scrubba details on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
Another Outdoor Retailer find ~ did a double take when we walked by the STR/KE MVMNT (Strike Movement) booth with brightly LED lit wooden boxes that opened up to showcase their sneakers and workout clothes. The most striking thing about their designs and display were the simplicity and thoughtfulness of their details, color palette, and photography. And it’s easy to see the influences - as the founder, Marc Morisset, says, “I always felt there was a need for an athletics brand that was relevant to where our demographic was coming from. We grew up in cities; skateboarding and going to punk rock and hip hop shows. It’s hard for us to relate to shoes that look like fishing lures.” Also, the detail of their “pleasure pocket” where you tuck your tied laces so they don’t come undone. They are also incredibly light… and the colors and designs are hard to ignore. Take a peek at the details and booth on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
Wow. There is light, then there is “i can barely feel this in my hand” light… which the Baladéo G-Series Ultralight Knives feel like. They are ridiculously thin, ultra-light, and seem more like an elegant letter opener from afar. I was (and still am) surprised at how solid and comfortable it feels in your hand! They pride themselves on combining “an excellent grip and the pleasure of the perfect cut.” They can be opened with one hand, have a “liner lock” which you depress to fold the blade down, and some even have a belt clip. It truly is incredible the weights they come in ~ the lightest weighs in at 15g, then there’s 22g, 27g, 34g, and 37g. They are supposedly the “lightest pocket knives available on the market,” and when they launched in 2010 at the Outdoor Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany they received the Industry Award! (Now i’m so curious about heading to that show!) Honestly, though this was one of the earlier booths we visited at OR, it instantly had us lusting for one… take a look at the booth and knife details on the next page!
p.p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
EPIC Bar. The name is perfect, as these bars are truly EPIC. Gluten free, paleo friendly, grass fed protein bars that are impressively branded (from their packaging to graphics… sprinter van to bandanas… hats, matchboxes, booths and more!) Based out of Austin, TX, these bars went wild across the internet a few months back (we even had it on NOTCOT.org) and we’ve been meaning to order some to try, so when we ran into the EPIC Bar booth at OR, it was like its own little oasis tucked along the wall in one of the pavilions, and we had to taste them all.
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a “protein bar” that was made of meat and packaged to resemble something like a clif bar wrapped like an artisanal chocolate bar… my head could never figure out what to expect, but it turns out it tastes more like something between a sausage/beef jerky/energy bar… think meaty with a little fruit mixed in. The flavors are Turkey/Almond/Cranberry, Bison/Bacon/Cranberry, and Beef/Habanero/Cranberry. They are all delicious, but i think my favorite is the Bison currently! I expected it to be tough to taste as good as the packaging, but it does, and it’s definitely worth trying ~ especially if you’re on a high protein, paleo, etc diet. They even had a 9 month shelf life, and each bar has one of those little “do not eat”moisture absorbing packet, so it’s perfect to stash as a snack in case of emergencies. Take a peek at the fun booth, design details, and more on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
I turned a corner at OR and got giddy when i saw the awesome Ruffwear booth! They make the indestructible, waterproof/stinkproof Headwater collar with reflective waves that we’ve had on bucky as soon as he grew out of a tiny puppy sized neck… and as Bucky gets more adventure ready we’ve been curious about things to help protect him in all kinds of environments… and the awesome folks at Ruffwear caught us up on everything from booties and jackets (shells and fleece) to packs and travel food cases and more! Their attention to detail, from materials to hardware to packaging to patterns makes me swoon, and as you’ll see in the pics on the next page, a lot of the upcoming products are adopting new clasps that have been trending in bag design the last few years.
Take a peek at some of the new Fall/Winter 2013 products that are available now, as well as upcoming products, and their playful, woody booth on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
This has been the year of doing MORE new things! So yesterday, we hopped on a 7am flight to Salt Lake City for dinner… and running around the Outdoor Retailer Show as fast as possible! We were home by 11pm… and it was one of the BEST trips ever! Beyond the overwhelming amount of SUPs and accessories and fishing kayak rigs, there was so much inspiration ~ fun unexpected products to play with, beautiful booth designs, met some incredible folks, and have lots of fun stuff to share with you guys, but, as usual… so many pics, i don’t know where to start, so here’s a brain/camera dump to get a feel for what caught my eye on the next page!
p.s. See the features from our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
It’s been a crazy summer of trying new things, which has inevitably lead to more unexpected travel, surprise encounters, and non-stop summer inspiration. Well, adding to the list of firsts ~ Toyota just brought me out to Farmington, PA for the last two days to play with the new 2014 Tundra, which has meant: my first time shooting a shotgun (and getting a taste of “golf with a shotgun”) as well as my first time properly playing with trucks (towing large things and off-roading in lots of water!)… So fun, so exhausting, and while somethings are embargo’d till next week, i did get the ok to share the experiences and design details with you now! It is definitely more angular and more aggressive visually… and designed right in socal at Calty!
So, take a peek on the next page to see my adventures at the bizarrely epic Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (which has everything from shooting, fly fishing, golf, spa, LIONS, airstrip, casino, classic car collection, ziplines, dog sledding, and so much more…) to our quick visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob, to off-roading and exploring with the new 2014 Tundra, as well as a few of my favorite details!
On a fun combination of swings and iconic chairs… here’s the Fermob 1900 Hanging Armchair! A part of their classic french bistro/outdoor furniture collections, it’s a playful, unexpected twist. Also awesome, is the video tour inside their factory ~ it’s hard to miss how happy their workers seem, as well as how optimized their system is… check it all out on the next page!
WOW. On technological/product design advances in the work out/training space… 110% Play Harder is doing interesting things combining both compression wear and portable/modular ice therapy. Essentially creating compression leggings, shorts, socks, sleeves and more with special pockets to target just about every muscle paired with special ice packs (which are impressively thin and flexible once filled/frozen)… Beyond the design and materials used (70% Polypropylene/30% Spandex, Antimicrobial Silvertech Fabric, Superior moisture wicking, and 360° 4 way stretch) ~ the branding is fun and striking, the copy is playful, and using the thermal bag as packaging is just smart! Not to mention the details, like having a branded carbiner on the thermal bag, and giving it a nice easy ziploc like top to keep your ice packs cool inside and your stuff dry outside. Whether you’re a hardcore athlete, or simply need a better solution to icing your soreness… this is definitely something to look into. It seems that some people work out in the compression wear, others wear it later to recover, some combine it with icing post workout instead of an ice bath and manage to run errands/pick up the kids in them… and while using it during workouts (without ice!) you can use any of the many pockets to hold your phone/etc as well. So many options… and the packaging is pretty fun. Take a peek at all the details and unboxing of the Juggler Knickers on the next page.
Something are fun in pictures, but even MORE fun when you climb inside! When we walked past Dedon and i saw the Mini Nestrests hanging in the window and a huge Nestrest just inside the door, we had to pop in… and when the man there told me i was welcome to climb in… how could i say no? The Nestrest is designed by french duo, Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety. It is far comfier than i expected, and with the way they lit it, it was a magical little oasis to curl up in! Also, far more spacious feeling than you’d expect. The minis are pretty much cat/mini-dog sized… and imagining them popping their heads out while hanging from a tree makes me smile. And their photography! The contexts in which they shoot the Nestrests are pretty funny ~ from being carried around in them, to next to a flock of ostriches and more. From the original pictures, i somehow assumed that they would be made of bent wood, but turns out it is all made of an “especially strong DEDON fiber” which is 4cm wide instead of their usual 2, weather/UV/cold+heat/pool+sea water resistant, high density polyethylene that is maintenance free and easy to clean. It is also environmentally friendly, being 100% recyclable and toxin-free with love carbon emissions. I’m tempted! It would be amazing hanging from the tree in the backyard, to curl up and swing gently… take a peek at the playful photography, view from inside, and more details on the next page!
It’s that time of year already, where everyone’s designs for Milan Design Week are flooding the design world… and the latest from BD Barcelona and Jaime Hayon have made me far too giddy today! The Gardenias Garden Collection is just so playfully Hayon, and with the stunning LA weather and all the work i’ve been doing in my garden, i can’t help dreaming up where i’d put some of these! Take a peek on the next page at the outdoor furniture, watering can, pots, and more!
Today i found myself in sunny Venice Beach, tucked away in house twenty six and a half on a walk street… playing with snow ready winter sportswear and exploring the studios of the freshly launched Coldsmoke Apparel - as they say, “Coldsmoke collaborates with some of the most advanced performance fabric mills along with highly regarded finishing companies to create collections that offer the best of both worlds. Our fashion is functional, performing at the highest level whether you’re on or off the mountain.”
It was great to get to explore the collection in person, and hear about the inspiration behind their inaugural collection by CCO, Imani Lanier (who is quite the seasoned designer). What struck me most was definitely the inuit symbols, design details (love the zippers and the subtle mountains stitched into pocket flaps, etc!), and the quality of the materials… also that all of the products were surrounded by quite the curation of vintage goods! The hats are displayed on stacked vintage cots… there are old skis, fishing poles, gas masks, shovels, and more strewn about the studio and they will all be for sale someday in the Coldsmoke Vintage Collection. Take a peek inside their studio and at some of the fun details of the upcoming collection, inspiration sketches, and their playful lookbook on the next page!
It has been such an adventure watching our friends at Baggu grow and evolve from their colorful, reusable shopping bag roots to luxurious leathers, and now to more and more SURF inspired goodness! From their Surf Board Slings - now to the most adorable polka dotted Rack Pads… and a lustworthy, Wetsuit Bag, a black vinyl tote with welded seams and a water resistant zipper keep water contained! I suppose this evolution to surfing is no surprise with their San Diego roots (and their current NY surfing adventures!)… take a peek at the Surf goods on the next page, i can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
I had no idea that elastic laces were a thing - particularly in the running/triathlon world… We had lunch across from a triathlon store today and couldn’t help wandering through after… the variety of elastic laces intrigued me and i gave in to some reflective Yankz! (the packaging is a bit better than the website.) They all seem to boast varieties of benefits from never having to tie laces to being able to have a bit more give adding comfort and “personalization”. Some have plastic springy stopper locks (imagine the plastic stoppers on rain jackets, etc)… and the Yankz! have double plastic bits that allow you to adjust from both sides and easily. These particular ones are also reflective, which never hurts. Take a peek at the details on the next page…
Oakley Airwave Goggles with built in Heads Up Display are launching on Halloween! And we had the pleasure of trying them out when we were in SF… i kid you not, the heads up display is gorgeous! Watching full color video in the little prism screen to the bottom right of your periphery was better than you’d expect. And i’m sure in due time, you stop finding yourself tilting your head down and to the right, as if you’d get a better view of it as i did… especially when you have stunning slopes filled with powder visible through the rest of your goggles!
As for what you can control and see in the Heads Up Display - there is everything from GPS/Navigation (routes for a lot of the best slopes around the globe are pre-programmed in), Buddy tracking (you can even find your friends who don’t have goggles, so long as they have the app), Music controls, Speed, Jump Analytics, and more! Of course, via bluetooth you can also pair it with your smartphone and view incoming calls and texts and access your playlists… all controlled by glove friendly wrist remote. The HUD itself comes from Recon Instruments, using “innovative prism technology to display information perceived by the wearer to be the size of a 14-inch screen that is five feet away, so refocusing the eye is not necessary.” And it really is surprisingly good in person. The accompanying app will be available on both Android and iOS, and no worries, even when your phone isn’t connected (or the battery dies) the goggles have built in GPS, Accelerometer, etc so all your data is stored locally until you connect to your phone.
For the best explanation of how it all works - take a look at the video on the next page! And for now, i’ll just keep dreaming about when Oakley takes this further and integrates the fun HUD into more products for every day life!
p.s. It’s worth noting that there’s a HUD SDK available - so if you can dream it, you can make it happen!
Perhaps perfect for halloween workouts - “The new Nike Women’s Exclusive Print tight is a performance based pant for the athlete unafraid to make a statement. On the outside, she might be the girl next door, but on the inside, her body has survived grueling workouts, often pushing through pain, broken bones, pulled muscles and harsh tears. With images of X-Ray bones digitally printed on the outside, the exclusive print tight gives a glimpse of her inner toughness.” says the press release. Even crazier is that it says, “The print on the front looks like a normal X-ray, but the one on the back reveals broken bones, screws and hip replacements, providing a glimpse of the athlete’s inner toughness in the face of grueling workouts and pain,” on the Nike Pro Printed Skeleton Tights product page. Sounds a bit more horrifying for those who see you going rather than coming at them…