Summer Innovations

What’s new in summer gear? These four products are changing their games.


More and more helmet companies are incorporating high tech smart gadgets into their helmets. In 2016, Sena, a company known for its Bluetooth technology and smart motorcycle helmets, moved into the bicycle space. Now it’s releasing the Sena X1 ($199) and the X1 Pro ($349), which can do just about everything except mix a martini.  The X1 connects remotely with your phone so you can

The Sena X1 Pro.

answer calls or listen to music just by tapping the buttons located on the rim of the helmet.  You can even tune into FM stations and connect via intercom with other riders. And it comes with the usual safety MIPS and safety features. The X1 Pro integrates a camera that can store up to two hours of high-definition (1,440 pixels) video and has a Smart Audio Mix that can integrate music from your phone and your voice into the video. Sena also makes a slightly sleeker RI road helmet, which reminds us to add this caution: don’t let all this technology distract you from safe riding.


Imagine a band of World Cup ski racers, a pro bike racer and some maple-sugar tapping cousins all got together to make a sports recovery mix. That’s what pro cyclist Ted King, several of the Cochran cousins (of World Cup ski racing and Cochran’s Ski Area) and Middlebury’s Andrew Gardner did. Their first UnTapped product was single-serve packages of 100-percent pure maple syrup (which they sugar right off the slopes). Now, the team has produced two drink mixes. UnTapped’s Ginger Mapleaid ($24.95) combines stomach-soothing ginger with sea salt (for electrolytes) and, of course, some maple syrup to sweeten it and provide some calories. There’s also a Lemon Tea Mapelaid that has the added caffeine boost from organic black tea. The mix comes in one-pound bags. Stir it up, drink it down.


If you love the feel of running or hiking barefoot but can’t take the wear and tear

The Xero Terraflex.

that can come with it, you might just love Xero’s Terraflex ($99.99) minimalist trail shoes. There’s no chunky-cushioned sole, no super-stabilizing arch support or big-tread lugs. But by the same token, these shoes are strong enough and have enough protection (including the Tough Tek toe bumper) to get you up not-too-technical trails without saying “ouch.”  A heel strap and insert V straps give the shoe an even snugger fit and the toe box is blissfully roomy, without allowing for toe-bang. With a Xero-drop sole (there’s no heel elevation) and light weight (just 8.2 oz for a women’s size 7), the shoe feels like a snug slipper. Best yet, they come with a 5,000-mile sole guarantee.


Vermont has no shortage of great coffee companies (organic, local, Vermont Coffee


Company is our favorite.) But the state is (thankfully) short of Starbucks. If you’re on the go, here’s a great solution to getting a great cup of espresso. At just .74 lbs. and small enough to fit into what looks like a glasses case, the NanoPress ($64.95) is going everywhere we are this summer. Unscrew the bottom and pack in ground coffee (there’s even a tiny scoop enclosed). Unscrew the top and pour in hot water. Pop-out the “pump” button, give it a few pumps and boom, you’ve got a cup ‘o joe to go.