Four Unexpected Outdoor Gear Innovations

The Outdoor Retailer Show is usually where new and innovative gear for the outdoor market makes its debut. Last month we returned to Denver for OR looking for the latest gear fitting our mindset of “Pack Small. Live Big.” and we weren’t disappointed. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by several companies innovating in spaces you wouldn’t expect. Here’s some of our favorites.

Slidebelt Survival Belt 2.0

Slidebelt Survival Belt 2.0

Belts aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for design innovation. Slidebelt is a “ratchet belt” and instead of using holes like a traditional belt, ratchet belts use an array of teeth sewn into the underside of the belt strap. This allows for a more custom fit than standard belt holes would provide, but it’s the Slidebelt Survival Belt that really ratchets up the ingenuity (we couldn’t resist) over other ratchet belts on the market. The Survival Belt 2.0 features a slew of useful gadgets including a LED flashlight, bottle opener, ferrocerium fire starter, and an AUS-8 stainless steel knife. All of this is built into the buckle of the belt without looking much different than a standard belt buckle.

Up your belt game at Slidebelts.com

Dometic Compact Powered Coolers

Dometic Compact Powered Coolers

We never really put much thought into bringing a powered cooler on a road trip or car camping, but Dometic has us rethinking that. Dometic’s powered coolers offer more usable space in a more compact package by having less thickness by using a compressor to create cold air. With traditional coolers, 50 to 60% of the space inside is taken up by ice. The more insulation a cooler has, the longer stuff inside stays cold, but that means increasing the overall dimensions or decreasing the inside capacity.  And the compressor is surprisingly energy efficient; the coolers use just 1 amp per hour on average to hold temperature. Less overall dimensions and more usable space inside means you can pack even more of the next item on our list…

Chill out at Dometic.com

La Colombe Draft Latte

La Colombe Draft Latte Patented Can

At first glance, La Colombe’s ready-to-drink cans just seem like great coffee. But when you crack one open and it tastes like it was poured directly from a nitro-infused tap, you know there’s something that sets it apart from other flat-tasting coffees. When we asked La Colombe how the creamy, frothy consistency was achieved in a can, they told us about their patented design. Thanks to a patent-pending process invented by La Colombe’s CEO and Co-Founder Todd Carmichael, nitrous oxide is released into the can when the lid is popped to create a frothy texture. This process brings the foam traditionally found in a hot latte to the refreshingly cold and portable, ready-to-drink Draft Latte can. And if that wasn’t reason enough to sip on these before your next outdoor adventure, La Colombe recently announced their partnership to support the National Parks Foundation.

Get your fix at Lacolombe.com

Heroclip

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Heroclip

Carabiner clips are incredibly useful outdoors, but the design basics haven’t changed much over the years. “Ingenuous… Infinitely useful when camping or just living on Earth,” according to Stuffmerica, the Heroclip is a patented carabiner-hook hybrid that’s useful in about a million different ways. The hook swivels and can be used to hang items up to 50 lbs pretty much anywhere thanks to the grippy rubber piece on the tip of the hook. We’ve mentioned the Heroclip in past OR gear reviews, and this year we got to see the two new size variations they are adding to their line later this year.

Hang out on Myheroclip.com