▪ LuminAID PackLite 12 solar lantern
Utility is one thing, but your hardcore backpackers want a lightweight type of utility in their gear. This solar-powered , inflatable lantern weighs in at 3.5 ounces, almost as light as possible for a product that gives you 12 hours of illumination on a low setting, eight hours on high. Because it has a built-in lithium-polymer ion battery that recharges in seven hours of sunlight, there’s no need to carry spare batteries with you. Plus, the “Spectra” version, a bit more expensive at $24.95, comes in seven interchangeable colors – kind of a mood-ring thing for how you’re feeling while camping out.
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▪ Volvo LifePaint for bicycles
What’s this? Cars and bicycles working together for safety on the streets? What’s next, cats and dogs clasping paws and meowing/howling Kumbaya? It’s true, though. Volvo, the automaker, has started test-marketing Life Paint, a spray-on reflective paint in six London bicycle shops. If it catches on, it’ll probably come across the pond soon. The paint is invisible during the day but reflects car headlights come nightfall. Downside: It only lasts 10 days before it needs another coat.
▪ Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 U.S. Places to Go in 2015”
It’s always interesting to read how national publications rate California attractions. On this Lonely Planet list, our state garnered two spots – but perhaps not the two you’d think:
1. Queens, N.Y.
2. Western South Dakota
3. New Orleans
4. Colorado River region
5. North Conway, N.H.
7. Greenville, S.C.
9. Duluth, Minn.
10. Mount Shasta region
John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang)
“I just watched TSA make an elderly disabled man leave his wheelchair and submit to a body-scan pic. Strangely, it didn’t make me feel safer.”
Compiled by Sam McManis, email@example.com