SHOT Show 2024:
A Festival of Gear You Didn't Know You Needed

23

If you give typewriters to an infinite number of monkeys, eventually, one of them is going to write War and Peace, word for word. If you gather 2,500 outdoor industry manufacturers and give each one of them an exhibit booth at the SHOT Show, you’re going to create a line precisely 13.9 miles long. That’s a real number, and I walked all of it, wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, and, at least at the beginning, tie, until I about passed out from exertion. The other thing you’ll find is there’s a lot of cool and useful gear just waiting to be discovered.

You’re going to be hearing a lot from us in the coming days and weeks about the new mainstream products, including guns, holsters and ammo. But one of my very favorite SHOT Show experiences is to discover the lesser-known but equally cool and useful peripheral products. My annual habit for SHOT Show Day One is to beeline for the “basement” level, where all the first-time, smaller, and generally newer companies set up their wares. This year, I got some help.

The folks at Condor Outdoor make a “bigly” variety of gear. Think packs, bags, all and anything MOLLE-compatible, concealed carry clothing, and much, much more. Think of stuff for everyday heroes, and you get the idea. As a result, they tend to have solid relationships with all the companies who make stuff to put in the infinite number of pockets and pouches provided by Condor. To make a long story short, this year, the company created a “gear extravaganza” to showcase some of what’s on the market. I thought it might be fun and educational to share some of the useful stuff currently available.

Outdoor Life

First aid first! In my backpack-slash-briefcase, I always carry a first-aid kit with the basics for a serious accident. I’m not particularly worried about gunfights, but the odds of any of us being the first on the scene of an accident are close to 100%. If you haven’t yet been the first one on the scene of a car, bike, or whatever type of mishap, your time is coming. The Rescue Essentials Mini-Compression bandage is intended to help control bleeding until the professionals arrive on the scent. It’s vacuum packed, so it’s tiny and easy to carry in a pack or the car.

Solar is getting better and more cost-effective with each passing year. The SunnyBag Leaf Mini solar charger is about the size of a sheet of notebook paper. You can lay it outside in the sun, or if you’re on the go, fasten it to your backpack, and it’ll charge your mobile device in a few hours. This unit lists for … just $29. Didn’t solar gear used to cost thousands of dollars?

The Suunto M-9 wrist compass comes with its own band — wear it like a watch on the opposite hand. It’s a quality and low-profile compass. It’s far too easy to get disoriented in the woods. Ask me how I know.

Like swimming, boating, kayaking or fishing? Check out the NiteIze RunOff waterproof wallet. It’ll keep your car keys, money, cards or whatever dry, even when submerged. Also, ask me how I know the value of this preventative strategy.

Traveler's Tools

Step one is always power. I have plenty of “kits” with some type of charger and an accompanying bag of loose parts to plug my electrical junk into outlets in different countries. The EPicka World Travel Adapter is like a Swiss army knife, with adapters popping in and out of the cube as needed. Nifty!

People are always trying to steal your info. Quite frankly, I can’t even keep up with all the emerging tactics like swiping signals from your phone and chip-enabled credit cards. An easy privacy fix is a Faraday Defense bag. It doesn’t allow EMF, RF or even EMP signals through either way. Stick your phone and credit cards in there, and they are in an electronic black hole. I’ll bet all those captured murderers on Dateline now wish they’d thought of this … But seriously, when traveling, it can’t hurt to keep your electronics protected. The company also offers all sorts of more industrial solutions.

While we’re being paranoid, plugging your junk into ports of unknown origin by using public USB chargers is a big data security no-no. Grab a couple of OffGrid USB data blockers for those times when you just have to top off your smartphone. They’ll stop data thieves by preventing access to your device through the charging port.

For more secure front pocket carry, check out the new minimalist wallets for cash and a few cards. The Kitanica CardShark is made from flexible “tactical gear” material of some sort and works beautifully for more secure front-pocket carry. The Pun Cube takes a different approach, marrying a hard shell mini-case for a few keys with a flexible leather side for cards, money, and even a pouch to hide an AirTag.

Stick a Lever Gear tool on your keychain to handle life’s little surprises while on the go. While it’s not airline-friendly (it’s got a number 11 retractable X-Acto blade), it’s great for car travel, in part thanks to its integrated glass breaker. For liquid emergencies, there’s a bottle opener. For more serious tasks, you have a flat and Phillips screwdriver, pry blade, imperial and metric rulers, and a hex bit driver. Handy stuff.

I could go on all day, but we’re running out of space, so we’ll have to cover more in a future column. To tide you over, check out SimpleShot. Yep, modern slingshots. If you live under the iron-fisted rule of a neighborhood association like I do, you know how they frown upon gunfire coming from the backyard. With these modernized and reimagined slingshots, you can get your ballistic jollies without being SWAT-ted by the neighbors.

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