World's Most Expensive Gear

Late last year, I wrote about Oakley’s Elite C Six sunglasses, which are carbon-fiber shades that cost an astonishing $4,000 a pair. The article sparked contention with Gear Junkie readers as promoting a product that stands at the height of ostentatiousness and consumerist glut. Other readers, in contrast, cheered. “Very extravagant, but totally cool,” one person wrote. Another comment: “I like hearing about companies. . . pushing their technology, which trickles down to us eventually.” Either way, my journalistic nose tells me something like a pair of sunglasses carved out of a block of solid carbon fiber — which happen to cost $4,000! — is worth some investigation. Here are a few additional “if-price-were-no-object” items that reflect either the outdoors industry’s state of the art or else its mingling in the depths of a consumerist culture gone totally mad. You decide. —Stephen Regenold

$650 Bike Saddle. Your jaw can drop now. The Selle SMP Carbon Saddle, which is in the running as the priciest bike seat ever made, is a pure carbon-fiber build touted as lightweight (105 grams), anatomical, and aerodynamic. http://www.sellesmp.com/smp4bike/en/products/saddles

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The all-carbon Selle SMP Carbon bike saddle

$3,400 Tent. New Hampshire’s NEMO Equipment Inc. will soon debut the Isopod, a special tent made for polar regions that the company describes as having a special exterior fabric that’s like a “space blanket that breathes.” Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/nemo-polar-tent

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Polar shelter: NEMO Isopod tent

$45,000 Road Bike. Insane. One of the priciest bikes ever constructed is also the world’s lightest, according to builder Fairwheel Bikes of Tucson, Ariz. The stealthy carbon rig measures in at an unimaginable 6.55 pounds fully built! Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/worlds-lightest-bike

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Fairwheel Bikes’ $45K, 6.55-pound (!) carbon machine

$1,295 Ski Boot. Touted with no bones as the “most expensive ski boot on the market,” the $1,295 Apex Ski Boot has a “snowboard-type” inner boot and a unique Carbon Chassis exoskeleton shell. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/apex-ski-boot

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‘Snowboard influenced’ Apex alpine ski boot

$2,000 Bike Pedals. Bicycle pedal-maker Look and fitness-watch company Polar have combined forces to build the Polar Look Keo Power clipless pedal system. It will measure a cyclist’s power output and cadence via sensors and gauges built in the pedal spline and on the crank arm. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/polar-look-garmin-pedal-systems

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Tech bike pedals: Polar Look Keo Power clipless

$699 Bike Light. Shooting a blinding beam into the night, and surpassing even the brightness level of some automobile headlights, the Seca 1400 from Light & Motion lets you pedal at full speed with zero hesitation through the inky night. http://www.bikelights.com/seca1400.html

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Blindingly bright! Seca 1400 bike light

$1,650 Parka. California-based, Japanese-born fashion designer Yuki Matsuda collaborated with Canada Goose to make the Yuki Expedition, a bling coat touted to have an “eastern sensitivity and a street-funk orientation.” It costs $1,650. The Snorkel Bomber, another Yuki creation, is $1,250. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/yuki-matsuda-canada-goose

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Yuki Expedition (right) and Yuki Snorkel Bomber parkas

€2,000 Custom Skis. Heidiskis are handmade in an Austrian factory from planks of Swiss white ash. The company made its debut in 2007 with a built-to-spec luxury custom ski concept and a slogan of “your ultimate personalized hand-made wood core skis.” Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/the-gear-junkie-scoop-heidiskis

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Heidiskis’ custom skis are shaped like a surfboard from Swiss white ash

$4,000 Sunglasses. As noted in the intro, these sunglasses are extremely expensive and extremely limited. The Elite C Six sunglasses are made of carbon fiber with a titanium spine. The company touts machining with 0.002-inch precision in the making of the glasses’ frame, which are carved from a solid block of carbon fiber. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/oakley-4000-dollar-sunglasses

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Carved from carbon: Oakley’s Elite C Six sunglasses

$220 Running Shoes. ECCO’s BIOM running shoes are made with leather from Himalayan yaks. The shoes, an esoteric design created in collaboration with a professional triathlete, are among the most pricey running shoes ever made. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/ecco-biom-a

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BIOM running shoes feature Himalayan yak leather uppers

$1,000 ‘Performance’ Trench Coat. Outerwear leader Arc’teryx launched a new line, the Veilance collection, a couple years ago that is touted to “bring the application of technical performance into urban apparel.” The Arc’teryx Field Jacket, $1,000, has a GORE-TEX face but with a style more applicable for the urban life. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/arc-teryx-veilance

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Arc’teryx’s ‘performance’ trench coat

$1,200 Heated Jackets. For its 2011 line, Columbia will debut jackets with embedded heated elements. There are nine jackets in the line, which uses carbon-fiber filament and the company’s Omni-Heat Thermal Electric battery technology for warmth. Prices will be $750 to $1,200 for the initial launch. Gear Junkie article: http://gearjunkie.com/columbia-sportswear-2011-electric-heated-jackets

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Plug ‘em in! Heated jackets from Columbia

$1,500 Swiss Army Knife. At almost 10 inches wide and with a 2-pound heft, the collector’s edition Giant Knife from Wenger Swiss Army has 87 fold-out tools, including locking blades, files, a corkscrew, pliers, screwdrivers. . . and just about every other Swiss Army implement you can imagine. http://www.wengerna.com/giant-knife-16999

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Aptly named ‘Giant Knife’ from Wenger Swiss Army

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. A version of this post ran originally on Gear Junkie’s blog on VentureThere.com.

Posted by clint harris - 02/28/2011 11:42 AM

Stephen, don’t you think each team should have had to carry one of those monster knives during the Wenger race in Patagonia? It might have added another day to the race! Ha ha.

Posted by Stephen - 02/28/2011 11:59 AM

Clint — Only if it’s offset by 6.55-pound road bikes on the cycling legs!

Posted by Jacob - 02/28/2011 12:52 PM

The problem is that knife alone would put the bike over it’s maximum weight limit. ha.

Posted by clint - 02/28/2011 10:01 PM

ha ha ha! do you suppose you could have ridden the six-n-change pound bike past the bottom of the first downhill? i suppose it woulda been a lot lighter to carry than the mountain bike was though, once it had become six-n-change pounds of bike parts.

Posted by John - 03/02/2011 11:46 AM

Wonder how much this stuff would cost if it was on a government contract?

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