GEAR GURU

ByUnsealed 4X4July 31, 2014
5 MINUTE READ
GEAR GURU

All the cool and quirky stuff that you want to know about by Unsealed 4X4 gear editor Sam Purcell. Rok Espresso Once you start drinking good coffee, it’s really hard to take a step back. Starting my normal day with a double espresso, I quickly come to miss that ritual when I leave the comforts of home. Sure, the Bodum plunger I take on trips does a decent job, but it doesn’t hit the spotlike a short one does. The Rok Espresso machine will give you that fix, without a single volt in sight. You’ll need to heat your water (and preferably grind your beans), and then press down slowly on those beautiful levers for a slow, thick extraction. Go to www.espressounplugged.com.au for more information. Dashcam Do those idiots that constantly cut in front of you and then hit the brakes give you the heebie jeebies? Having a dashcam installed could provide a legal avenue for reproach if somebody else’s stupidity causes a prang, and it can also do some really cool timelapses of your offroad adventures. Modern ones shoot a great HD image, and are really subtle. They aren’t that expensive, either. There’s a good range available at www.dashcamsaustralia.com.au Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 is their first top-ranger to come with IP-rated water and dust resistance. The unit is completely dust-proof and can cope with a dip into a metre of water for half an hour. But, the appeals for the outdoor-conscious do not end there. It’s got this thing called ‘Ultra Low Power Mode’, which allows the unit to live off 10% battery for over 24 hours with basic functions. You can also jam 128Gb of memory into it via micro-SD cards (so you can fit all the topo maps you want, and keep your Warumpi Band and Redgum on there), and the camera has reputedly the fastest autofocus out there. Go to www.samsung.com.au for more info. Coleman CPX 1000 Looking like it fell off the back of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise, Coleman’s latest and greatest lantern has a big milestone under its belt: 1000 lumens. That’s plenty of firepower, which is then distributed through the fancy-looking reflectors to make a bright ambient light. The CPX costs around $100. For more info, go to www.colemanaustralia.com.au   Biolite Stove Did you know you can charge your phone from a fire? The Biolite Stove combines a small fire chamber with a thermo-electric generator that does two things: Firstly, it powers a fan that forces air into the fire, making it run hotter and more efficiently. Secondly, extra energy (which would be otherwise lost) then gets harnessed and directed to a USB plug, which acts as a power source that can charge mobile phones. All from twigs and sticks! The fire can run well enough to boil a litre of water in under five minutes. The Biolite will set you back around $150, depending on exchange rates. Visit www.biolitestove.com for more info.   Baintech 12V USB Having a few USB plugs in your car makes a tonne of sense; most new 4X4s have at least one floating around. Baintech have these small, round panels that can be installed straight into any 12V system to give a 5V, 1 amp output. They’re great for charging your gadgets, and for keeping the abominable wiring clutter at bay. They have units suited to (higher amperage) tablets as well, for charging your big navigators. Expect to pay around $30. For more information, go to www.baintech.com.au Narva LED worklights LED is one of the few advances in technology with literally zero compromise. They’re brighter, they last longer, they draw less, and can be built tougher. Replacing your old work light with an LED just makes sense. Prices start from $69. Go to www.narva.com.au for all the models and specs. Factor 55 Flatlink Hailing from Boise, Idaho, is an engineering firm that make some damned cool pieces out of aluminium. Like their Prolink, the Flatlink is made to replace the traditional winch hook. They are cut from billet aluminium, and are marked with a max load of 16,000lbs (7,250kg). Maximum breaking strain is around 40,000lbs, and they weigh bugger all. They take a 4.7 tonne shackle perfectly, eliminating any chance of something coming loose mid-recovery. Go to www.factor55.com for more info.   Scarpa Ranger I’m a big fan of elastic-sided boots, and I still have some Australian-made Blundstones giving good service, but they do have their limits. If you are looking to put down some decent kays on foot, get some decent boots. These Rangers will give you the correct support and be tough enough for anything out there whilst staying comfortable. They cost around $350. For more info, go to www.outdooragencies.com.au BlackWolf Bushranger If you like the idea of a swag, but you aren’t completely sold on it, then this hybrid might fit the bill. It’s made of 350gsm polycotton canvas, and sets up with three bendy poles. It’s called the ‘Bushranger’ (because Swent sounds horrible), and its blurs the lines between swag and tent more than ever before. It opens up a lot for maximum ventilation and weighs 10kg. For more info, go to www.blackwolf.com.au Ogden Canoe It may not look like it, but this bad boy is an inflatable canoe. It’s made of a sturdy 600 denier polyester material on the outside, which houses two separate safety air chambers. Where normal canoes take up some serious real estate on your 4X4, you could fit one of these into the back, and have a leisurely paddle after making it to your campsite in the afternoon. Magic! Go to www.paddypallin.com.au Optimus Nova + All of that heavy, clunky and space-filling cookware I take on a trip absolutely peeves me sometimes, especially when it starts rattling as soon as the road changes from perfect-smooth. It’s times like those that I wish I owned a hiker’s cook set like this. It weighs less than half a kilo, and has enough power for good cooking. It teams up well with Optimus’s Terra cook set, which takes up a wonderfully small amount of space. The Nova + has a $250 price tag. For more information, go to www.paddypallin.com.au Lightforce Venom Here’s a bit of bling-bling for your rig; daytime running lights aren’t exclusive to show-offs in HSVs and Audis anymore. Two small strips of LEDs on each light wire up to your park circuit, for ‘increased visibility and safety’. Yeah sure, they’re purely there to look cool. The lights aren’t all for show, mind you. Fifty-watt HID Osram globes and ballasts cast a 4200k light as bright and far as you could hope for, and the construction and finish of the light overall, including the variable mounting system, is all top notch. We found FNB 4WD selling these for around $800 a pair. Go to www.lightforce.net.au for more information.   Man Law Meat Gauge If you take your cooking at home seriously, you’ll know how important a meat thermometer is for nailing roasts consistently. Why not do it whilst camping? This bad boy is glow-in-the-dark, so you can keep an eagle-eye on that lamb leg in the camp oven, until it gets to that medium-rare perfection. The thermometer costs $10. For more information, go to www.manlaw.com.au