The Water Cube Gets Happy Magic

You may remember the Water Cube as the venue for the swimming events 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The exterior of “The Cube,” with its translucent walls that seemed as though they were made of giant living skin cells, became one of the iconic images of the games.

The Water Cube received a lot of press at the time of the Olympics. But what most reports (including Spot Cool Stuff’s own review) left out was that the building was not designed to permanently host of swimming competitions. From conception, its real intended purpose was to be a water park.

Recently the Water Cube’s original destiny was fulfilled with the opening of the Happy Magic Watercube. (Yes, somehow “water cube” got truncated to one word during the transition). In doing so, the place where Michael Phelps once set world records in swimming is today setting the record as the world’s largest indoor water park.

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Skyver Ortovox Backpack Scooter

outdoor gear guide s Skyver Ortovox Backpack Scooter follow me on pinterest button Skyver Ortovox Backpack Scooter Back in 2009, we reviewed the Bergmönch—a scooter that transforms into a backpack.

In 2011, one of the stars of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show was the Skyver Ortovox—a scooter that transforms into a backpack.

Yes, everything old being new again. But Spot Cool Stuff is thrilled to see the Ortovox get such attention. (And we’re happy to lend our voice to it.)

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Klymit Inertia Sleeping Pads

A year ago we previewed the Klymit Inertia X-Frame, a minimalist sleeping pad that weighs a mere 9.1 ounces (258g).

outdoor gear guide s Klymit Inertia Sleeping Pads follow me on pinterest button Klymit Inertia Sleeping Pads The Inertia X-Frame looks a bit like a balloon animal that’s gone horribly wrong, but is surprisingly comfortable to sleep on. It is surprisingly warm too—the pad’s “loft pockets” allow sleeping bag insulation to expand a bit, thus trapping extra hot air.

At the time it came out, the Inertia X-Frame was the world’s lightest sleeping pad. That title has since been usurped by a newly released Klymit product: the Inertia X-Lite. For those willing to carry a few extra ounces in exchange for a whole lot of extra sleeping luxury, check out the Klymit Inertia XL.

Our look at both of these Klymit offerings:

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Timberland Radler Trail Camp

outdoor gear guide s Timberland Radler Trail Camp follow me on pinterest button Timberland Radler Trail Camp Shoes are luggage space hogs. When we pack shoes we usually stuff the insides with socks and underwear. But we like this idea better: Shoes that fold up. Like the colorful Timberland Radler Trail Camp line.

Radler Trail Camps don’t only fold closed. They zip closed too. That thanks to the zipper that rings the shoe’s 42% recycled rubber lug outsole. (The zipper, fortunately, is mostly hidden from view when the shoe is open). When zipped closed, a 225g (8 oz) Radler Trail Camp is compact enough to fit into a jacket pocket.

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2GO Self-Heating Drink Can

Can you make hot coffee in the middle of a wilderness with no stove, fire, electricity, solar heating or water? Yes you can. Literally, with a can—a 2GO self-heating can.

outdoor gear guide s 2GO Self Heating Drink Can follow me on pinterest button 2GO Self Heating Drink Can Each single-use 2GO can contains three internal compartments: one for water, one for drink flavoring (eg. tea leafs) and one for calcium hydroxide. The whole container is made of steel and is entirely sterile.

So, it works like this:

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Kayaking the Thumb

Ask longtime Michigan residents where in the state they live and chances are that they’ll hold up their right palm and point out their hometown upon it—the shape of a hand held up approximating that of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

Ask an outdoor enthusiast who’s in-the-know where Michigan’s best kayaking trip is and chances are said enthusiast will hold up a right palm and point to its thumb. It is at the thumb where paddlers find the wonderful cliffs and clear waters of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay.

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Seoul’s Virtual Subway Supermarket

South Korea is the second-hardest working country in the world1. All those hours at the office don’t leave much time for food shopping. So when England-based grocery store chain Tesco (called Homeplus locally) wanted to expand their market share in the Korean capital they looked to a place that the residents of Seoul already had idle time to pick out their foodstuffs—on the platform of subway stations while waiting for trains.

The problem is that subway platforms have no room for full-fledged supermarkets (or even quarter-fledged supermarkets). So Homeplus went virtual. They put up backlit posters with grocery items displayed on shelves as they would be in a real store.

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The World’s Steepest Roller Coaster

Any self-respecting world-class roller coaster enthusiast has to visit the Fuji-Q High Land at least once. The amusement park—in Yamanashi, Japan, almost literally in the shadow of Mt. Fuji—is home to many of the planet’s best rides.

The self-assigned goal of the Fuji-Q High Land park: To build a roller coaster every five years worthy of a spot in The Guiness Book of World Records. Thus far, the amusement park has achieved that goal:

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