Making use of otherwise wasted energy via solar is big. Just ask Tesla. Whether you can’t install rooftop panels or have already and need more power, there’s SolarGaps Solar Blinds. Like normal blinds they obviously keep out the sun when needed but also convert those blocked photos into electricity, paying a significant part of your air conditioning or heating bill. Each 10 square feet or so of window space occupied by SolarGaps generates about 100 to 150 Watts, or enough to power 30 LED bulb or three laptop computers. Homes with multiple windows or workspaces with wall-to-wall glass can therefore expect to generate quite a bit and cover up to 70% of their total electricity bill. An integrated motor lets the blinds also be set to track the sun, optimizing power generation throughout the day, and they can plug into a power outlet to feed electricity back into your home — and maybe even the grid, should your provider allow it.
Grab a set at Kickstarter – $390+
If it looks a little different than your average pen that’s because the Lioe Stealth Pen’s wide, aerodynamic shape wants to improve your grip, however you choose to hold it. The skeletonized bead-blasted aluminum body reduces weight ever so slightly and offers a rare view on the cartridge within, all while adding to its unique looks. A Schmidt click mechanism handles the cartridge advancement, and the Stealth Pen works with Schmidt’s EasyFlow refills as well as several of Parker’s Gel cartridges, with one of the former included.
Find it at Lioe Design – $68
Counting on a lighter to start a fire is also counting on there being fuel left inside. The Exotac NanoSpark instead lights up whatever tinder you find lying around using a simple flint wheel, though the CNC machined aluminum capsule-shaped tool also boasts a watertight storage space to store a few pieces of proper tinder, just in case. Otherwise the USA-made NanoSpark weighs close to nothing at 0.6 ounces, uses replaceable flints (including those by Zippo), and features an attachment point for carry, making it a great choice for a bug out bag or emergency survival kit.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $22
Travelling with a suit, whether you’re wearing it or have it packed, is bound to result in some serious wrinkling. Frequent flyer Patrick Tatham thus came up with the Pliqo Garment Bag. While it’ll swallow your suit and folds down as small as a laptop bag, the Pliqo results in minimal creasing, decreasing the effort necessary to arrive at a remote meeting with fresh garb. Open, the bag has specific spots for your jacket and trousers plus small accessories (think tie and belt), and comes with a pair of magnet-equipped hangers that attach into Pliqo when not in use. It’s even got room for a laptop, classifying it as a laptop bag by most major airlines — which means you can carry it into the cabin alongside your traditional carry on.
Find it at Kickstarter – roughly $125
The Outlier Ultrahigh Big Box Bag isn’t quite like your Costco or Ikea bag, though it’s about as big with a 56 litre capacity. But instead of standard polypropylene Outlier makes these of super-strong Dyneema ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fiber that’s just as waterproof and much more lightweight while still staying tough. In fact, each one weighs just 0.65 pounds and folds down to an easily stashable square profile. It’s also got double hands for carrying by hand or on a shoulder and boasts Dyneema and Nylon MOLLE webbing on the inside for rigging up extra gear.
Find it at Outlier – $175
Drones are meant to explore. Their unwieldiness and fragility works somewhat against this. The Incase Drone Collection is designed to make carrying your flying camera a little easier. For larger models like DJI’s Phantom series there’s the Drone Pro Pack (shown, left), a spacious backpack with a full zip that unfurls to reveal padded slots for both the drone and its remote control — as well as a slot for a 15-inch laptop. Also included in the collection are several solutions for DJI’s smaller Mavic Pro such as the Drone Compression Case (shown, right), which boasts die-cut EVA foam to fit your drone, a spare battery, extra props, plus its power adapter. Each piece is decked out in a stealthy, abrasion-resistant all-black ballistic nylon shell that’ll further shield your valuable cargo from bumps and bruises, not to mention inclement weather.
Learn more at Incase – $60 to $200
The design is more than a decade old but it’s still one of the most unique available, and finally back in production. The CRKT Snap Lock Folding Knife, originally designed by Ed Van Hoy, is skeletonized as all hell and extremely lightweight for it at 2.6 ounces, not to mention safely locked both folded and unfolded thanks to a unique ambidextrous Snap Lock mechanism that’s actuated using your thumb (at which point the blade can be swung 180° open; see second image). The handle is still comfortable and functional despite its minimal profile, and the narrow overall design combined with a clip lets this knife double as a money clip. Available in both a straight edge and one with triple point serrations.
Not unlike their belt-appropriate Sync II, SOG’s Sync I Multitool is ready on a moment’s notice, only it’s smaller and thus more appropriate for attaching to a backpack strap, boot, or even a smaller belt. One hand’s all that’s needed for release from its clip mount, though you’ll need both to pry the handles apart to reveal pliers with an integrated bolt gripper, a wire cutter, crimper, a ruler, a bottle opener, an awl, a straight blade made of 5CR15MOV steel, a 3-sided file, and two small flathead screwdrivers. Not bad for a tool that weighs 2.6 ounces.
Find it at Amazon – $50