Zeal Optics Solar-Powered Backpack
Zeal is set to release its Transcend goggles, a pair of ski/snowboard goggles that I simultaneously covet and mock as one of the geekiest, most overengineered pieces of sports gear on the market. The Transcend goggles, designed in conjunction with Recon Instruments, include a GPS performance-monitoring interface in the goggles themselves.
Well, somewhere along the line, Zeal realized that GPS goggles won't do you much good if you don't have any battery power. And some people ride for eight, nine, 10 hours a day, so running out of juice is highly probable. So it's coming out with a purpose-built ski/snowboard backpack built to charge.
The Reliant backpack includes a removable solar panel sleeve that turns that high-alpine, nose-reddening winter sun into a viable energy source. Connect your gadgets (including the Transcends) via USB and power them up with a little assist from Mother Nature.
Outside of the solar-charging element, Zeal's pack is a standard ski/ride pack complete with hydration sleeve, compression straps, ice axe loops, straps for skis and mesh water bottle holders. It includes a padded hip belt and a goggle compartment and is good for 1,280 cu. in. worth of gear.
Zeal Transcend goggles: $400. Reliant backpack to keep them charged: $200. Not buying any of that overteched crap and enjoying a day of snowboarding or skiing: priceless + six bills in your pocket.
Make your decision October 10.