They invented what?

Walking isn't golf: it isn't full of costly clobber for well-heeled wallies. Not that that stopped some people trying over the years...


‘Combined walking pole and urinary aid’: like all the best ideas, so obvious when you think about it. Unbelievably, after going to the trouble of applying for this patent, getting the puddle just the right size etc this patent was allowed to lapse in 2013, so Leki? Komperdell? Guys?


How many times have you wished your rucksack made it impossible to unzip your jacket, was much harder to get on and off and gave you a really awkward frontal anatomy choice if you’re a woman? That’s right, lots!* (*Lalalalala-la-la – inventor of this cross-your-heart rucksack Kent Turnipseed is not listening.)


You’ve heard of mag-lev trains? They use opposing magnets to allow them to travel without friction. Not quite so clever but still awesome, these walking boots use the same magnetic repulsion to provide heel and forefoot cushioning, and to adjust the heel height. Also allows near-infinite pirouettes.



John D. Wehrly’s tent heater’s brilliance is its simplicity: literally all you need is a lightweight backpacking tent, a heat source (suggest: fire) a boiler, a water pump and yards and yards of pipework. Not since the first sledgehammer was introduced to the first nut has a job been so conclusively done.



Daniel Payton Turney dreams of the time we don’t look at someone pulling a wheeled trolley behind them and think ‘Old lady returning from buying half-tins of beans’ and instead think ‘All-terrain convertible wheeled backpacker’.



Meanwhile the priorities for American Joseph Conley were different: how to go from standing up lying down sucking straw as quickly as possible. His solution: bedclothes. Literally clothes that turned into a hammock quicker’n you could say ‘Yankee’.

• Enjoyed this? Read about 17 more crazy gear inventions in the curious new issue of Country Walking. Click the cover to find out more...