New products

Heilman: New products could really save time | Local sports

New year, novelties.

Any serious outdoor enthusiast knows that new equipment becomes worthless within 12 months. As my friend Anthony says, “This year’s fish don’t bite last year’s lures”.

If you don’t follow through, your frying pan will stay cold, your tent will leak, and your gun won’t fire.

Fortunately, the outdoor industry works hard year round to meet our “needs”. To get this year off to a good start, I would like to offer my predictions for this year’s best new outdoor products.

Thanks to my connections in the industry and incredible predictive powers, I have a high degree of confidence that they will actually materialize.

If any of them interest you, I can put you in touch. Meet me on April 1 at my office under the Veterans Memorial Bridge (which, coincidentally, I can also sell to you).

Note: You may notice that the items on this list are rich in technological advancements. This should come as no surprise as technology improves everything and still works flawlessly.

Everyone knows that.

Deerhunt NapperApp

Some phone app developers are deer hunters as well (precisely two in the world), and they’ve teamed up to solve an old problem with a high-tech solution.

Over the years, many hunters have fallen asleep at the stand, only to wake up and find a deer nearby. While naps are usually a good thing, this particular scenario usually only ends well for the deer.

Most likely attributed it to coincidence or even bad luck. However, recent research has shown that their unconsciousness actually facilitates these deer sightings.

Since they didn’t move or make a sound, the deer weren’t as repelled as they normally would have been.

So app gurus Seymour Bux and Trixie Doze created Deerhunt NapperApp, an inexpensive download for hunters who want to increase their odds.

Users just need to enter their GPS coordinates and lie down. The app takes care of the rest.

NapperApp takes into account factors such as date, time, proximity to water sources, local deer density, wind speed, moon phase, and barometric pressure. Then, thanks to the magic of algorithms, it wakes you up with a gentle vibration precisely 30 seconds before the next deer appears.

The premium version allows hunters to further customize their experience, such as suggesting the best time for a coffee break, staying asleep for the fawns and selecting the size of the antlers.

While they won’t go into details, Bux and Doze have hinted that their next phone app will help ensure deer don’t run into hunters as they descend to answer the call of the wild.

They say it will be “a lot of work”, but the demand is expected to be high. Many have already signed up for beta testing, including my younger brother.


When I think back to my days scouting with Troop 29, huddled under a tarp at Camp Norseland while Mother Nature tried to drown us, I am filled with nostalgia.

Over the past quarter of a century, I have found no substitute for the endless chills and aroma of soggy teenage feet. But apparently not everyone feels the same about camping in the rain.

That’s why Janssen Outdoors employees plan to deploy the RainDetour later this year. They grew tired of NOAA’s failure to develop weather control technology and devised a smart workaround.

Janssen basically expanded the Van de Graaff generator from basketball size to beach ball size and turbocharged it. It’s like bending a thin stream of tap water with a comb charged with static electricity, but much larger.

The good news is, it works. Raindrops are deflected within a 25-foot radius, leaving campers completely dry under an invisible umbrella. It also vaporizes mosquitoes that enter the “dry zone”.

At night, blue static arcs light up the sky.

Early users described the RainDetour as “amazingly beautiful and terrifying” and “the worst thing that has ever happened to my hair”.

The bad news is that pets, fireworks, and flammable liquids should be kept at least 200 feet from the RainDetour unit.

Sizr hook

One of the dangers of ice fishing is the time spent reeling and unhooking small fish. Wouldn’t it be nice if that wasn’t a problem?

Enter Hook Sizr, which guarantees that we will only catch big fish.

Thanks to advanced nanotechnology, Hook Sizr ice jigs have the ability to change the size of their hooks depending on the size of the fish present.

They do this by measuring the strength of the natural electromagnetic field around an approaching fish and adjusting accordingly.

Anglers simply choose “sunfish” or “walleye” size jigs (8 and 4, respectively). As long as keeper-sized fish bite, the hooks stay the same size.

When a small bluegill or pesky perch approaches, they extend up to 6/0. As they lose interest and leave, the hooks return to their original dimensions.

MSRP is only $ 59.95 per pack of 2. Some say it’s too much for ice jigs.

Considering the number of waxworms that will be saved by keeping them out of the perch’s mouths, anglers can expect to start saving money on the first outing.

Pointrtek Doggls

Remember when this large search engine company was developing futuristic glasses that had the potential to invade privacy and / or constantly place advertisements in your line of sight?

Yeah, I don’t know why it fell flat either.

Either way, they worked hard to adapt these “advances” for other purposes. Last year they created a subsidiary, Pointrtek, to break into the bird hunting industry, and their flagship product, the Doggl, could revolutionize the way we hunt behind our pointers.

When paired with a GPS collar, Doggls tracks your dog’s movements. While old Rusty combs the grass for pheasants, for example, a green scent hound icon will appear in front of your eyes to reveal where he is.

When he goes on point, a red retriever icon indicates his location.

In addition, the red icon will appear larger or smaller, to indicate its proximity to you. That is, the small icon = walk faster and the large icon = get ready.

I will not buy.

First of all, I consider myself to be a fair hunting hunter. Half the fun is wondering where your dog is, after all, and if I feel like spending half my day chasing him, I hate being deprived of it.

Second, the price is going to be a shock.

When you add up the years of R&D and the production costs, it will go way beyond my limits. I mean, we’re talking about Glen Taylor’s math here.

Additionally, Doggls will likely not be available to the public, at least for the time being. The target market is the South Dakota pheasant hunting lodges; they plan to give them as farewell gifts to the guests.

Pointrtek hasn’t announced an MSRP yet, but that should tell you something.

Minnow bucket that keeps minnows alive

No punchline here. Just thinking that this might finally be the year.

Roy Heilman is an outdoor enthusiast, writer, musician and native of Minnesota. His adventures take him all over the map, but he can still be found at

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