Outdoors gear keeps getting more and more high-tech — here are three new items for your backpack that epitomize 21st century technology:
Backcountry Access Assessor App — $0
Consider this a Christmas present from Backcountry Access: a free app for iPhone and iPad to help you safely manage your backcountry skiing expeditions. The app combines a Tour Planner, which maps location, distance and elevation of your trip; a 3-in-1 Measuring Tool, which allows you to measure a slope’s aspect, elevation and angle on-site; and real-time access to avalanche forecasts. It also features a host of Resource Guides to instruct in mounting an avalanche rescue, plus Field Tools for assisting in your avalanche safety decision framework. This app probably won’t be free forever; BCA is currently offering it as a demo in order to get feedback to improve the product moving forward. Download it directly from the iTunes App Store.
GoPro Hero3 Black — $399
GoPro has upgraded their popular line of video cameras with a premium Black Edition. Twenty per cent smaller than last year’s models, the Hero3 Black shoots the highest-resolution video of their entire lineup. The most useful settings are 1440p at 48 frames-per-second (fps) or 1080p at 60 fps, though it will go as high-res as 4kp (at only 12 fps) or as low as VGA at 240 fps, for ultra-slow-motion. At 1080p/60fps, the quality is industry leading. It also touts the best low-light performance of all Hero3 cams, comes with a Wi-Fi remote (30-metre range) and shoots 12MP still photos in single-shot, 30 fps bursts or time-lapse. Pair it with the optional LCD Touchback for easy framing/interface; a variety of mounts are available — we like the chest-mount harness best of all. Our final advice: buy extra batteries. (View recently shot video HERE
as well as GoPro demo video HERE
Powermonkey Extreme — $150
This is the solution to your apocalypse-level off-grid fantasies. The Powermonkey Extreme combines a 9,000mAH battery with a flip-open solar panel in a package that weighs less than half-a-kilogram. The battery, which holds its charge for a year, carries enough juice to recharge a smartphone about seven times, or a tablet twice, or a GPS half-a-dozen times, or a standard mobile phone 10 times, or an e-Reader… or what have you — it charges most 5V or 12V devices. When the battery runs out, simply recharge it via the solar panel (a process that’ll take 17 hours), or via 110-volt outlet (charges in a couple of hours), and keep the cycle going. Waterproof and rugged, it comes with adapters to fit a variety of devices and has optional waterproof plugs (Aquastrip) that allow the battery to charge a device even when fully submerged. Power Traveller