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The Adventure Kit

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The Adventure Kit
Phantom 4 in action.

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Some might say an adventurer is only as good as their gear. Here’s what is on our wish list…

Grayl — Arise, Sir Drinksalot.

Close up of a grey Grayl water filter bottle with a metal cap
Grayl is a clever but simple portable water filtration and purification system that should have a place in every adventure traveller’s knapsack.

It works like this: first, we choose which filter we want to use. There are three: TAP, which removes chemicals and heavy metals; TRAIL, which adds protection from bacteria and protozoan cysts; and TRAVEL, which provides the ultimate defence against viruses while travelling in developing countries or wilderness areas. Naturally, the price goes up in the same order, but it’s always reasonable.

Suspect water is poured into the outer cup. We then depress the inner cup, and as if conjured up by Merlin himself, we have the final product: filtered water. It won’t filter anything except water though — Bear Grylls will just have to keep drinking his urine neat.

The Grayl will surely be indispensable for adventure travellers who are tired of stale-tasting boiled or chemically purified water, and it’s got to be handy for all travellers going anywhere with even a halfway dodgy supply.

Darn Tough — Sock it to me.

A pair of different coloured socks

Darn Tough have worked darn hard on their product, making socks that are designed and tailored for specific purposes: gym, work, hunting, skiing, hiking, biking, and everyday use. The challenge from their CEO is bold and straightforward: “If you can put a hole in our socks, send them back to me personally and we’ll replace them free of charge.” To ensure they don’t have to make good on their promise, Darn Tough have pulled out all the stops when it comes to design, and in researching and sourcing the best materials.

High density knitting, a ‘performance’ fit, ribbed knit to fit contours and prevent bunching, and elastic arch support all make these socks extra comfortable. Combining these features with merino wool and a product they call Coolmax, Darn Tough describe their product as the finest premium all weather performance sock on the market. They haven’t just focused on the practical side of things either: while these socks do come in the standard low-key shades, they’re also available in colourful and stylish designs.

Darn Tough are super passionate about their socks, and judging by the testimonials on their slick and easy-to-navigate website, so are their customers. It might seem a bit silly — they’re only socks after all, right? However, the fact is, our fancy hiking shoes are only about as good as the socks we are wearing.

Recon Jet — Boldly going where no glasses have gone before.

A pair of black Recon-Jet glasses

The more products we review, the more scared we become. Why? Because it’s becoming increasingly clear that the future is now.

In Back To The Future 2 we were assured that by now we would see hoverboards and flying cars. While many of us sneered when they failed to materialise, in fact, the movie’s only mistake was that it was too conservative in its predictions. Products like the Recon Jet, for example, are more Star Trek than Back To The Future.

Recon Jet is designed for cyclists, runners and triathletes. What is it? It’s a pair of glasses that are also “the world’s most advanced wearable computer.” And the features they contain are downright scary. Think Dualcore CPU with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ANT+, GPS, on-board and 3D gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, altimeter, thermometer, HD camera and high resolution display.

What do they do? They deliver athletes information by way of a heads-up display inside the polarised lenses of the glasses. The user can connect a smartphone to see caller ID and SMS, as well as accessing navigation, weather alerts, social media, digital coaching, where we’re going, how fast we are getting there, our ascension rate, descent rate, heartrate — and even our shoe size, probably.

Phantom 4  — Holy flying cameras, Batman.

Close-up of an all-white Phantom 4

Just when we thought we had all the gadgets we could ever need, someone goes and invents an affordable flying camera.

The name might seem fairly self-explanatory — so it’s a camera that flies, right? Well yes, but it’s a lot more than that. The Phantom 4 takes very high quality images, and has hover and stability controls to keep them sharp. But it also has other great features, such as the ability for the user to see what the camera is seeing in real time via a smartphone.

More great features include ActiveTrack, to follow a moving object without a separate GPS system; TapFly, allowing flight in any direction with just the tap of a finger, and an Obstacle Sensing System that avoids collisions by going around and over objects, or just by hovering. The battery also lasts for a decent 28 minutes of flight time in calm conditions at sea level.

While flying cameras have a million applications in the film industry, we are picking that drones like the Phantom 4 will soon be used for all kinds of applications. One thing is for sure, for better or worse, drone technology is destined to change the skies above us forever.

Nikon 1 AW1 — The camera with hair on its chest.

Nikon 1AW1 camera

The Nikon 1 AW1 camera is tough — so tough that when I left it in the drawer with some other cameras, it started a bikie gang. Nikon tells us it will survive a drop from a height of 2 metres, and will still function in -10 degrees Celsius temperatures, not to mention underwater at depths of 15 metres. In fact, this camera is so waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof, it makes us want to go diving in Antarctica just so we can hit it with a hammer.

It’s got some features that will appeal to our adventurers, such as the ability to Geotag images with the built-in GPS to share on Google Earth or other GPS-based social networking sites, navigate menus with the tilt of a gloved hand, and Underwater White Balance to deliver rich beautiful colours in the ocean, lake or the family pool.

But it’s not just tough — it’s got all the features expected nowadays in a mid-range camera, such as the ability to upload high-quality creative images and videos to a smartphone, tablet or other Wi-Fi enabled device and shoot 60 FPS fixed focus or 15 FPS full autofocus, plus a 1-inch 14.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor for superior image quality even in low light conditions.

The Nikon 1 AW1 is a perfect camera for adventure and non-adventure travellers alike. It’s compact, has the features we expect from a modern digital camera, is fairly hard to break and will be very hard to beat.

Published on September 27, 2016
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