Go Gadgets


Heimplanet Inflatable Tent: Heimplanet, a fresh-faced German design outfit, call this “The Cave” – it’s a new inflatable tent concept.

Now, inflatable tents have been around for some time; indeed friends have something of a vintage model which they still pitch up when the occasion demands – although the temptation for yoofs to trigger a middle-of-the-night-deflation can prove hilariously irresistible.

The Cave boasts a few sophistications to existing models, however. Five separate airbeams make up the tent’s exoskeleton. This gives it extra stability and allows replacement if one gets damaged. They are tough however, with a polyester casing and multi-chamber system within.

It’ll sleep three cave-dwellers comfortably, though six can pile in for a sit-down pow-wow. Pitching only takes a minute or so, but of course, unless you’ve Pavarottian lungs, it does really require a pump or compressor, which somewhat undoes any weight saving in pole-carrying.

However, because it has such a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome look to it (which I really like), for camping with a bit of style – if that’s not too much of an oxymoron this cave’s very welcoming.

CostTo be confirmed (see heimplanet.com).

Eton Raptor

Eton Corporation, in case you hadn’t spotted from its latest bit of product-naming here, likes to attach a whiff of danger to its gear. In fairness, though, it makes really robust, useful, eco-powered gadgetry for the scary outdoors.

This is new out-of-the-toy-box from them: the solar-powered Raptor, which is jammed with all sorts of tools, including an AM/FM/WB radio, a clock and LED flashlight. There’s also an altimeter, barometer and compass – and thankfully, that most essential of emergency kit, the bottle opener. Now missing one of those can really cause a panic in the wilds.

The Raptor has an efficient monocrystal solar panel to drive all these built-in electrics, as opposed to the wind-up cranks on much of Eton’s other hardware, like the Scorpion (there they go again). There’s also the ubiquitous USB for powering-up other bits and pieces and you can pre-charge its own internal L-Ion battery by DC adapter.

It all comes in a suitably manly rubberesque case which is splashproof, but not waterproof, with a carabiner to clip it on for easy access. There’s even a holster in the offing if you fancy having your Raptor ready for a quick draw.

CostTo be confirmed - see etoncorp.com.

Gaiam Audio Yoga Mat

Yoga tourism has never been more the thing, with fans taking off on everything from stretched weekends down the country to month-long yogaways in India.

Here’s a new piece of gear to perfect those lunges on: the audio mat.

It’s simple. Yoga house, Gaiam, has added a discreet little speaker and jack to one of its mats which you can plug into your MP3 player. So now you can enjoy an extra dimension of personalised ambience to your sessions (that’s a cue for some mean-spirited gag about the latest tunes from iWhale, but I’m letting it go) or even download instructions from top yogaistas for your home sessions. They’ll be right there whispering in your ear as you try to master your flying crow.

The mat is well-made, as you’d expect from Gaiam, 4mm thick, 60cm wide by 172cm long and latex-free. Moreover, it’s phthalate-free, perhaps the latest bête noire for the environmentally-informed.

Cost$40 (€30) at gaiam.com.

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