Gadgets 1084

Published on June 10th, 2010 | by Greg


Truly Outdoors in Summer 2010: Solar Power, Altitude, & Grilling with Primus and Origo

As we wrap up our week of outdoor fun, we would be remiss if we didn’t get in food, lighting, and high-tech timekeeping. We’ll start with a solution on how to maneuver your way through the dark to the great outdoors. For those of you who don’t consider the Big Dipper your only source of nighttime light, the Primus Solar LED Camp Lantern can ease your fears of anything that sways like a branch (unless it is a bear; then you put down the lamp slowly and feign dead).

Solar energy is always an environmentally friendly way to go and the Primus Solar LED Camping Lantern is marketed as “recycled sunshine”. And for those of you who need a crash course in LEDs, it stands for “light emitting diode”, which is a semiconductor device that emits a beam of light when an electric current is applied to it. You have them all over your house, and very little power is actually used to generate light, around 1/10th the amount of power of conventional bulbs. For more info on the benefits of LED’s check out this site to find out more. We happen to find that a ray of light on our outdoor adventure.

The LED lantern works by using a solar panel on the top of the lantern with rechargeable batteries. Better yet, 3 ‘D’ batteries are included. It has a 100-180 hour run time and is water resistant for those rainy nights. It is not waterproof, however, so beware. Also, it is lightweight, though not particularly easy to carry as the handles aren’t great. A built-in reflector helps to spread the light across an area and did a decent job of providing us enough light to read our maps. We found that re-energizing the battery was simple but can take a while to charge during cloudy conditions. Luckily you can also use regular batteries so we would suggest having extras on hand as a back-up plan. The nine LED’s can run on either the D batteries or 4 AA-size, and the unit is available for a pretty reasonable price- $40 or so online.

Primus also brings us another inventive product for cooking in the form of the Atle BBQ.

This is the perfect piece of equipment for those of you who want steak and eggs for breakfast with a side of hotcakes. A stove occupies one side while a grill takes up the other side, and both are easily powered by propane. We were able to haul this 13-pounder pretty easily to our designated cookout location and found that even in the wilderness we can most certainly make a decent breakfast with a 12,000 BTU burner (for 21,700 BTUs total). We were more elated with the easy clean up, as the surface grill is non-stick and removable making it pretty simple.

There is an adjustable flame control that was pretty consistent, a standard piezo ignition, and foldable windscreens (though they feel a bit cheap). We liked the large surface area, offering plenty of room, and good looks to boot. For around $100 on Amazon, this would make the perfect Father’s Day gift for those who like to go car camping. The hose is included, but make sure you bring plenty of propane (and check that your tank is compatible before heading out).

Telling time might not be your main priority in the outdoors but it it can be pretty important when you’re trying to keep a good handle on your activity level (or how long your eggs have been cooking). For those functions and more, Origo’s Granite Peak Watch Series has your back (or, er, wrist).

Not only is this a watch, it is also a digital compass and an electronic weather center. A perfect addition for anyone who spends quite a bit of time being physically active outside. This watch left little room for improvement- we could check out a barometer graph display and monitor our altitude (which was pretty accurate). Perfect for mountain climbing; just make sure that you calibrate it at sea level on the beach (or other appropriate location).

We were able to sufficiently track the amount of laps we swam and for those of you who are competitive, we dare you to keep up with the amount of laps it tracks (99). For those of you interested in tracking calories burned, we’ve seen a few other devices that can help out.

The functions are a breeze to use, though we did see some temperature inaccuracies, as the watch reported a higher-than-real temp (most likely due to body heat, we guess).

Origo’s Granite Peak series comes in 4 models; titanium, stainless with standard display, stainless with reverse display and black stainless with standard display. The watch felt firm, solid and was semi-comfortable to wear, if a bit heavy at first- it’s fairly small, but dense. The rugged design is sure to impress even the manliest of men. We were able to find it on Amazon for around $77.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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