AWOL Newsletter #3

arc vector electric motorcycle with heads-up display helmet and haptic feedback jacket

This week we’ve got a few killer EVs, from a six-figure street bike to a modded Hummer EV, plus the latest upgrades for your own rig. Athletic types will find some interesting new toys for all seasons, and techies have new smart sunglasses, a full-frame retro camera, ultralight drone, over-ear headphones, and more. Here’s the best new stuff this week:

  • Vehicles & Overlanding
    • Arc Vector
    • Hummer x EarthCruiser
    • Thule Outset hitch tent
    • Mercedes eSprinter
    • Digital license plates
    • Slimline roof rack for Broncos
    • Goodyear Kevlar tires
  • Outdoor & Fitness
    • Sno-Go Ski Bikes
    • AltraFWD Experience
    • Chill ‘n’ Reel
    • REI full-suss eMTB
    • Built to Move
  • Gadgets
    • Nikon Z f
    • Sennheiser
    • Ray Ban x Meta shades
    • DJI Mini 4 Pro
    • DMOS Nomad Shovel

Arc Vector $128,000 electric superbike test rides require a credit check

arc vector electric superbike motorcycle with swingarm front suspension and hub center steering

You have to prove that a) you can afford it, and then b) that you know how to ride, likely in that order. But if you can swing the $128k starting price, then you can swing a leg over the Arc Vector, a monocoque carbon fiber moto that integrates the battery compartment into the frame design.

That allows for a front swing-arm suspension and more “lively” ride, partly thanks to Ohlins TTX coil-overs with adjustable damping. It pairs with a haptic jacket for real-time rider feedback, and gets a bespoke Hedon helmet with voice-activated heads-up display that uses a rear camera to automatically show when something is in your blind spot.

It weighs 240kg (529lb), charges in just 40 minutes, and hits 62mph (100km/h) in 3.2 seconds. Top speed is 120mph (200km/h, electronically controlled).

EarthCruiser pop-up tent conversions for Hummer EV

Assuming you got your order in for the Hummer EV about three years ago, you might be ready to turn it into a camper. EarthCruiser’s Hummer EV upfit is a full carbon fiber shell that’s integrated into the vehicle’s chassis. A 605W solar array fuels a 6kWh battery pack for up to 7 days of off-grid power for basic necessities (like a fridge, natch).

The pop-up tent has a 360º tent with zip window screens, full size bed, and 7″ touch screen control panel. It includes a kitchenette, indoor/outdoor shower, flat-pack toilet, storage compartments, fresh/gray water tanks, extra power outlets, and more. Price is TBA, but a $100 deposit gets you in the queue.

Thule Outset is a hitch-mounted, fold-out family tent

If your car (or body) can’t handle a roof-top tent but you still want a quick, easy setup, the upcoming Thule Outset hitch-mounted tent may be it. Specs are TBA, but it should sleep 2-3 people, mounts to your car’s hitch, and folds open to rest on a raised platform, letting you disconnect and drive away without having to re-pack your camp. It hits Europe in mid-2024, and the US in early 2025, with a likely MSRP around $4,600. Estimated weight is around 160lbs. (Videos here and here)

Mercedes eSprinter is full electric, maybe not camper-van ready yet

The all-electric Mercedes eSprinter just hit the US. Payload capacity is 2,624lbs, and it only comes in the RWD 170″ wheelbase, high roof, 488 cu.ft. cargo van spec, so it’s got the specs for camper van buildouts. But with a 249-mile max range it’s definitely aimed at local services and short-range fleets for now.

All the usual creature comfort upgrades are available, as are 22 paint colors, roof rails & racks. If you can string together supercharger stops every couple hours, it’ll charge from 10-80% in as little as 42 minutes, but it’ll take 12-13 hours to top off with standard AC power. So, maybe, but probably not for off-grid adventures. Starts at $71,886. (video here)

Ford to offer digital license plates, but why?

reviver rplate digital license plate to be offered by ford dealerships as aftermarket option.

Soon, Ford will offer Reviver’s RPlate digital license plates as an aftermarket option in AZ, CA & MI. The plates can run on battery power for up to 5 years, or be hardwired into the vehicle to add location tracking and other features that fleet vehicles may want.

For consumers, you’d be able to customize the message, digitally renew your registration, and eventually add parking payments and have it alert others if your vehicle is stolen. The downside is it’s $500-$750 up front, requires an annual subscription, and…it’s tracking you? (video here).

Ford Bronco hardtops get a slim new roof rack

Better known for their electric coolers, Dometic also makes Front Runner racks, cases, and outdoor gear. Their latest is the Slimline II Roof Rack for full size Ford Broncos (sorry, sport) with a hardtop, but they also make them for a LOT of other vehicles. It’s a lightweight (~100lbs) alloy design that bolts onto the factory mounting points up front and clamps onto the rear. T-slots on the cross bars let you attach anything. This one’s $1,980, other vehicles start from ~$825.

Goodyear Wrangler adds Kevlar protection to offroad tires

Mountain bike tires have done this for years, but now (finally?) the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac RT gives offroaders will get a three-layer DuPont Kevlar carcass to resist cuts, punctures and abrasion damage.

It has an all-season, on/off-road tread, comes in 42 sizes from 30-35″ OD, and has a 50k mile treadwear warranty. Made for light trucks/SUVs, it has an 80psi max, 120 Load Index, and E rating, so they should work for fully-built overland trucks & camper vans, too, unlike their Wrangler A/T Adventure tire, which also has Kevlar but is apparently just for mall crawlers.

OUTDOOR & FITNESS

SNO-GO Ski Bikes get proper MTB upgrades

new snogo ski bike with mountain bike suspension and cockpit

SNO-GO’s ski bikes can carve tighter turns, are easy to learn, and are the only ANSI-compliant chairlift-accessible ski bikes in the market (which means they’re allowed on ski lifts). For this winter, their flagship Shift is updated with a stronger, more responsive frame, and all three of these get EZ-load bars for quick lift loading.

The new Ripple is designed for smaller, lighter riders (“kids”) with a lighter build and nimble handling. The Shifted upgrades the Shift with a Fox 34 Float MTB fork, wide powder skis, and Diety bar, stem & grips, giving summer mountain bikers a familiar-feeling winter shred sled.

AltraFWD Experience is their first shoe w/ heel drop

altraFWD Experience are their first running shoes with 4mm heel drop

Altra’s entire M.O. since day one was zero-drop shoes that let you run like you would barefoot, except with padding and tread. Now, they’ve introduced their first-ever running shoe with heel drop, the AltraFWD Experience.

It keeps the wide, foot-shaped toe box, but stacks the heel 4mm higher. Men’s shoes measure 32-28mm (heel to toe), women’s are 30-26mm. The design also uses a rocker shape to help you propel forward with efficient toe-off, but is otherwise an Altra – no stability features, extra arch support, or carbon plates. Claimed weight is 8.5oz (men) & 7.1oz (women), available in four colors, MSRP $140, available Oct. 3.

Yes, the Chill ‘n’ Reel coozie with fishing reel exists

chill n reel fishing reel on a drink coozy

The Chill ‘n’ Reel is likely to be the “wait’ll they open mine” gift this holiday season. It’s an insulated coozie with integrated fishing reel. It’s $18.95 and available on Amazon, but may I suggest the $22 bundle with Spill Guard so you don’t dump your bevvie all over yourself when you yank your catch in. And, yes, it comes in camo. (video here)

REI Co-op DRT full-suspension e-Mountain Bike

REI co-op DRT e31 is an affordable full suspension electric mountain bike

REI’s Co-op bikes kinda fly under the radar, but they’re good. The new DRT e3.1 is their first full-suspension eMTB, and it’s well spec’d for its $4,999 price. Rockshox suspension (140mm travel), Kenda Nevegal 2.6″ tires (with 27.5 or 29er wheels depending on frame size), and SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain with Tektro 4-piston hydraulic dis brakes and X-Fusion Manic dropper post top off the alloy frame.

The drivetrain is a Bosch Performance Line CX with 85Nm torque and a large 625Wh battery. Available in store for free pickup, or shipped. Five sizes, one color, only available to Co-op members through 10/31.

Built to Move

built to move book cover by kelly starrett and juliet starrett

Among hardcore mobility experts, Crossfitters, and elite athletes, Kelly Starrett’s original book Becoming a Supple Leopard is legend. Now, he and wife Juliet have released Built to Move, an everyman’s guide to testing and improving your flexibility. If you want quick, practical tips for improving flexibility, reducing stiffness, and feeling better (or just counteract hours of sitting every day) it’s worth picking up.

GADGETS & GEAR

Nikon Z f compact mirrorless full-frame camera

nikon z f full frame mirrorless digital camera with compact retro style body

The new Nikon Z f packs a full frame sensor into a compact, retro-styled camera that has all the features we want from a high-end digital shooter. Inspired by their FM2 film camera from the 70s-80s, they even gave it a satisfying shutter button click and faux leather grain that comes in six colors.

It’s their first mirrorless with an adjustable-angle/flippable screen, has their best 5-axis vibration reduction for sharper 24.5MP images, and shoots up to 30fps thanks to a wicked fast processor. It also shoots 4K-30/25/24p video with 10-bit H.265 recording with subject tracking. Starts at $1,995. (video here)

Ray Ban Meta Wayfarer Smartglasses

Ugh. Now you can post and livestream directly from your sunglasses. Assuming you’re not an influencer, there are a few other cool features that make them interesting. The 12MP cameras can take photo and video with a shutter button on the left temple. Five mics let it pick up your voice for handsfree calls, and directional speakers send the audio to your ears only, and they also work for music.

Voice and touch commands let you control them, and say “Hey Meta” to access and AI assistant to look things up for you. The Wayfarer (shown) is $299, and a smaller Headliner is $399. Both come in seven lens/frame colorways and are prescription compatible.

Sennheiser Accentum Wireless over-ear headphones go 50 hours

The new Sennheiser Accentum over-the-ear headphones get a powerful 37mm driver, lightweight design for all-day comfort, and over two days run time per charge. At $179.95, they’re half the price of their flagship Momentum 4, yet get the same signature sound and app-based 5-band EQ/custom sound mode settings.

Hybrid ANC (Active Noice Cancelling) has Transparency mode so you can hear ambient sounds & conversations without removing them (except to explain to your conversation partner that you are, in fact, listening to them). A beamforming 2-mic system even lets you take calls.

DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI mini 4 pro drone with 360-degree obstacle avoidance and active subject tracking

The new DJI Mini 4 Pro somehow packs six sensors for 360º obstacle avoidance, 35 minute flight time, and active subject tracking into an ultralight 249g drone. That’s the weight limit before you need to register it with various authorities around the world, making the Mini a popular model for most folks. The camera gets a big upgrade, too, shooting 4K/60 in horizontal and vertical formats, HDR processing, and 10-bit Log-M color. Starts at $759. (video here)

DMOS Nomad Shovel is lightweight, packs small

DMOS nomad shovel with lightweight aluminum construction and folding design for overland and offgrid digging

The DMOS Nomad Shovel is a full-size 33″ (84cm) tall, but splits in two to pack down to 17″ (43cm) and weighs just 2lb 3oz. It’s made of 8-gauge 5052 aluminum with stainless steel pins and springs to hold it together. Perfect for getting your rig unstuck, or just letting the kids dig an epic hole at the beach. MSRP $99. Oh, and it has a bottle opener.

Parting Thoughts

Phew! What a week…I ended up putting this one together today, and there went my Saturday!

There was a lot, so I broke it up into categories, and I kinda like that format. Reply and LMK what you think. If you liked it, or found something interesting in here, please forward it to your friends.

Thanks, and have a great rest of the weekend,

adventurous way of life logo illustrates travel and van life ideas

Adventurous Way of Life is a weekly recap of the best new gear, gadgets, and tech for those who dig the outdoors, health, fitness, camping, cooking, overlanding, vanlife, and the adventurous active lifestyle. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every Friday.

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About Tyler 29 Articles
I'm a serial traveller and road trip lover who's crisscrossed the US so many times I've lost count. I've owned cars, SUVs, wagons, vans and a 37' class A toy hauler RV, and I've customized them all! I love the open road and getting off the beaten path to find new adventures, mainly traveling with Kristi and the kids to explore the world on our own two feet (and, usually, two to four wheels)!