There's nothing like the convenience and ease of biking to work — you save on gas, avoid traffic, and it helps you stay in shape. But, there's nothing worse than the wet ass that comes from biking on a rainy day (and the jokes you get when you show up at the office). Ass Savers Emergency Mudguards ($11) solve that problem, and stop the ruthless jokes. These simple polyurethane tabs fasten beneath your seat, catching all the muddy, wet spray from your rear tire. They come in a range of bright colors, or black and white, and tuck underneath your seat when you don't need them.
Whether you're a hardcore survivalist, amateur woodsman, or somewhere in between, you never want to go too long without access to hot water. The SunRocket Solar Kettle ($67) takes the trouble out of heating or boiling water, whether you're looking to purify, melt snow, or cook a meal. It's small, so it fits conveniently in a pack, but it still holds 17 ounces. It can heat water in just 30 minutes, using only the power of the sun. Once you've heated it up, the kettle acts as a thermos, keeping water warm for hours.
Nothing quite says summer like a campfire in your backyard, but chopping wood, while satisfying, can be a laborious pain. The uniquely-designed Vipukirves Axes ($255) use leverage to separate sections of wood from the rest of the log, giving you perfectly-chopped pieces of firewood with less effort. The design also allows you to avoid getting the axe lodged in the log, so you can get the job done more quickly. A precision-cast blade and birch wood handle mean this tool is made to last, so you won't have to go back to a traditional axe and sledge any time soon.
We've seen a lot of open-source stuff out there — mostly software and hardware — but we've never seen an open-source eating utensil. As far as we know, the S.H.O.V.E.L. ($10) is the first of its kind. This spork is made from titanium, and includes your typical spoon and fork combo (call it a foon if you want), as well as a serrated edge for cutting and a bottle-cap opener, all wrapped in six feet of red paracord. Download the specs and CAD files from their website — hack it, change it, build your own. It's open-source, after all.
Whether you sell propane and propane accessories, or just prefer to taste the meat and not the heat, you'll want to grab a Truma Propane Levelcheck ($90). This handy little device uses ultrasound to check the level of the liquid gas left in your cylinder. The LED turns green if it senses liquid, and red if it senses none, so you can tell at a glance when it's time to refill. That means less time spent knocking on and shaking your propane tank, and more time spent on extracurricular activities, like enjoying a nice cold can of Alamo out back with the guys.
Leave it to the Dutch to design a bike that's perfect for urban commuting (they ride them every day). The Vanmoof 10 Electrified Bike ($2,640) is perfectly-suited to getting around town. A small motor in the front wheel, powered by a lightweight rechargeable battery, amplifies your pedaling power by 80%. Built-in GPS tracking lets you find your bike if it's lost or stolen, and design cues from the automotive industry — lightweight aluminum frame, mechanical disk brakes, automatic two-speed shifting — make it a pleasure to use. Available in November.
If you want to practice the guitar, but often find yourself in less-than-guitar-friendly places (class, conference rooms, the jury box), PocketStrings ($25 and $30) might be just what you need. It comes in two models, one with four frets that's great for playing chords, and one with six frets that's perfect for scales. It has genuine guitar strings and a strum pad to keep your rhythm right — so it feels almost like the real thing, only without the noise. Collapses down to fit comfortably in a pocket or bag.
New York City residents and tourists alike will appreciate these Metrodeck Playing Cards ($550) as a piece of Empire City memorabilia. Made from found subway fare cards and inspired by famous landmarks across the city, these playing cards are screen-printed in enamel ink, with four colors on each face card. Highlights include a Brooklyn Bridge King of Hearts, an Empire State Building King of Diamonds and a Statue of Liberty Queen of Hearts. Each of the 40 decks varies slightly from the other, and comes in a letterpressed, die-cut box.
If you're the type of person that likes to pamper your possessions as much as yourself, the Rimowa x Moncler Suitcase ($1,960) should be perfect for you. Sporting a sleek riffled aluminum exterior, it features shiny, quilted laqué nylon lining to protect your stuff, rugged construction, an included shoe bag, transparent toiletries case, and quilted case.
Whether it's destroying Stormtroopers' speeder bikes, Leia kissing her brother, or the creepy celebration after the battle for the forest moon of Endor, you can bring your favorite Episode VI scenes to life with the Lego Star Wars Ewok Village ($250). This gigantic set (nearly 2,000 pieces) is full of surprises and treats for fans. It comes with 17 minifigs — including three never-before-seen Ewoks, and new looks for Luke and Leia — a catapult, speeder bike, plenty of lightsabers, blasters, and spears, and even a levitating throne for C-3PO. Expect the set in stores by September. Until then, we'll be watching Return of the Jedi on repeat.
They're obviously not the first company you'd think of when it comes to sporting goods, but given their reputation for rugged, quality leather goods, we suppose these Coach Heritage Baseball Bats & Gloves ($250-$350) make sense. The bats are made from American maple, dip-dyed by hand and wrapped with artisanal leather at the handle, while the gloves are crafted by hand in the USA using Coach's colorblocked glove-tanned leather. Crafted in collaboration with Warstic Wood Bat Co. and Insignia Athletics, respectively, these goods are available in a variety of colorways — but remember, they're limited edition, so if you're looking for a specific color, you'd better move quickly.
With the ability to drive and fly, the B Remote-Controlled Flying Car/Helicopter ($560) can pretty much go anywhere. Its innovation lies in a patent-pending wheel and propeller design, which places each prop within the wheel. It can take off vertically, hover and fly, and return to the ground to continue driving. Durable polycarbonate construction means it can survive falls from the air and punishing terrain on the ground. A 720p on-board camera and 32G Micro SD card support makes this one capable reconnaissance vehicle. Now, if only they could figure out a way to make the battery last longer than 15 minutes a charge.