Gadgets 1114

Published on July 1st, 2010 | by Greg


Hot and Cool With Blitzchiller and Nova+

Summer means a few days getting away, and nothing says Independence Day like camping. Sure, you’ll be outdoors this 4th of July, but will you have the right equipment to complete your holiday? We’ve got two items on deck, one aimed at getting your beverages cool quickly, the other perfect for making heating things up.

The Cooper Cooler Blitzchiller made us a bit skeptical at first. This device claimed to be the fastest way to cool down a hot can or bottle of soda or beer- several times faster than a freezer even. They even list their numbers- 2 minutes from 77 degrees to 38 degrees for a can. Our cans usually are a bit warmer than that, but we were actually able to achieve pretty close to the same number. Bottles take about twice as long, for reasons explained in their helpful FAQ, and the preset timer gives you either 2, 4, or 6 minutes.

So, it works, and guests will be fascinated (and pleased) by the speed and process. But there are two downsides- you need both ice/water and electricity, and the device is made to use regular outlets. Our most common use case is while on the road, but we didn’t get a chance to test out an inverter which would have allowed us to do so. The amount of ice required depends largely on just how cold you want your beverage to get, and colder water definitely helps as well. It’s pretty fun to watch the bottles spin, but don’t worry- they won’t foam or explode thanks to the miracle of science. The unit takes up a fair bit of space, and can only handle one item at a time, but we were quite happy- it does one thing quite well, and is a pretty handy item to have around. $40, available online.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to heat things up, turn your eyes to the Optimus Nova+. We’ve seen some pretty good camping stoves, including one aimed at couples or those with larger pots. This one is certainly different- more compact, nicely engineered, but aimed at a slightly different audience. It weighs the same as the Jetboil PCS (15 ounces), but lacks the attachments, and perhaps shows it’s strengths in higher altitudes and colder climates. Relatively easy to service, it also is extremely stable.

It feels and looks serious- and we liked that the fuel flow is easily adjustable, allowing us to actually simmer something instead of only flat-out boiling. Fuel efficiency was comparable to other stoves- slightly worse in our tests, but conditions and fuels varied a bit. Actually, that’s one other great thing about this model- it can handle several types of fuel and isn’t picky- white gas, kerosene, diesel and even jet fuel if you have some lying about. The Nova+ is certainly durable, all metal, though the wind screen wasn’t too great. At $125, it’s right in line with others, and we’d suggest considering your personal use case and camping style before deciding. Multi-fuel definitely offers flexibility, we found, but you’ll need to get a fuel bottle first since, unfortunately, one is not included.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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